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Fabregas shelved by muscle strain

Barcelona says midfielder Cesc Fabregas will miss up to four weeks with a thigh muscle injury sustained in Sunday night's win at Real Betis.

The Spain midfielder lasted just nine minutes of the 2-1 victory in Seville before being replaced by Alexis Sanchez.

A Barca statement read: "FC Barcelona's Medical Services have confirmed that Cesc Fabregas has torn the bicep femoris in his left thigh."

He will miss Barca's last three games of the year -- the La Liga matches at home to Atletico Madrid and away to Real Valladolid and the first leg of the Copa del Rey round of 16 game at Cordoba, the website statement said.

Another concern for coach Tito Vilanova is the fitness of veteran skipper Carles Puyol who was taken off at halftime at Betis with what the club said was "pain in his right leg".

Lionel Messi scored twice for Barca -- his 85th and 86th goals of the season to beat Gerd Muller's record of 85 in a calendar year -- as the Catalans retained their six-point advantage at the top from Atletico Madrid.

Information from Press Association was used in this report.

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