Less than 72 hours after winning the world best, Lionel Messi suffered an injury on his first start of the season in Barcelona’s narrow win over Villarreal at the Nou Camp.
Messi, who had recovered from a calf injury to feature, was replaced at the start of the second half after suffering a thigh problem.
The Argentine, making his 400th La Liga start, provided the corner for Antoine Griezmann to head home off the bar before Arthur made it 2-0.
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After the game, Barca boss Ernesto Valverde described Messi’s injury as a “small problem in the adductor”.
“When something happens to Messi, everyone stops, not only on the field but in the stands as well,” he said.
“As a precaution, we have decided not to risk it. In theory, it is nothing more but we will see tomorrow how it is.”
Although far from their fluent best, Barcelona climbed four places up the table to fourth in La Liga to help ease the pressure on Valverde after a poor start to the season.
After his injury, the Barca captain received treatment on the edge of the pitch before carrying on until half-time.
The forward was replaced by French striker Ousmane Dembele at the start of the second half. BBCSports