BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Lionel Messi has recovered fully from his thigh muscle injury and can begin work on his fitness although no date has yet been set for his return to action, the Argentine Football Association (AFA) said on Friday.
The Argentina captain was given the good news by team doctors at the AFA's training complex, which is on the city's outskirts, where he has been recuperating from the November 10 injury he suffered with Barcelona.
After the first stage of his recovery involving rest in Barcelona, the forward has now passed the second stage.
"The tests carried out today at the AFA facility have confirmed that Lionel Messi has overcome the clinical stage of his injury," read a statement on the AFA website (www.afa.org.ar).
"The player will begin next Monday with the third stage of his recovery process - physical preparation.
"He will do this in (his home town) Rosario under Barcelona physical trainer Elbio Paolorosso and members of the (Argentina) national team's medical staff."
Spanish champions Barcelona are top of La Liga and through to the last 16 of the Champions League and King's Cup with Messi working hard to return so he can help their bid for a treble.
The World Player for the Year, who has been in Argentina since the start of December, is aiming to finish the season by leading Argentina to a third World Cup title in Brazil in July.
(Reporting by Luis Ampuero; Writing by Rex Gowar; Editing by Ken Ferris)