Messi to miss up to six weeks

Barcelona count the cost of their victory over Celtic.

    Hit for six: Lionel Messi crashes out against Celtic [AFP]
    FC Barcelona announced forward Lionel Messi will be out for six weeks after tearing a left thigh muscle during the team's 1-0 win over Celtic in the Uefa Champions League on Tuesday.

    The Argentine star pulled up as he made a run He left the field in tears in the 35th minute of the match at Camp Nou.

    The injury is similar to the one which sidelined Messi for six weeks in December and January.

    Barcelona said Messi would continue with special treatment for the remainder of the season.

    Team captain Carles Puyol blamed the Spanish media for hounding coach Frank Rijkaard into recalling Messi to the starting lineup to face Celtic.

    He had been used as a substitute in Saturday's 4-2 league loss at Atletico Madrid.

    After Saturday's match, Rijkaard said Messi was nursing a slight injury.

    "The doctors had said that he risked injury if he played, and (the press) pressured us by saying that he always has to play, and now we are all paying for this,'' Puyol said.

    Messi, the Champions League's leading scorer after picking up two goals in Barcelona's 3-2 win in the first leg, was joined by Ronaldinho and Samuel Eto'o in the starting lineup Tuesday.

    Thierry Henry was left on the bench.

    The victory saw Barcelona advance to the quarterfinals on 4-2 aggregate.

    Karim Benzema vows to stay with Lyon [AFP]
    Benzema vows to stay

    Meanwhile, Karim Benzema has pledged to stay with Lyon despite it failing to reach the quarterfinals for the second straight season.

    The France striker, who has scored 26 goals in all competitions, has been linked to a number of top teams in Europe including Manchester United, which beat Lyon 1-0 on Tuesday in the Champions League.

    Manchester United advanced 2-1 on aggregate after the two teams drew 1-1 at Stade Gerland two weeks ago.

    "I want to stay with Lyon next year,'' Benzema said. "There are still a lot of things to do. I want to win titles with Lyon.''

    Lyon also lost in the second round last year, to AS Roma, and is only three points ahead of Bordeaux in the French league as it bids for a seventh straight title.

    "Manchester (United) is a great team in Europe,'' Benzema said.

    "We matched up to their level and we gave them problems on the counter attack. We regret the goal we conceded at (home). You have to turn the page.''

    SOURCE: Agencies


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