x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Lionel Messi was substituted after scoring in Barcelona’s 2-0 win at Almeria last night following a right leg injury.

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi is suffering with a right leg muscle injury. Manu Fernandez / AP Photo
Barcelona’s Lionel Messi is suffering with a right leg muscle injury. Manu Fernandez / AP Photo

Lionel Messi was substituted after scoring in Barcelona’s 2-0 win at Almeria last night following a right leg injury.

The club said on its official Twitter account that “Messi has a muscle injury in his right thigh” and he would undergo more tests today.

Barcelona play at Celtic on Tuesday in the Uefa Champions League, a game they lost 1-0 last season.

Messi gave Barcelona a 1-0 lead with a goal in the 21st minute. He asked coach Gerardo Martino to be substituted after making a long sprint to pressure the goalkeeper.

Messi walked off the pitch in the 29th minute, with Xavi replacing him. He spent the rest of the match on the bench and watched Adriano seal the win in the second half.

“Leo apparently has a muscular problem in his right leg which he suffered when scoring the goal. More than that, it is difficult to say until they do the tests,” said Barca’s manager Gerardo Martino.

Messi missed the second game of this season after bruising his left thigh. The Argentine missed several games at the end of last season with a right hamstring pull.

The champions have now won their first seven league games for the first time in their history and 12 league games in a row stretching back to the end of last season.

However, Martino was quick to give the credit for the record-breaking start under his tutelage to the players. “These boys have broken many indivudual and collective records over the past few years before I got here,” he said.

While Barcelona may be without Messi for Tuesday’s trip to Glasgow, they should have Neymar well rested after the striker did not play at Juegos Mediterraneos Stadium.

Meanwhile, Cani says Villarreal are primarily focused on ensuring they remain in the Spanish Primera Liga despite an excellent start to the season following their promotion from the second division.

The Yellow Submarine are unbeaten after six games and are fourth in the league table having beaten Espanyol 2-1 on Thursday.

Marcelino Garcia Toral’s side could even move up to third if they beat Real Betis today depending on other results.

“We are in a better position than anyone would have expected,” midfielder Cani told his club’s website. “But this great start should give us peace of mind about our objective, which is staying up, when we find ourselves in a difficult situation.”

Cani, 32, set up both of his team’s goals against Espanyol, prompting coach Marcelino to call him “untouchable”.“It means a lot that my coach has praised me like that, but I don’t think I am untouchable, there are players that could take my place,” Cani said.

Elswhere, Getafe have signed Romanian free agent Ciprian Marica to bolster their front line.

The striker, 27, was released by Schalke in the summer and attracted interest from Inter Milan, Lazio and his former club Shakhtar Donetsk.

Marica is best known for his six years in the German Bundesliga with both Schalke and Stuttgart – whom he joined from Shakhtar in 2007 – and has represented Romania 64 times, scoring 22 goals.

* Agencies