Friday, 21 December 2007

Messi to miss Real Madrid clash

Barcelona midfielder Lionel Messi will miss his team's showdown with league-leaders Real Madrid on Sunday after tearing a thigh muscle in his left leg during Barca's 3-0 win over Valencia on Saturday.

Messi was substituted shortly before halftime after sustaining the injury. He helped set up two first-half goals from Samuel Eto'o in the win, but now is expected to be out for up to five weeks with the injury.

Barca trails Madrid by four points heading into their massive showdown on Sunday at the Nou Camp, but Messi's absence will be huge blow to the Catalan side.

The Argentina international leads Barca with eight goals in league play this season, while his creativity has helped set up numerous others. Manager Frank Rijkaard will still be able to lean on players like Ronaldinho, Deco and Andres Iniesta to fill the void left by Messi, but the Barca attack will not be the same without its dynamic young playmaker.

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