Lionel Messi was substituted at halftime of his first start for Barcelona since a long injury layoff, after apparently picking up a new knock.

By Associated Press
September 24, 2019

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) – Lionel Messi was substituted at halftime of his first start for Barcelona since a long injury layoff, after apparently picking up a new knock.

Messi hurt his left leg less than half an hour into the Spanish league match against Villarreal at Camp Nou Stadium on Tuesday. The playmaker left the field and doctors attended to his leg for few minutes before he eventually returned and finished the half.

Messi didn't return for the second half, though, being replaced by Ousmane Dembele.

Messi had set up Antoine Griezmann's opening goal early in the match.

Messi played his first minutes of the season when he came off the bench in the second half of a 0-0 draw against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League last week. He also came off the bench in the second half of the 2-0 loss at Granada in the Spanish league on Sunday.

Messi had been sidelined because of a right calf injury picked up in the preseason.

Dembele has also been injured, and made his first appearance since the league opener.

Barcelona was leading 2-1 at halftime.

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