Barcelona's Argentine star Lionel Messi will be sidelined for up to eight weeks due to a muscle tear in his left hamstring muscle, the Spanish giants said yesterday.
The 26-year-old limped off after just 20 minutes of Barcelona's 4-1 win over Real Betis on Sunday, the third time this season that he has been forced off with a muscular problem following hamstring and thigh injuries in his right leg earlier in the campaign.
"The club's medical services confirmed after tests this Monday morning that Leo Messi has a torn hamstring muscle in his left thigh and is expected to miss the next six to eight weeks," Barcelona said.
"The first phase of Messi's recovery will be covered in Barcelona and he will then travel to Buenos Aires," the club added.
After Sunday's match, Barcelona boss Gerardo Martino said Messi's injury troubles were not related and the absence of the four-time World Player of the Year could never be used as an excuse for the team to not perform.
"We have the best player in the world, but we also have four or five of the next six or seven best players in the world. Therefore, as a coach, the absence of Messi should never be used as an excuse for not winning.
"The injury to Messi doesn't have anything to do with the previous ones because it is in the other leg," he added.
Despite losing Messi with the score still at 0-0, Barca cruised to victory as two goals in two minutes from Neymar and Pedro Rodriguez put them 2-0 up at the break.
There was more worrying news for Barca on the injury front as Fabregas also limped off after appearing to injure his knee while scoring his second of the night.
However, the midfielder is still hopeful that he will be fit to travel with Spain for their upcoming friendlies away to Equatorial Guinea and South Africa.
"It won't be serious, it was just a little problem that was bothering me.
"I had an injury in the same area in the past and I was out for three months so I didn't want to force it and it was better to rest in the final 15 minutes."
Fabregas added that he understood Messi's frustration, but that it was possibly best for his teammate to sit out the necessary number of weeks to recover his best form.
"Messi needs to be explosive to stand out and he needs to stop for as long as it requires to be okay."
"The same thing has happened to me in the past and it is very frustrating."