Lionel Messi has not returned to Barcelona training ahead of Tuesday's match against Eibar after being granted an extended Christmas holiday in Argentina, according to widespread reports in Spain.

La Liga clubs have had their winter break slashed, with the 2020-21 season taking place over eight months rather than nine thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Messi left Spain for his home city of Rosario after scoring in the 3-0 win over Valladolid in December 22.

His team-mates had to return to the club's training ground on Sunday to undergo Covid-19 testing ahead of the new season, but their skipper has been granted a few days' additional rest with his friends and family.

He will miss Tuesday's fixture against Eibar at Camp Nou but will return in the new year for the away match against Huesca.

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After a poor run of form which saw Barca lose to title rivals Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid and minnows Cadiz, Ronald Koeman's side have begun to turn a corner, having gone unbeaten in their last four fixtures before Christmas.

Messi made history in the match against Valladolid, scoring his 664th Barca goal and surpassing Pele's record of strikes for a single club.

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