Barcelona fans everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief after Tito Vilanova revealed that Lionel Messi's sustained injury is not as bad as first feared. The news comes after Messi was stretchered off during Barcelona's scoreless draw with Benfica in the UEFA Champions League.
According to the Barcelona website, the Argentine forward suffered a left knee contusion after colliding with Benfica keeper Artur late in the second half.
Despite the imposing nature of the word "contusion", Vilanova's comments suggest that Messi could return shortly, saying (via Goal.com), "It looks like it’s just a knock but they will be doing more tests to rule out other possibilities, Messi was a bit worried initially. After the first tests by the doctors, he was calm, though."
When asked about why Messi—a three time, possibly four time, Ballon d'Or winner—needed to take part in a dead rubber Champions League tie, the Barcelona boss defending his decision, telling reporters:
We talked about the possibility of him playing for 30 minutes. He’s a player who likes to play.Jasper Juinen/Getty Images
We should not take him off every time we’re leading 3-0 lest he picks up an injury. We’ve never behaved this way. If I had to repeat the game, I’d make the same decision seeing as he can get injured at any moment.
Whilst Barcelona could comfortably do without Messi for their next two fixtures, it is the possibility that this injury could prevent the superstar from breaking Gerd Muller's 40-year-old goal scoring record, that has Messi faithful worried.
The 25-year-old sits just two goals shy of surpassing the German's 85-goal tally. With under a fortnight remaining for Messi to go beyond this feat, even missing a single match could keep Muller's record intact.
Barcelona face Real Betis this weekend, with doctors working overtime to deliver a full prognosis of the extent of the Argentine captain's injury.
For the sake of breaking Muller's record, let's hope a "knock" is all it is.