Lionel Messi, Barcelona’s outstanding striker, is widely regarded as the best soccer player in the world. Unfortunately, Messi has sustained his third injury this season and he will be sidelined for around two months.
Messi, who won FIFA’s World Player Of The Year award four consecutive years from 2009 to 2012, is expected to be out for six to eight weeks.
On Monday, Barcelona confirmed that Messi was injured during their encounter with Real Betis. Messi limped out of the game in the 19th minute, which left many of their fans deeply concerned.
Barcelona made the announcement about Messi’s injury via their website, stating, “The club’s medical services confirmed after tests this Monday morning that Leo Messi has a torn hamstring muscle in his left thigh.”
They then added, “The first phase of Messi’s recovery will be covered in Barcelona and he will then travel to Buenos Aires.”
Because of this injury, Messi will miss two Champions League games against Celtic and Ajax and he will miss six fixtures in La Liga and the Copa del Rey. He is also ruled out of Argentina’s upcoming friendlies against Ecuador and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
It’s believed that Messi will return for Barcelona’s January 12, 2014, top of the table match against Atletico Madrid, who are currently in second place in the league, ahead of their cross city rivals Real Madrid.
Gerardo Martino, Barcelona’s manager, has challenged the rest of the team to emulate Messi’s heroics while he is absent.
“We have the best player in the world,” proclaimed Martino, “but we also have four or five of the next six or seven best players in the world.”
He then went on to remark, “We also need to speak with Leo, it is the third episode he has had in a short time so it is obviously playing on his mind.”
Messi’s two previous injuries this season have already seen him miss several games. A bruised thigh in August kept him out for just one game, while a small muscle tear in his right thigh meant that he was out of action for three weeks.
Despite Messi’s absence, Barcelona went on to beat Betis 4-1 in Sunday’s match, which means that the Spanish champions have now gathered 37 points from just 13 games, and they have also progressed to the final 16 of the Champions League.
Do you think Barcelona will be able to cope without Lionel Messi?
[Image via Christopher Johnson/Wikimedia]