Published On: Thu, Oct 12th, 2017

Barcelona News: Real Madrid expect Lionel Messi to damage Barca's La Liga title hopes

Barcelona star Messi scored a stunning hat-trick as Argentina beat Ecuador 3-1 on Tuesday night.

It means the 30-year-old will have one final crack at winning the World Cup after experiencing heartbreak in 2006, 2010 and 2014.

But Spanish website Don Balon say Real Madrid feel his participation in next year’s tournament may actually be a bad thing for Barcelona.

Ernesto Valverde’s side were expected to struggle following Neymar’s departure to Paris Saint-Germain but, in a stunning twist, Barca have taken La Liga by storm.

The Catalan giants have won all seven of their league games, and will take that 100 per cent record into Saturday’s game against Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid.

But Don Balon say Real think Barcelona’s dizzying form could come to an end sooner rather than later.

And, because of Messi, in the second half of the campaign in particular.

It is said they feel that the Argentinean will take his foot off the gas in order to ensure he goes into the World Cup in peak physical condition.

Real reckon he was not at his best in the months leading up to the same competition in Brazil three years ago.

Messi has scored 11 goals already for Barcelona this season, but the La Liga giants are yet to secure his signature on a contract extension.

And Sergio Aguero has admitted he would love to see his compatriot join Manchester City.

“Manchester City would have no money problems in regards to signing Messi but he is a symbol of Barcelona and it would be very difficult for him to leave,” he said. 

“I would love to [see Messi join] — who wouldn’t love to have Leo in his team? 

“But he’s a symbol of his club and I think it would be rather difficult.”

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