Leo Messi stretchered off with injury, will probably still set goal record

Brooks Peck
Dirty Tackle

What could have been a golden chance for Leo Messi to equal Gerd Muller's record of 85 goals in a calendar year ended with him being stretchered off in Barcelona's ultimately meaningless 0-0 draw against Benfica on the final matchday of the Champions League group stage. For a moment, it seemed like the voodoo cabal of Cristiano Ronaldo and Muller had served its purpose, but initial reports suggest that it was just a minor knee knock and he will undergo an MRI as a precaution.

Messi didn't start the match, but did come on for Rafinha in the 58th minute to continue his pursuit of Muller's record. The Ballon d'Or favorite already had a couple of shots on target in his first minutes on the pitch when Gerard Pique floated a pass to him, setting Messi up for a one-vs.-one against Benfica keeper Artur, who came off his line and dove across Messi's legs for the ball. Messi got around him and played a cross before collapsing on the pitch and holding his knee. He was eventually stretchered off and seemed to be in some pain, giving everyone a good scare since he so rarely stays down when hit.

Of course, Messi being Messi, he will probably heal himself with thoughts of bubblegum and kittens and break Muller's record even before Barcelona's next match.

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