Why Lionel Messi's Injury Will Be Good for Barcelona

Jason PettigroveContributor INovember 22, 2013

BARCELONA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 06:  Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona looks on during the UEFA Champions League Group H match Between FC Barcelona and AC Milan at Camp Nou on November 6, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

When Lionel Messi got injured against Real Betis, there was a sharp intake of breath in Catalonia. Barcelona's favourite son would be out of action yet again.

Of the cluster of recent problems to beset the Argentine, the latest—a tear in the femoral biceps of the left leg—would appear to be the most serious.

Clearly, Messi hasn't been fully fit since an injury he sustained in the first leg of last season's Champions League game against Paris St. Germain; this would explain two further enforced absences.

With the 2014 World Cup in Brazil on the horizon, Messi cannot afford to arrive at the competition in anything other than tip-top condition, so there'll be no rushing him back to first-team action.  

The player himself is more than happy to let things take as long as necessary this time, per the Guardian:

The plan is to resume playing when the body tells me I'm fine.

I'm sad because I did not expect it and I'm also angry because it is an injury that happened to me right after another. I'm not worried, really.

This injury happened because it had to happen. There is nothing unusual or anything to look back at. A hit, a bad move and I was injured.

It's not good to pick up an injury, but I wouldn't have done anything differently. I'm not the only player who plays a lot of games in a season. Everyone playing in La Liga does the same.

As long as I feel OK, I'll play whenever necessary. I have no reason to place limits on myself. I know that when the coach wants to take me off, he'll replace me, and there's no problem with that.

With conservative estimates putting Messi's recuperation at about two months, it will be the start of the New Year before the cules get to see their star man back in action again.

At least this time, Barca fans can be thankful of having a man in charge that, whilst upholding the correct Barca traditions, will utilise the time without Messi to the fullest.

Tata Martino has shown what an intelligent man he is in a footballing and managerial sense. His rotation policy was questioned at the start of his tenure, yet here we are approaching December and the man is still unbeaten. No one is asking questions now.

The absence of their talisman inevitably raises questions as to who will step up and take responsibility in the attacking third.

Neymar has blossomed at Barca far quicker than anyone could've hoped.

Another who will grace FIFA's premier tournament, we've already seen him play right across the line with ease, excelling in the central role.

Given the punishment that the Brazilian is being routinely subjected to, it's a wonder that he hasn't already joined Messi on the treatment table. 

With a run of winnable fixtures between now and Christmas, Messi's absence comes at a relatively good time for the Blaugrana.

Most likely, Cesc Fabregas will fill the void until the return of the No. 10, and there is no reason to think that he will provide anything other than his usual excellence, per whoscored.com.

The team as a whole seem to play with more freedom without their talisman.

No doubting that Messi is the spark, the urgency, the driver, but there is palpably a tendency to "look for Messi" as the perpetual out-ball whenever he is on the field.

Without that availability, other avenues can be explored, bringing a different—and not quite so predictable—edge to Barca's game.

Perhaps the person who will benefit most is Messi himself.

The opportunity to rest and recuperate fully, knowing he will not set foot on a football pitch until he is fully healed, should be of comfort to him.

It's been obvious to any observers of Barca games this season that Messi has not wanted to stretch himself for fear of aggravating something, and the explosive turn of pace which is his hallmark has not been in evidence.

Come the business end of the season, we should hope to find the world's best player back at his peak, and if it is said that "the Lord works in mysterious ways" then Barcelona and Argentina may well look back on this down time as a godsend.