Messi, La Liga’s leading scorer with 46 goals, could miss up to three weeks after re-injuring the right hamstring that has plagued him for much of this season.
In all, Messi notched 60 goals this season. The injury means the four-time FIFA player of the year will come up shy of breaking his own league scoring record of 73 goals last season.
But the injury is old news to Messi. Heck, he’s been playing through it all season, according to teammate Jordi Alba.
Alba, according to ESPNFC.com, said that Messi took many risks by playing with his bum hamstring to ensure that Barcelona won the La Liga trophy this year.
“He is the best player in the world,” Alba said, courtesy of ESPNFC.com.
Who will step up offensively for Barcelona in Messi's absence?
And if you’re the best player in the world, are you going to take a break and close shop when season’s end draws near?
Look, FC Barcelona (29-2-4) has already clinched the top spot in the league with a trio of games remaining in the season, but the club can’t ignore the glaring void left by Messi.
This season, FC Barcelona has netted 107 goals, and Messi has scored nearly half of them singlehandedly.
The stats tell us all we need to know. In 35 league games this season, here’s the order of offensive distribution: David Villa, nine goals; Cesc Fabregas, 10 goals; Alexis Sanchez and Cristian Tello with seven apiece; Adriano Correia, Pedro Rodrîguez Ledesma and Xavier "Xavi" Hernândez Creus with five each; and Jordi Alba with a pair of goals.
Notice the glaring and alarming trend? It’s frightening and downright scary.
FC Barcelona must find a way to get more production from it’s other mix of stud players (i.e. Villa, Fabregas, Sanchez).
Lionel Messi's season looks over (hamstring). His 46 goals tie 2nd-most in La Liga season. He had 50 last season.— Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) May 14, 2013
Messi has carried his team to the end. He’s injured and needs assistance from the rest of his teammates.
“I don’t know about ‘Messidependencia’ but he helps [us] a lot,” Alba said, according to ESPNFC.com. “On many occasions we depend on him, but we also have other players who are very good.”
Perhaps FC Barcelona has leaned on Messi too much. At 25, Messi’s career appears far from over. He’s still got a lot left in the tank. But injuries are always a concern, especially in a sport like soccer that requires swift feet, lightning-like speed and lots of endurance.
It’s time for FC Barcelona to call on its other star players to pitch in and carry the load. The time for new stars to emerge from the shadow of Messi is now.
If FC Barcelona is unable to find other offensive resources, it will be doomed.