BARCELONA: Leo Messi’s football year is over. The Barcelona and Argentina superstar had torn a muscle in his left leg which will rule him out until the end of December, according to the club writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Initial estimates assess his absence at between six and eight weeks. His rest and recuperation time will be split between, firstly, Barcelona and then Argentina.

The club have insisted there is no need for him to feel any pressure to rush back into action: that assurance will be a relief to Argentina manager Alex Sabella, looking ahead to having a fully-fit Messi available for the World Cup finals.

The World Player of the Year will miss at least seven games in Spanish and Champions Leagues against Granada, Ajax Amsterdam, Athletic Bilbao, Celtic, Villarreal, Getafe and Elche as well as both legs of a Spanish cup-tie against Cartagena.

He has scored 14 goals in league and Europe this season and the Spanish champions hope to have him back for the key Liga fixture away to Atletico de Madrid in el Estadio Vicente Calderón on January 12.

Messi was injured and substituted by Andres Iniesta after only 12 minutes of Sunday’s 4-1 league win away to bottom side Betis. Barca have 37 points from 13 games for a three-point lead over Atletico Madrid who drew 1-1 draw at Villarreal.