Van Nistelrooy faces six weeks out

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The Independent Football

Real Madrid striker Ruud van Nistelrooy is facing a further six weeks on the sidelines with a thigh muscle problem.

The veteran Dutchman picked up a fresh problem in his comeback appearance following nine months out with knee ligament damage.

Van Nistelrooy injured his thigh while scoring Real's fifth goal during Sunday's 5-0 rout of Xerez.

"I'm okay, but I got hurt while scoring," admitted the former Manchester United striker. "I dreamed of this return - to score and provide an assist. I am overwhelmed by the fans' support.

"I worked very hard to return and everything has gone well. Let's see how my quad is holding up."

David Villa has put himself on collision course with Unai Emery after speaking out against the Valencia coach's tactics.

The Spain striker scored twice in Sunday 2-2 draw with Sporting Gijon but was left frustrated after Los Che were only able to take a point from a clash with ten-man opposition.

"The approach after the second goal wasn't right," claimed Villa. "We had chances but, in the end, that's what happens.

"If we continue, we will be like last year. If we relax and draw against teams with ten men, we won't go anywhere. We tried to maintain our advantage but we should have gone for another goal."

However, after reflecting on his heat-of-the-moment comments, Villa claims he still has faith in Emery.

He later added: "I've not lost confidence in him either now or ever before. The whole dressing room respects him."

Barcelona president Joan Laporta believes Lionel Messi will develop into an even better player after pledging his long-term future to the Spanish and European champions.

Messi recently signed a new contract which will keep him at the Camp Nou until 2016 and Laporta is confident that a player he already regards as the world's best will continue to improve.

"Messi is the best in the world and committed to the club," declared Laporta. "He is a great player and has really emerged as a leader. He is scoring goals and is happy.

"As (coach) Pep (Guardiola) has said many times, if I see a happy Leo then it shows that things are going well."