Messi: I'll be back to normal soon

The Barcelona talisman assured fans that he would be back to fitness in the near future and backed Argentina to make a strong challenge for the World Cup next summer

Barcelona's Lionel Messi is confident that he will be back firing on all cylinders upon his return from a thigh injury that is set to keep him sidelined until 2014.

The Argentine superstar was ruled out for the rest of 2013 with a hamstring tear – his fourth muscular injury of the calendar year – but pledged to remain calm throughout the process, despite itching to get back to action.

“I’m calm because I know this is a normal injury but it’s hard to be out of the field until January,” he said to the Perros de la Calle programme on Metro. “However, I know that I’ll return and I’ll play as usual.”

With the World Cup less than eight months away, Messi talked up Argentina’s chances of taking the spoils in Brazil, where he feels that the team is due for a reversal in fortunes after disappointments in their last few outings in major international tournaments.

“The candidates [for the 2014 World Cup] are always the same: Germany, Brazil, Spain, France, despite the play-off, and Argentina too, obviously,” he continued.

“Argentina are always a candidate, despite how it reaches the World Cup and moreover now with the makeup of the team. We have time until the World Cup begins and I think we’ll improve and we’ll grow up as a team.”

“We’ve played the Copa America [2011] and World Cups [2006, 2010] without reaching the objectives we wanted to, and qualification for South Africa [in 2010] was really hard for us.

“However, this World Cup qualification has been really different and we’ve qualified before the end of the competition. That brought people close to the team.”