Barcelona star Lionel Messi will miss the club's next two games with a sprained ankle, after tests revealed that the injury he picked up against Atletico Madrid is not as serious as first thought.
Messi was stretchered off the Vicente Calderon pitch in tears towards the end of Barcelona's 2-1 victory over Atletico after a late tackle from Tomas Ujfalusi left the Argentina playmaker in agony.
Ujfalusi received his marching orders for the challenge after picking up a second yellow card and Messi's reaction prompted fears that he may have either broken his ankle or suffered serious ligament damage.
But Barca boss Pep Guardiola eased fears after the match, saying: ''He'll be having more tests tomorrow, but in principle a break has been ruled out. He's injured and the doctors will tell us how he is.
"Let's hope the first diagnosis is correct and we can help get him fit again. He's very sad and in tears. These things happen in football."
After tests on Monday, including an MRI scan, the club revealed that Messi suffered a sprained ankle and is certain to miss matches against Sporting Gijon on Monday and Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.
"Testing has confirmed that the player has suffered a sprain to the internal and external lateral ligaments in his right ankle and there are no associated bone lesions."
The news means that Messi may be fit to return for Barcelona's trip to Russia to face Rubin Kazan in the Champions League next Wednesday, though the club stressed that it will be up to Guardiola to decide when he returns.