Foot op sidelines Messi for three months

November 13, 2006

MADRID, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Argentine forward Lionel Messi will need surgery on a foot injury sustained in Sunday's 3-1 Primera Liga win over Real Zaragoza that will sideline him for up to three months.

'Messi has broken the fifth metatarsal in his left foot. He will need surgery and the estimated time out will be around three months,' Barcelona said on their website on Monday.

The 19-year-old international limped off in the 23rd minute of Sunday's game after tackles from Zaragoza midfielders Alberto Zapater and Albert Celades in a frenetic opening period.

Messi will miss Barca's remaining Champions League Group A matches against Levski Sofia and Werder Bremen. The European champions are third in the group.

He will also been unable to compete in December's World Club Cup in Japan.

Messi's loss is a major blow to the Primera Liga leaders with Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o still recovering from knee surgery and not expected back until the new year.

Brazilian midfielder Edmilson also picked up an injury on Sunday and is expected to be laid low for around 10 days with a twisted ankle.