Lionel Messi has posted a picture to his Instagram account showing off his pet dog’s remarkable growth spurt.

The Barcelona star, currently recuperating from a groin injury, was gifted the Dogue de Bodeaux by girlfriend Antonella Roccuzzo at the start of this year.

And eight months after publishing snaps of the moderately sized addition to the Messi tribe, the five-time Ballon D’or winner has proffered a pictorial update of his dog’s considerably expanding dimensions.

Lionel Messi relaxes with his Dogue de Bordeaux, which has grown massively in eight months

Messi has two children with Roccuzzo, his partner of eight years. He is one of a host of high-profile footballers to regularly publish photos of their dogs for public consumption.

Indeed, a selection of players with connections to Real Madrid, the arch-rivals of Messi’s club side, are especially fond of keeping the world abreast of their pets’ antics.

James Rodriguez and Marcelo, both currently at Real, have form for loading their social media accounts with shots of their dogs. So too Mesut Ozil, the Arsenal playmaker bought from the Bernabeu Stadium club.

And another present-day Real Madrid man, Isco, has confessed to setting aside club enmities to name his own dog after Messi.

The Argentine scored the only goal in his country's World Cup victory over Uruguay last week

The Argentine recently executed a swift about-turn on his international retirement, Messi reversing the decision he made in June to play in his country’s World Cup qualifier with Uruguay last week.

He scored the only goal of that match, but returned home to his family before Argentina’s next game in Venezuela.

Barcelona were already concerned about Messi’s groin issue when he departed for international duty. And the attacker’s new national team boss Edgardo Bauza allowed his key man to head back to his club for treatment ahead of Tuesday’s clash with Venezuela, confident his side could take care of the minnows without their talisman.

Messi receives the adulation of a besotted fan during his scoring return to national team duty

Bauza might have been ruing his decision as Argentina fell two goals behind, before scrambling a 2-2 draw in Merida.

But Messi’s doting pet – whose name remains a source of mystery to the outside world – would have been thrilled to have the man of the house back. Dogues de Bordeaux are known for becoming greatly attached to their owners.

And Messi might be at home for a few extra days yet. He is considered a doubt for Barcelona’s meeting with Alaves on Saturday, when the Catalans will be aiming to extend a 100 per cent winning start to their La Liga campaign.

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