Argentina face being without captain Lionel Messi for Friday's 2014 FIFA World Cup™ qualifier with Colombia as the Barcelona star battles a hamstring problem, coach Alejandro Sabella said.

Sabella said Messi was progressing, but would not look to rush him as he looks to get fit for a game which could propel the two-time world champions seven points clear of Ecuador. They currently top the table on 24 points with Ecuador on 20 and Colombia on 19.

Messi hardly featured for his club towards the end of the season because of his injury, and while he was named in the squad, Sabella was set to wait until after Thursday's training session to see if he should be risked.

"His leg is okay. He looks quick and capable of taking on defenders, but we need to see how fit he is after so long without playing," Sabella said in today's press conference. 

Sabella's side will travel to Quito after the clash in Buenos Aires on Friday to take on Ecuador on Tuesday.