Argentine phenom Lionel Messi said Thursday that though he feared the worst after a collision during FC Barcelona's Champions League match with Benfica, the injury turned out to be only a bruise.
"I'm fine, luckily it was no more than a bruise," he told a throng of reporters during a sponsorship event here at the club's Camp Nou stadium.
"But, honestly, I thought it was going to be the last ball I was going to touch for a long time," Messi said, recounting his emotions as he waited to be carried off the field.
The 25-year-old Argentine striker rejected the suggestion that he shouldn't have been on the pitch for Wednesday's match, as Barcelona was already assured of advancing to the knockout stage.
"What happened to me yesterday could have happened in practice," Messi said. "For the past five years it was always this way, in these matches in which we were qualified and had little at stake, I always played a little. And as long as I can and Tito (Vilanova, Barcelona's coach) lets me, I will continue the same way."
After thanking fans for their expressions of concern, Messi said he still hopes to match - if not surpass - retired German great Gerd Müller's record of 85 goals in a calendar year.
Messi, with 84 goals, has four matches left in 2012.
"It's not an obsession to surpass that record," the Argentine said. "If it comes, fine. And if not, nothing happens." EFE