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Messi says he's almost ready to return to action

Buenos Aires, Dec 21 (EFE).- FC Barcelona super-striker Lionel Messi said Saturday he was doing very well in his recovery from a hamstring injury and that the "countdown" for his return to action at the start of 2014 had begun. "Medically I'm doing very well and now the countdown is underway," the Argentine wrote on Tencent Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter. He also posted some photos of his recovery work.

Football: Messi fends off money-laundering claims

Barcelona star Lionel Messi defended himself, his family and fellow players on Friday against press reports linking charity football matches he played in to alleged laundering of Colombian drug money. In his first personal reaction to the allegations that emerged on Monday, the striker insisted the benefit matches were "100 percent charitable". "I deeply regret what is being said not only about me but about people I love such as my dad and players who are my friends," the Argentine international told Spanish radio station Rac1.

Football: Barca slam media 'attack' on Messi entourage

Barcelona boss Sandro Rosell on Thursday sharply criticised an "attack" by media seeking to link star striker Lionel Messi's family with an alleged Colombian drug money laundering operation. "The Interior Ministry and the Guardia Civil have totally and explicitly disassociated Leo Messi's entourage from any open judicial investigation," Rosell told a news conference. "Even so, the attack on the player's entourage has not stopped," the club president said.

Football: Barca doctor confirms Messi on the mend

Argentina's four-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi's recovery from a torn hamstring is on schedule, his club Barcelona confirmed on Wednesday. Messi was ruled out for the rest of the year when he suffered the latest in a number of recent muscle injuries in Barca's 4-1 win over Real Betis at the beginning of November. The 26-year-old is currently in Argentina as he undergoes treatment, but has been joined in Buenos Aires by Barca sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta and club doctor Ricard Pruna.

Football: Messi agents deny money laundering report

Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi's agents denied Monday a Spanish newspaper allegation that his father was suspected of being involved in laundering Colombian drug money through charity football matches. Leo Messi Magagement (LMM), whose president is the 26-year-old Argentine international's father, Jorge Messi, urged Spanish daily El Mundo to correct the story. "Jorge Messi has never been connected to the case," LMM said in a statement. "He has not been investigated or called to testify, much less charged," it added.

Football: Spain probes promoter of Messi games

Spanish police are investigating the Colombian promoters of charity football events starring Barcelona star Lionel Messi for possible laundering of drug money, sources said Monday. Neither the 26-year-old Messi, nor his relatives, nor other football stars who played in the charity games were suspected of any wrongdoing, said a source close to the police investigation. "There is a Colombian company that laundered money and also organised charity games," said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Football: Messi departure impossible, says Barca chief

Lionel Messi will be going nowhere as long as Sandro Rosell is in charge at Barcelona, the Catalans' president said Thursday. "As long as I'm president of Barca, everything will be done that is possible and even impossible so that Messi stays at the club," said Rosell at an event to present a partnership with American electronics giant Intel. "It is extremely difficult, not to say impossible, that Messi will leave the club." Four-time Ballon D'Or winner Messi is currently injured and out of action until January.

Messi on target for January return after pain-free rehab session

Buenos Aires, Dec 4 (EFE).- FC Barcelona super-striker Lionel Messi went through a pain-free rehabilitation session in his recovery from a hamstring injury, and continues to eye a January return to action. The 26-year-old four-time world player of the year, who this week formally began his second stage of treatment at the Argentine soccer federation's facilities in Ezeiza, Greater Buenos Aires, was in high spirits on Tuesday.

Football: Messi lauds Ronaldo's goal-scoring power

Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi praised archrival Cristiano Ronaldo's goal-scoring prowess in an interview published Thursday as speculation mounted that the Portuguese international could be picked as World Player of the Year. A day after picking up a Golden Boot award for scoring 46 league goals last season, more than any other player in Europe, the 26-year-old Messi paid respect to his Real Madrid rival.

Football: Messi lauds Ronaldo's goal-scoring power

Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi praised archrival Cristiano Ronaldo's goal-scoring prowess in an interview published Thursday as speculation mounted that the Portuguese international could be picked as World Player of the Year. A day after picking up a Golden Boot award for scoring 46 league goals last season, more than any other player in Europe, the 26-year-old Messi paid respect to his Real Madrid rival.
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