Lionel Messi suffered his third hamstring injury of the season on Sunday during Barcelona’s 4-1 win at Real Betis. He will now miss six to eight weeks with a confirmed tear in his left hamstring, the Catalan club revealed on Monday.
The Argentina captain will definitely miss his country’s upcoming friendlies with Ecuador and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Should he remain sidelined through the New Year, Messi would also miss four La Liga matches, Barca’s remaining UEFA Champions League Group H clashes with Ajax and Celtic, and both games of the Copa del Rey Round of 32 series with Cartagena from Spain’s second division.
Barca must also check on the availability of midfielder Cesc Fabregas, who was replaced late in the game against Betis after scoring twice and assisting Neymar’s opener. Fabregas sustained knee ligament damage but is expected to return to the side after the international break.
After the game, Fabregas urged Messi not to rush his recovery. "He needs to take as much time as he needs, to recover and get back to his level. We need him at his best,” the former Gunners captain said. "I had something similar at Arsenal. You think you're OK, 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."