Lionel Messi injury: Barcelona forward ruled out until 2014 with hamstring tear as team-mate Cesc Fabregas urges him not to rush back before he is fully fit

Messi limped out the action after 22 minutes as his goalless La Liga run stretched to five appearances and he now faces a six-to-eight week spell on the sidelines

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has been ruled out for between 6-8 weeks after it was confirmed he suffered a hamstring tear in the 4-1 victory over Real Betis.

The Argentinian limped out of the La Liga clash after just 22 minutes, and after undergoing an ultrasound on the injury earlier today, it has been confirmed that he will be out until the New Year.

His Barcelona team-mate Cesc Fabregas has already urged the 26-year-old not to rush back from the injury, with the belief that he will do more damage than good if he returnes before he is 100 per cent fit.

"[Messi] has to stop to take the time that he needs to emphasise his explosiveness," the former Arsenal captain told Canal Plus following the match. "Something similar happened to me and I was badly affected.

"You believe you're okay at first but you're not. I was disappointed to miss out on some games but I know I'm at Barcelona and I will continue to grow.

"I spent the injury out of action and even spent half a year with the ordeal, which was not good; it was a very bad injury. Messi has to stop as it takes time to recover if it does not heal properly."

Fabregas will also undergo tests after he complained of discomfort in his knee during the La Liga victory, in which he also scored twice having started the match in midfield alongside Xavi and Alex Song.

For Messi though, the match represented his fifth league appearance in a row where he has failed to find the back of the net – a rare occurrence given his extremely high standards of goalscoring that we have become used to over the past few years.

Fabregas also spoke to alleviate fears over his injury, claiming that he was already in  discomfort during the Champions League clash midweek against AC Milan and that his early departure was more of a precaution that a necessity.

"It will not be serious," Fabregas stressed. "Just a minor annoyance.

"I had a major injury in the region not long ago, so I preferred to come off the pitch early. I was already not comfortable against Milan."

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