Lionel Messi suffers injury in Barcelona win

Santi Cazorla's incredible 35-yard stunner against Barcelona is a sight to behold

Santi Cazorla's incredible 35-yard stunner against Barcelona is a sight to behold

Barcelona secured a much-needed 2-1 home victory over Villarreal in La Liga on Tuesday, racing to a two-goal lead inside 15 minutes before hanging on after Santi Cazorla halved the deficit on the stroke of halftime.

Manager Ernesto Valverde said of Messi: "It's some discomfort in the abductor and so we didn't want to risk it".

In what was his first start since recovering from a foot injury, Messi managed to grab a vital assist, but he limped off the field shortly before half time and was replaced during the interval.

The Barcelona skipper, 32, suffered a strain to his right calf during pre-season and had only returned to the team as a substitute for the Champions League draw at Borussia Dortmund last week and the league defeat at Granada at the weekend.

The Barcelona forward fought off competition from Virgil van Dijk and Cristiano Ronaldo to scoop the prize, after a season in which he scored 51 club goals in 50 appearances in all competitions. Seventh-place Atlético Madrid plays at Mallorca.

De Jong had been the one player to take responsibility after the 2-0 defeat by Granada last weekend that left Barcelona eighth in La Liga with seven points from the first five games. Arthur collected the ball 30 yards out and harpooned a shot straight past Sergio Asenjo and into the top right-hand corner.

Messi, who won FIFA's Men's Player of the Year award on Monday, took treatment on the sideline just after the half-hour mark and Cazorla pulled one back soon after with a swerving effort from distance.

Vicente Iborra slotted the ball into the path of Cazorla, who escaped his marker and fired an absolute rocket of a strike past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Messi then failed to emerge for the second half, being replaced by Ousmane Dembele, as Barcelona labored to victory. A third for Barca looked more likely than an equaliser for Villarreal.

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