After straining his groin in Barcelona's 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night, Lionel Messi is facing three weeks on the sidelines, and his manager at international level is not happy.
Rather than taking it on the chin ahead of two crunch World Cup Qualifying games, Argentina boss Edgardo Bauza has risked angering Messi's club by taking aim at the way they handle the diminutive star.
Speaking out in comments relayed by the Mirror, Bauza straight up accused the Catalan giants of mistreating their most prized asset.
"Barcelona always sends us messages saying that we must take care of Messi, but they don't take care of him very well," the new Argentina manager explained. "It is strange that they make him play in all their matches."
Messi, of course, was a doubt for Argentina's recent clash against Uruguay on August 2 with what Bauza has now described as a left adductor injury. And, although he was able to take part - and score - last month he went on to miss his country's fixture against Venezuela five days later.
Barcelona fans, though, will be well aware that the multi-time Balon d'Or winner was back in action at club level straight away after returning from international duty.
Something his national team boss finds very suspicious, especially when combined with the latest setback.
"We received the official report from Barcelona. To us, that seems strange because three weeks is not enough time to repair a torn adductor," Bauza said, again via the Mirror.
"We haven't yet been able to speak with him, but we want to know how serious the injury is.
"Barcelona have made it more complicated for us. They posted an official statement and at the moment that is all we have to go on. Our team doctors are waiting on the MRI to know the official grade of the injury."
Adding that he was awaiting an opportunity for his own national team doctors to test Messi, it is clear that Bouza isn't happy with Barcelona's recent treatment of arguably the best player on the planet. And you can understand why.
While Barca should be able to cope OK without Messi for two or three games in the coming weeks, Argentina's chances without the 29-year-old are less clear.
Games against Peru and Paraguay are winnable on paper. However, they would have been a lot more straight forward had they been able to reply on Messi.
Having said that, accusing Messi's club of mistreating him might make it even harder for Argentina to get access to the star when it comes to non-competitive games.
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