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By ESPN Staff
Nov 13, 2006

Saviola joins Barcelona's growing injury list

MADRID, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Striker Javier Saviola has joined fellow Argentine Lionel Messi on Barcelona's lengthening injury list after the 3-1 Primera Liga win over Real Zaragoza on Sunday that put them top of the table.

'Saviola has torn a muscle in his left thigh. We predict a recovery period of between four and six weeks,' Barca's medical services said on Monday.

The 24-year-old international scored Barca's third goal in the Nou Camp after coming on as a second-half substitute.

He will miss Barca's remaining Champions League Group A matches against Levski Sofia and Werder Bremen. The European champions are third in the group.

Earlier, Barca confirmed that Messi will need surgery on a broken fifth metatarsal in his left foot which will put him out of action for around three months.

Messi will also miss Barca's remaining Champions League group matches and will be unable to compete in December's World Club Championship in Japan.

The loss of Saviola and Messi is a major blow to the Primera Liga leaders with Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o still recovering from knee surgery and not expected back until February at the earliest.

The pressure will be on Ronaldinho, Eidur Gudjohnsen, Ludovic Giuly and Santi Ezquerro to cover Barca's three front positions into the new year.

Added to his problems in attack, coach Frank Rijkaard has Brazilians Edmilson and Luciano Belletti out for around 10 days, while midfielder Xavi has not yet returned to action since sustaining a hairline fracture of his tibia.

Also on Monday, midfielder Andres Iniesta pulled out of the Spain squad to play Romania on Wednesday due to an inflamed tendon in his left knee, though the injury is not considered serious.