Lionel Messi will return even greater, says Xavi

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Barcelona midfielder Xavi believes Lionel Messi will use his latest injury as another way to show people that he is the greatest player in the world at the moment.

Messi suffered a torn hamstring in the Camp Nou club's last La Liga fixture against Real Betis a  week ago on Sunday and was told it would take around eight weeks before he could return to the field.

It is a major blow to the Catalan club as Messi has scored 14 goals in only 16 games so far this season, though that is quite a modest tally compared to his usual method.

Xavi admitted the side would miss Messi's brilliance, but felt the lay off would prove to be beneficial for him and would give him a chance to recharge his batteries before returning stronger than ever.

"He is a very tough guy, mentally strong and he will return," the 33-year-old told Mundo Deportivo.

"He has had four or five years playing everything, remaining decisive in all the games, scoring two or three goals in many of them.

"He is the best in the world but the body says enough and so he must stop. The most important thing is that he recovers well.

"For us, he is the number one and we need him a lot. In January, he will return and prove to be the best."

Barcelona should be more than capable of maintaining their high level of performance despite the loss of Messi, not least due to the form being shown by summer signing Neymar.

Brazil's talisman has not taken long to settle into life at the Spanish champions and has been improving rapidly in recent weeks, with his influence on games set to grow as he should replace Messi as the focal point of manager Gerardo Martino's attack.

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Lionel Messi
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