Messi a Ferrari going for a service, says Alves

The Brazil international is confident his team-mate will be back in action sooner rather than later, while backing Neymar to make inroads on the starting XI
Dani Alves has likened Lionel Messi to a "Ferrari going through the workshop" after the Barcelona star was sidelined with a thigh problem.

The Argentina star, 26, was withdrawn at half-time during the 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night, in the first-leg of the Spanish Super Cup.

He has since undergone further tests after complaining of discomfort in his leg, with closer examination revealing bruising of his thigh muscle.

And though a definitive period of absence has yet to be announced, Alves is confident his Barcelona team-mate will be back sooner rather than later.

"I do not have to worry about Messi. He's now being treated in order to return as soon as possible (...) Sometimes the Ferraris need to go through the workshop," the 30-year-old told reporters at a pre-match press conference.

Barca's major summer signing, Neymar, was handed an opportunity to shine in the second half of Wednesday's encounter and grasped it with both hands by scoring his first goal for the club, with Alves tipping his compatriot to make inroads into the starting XI.

He added: "I see him eager to play, happy and well integrated in the group. He can make a big contribution and he's ready to respond. He's ready to be a starter."

Barca will face another stern test of their credentials when they travel to La Rosaleda to face Malaga on Sunday evening in La Liga.