Lionel Messi fell down in pain and had to be carried off the pitch in a stretcher after colliding with the Benfica goalkeeper in Barcelona’s goalless draw in the final Champions League game in Group G.
The Catalans now have a nervous wait for the results of the scans on Messi’s leg, and will not be able to tell how bad his knee injury is until then.
The Argentine wizard began Barca’s clash with their Portuguese opponents on the bench, mainly so that he would not pick up any form of injury in a match that played no significance to the club’s final group position, but Tito Vilanove sent the prolific goalscorer into the mix midway through the second half as the Spanish club searched for a deciding goal.
However, Messi collided with Benfica ‘keeper Artur as he went through on goal with a few minutes left on the clock.
The 25-year-old initially managed to stay on his feet in an attempt to score a winning goal and equal Gerd Muller’s record of scoring 85 goals in a calender year in the process, but the brave fighter only managed to hit a tame effort (by his standards) toward goal before falling down in clear pain and discomfort.
Messi does not stay down unless he is properly hurt, unlike many other players who hit the deck when there’s a strong breeze, so Barcelona and all their fans will be anxious to hear the seriousness of his injury.
Barca are unsure of the extent of the injury, but were able to confirm that the World Player of the Year has bruised his knee and would need more medical assessments.
“After beating the offside trap Messi tried to dribble round opposing keeper Artur, who dealt him a blow, but Messi continued with the move,” said a statement on Barcelona’s official website.
“After shooting with his left foot the player fell to the ground with pain in his left knee,” it continued.
“The player is now in the Nou Camp dressing rooms being treated by club medical staff.”