BARCELONA - Barcelona forward Lionel
Messi is struggling with a leg injury as the 2009 winners
prepare to host Shakhtar Donetsk in their Champions League
quarter-final first leg on Wednesday.
The Argentine World Player of the Year, joint top scorer in
this season's competition with eight goals, had an injury scare
on international duty and was only used as a substitute in the
1-0 La Liga win at Villarreal on Saturday.
"In Villarreal I did not feel good," Messi told a news
conference on Tuesday at Barca's Nou Camp stadium.
"I'll work as hard as possible so that the discomfort
disappears and little by little I feel better."
Messi warned against underestimating Ukraine's Shakhtar, who
shocked Barca 3-2 at the Nou Camp in the group stage in December
They also pushed the Catalan club all the way in the
European Super Cup in 2009, eventually losing 1-0 to a Pedro
strike in extra-time.
"We know it will be a very tough game as we are facing a
team that has some great players and that knows how to play very
good football," Messi said.
"Matches against Shakhtar are always very close," he added.
"You just have to look at the result in the European Super Cup
and the last few games we have played them.
"We'll have to go out there very focused as otherwise they
could surprise us."
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