Barcelona hand Messi prolonged Christmas break

Barcelona hand Messi extended Christmas break

6:20 ET

  • Sam Marsden

  • Moises Llorens

Lionel Messi will miss Barcelona's La Liga game against Eibar on Tuesday after the club granted him a Christmas break.

The 33-year-old Messi returned to Argentina after Barca's 3-0 win over Real Valladolid last week and was given permission to stay in his homeland for a few more days.

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Barca say he will return to training after the Eibar game and be available for La Liga trip to Huesca on Sunday.

It's the third game that Messi was rested for last month. He also suspended trips to Dynamo Kiev and Ferencvaros in the Champions League.

If Barca travel to Huesca over the weekend, Messi can negotiate a pre-contractual agreement with other clubs.

The Camp Nou striker's contract expires on June 30th and he hasn't even opened talks about a renewal as he waits to see who will be elected as the club's new president on January 24th.

Meanwhile, other clubs can propose to him before a possible free transfer is possible in the summer, when his Barca terms expire.

Messi was due to leave Barcelona in August and ESPN reported at the time that Manchester City were leading the race to sign him. The Blaugrana did not let him go, however.

Sources told ESPN earlier this month that Paris Saint-Germain is also monitoring his situation with a view to offering him a deal and reuniting him with former Barca teammate Neymar.

Lionel Messi will become a free agent this summer. David Ramos / Getty Images

Messi has said in an interview broadcast on Spanish television on Sunday that at the beginning of the season he faced problems due to the situation regarding his future and his desire to leave.

However, he says he is feeling better now and is hungry to help Barca take silver this season under manager Ronald Koeman.

In 18 games this season, he has scored 10 goals, scored 644 Barca goals and broken Pele's record as the player to score the most goals for a single club.

In addition to Messi, Gerard Pique, Sergi Roberto and Ansu Fati will miss Tuesday's home game against Eibar. The trio remains paused with various injuries.

However, Ousmane Dembele should be an option after recovering from a minor thigh problem while Antoine Griezmann expects to return to the side after a break against Valladolid.

Barca have shown signs of improvement lately, collecting 10 points from their last four league games to move up to fifth in the table.