Barca rocked as hamstring injury rules out Messi for two months
Lionel Messi is unlikely to play again this year after being sidelined for two months with his fourth hamstring injury in seven months.
The Argentina forward limped out of Barcelona's 4-1 victory against Real Betis after just 22 minutes on Sunday before undergoing a scan on his left hamstring yesterday.
After a further examination by Barcelona's medical staff, the 26-year-old has been told that he faces up to eight weeks on the sidelines.
"The tests have confirmed that the player has suffered a torn muscle in the femoral biceps of his left leg," a Barcelona statement said.
"The approximate time he will be out is between six and eight weeks. The first part of his recovery will take place in Barcelona and the second in Buenos Aires."
The injury will force Messi to miss up to eight games for Barca, including the Champions League Group H match against Celtic at the Nou Camp next month – a fixture which could prove decisive for the Scottish champions' hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages or Europa League.
Messi has endured hamstring issues in the past, including twice already this season, having also damaged the left one in the first leg of the Spanish Super Copa and then the right one at the end of September.
The World Footballer of the Year also injured a hamstring during the Champions League quarter-final tie against Paris St-Germain at Parc des Princes in April.
Barca midfielder Cesc Fabregas, who has endured similar hamstring issues, has urged Messi not to rush back from his latest setback.
"He needs to take as much time as he needs, to recover and get back to his level," Fabregas said. "We need him at his best. I had something similar at Arsenal. You think you're okay, but you're not.
"I had this injury, I wasn't right for up to a year and half, it's a really frustrating injury. You need to take whatever time you need because if you don't it won't heal properly." (© Daily Telegraph, London)