Lionel Messi didn't emerge for the second half of the Spanish Super Cup tie between Atletico Madrid and Barcelona last night after appearing to twang a hamstring having spent most of his pre-season battling against a troublesome thigh strain.
Messi visibly started to struggle fairly early on and the close attention of Atletico's defenders certainly didn't help after they cottoned onto the Barcelona star's limp.
Indeed, the Al Jazeera cameras picked up the moment Atleti defender Diego Godin noticed Messi rubbing his tender left thigh and immediately signaled to his man-marker, defensive midfielder Miranda, that the Barcelona star had an injury which was to be targeted...
That's some old-school "dark arts of centre-backing" right there!
Fortunately enough, Messi made it to the interval relatively unscathed but the news coming out of the Barca camp today is that he is suffering from bruised thigh muscles and is likely to be rested for Sunday's trip to Malaga.
Also, it'd be utterly remiss of us to mention the first leg of the Super Cup and not give a tip of the hat to David Villa's sublime goal, with the ex-Barca striker slashing home an exquisite volley against his former side to open the scoring in the 12th minute before Neymar came onto to level the tie at the half-way stage...Take a look (source: Reddit/soccer)
Sweet as a nut. It's enough to make you go all tingly in parts you don't usually tingle.