Leo Messi undergoing medical exams this Monday/ PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Leo Messi is one of the 14 FC Barcelona players that reported back today for the 2012/13 preseason. And this year he’s here to stay, something unusual for him. But it’s excellent news for Barça and Tito Vilanova that the best player on the world will be able to concentrate fully on preparing with his club.

The only other time Messi has taken part in a full preseason schedule was in 2009, when he voluntarily cut his holiday short by one week in order to be there for his team. Every other time he has either come back late or has had to leave at some point. This year, Messi has had 36 days of holiday after playing more games in one season that ever before, a total of 69.

Preseason 2005/06

After his first season with the first team, Messi played at the Under 20 World Cup for Argentina. His team won the competition and a week later he reported back for training at Barça.

Preseason 2006/07

In the summer, Messi went to the Germany  World Cup, and like the other FCB internationals, missed the first fortnight of the preseason.

Preseason 2007/08

The squad started training on July 21, but Messi didn’t join them until August 7 for a gentle session at the old Masia. The reason was his presence at the Copa America.

Preseason 2008/09

He came back earlier to meet the new coach, Pep Guardiola, and started training. However, a few days later, he had to leave for the Beijing Olympics and therefore missed about a month of the preseason.

Preseason 2009/10

The only time Messi has been here from start to finish. Even though the club allowed him an extra week of holiday, he came back on July 20 and flew to England to join the rest of the squad.

Preseason 2010/11

Several players came back late due to their presence at the South Africa World Cup. The squad returned on July 19, but Messi wasn’t back until August 1, just in time to join the others on the trip to Asia. 

Preseason 2011/12

Messi missed three weeks of the preseason after playing for Argentina at the Copa America in July. He had a two-week holiday before retuning along with international team-mate Javier Mascherano.

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