It was the knee knock heard round the world.
As almost the entire world knows by now, FC Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi sustained a knee injury Wednesday night during Barca's scoreless draw with Benfica in the UEFA Champions League group stage. Fortunately, the latest reports indicate the injury was not serious.
Messi, 25, suffered a "bone contusion to the outside of his left knee," according to Barcelona's official website (FCBarcelona.com). The report also indicated Messi would undergo further tests.
"I sincerely thought it was the last ball I would be touching for a long time because of the pain," said Messi, who added he first thought his career might be threatened. "I tried to go ahead and shoot, but I didn't have the strength." (per ESPN FC)
The injury occurred in the second half of Wednesday's 0-0 draw between Barcelona and Benfica at Barca's Camp Nou. Messi, a second-half substitute, round Benfica keeper Artur Moraes before falling in the box under obvious pain.
Barcelona had already clinched qualification for the Champions League knockout stage, along with top spot in Group G. With Messi sustaining an injury in what was a meaningless match, first-year Barca manager Tito Vilanova drew criticism for his decision to put Messi in the match.
Vilanova defended his decision thus (per ESPN FC): "We talked about the possibility of him playing for 30 minutes. He's a player that likes to play."
Hindsight, of course, is 20-20. It's easy to criticize Vilanova now, after the fact. Regardless, Messi's injury is big news, and that's why the video of the incident appears above as our Set Piece Video of the Day for this Thursday.
After you watch, have at it in the comments below. Was Vilanova right or wrong to play Messi?