Barcelona said Tuesday that the four-time FIFA player of the year has re-aggravated the right hamstring strain that has limited him for the last six weeks and only a quicker-than-expected return to fitness would see him play again for the Spanish team this season. Barcelona said Messi will be sidelined for two to three weeks, with the team's last — and meaningless — league game against Malaga scheduled for June 1.
Barcelona has already clinched the league title with three games left, but Messi is four goals short of matching his own record of 50 goals that he set last year. But with 46 league goals, eight in the Champions League and four in the Copa del Rey, his grip on the European Golden Shoe award is likely to remain unchallenged.
The other two matches which Messi is set to miss are against Valladolid and the Catalan derby against Espanyol.
Messi first injured his hamstring on April 2 in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinal against Paris Saint-Germain, and re-aggravated the injury in Sunday's 2-1 win at Atletico Madrid.
The win over Atletico was only the fifth league game this season in which Messi played but failed to score — having netted in 21 consecutive previous appearances.
Messi, who was making his first league start since the injury, left the pitch in the 68th minute after Barcelona had made all three substitutions and was trailing 1-0. The team rallied without him.
Barcelona has no other trophies left to play for, as it lost in the semifinals of the Copa del Rey and Champions League.