‘When something happens to Messi, the world stops’: Barca fans anxious as star limps out of Villarreal clash

    Barcelona fans suffered the uncomfortable sight of Lionel Messi struggling with yet another injury as he was withdrawn at half time of his team’s La Liga game against Villarreal.
    Messi, who missed the start of the season with a calf injury, was making his first start of the campaign but lasted just 45 minutes before he was substituted due to what manager Ernesto Valverde later described as an abductor muscle issue.

    The Barcelona skipper, 32, suffered a strain to his right calf during pre-season and had only returned to the team as a substitute for the Champions League draw at Borussia Dortmund last week and the league defeat at Granada at the weekend.
    On Tuesday night at the Nou Camp he curled in a corner from which Antoine Griezmann headed in Barcelona’s opener, before Arthur Melo added second with a 30-yard finish.
    But there was anxiety among home fans when Messi went down on the pitch and needed treatment to his thigh midway through the half, before Santi Cazorla pulled one back for the visitors just before the break.
    Messi then failed to emerge for the second half, being replaced by Ousmane Dembele, as Barcelona labored to victory.

    After the game, Barca boss Valverde confirmed that Messi was taken off as a precaution due to an abductor issue, but was optimistic that the injury was not severe.
    “When something happens to [Lionel] Messi, the world stops. Not only here at Barcelona,” he said.
    “I don’t think it is serious. We did not want to take any risk. We will see anyway. We will see tomorrow [Wednesday].

    “I cannot tell you anything now. He has been injured for a long time and we do not want to take any risks at the moment.”
    Reports in the local press suggest that Messi could sit out the weekend clash with Getafe as a precaution.
    Barca’s labored victory when they appeared to be cruising early on drew the ire of the home faithful, with even Luis Suarez being subjected to boos.
    The win moved Barca up to fourth in the table with three victories, one draw and two defeats from their opening six games.

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