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EUROPE > Messi feeling good, could play weekend

MADRID - Agence France-Presse

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Lionel Messi’s injury during the game against Benfica brought fears to Barcelona fans, but the superstar says he could play against Betis on Dec 9.

Lionel Messi’s injury during the game against Benfica brought fears to Barcelona fans, but the superstar says he could play against Betis on Dec 9.

Barcelona star Lionel Messi reassured fans he was feeling good despite being stretchered off with a knee injury during the 0-0 draw at home to Benfica in the Champions League.

The 25-year-old said he still had a chance of playing in the La Liga clash against Real Betis on Dec. 9.
“I feel fine, but I don’t know yet if I will be available for Sunday,” Messi said. “I’ll see. I am grateful for all the messages of support I have received.”

Messi came on in the 58th minute of the tie on Dec. 5 only to collide with Benfica goalkeeper Artur Moraes six minutes from time in a match that was meaningless to Barcelona but where he was chasing his 85th goal of the calendar year which would have equalled Gerd Müller’s long-standing record.

The sight of their star player being stretchered off the pitch silenced the Barça fans, but there was relief soon after with the club confirming the injury was no worse than a bruised left knee.

“On the stretcher, I thought the worst, of the pain torturing me, of being off the pitch for a long time,” he explained, acknowledging: “there is always a risk of injury when you walk onto the pitch.”

“Once I was in the dressing room when the doctors examined me, did tests and ruled out the possibility of a serious injury, I was much calmer,” he said.

Thinking of goal

“Sincerely I thought it was the last ball that I would kick in a long time,” said the Argentine star, adding that his only thought had been of scoring. “Despite the pain, I tried to score. I was thinking the worst, but I saw the ball there and I wanted to play,” said Messi, who stressed that his desire to break Mueller’s record had no influence on his game.

“Müller’s record isn’t an obsession for me, but it would be good, because it’s been there for a long time.”

December/08/2012

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