12/30/2013 07:05 pm ET

Lionel Messi Wishing For Injury-Free 2014 After Hamstring Troubles Sidelined Barcelona Star

David Ramos via Getty Images

By Alec Fenn,

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi said his only wish for the new year is to enjoy an injury-free 2014.

The Argentina star saw a hamstring injury bring a premature end to last season, and a similar problem has left him on the sidelines since November this campaign. The 26-year-old looks set to return to action for the Blaugrana's clash with Elche on Jan. 5 and he hopes it is the beginning of a prosperous year.

He told Argentinian TV show "Mundo Leo": "There are many important things in the human part, but sports-wise what I ask for 2014 is a year without injuries. The goal now is to be physically fit and the idea is to get a couple of practice sessions with my teammates before playing again.

"After celebrating the end of the year with my people, next Wednesday, Jan. 1, I'll fly to Barcelona and, after my arrival, we'll see when I'm OK to play again."

Barca qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League without its star but has seen its lead at the top of La Liga whittled down, with the club level on 46 points with second-place Atletico Madrid.



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