Barcelona captain Lionel Messi was lucky to escape serious injury after being on the receiving end of an awful challenge in Sunday’s La Liga clash against Villarreal.
The Argentina international was hurt by a crunching tackle from Manu Trigueros which left Messi clutching his leg in obvious pain on the turf. Trigueros was shown a straight red card for the tackle on 65 minutes, leaving Villarreal to finish the game with 10 men.
Manu Trigueros sent off for this challenge on Lionel Messi 🤕 pic.twitter.com/XFwL2WaXFG
— Goal (@goal) April 25, 2021
Messi was also clattered again 10 minutes later by defender Pau Torres after going on a trademark run down the right flank. The Villarreal defender was handed a yellow card after appearing to catch the Barcelona captain with a flailing arm.
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Concern For Messi
Fortunately for Barcelona, Messi was able to continue and finish the game, but there was concern for the 33-year-old during the match from supporters on social media watching the game.
We saw the same with Felix when he did his ankle, feels like you can continue until the pain kicks in. But Messi might be different.
— Robbie Dunne (@robbiejdunne) April 25, 2021
That’s a red card. Raised his leg to get Messi. Hopefully Messi is fine and it’s not serious but it looked bad.
— Roy Nemer (@RoyNemer) April 25, 2021
Take him out .. might feel ok now but from the look of the tackle Messi’s ankle might suffer later
— adil (@Barca19stats) April 25, 2021
Messi is so lucky his foot didn’t plant that would have snapped his ankle like a twig. he could still have done major damage tbh. send him off twice.
— Muhammad Butt (@muhammadbutt) April 25, 2021
Trigueros didnt mean to hurt Messi there, but he did. Also seems refs in La Liga and elsewhere are clamping down on ‘follow through’ injuries a lot lately.
— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) April 25, 2021
Barcelona will certainly hope Messi escaped unscathed from the tackle with the games coming thick and fast for the Catalan giants. Ronald Koeman’s side plays again on Thursday against Granada at the Camp Nou.
Messi has once again been an inspirational figure for Barca this season. The 33-year-old has made 44 appearances in all competitions, scoring 33 times. The Argentine is also the leading goalscorer in La Liga with 25 goals, four clear of nearest challenger Karim Benzema.
The Argentine was not on target against Villarreal with Antoine Griezmann coming up with both goals. The first was a lovely chip over the goalkeeper, while the second came after a poor backpass from Juan Foyth.
The World Cup winner now has 18 goals for the season in all competitions and has been in particularly strong form since the start of January. According to Opta, Griezmann has 13 goals and 9 assists in all competitions for Barca in 2021.
Barca Keep Title Hopes Alive
Barca went on to win Sunday’s game 2-1 to keep the club’s title hopes alive. Ronald Koeman’s side move level on points with defending champions Real Madrid but, crucially, have played one game less than Los Blancos.
Leaders Atletico Madrid can extend their advantage at the top of the table to five points with a win over Athletic Bilbao at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in the late kick-off on Sunday.
However, Diego Simeone’s men will also then have played one game more than Barca, meaning the destination of the title remains in the Catalan giants’ hands as the two teams still have to meet again in La Liga.
The crunch clash between Atletico and Barcelona is scheduled for May 8 at the Camp Nou and could well decide which of the two clubs end the 2020-21 season as champions of Spain.
Atletico won 1-0 when the teams met in the Spanish capital back in November, but there’s no doubt Ronald Koeman’s side has improved since the early months of the campaign. Indeed, Barca’s current run of form has seen the Catalan giants pick up 46 points from a possible 51 on offer so far in 2021, according to Opta.
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