MADRID: Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi is feeling down after being sidelined for up to eight weeks with a leg injury, teammate Gerard Pique said in an interview published Thursday.
Pique, who has been struggling himself with a groin strain, said the 26-year-old Argentine international had a serious injury.
“His case is different. He has had several injuries in a row and perhaps that has led him to lose confidence. I haven’t had muscle problems like Leo’s. Touch wood,” Pique told Barcelona-based sports daily Mundo Deportivo.
“He is feeling low but that’s normal. It is a serious injury. His spirits will improve in a matter of days but right now it is logical that he feels a certain psychological fatigue,” the Barcelona defender said.
Asked whether it was possible to speak to Messi about the injury, Pique said: “When you get injured you need some space and that’s the case with Leo who has had several injuries in a row.
“The main thing is that he is at ease. It’s normal that, for example, after leaving the field he goes straight to the bench without saying anything.”
Barcelona announced Monday that Messi would be sidelined for six to eight weeks with a muscle tear in his left hamstring muscle, his third leg injury this season following hamstring and thigh injuries in his right leg.
Messi limped off after just 20 minutes of Barcelona’s 4-1 win over Real Betis on Sunday.
The injury means Barcelona will be without Messi for up to eight matches, including their last two Champions League group games against Ajax and Celtic.
Messi thanked his fans for their support this week and said it was “a pity” that he could not join his Barcelona teammates.
Pique has been struggling with a groin strain in recent weeks and was left out of Vicente del Bosque’s Spain squad for the friendlies against Equatorial Guinea and South Africa this month to allow him to recover.
The 26-year-old central defender said he could recover “100 percent” from the injury.