Messi sustained a muscle injury on Sunday that is raising concerns about his “recurring fitness problems” (Getty Images)

Lionel Messi’s Injury

On Sunday, Barcelona forward Lionel Messi sustained his third muscle injury “in little more than 10 weeks of official competition.” The announcement that Messi would most likely be out for the next two months led many to “jump to conclusions about the reasons for his recurring fitness problems.” ESPN FC writer Francesc Tomas says “speculation won’t get Leo healthy again.”

“Lionel Messi’s latest injury must prompt a return to the standards that kept him world-class and healthy for so many years,” writes ESPN FC contributor Graham Hunter.

Hunter feels Messi could benefit from Sir David Brailsford’s “holistic and complete approach” to cycling. To remain “prosperous and productive” for the remainder of his career, Hunter says “decisive action must be taken with regard to his fitness regimes.”

NBC Sports’ Mike Prindiville reports that Lionel Messi will use Argentine doctor Luis Garcia to care for his injury instead of Barcelona physiotherapist Juanjo Brau. Prindiville asks, “Big deal or no deal?”

Belounis Dispute Puts Scrutiny on Qatar

Washington Post reporter Abigail Hauslohner says Qatar is “losing clout amid the fading Arab Spring.” Hauslohner references controversial 2022 World Cup preparations:

“Even the 2022 Soccer World Cup — for Qatar, the ultimate in international validation — has come under scrutiny in recent weeks after Britain’s Guardian newspaper exposed scandalous working conditions for Qatar’s migrant labor force.”

French footballer Zahir Belounis has asked Bayern Munich coach and former 2022 World Cup ambassador Pep Guardiola to help him escape Qatar (Getty Images)

French footballer Zahir Belounis has written an “impassioned plea” to former 2022 World Cup ambassadors Zinedine Zidane and Pep Guardiola.

Belounis has been “embroiled in a legal dispute” with his former club al-Jaish over two years’ unpaid wages; the dispute has kept Belounis and his family from returning to France since June 2012. In the letter to Zidane and Guardiola, Belounis says he has been “living a nightmare.” He warns that “hundreds if not thousands” of others are facing the same predicament. Belounis appeals to Zidane and Guardiola “to do all they can to help him escape Qatar.”

In Other News

Eurosport scrutinizes the Uruguay 5-0 win over Jordan and asks, “When it is so clear that the groups of players are worlds apart in terms of qualify…why even bother staging such a match when it has such major ramifications?”

NBC Sports’ Joe Prince-Wright talks to members of the United States national team who find themselves in “high spirits” as their sensational” 2013 international season draws to a close.

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill and his assistant manager Roy Keane. (Getty Images)

The Guardian features “10 potential January targets for Premier League clubs.” Managers are drawing up a “wish-list” ahead of the next transfer period, but The Guardian says it is “not the easiest time to buy.”

ESPN FC writer Miguel Delaney explores a partnership that “could create one of the most compelling storylines of the next international campaign:” Roy Keane and Martin O’Neill.

Compiled by INSIDER’s Nicole Bennett 

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