Barcelona Lionel Messi has been ruled out for between six and eight weeks with a hamstring injury.
The 26-year-old secured the problem as he tried to accelerate with the ball at his feet after 18 minutes of the weekend 4-1 win over Real Betis and has a muscle tear in his left hamstring.
A Barcelona statement read: “The club’s medical services confirmed that Leo Messi has a torn hamstring muscle in his left thigh and is expected to miss the next six to eight weeks.
“The first phase of Messi’s recovery will be covered in Barcelona and will then travel to Buenos Aires.”
The reigning World Footballer of the Year is now expected to miss Argentina’s friendlies against Ecuador and Bosnia & Hercegovina in November as well as a number of domestic games.
He will also miss Barca’s two remaining Champions League group matches against Ajax and Celtic.
“He needs to take as much time as he needs, to recover and get back to his level. We need him at his best,” Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas told Spanish Television.
Messi has had to be sidelined on two previous occasions this season. He had to be substituted in August against Atletico Madrid with a hamstring problem and injured his thigh muscle against Almeria in September.