FC Barcelona must plan for their remaining UEFA Champions League Group H games without Lionel Messi after the forward was ruled out for two months with an injury to his rear left thigh.
Messi suffered the problem – his third muscle-related complaint this season – early in Barcelona's 4-1 weekend Liga victory at Real Betis Balompié and, after undergoing tests on Monday, the 26-year-old learned he will be sidelined for six to eight weeks. The Catalan club also announced that the Argentinian international will spend the second half of his recovery period in Buenos Aires.
Despite having already qualified for the UEFA Champions League round of 16 with two matches to spare, Barça coach Gerardo Martino will be disappointed to lose his No10 – who has registered six goals in three tournament appearances this term – for the fixtures away to AFC Ajax on 26 November and at home to Celtic FC on 11 December.
Meanwhile, midfielder Cesc Fàbregas has pulled out of Spain's squad for the friendlies against Equatorial Guinea and South Africa due to a right knee ligament strain which will keep him out for a week. Marc Bartra replaces his club-mate in Vicente del Bosque's party.
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