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Barcelona confirm Lionel Messi to return to Argentina for next phase of recovery

Nov 28, 2013, 9:02 PM EDT

Spain Champions League Soccer AP

Out since Nov. 10, Lionel Messi is set to return to Argentina for what Barcelona is calling “the second phase” of his recovery from a hamstring injury. Whether than means anything beyond rest for what the club labeled “a torn muscle in his left femoral biceps” is unclear, but with team trainers set to travel to South America in mid-December to reevaluate the star, Barça seem sufficiently satisfied with the injury’s progress to allow the 26-year-old to return home.

Messi suffered the injury in Spanish league action at Real Betis, with Barcelona medical staff originally predicting a six-to-eight week absence for the Argentine star. It was a timetable the club reiterated today on the team website, with Messi’s recovery described as “going to plan.”

Spending the second part of the recovery in Argentina was decided at the time the injury was diagnosed, accord to the club.

In 10 league games this season, Messi had scored eight goals and four assists before suffering his injury at the Villamarín. He had also scored six goals in three UEFA Champions League games, including a hat trick in Barcelona’ opening group stage game against Ajax.

In two games without Messi, Barcelona posted a 4-0 home win in league over Granada before suffering a 2-1 loss in Amsterdam to Ajax in Champions League.

If Messi is out four more weeks, he will miss games against Athletic Bilbao, Celtic, Villarreal, and Getafe. If Messi misses two additional weeks (taking his time out to eight weeks), we will miss Elche’s visit to the Nou Camp but should be ready for Barcelona’s trip to second place Atlético Madrid.

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