Football: Messi cleared by Barca to captain Argentina

MADRID (AFP) - World Player of the Year Lionel Messi is expected to captain Argentina in their World Cup football qualifier against Colombia on Friday evening after receiving the all-clear from Barcelona's medical staff.

"The player has been given the medical all-clear," said a statement released by Barcelona on Friday.

The 25-year-old has not played since aggravating a hamstring injury in Barca's 2-1 win over Atletico Madrid on May 12.

However, he now looks set to return for his country as they try to move to a step closer to qualification when they face the Colombians in Buenos Aires.

"His leg is okay. He looks quick and capable of taking on defenders, but we need to see how fit he is after so long without playing," Argentina boss Alejandro Sabella said on Thursday.

La Albiceleste currently lead South American qualification with 24 points from 11 games, five ahead of Colombia in third who have played a game less.

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