Lionel Messi has been forced to pull out of Tito Vilanova’s debut as Barcelona boss on Tuesday with a calf injury.
Barcelona have revealed that the Argentine international suffered bruised the muscle during training and will not travel to Hamburg as a precautionary measure, where Barca will face the Bundesliga outfit, who are celebrating the club’s 125th anniversary.
Messi’s problem is not thought to be serious and La Blaugrana issued a brief statement on their official website.
“During training yesterday Lionel Messi suffered bruising to his right calf. This morning he has had an ultrasound that shows he has an intramuscular hematoma and he will not travel to Hamburg,” it read.
The Germans are understandably frustrated at missing out on seeing arguably the world’s greatest player in action.
“Of course we are disappointed that Messi will be absent for the game as we have been looking forward to seeing him here for quite some time, along with the other Barcelona players,” Hamburg’s director of marketing Joachim Hike told AS.
“We can’t do anything about Messi’s absence for our spectators, who I am sure will be deeply disappointed.
“We will have to look for another alternative to compensate the fans.”
Barcelona will also be without David Villa, who has still not received the all-clear from doctors following his broken leg, and the remainder of their Spanish internationals who are still on holiday.
Vilanova’s squad, therefore, will be made up of a dozen players from Barcelona B, with the match the first of five friendlies – four in Europe and one in Africa – that will swell the club’s coffers by around €6m.