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Barça’s Messi will not play again this year after hamstring tear

Diego Costa forced to pull out of Spain squad after injury in Villarreal tie

Madrid -
Leo Messi lies prostrate after suffering a hamstring injury on Sunday.
Leo Messi lies prostrate after suffering a hamstring injury on Sunday. MIGUEL ANGEL MORENATTI (DIARIO AS)

Leo Messi will be out for the next six to eight weeks, a medical report released by Barcelona on Monday has confirmed.

The Argentinean star had to be taken off 20 minutes into Barça's 1-4 away win against Betis in the Villamarín on Sunday night after suffering a tear to his left hamstring.

According to the club, the forward will undergo the first part of his recovery in the Catalan capital with the remaining time spent in Buenos Aires.

The injury means Messi will miss Barcelona's Liga matches against Granada and fourth-place Villarreal in the Camp Nou, as well as the away games at Athletic Bilbao and Getafe. He will also be absent for the Champions League clashes against Celtic and Ajax and the King's Cup match against Cartagena.

He is unlikely to return to the field until next year. The Liga leader is set to open 2014 at home to Elche on January 5 before it plays the fixture that could go some way to deciding the championship against second-placed Atlético Madrid in the Calderón on January 12.

Costa out of Spain squad

Meanwhile, Atlético striker Diego Costa has withdrawn from the Spain squad for the upcoming friendly matches against Equatorial Guinea and South Africa after picking up a muscle injury in Sunday's 1-1 tie away at Villarreal. Costa was due to make his La Roja debut after renouncing the opportunity to play for the country of his birth, Brazil. Juventus forward Fernando Llorente has been called up in Costa's place.

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