Messi: Pelvic injury forced Argentina withdrawal
Lionel Messi says he has been carrying a pelvic injury since December after being criticised for withdrawing from international duty.
Messi had not played for Argentina since the World Cup but returned to the fold in a friendly defeat to Venezuela this month.
But he pulled out of the squad to face Morocco in another international friendly citing injury, much to the frustration of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation.
Messi faced criticism in his homeland as a result but he hit back in an interview with Buenos Aires-based FM Club 947.
"Somebody says whatever they want to say about me and then people believe it and I'm painted as the son of a b****," the Barcelona captain said.
“It has become the custom to say things about me. They invent things about me when I am not there. Nothing surprises me.
"The truth is I came back to the Argentina team with a pubis injury that I have been carrying since December and I have been training less and not playing all games.
"Pubis injuries are complicated; you cannot shake them off from one day to the next. I feel better but I have to take care of myself.
"I wanted to play both games with Argentina but after the first game I had some pain and I decided to rest so as not to aggravate the injury. It is improving all the time but it is not completely cleared up."
Barcelona, 10 points clear at the top of the LaLiga table, return to action on Saturday with a Catalan derby at home to Espanyol.