Lionel Messi injury: Barcelona forward to fall 46 goals short of last year's record breaking season

The Argentina international is not expected to play again this year

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The Independent Football

Lionel Messi will fall 46 goals short of his incredible haul of 91 for club and country last year following news of a hamstring tear that will keep him out until the new year.

It was revealed today that the Barcelona forward, who was forced off in the 4-1 victory over Real Betis on Sunday, will not play again until 2014 after being sidelined for between six and eight weeks.

It means he will not be able to add to his tally of 45 goals he has scored this calender year. While still a hugely impressive total - which is only bettered by Cristiano Ronaldo, who has 62 goals - it will fall well short of the 91 he scored in 2012.

That tally from last year set all sorts of records including surpassing the record of 85 goals set in 1972 by Germany and Bayern Munich’s Gerd Muller.

Finishing the year with 45 goals will also be lower than the figures the Argentina international recorded in 2011 and 2010.

While seeing his year curtailed early, his closest challengers from across Europe's top leagues will still have to go some to beat him to second place. Robert Lewandowski and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are tied on 35 goals, while Robin van Persie of Manchester United has 33.