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Lionel Messi injury: Barcelona forward says he is working 'full time' to get back to fitness

Argentine is expected to be out until early next year

Lionel Messi says he is working “full time” to recover from the hamstring injury which is set to rule him for the remainder of the year.

Speaking publicly for the first time since injury forced him off in the 22nd-minute of Barcelona’s 4-1 victory over Real Betis on Saturday, the Argentine said he is doing all he can to return as soon as possible.

"As many of you know, over the next few weeks I will be working full time on the recovery from this latest injury," Messi wrote on his Facebook page.

"For me it is a pity not to be able to play with my team right now," the 26-year-old added.

"Now the most important thing is to recover well so I can help my team-mates and reward all the support you've given to me in the best way I know how to do, playing football."

While losing Messi, voted the world’s best player for the past four years, puts the La Liga champions at an immediate disadvantage, right-back Dani Alves says recent £48m signing Neymar can lessen the blow.

“He is always ready; he knows how important he is to Barcelona and that he was signed for moments like this one,” Alves said.