Barcelona hand Messi extended break

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Barcelona captain Lionel Messi will miss his side’s La Liga game against Eibar on Tuesday after being given extra time off at Christmas by the club.

Messi returned to Argentina last week after Barca’s 3-0 win against Real Valladolid and has been granted permission to remain in his homeland for a few more days.

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

It will be the third game Messi has been rested for in the last month. He also sat out the trips to Dynamo Kiev and Ferencvaros in the Champions League.

By the time Barca travel to Huesca at the weekend, Messi will be free to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with other clubs.

The forward’s deal at Camp Nou expires on June 30 and he’s not even opened talks over a renewal as he awaits to see who is elected as the club’s new president in January.

In the meantime, other clubs are free to make him a proposal ahead of a potential free transfer in the summer when his Barca terms expire.

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By Ofhani Munyai

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