Messi ruled out of Benfica clash

Barcelona - Barcelona midfielder Lionel Messi has been ruled out of the Catalans' Champion League quarterfinal, second leg against Benfica, according to reports here on Monday.

Argentine teenager Messi was ruled out for up to a month when he tore a right leg muscle in the first half of Barca's return with Chelsea in the last round of Europe's premier club competition on March 7.

According to El Mundo Deportivo newspaper's website on Monday, doctors have effectively scratched Messi's name from Frank Rijkaard's squad for Wednesday's match at the Nou Camp.

The news will come as a blow to Barcelona's fans, who watched agonisingly as the Catalans failed to hit the net despite having around 10 goalscoring chances against the Portuguese champions.

The newspaper also reported defenders Edmilson and Rafa Marquez, who also missed the first leg against Benfica, are still sidelined.

Midfielder Thiago Motta, who picked up a knock in the 1-1 Spanish league draw against Real Madrid on Saturday, is also reportedly out.

Barcelona captain Carles Puyol, suspended for the first leg, will make his return to the squad. - Sapa-AFP

sign up