Lionel Messi could return to action as early as next week's trip to FC Rubin Kazan after FC Barcelona's worst fears over the forward's ankle injury were allayed.
The Spanish titleholders were braced for a lengthy absence when Messi was taken off on a stretcher in the final minutes of Sunday's 2-1 win at Club Atlético de Madrid following a heavy Tomáš Ujfaluši tackle. Yet further examinations today revealed only sprained ankle ligaments and the club's medical team believe he could be back to fitness inside ten days.
That would rule the 23-year-old out of Liga fixtures against Real Sporting de Gijón and Athletic Club, but he could be available for the trip to FC Rubin Kazan on 29 September. Messi opened his UEFA Champions League account with two goals in the 5-1 triumph over Panathinaikos FC last week, and his opener against Atlético took his tally to eight in six games this season.
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