Lionel Messi forced off as injury problems persist

World Player of the Year Lionel Messi had to be withdrawn after just 28 minutes of Barcelona`s game with Almeria on Saturday with an on-going muscular problem.

The Argentine had given Barca the lead with a fine left-footed strike on 21 minutes, but was clearly in some discomfort thereafter and was replaced by Xavi Hernandez.

Messi missed Barca`s trip to Malaga and the second-leg of the Spanish Super Cup against Atletico Madrid earlier in the season due to a thigh problem.

The 25-year-old is now a doubt for the Catalans` Champions League clash with Celtic on Tuesday.

Messi had appeared in court in the coastal town of Gava near Barcelona on Friday morning to answer questions on accusations of tax evasion.

However, he took a full part in training on Friday with his teammates before travelling south to Almeria on Saturday.