Injury forces Lionel Messi out of match after just 20 minutes

Brooks Peck
Dirty Tackle

Lionel Messi scored twice in Barcelona's 3-1 midweek win over Milan, calming fears over his recent mini-goal drought. But injury concerns persisted and 20 minutes into Barcelona's match against Real Betis on Sunday, they were proven to be more than mere paranoia.

After getting knocked around a bit (as per usual) and slipping on the pitch, Messi was substituted for Andres Iniesta in the 20th minute. Initial indications were that the injury was to Messi's thigh — a problem that has nagged him in the past. AS points out that Messi suffered four thigh muscle tears between 2005 and 2008 before stringing together several years of good health under Pep Guardiola and his medical staff.

It's too early to predict whether this will be a long-term problem for Messi, but Barcelona showed they can succeed without him in the short-term by scoring two goals in two minutes before halftime.

UPDATE: Barcelona's official website says Messi will be out six to eight weeks with a muscle tear in his left hamstring. They count this as his third thigh injury of the season. See you in 2014, Leo.

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Brooks Peck is the editor of Dirty Tackle on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him or follow on Twitter!