Barcelona's Lionel Messi sidelined with thigh injury
FC Barcelona will be without the services of Lionel Messi for six weeks after the Argentine forward tore a left thigh muscle.
Messi, 20, suffered the injury in Barcelona's 1-0 win over Scottish club Celtic Tuesday in the second round of the Champions League, European soccer's top club tournament.
The speedy Argentine pulled up lame after making a run and left the field at Barcelona's Nou Camp stadium in tears in the 35th minute.
The injury is similar to the one that sidelined Messi for six weeks in December and January, and it's the fourth time the Argentine has suffered this type of injury in the last three seasons.
Messi will miss both legs of Barcelona's Champions League quarter-final in early April, up to seven Primera Liga (Spanish first division) matches and the second leg of the Copa del Ray (Spanish Cup) semifinal against Valencia.
The loss of Messi is a big blow for Barcelona. The Argentine is tied with Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo as the top scorer in this season's Champions League tournament with six goals.
Barcelona captain Carlos Puyol blamed the Spanish media for pressuring coach Frank Rijkaard into playing Messi — the Argentine was nursing a slight injury following Barcelona's 4-2 loss to Atletico Madrid on Saturday in the Spanish league.
"Messi's injury is a lesson to everyone," he told reporters. "You pressured for him to play against Celtic and now look what has happened. What you have to do is show more respect for the medical staff and the coach.
"Rijkaard took the decision to rest Leo [against Atletico] because there was a risk of injury. Now I suppose you will be criticizing the medical staff because he is injured."