The footballing world breathed a huge sigh of relief last Sunday when Lionel Messi was substituted off injury-free against Auxerre.
Going into Paris Saint-Germain‘s final match before the Qatar World Cup break, there were concerns that the 35-year-old would pick up an unnecessary injury and subsequently miss the tournament.
But after weaving some magic on the Parc des Princes pitch, Messi and fellow South American superstar Neymar were brought off by Christophe Galtier in the 75th minute.
Almost straight after the match in Paris, which PSG dominated and won 5-0 to stay top of Ligue 1, Messi was on a plane bound for Abu Dhabi to join up with the Argentina squad.
Messi was present at the nation’s public training session on Monday afternoon, along with the majority of his teammates.
And during the session, which was attended by a number of fans and filmed so it can be viewed around the world, the Barcelona legend decided to play with fire – and that’s an understatement if anything.
With eyes fixated on him, Messi decided to go down the banter route to give those watching a heart palpitation.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or grabbed the back of his leg and faked an injury, before laughing it off with his partner-in-crime, Rodrigo De Paul.
Do not jinx yourself, Leo! Because if you do pick up a muscle injury and miss the World Cup, the tournament loses so, so much as a spectacle.
Now you may be asking; why are Messi and Argentina currently in Abu Dhabi, not Qatar?
It’s because La Albiceleste are playing a World Cup warm-up match against the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium.
When does Argentina’s World Cup campaign kick-off?
After their friendly versus UAE, Argentina’s focus will switch to their group stage opener with Saudi Arabia on November 22nd.
Messi and his team will be expected to comfortably beat the Asian outfit, with their tougher matches coming after.
Argentina play a talented Mexico side on the 26th, before coming face-to-face with Robert Lewandowski‘s Poland four days later.
Lionel Scaloni’s troops will still be expected to progress from their group with maximum points and if they do so, they will play the runner-up from Group D – which will likely be either France or Denmark.
Quiz: Can you name all 30 of these ‘streets won’t forget’ players from World Cups?