Barcelona defender Thomas Vermaelen ruled out for two weeks

Barcelona's Thomas Vermaelen will miss the next two weeks with a hamstring strain, the Catalan club confirmed on Monday after the defender underwent tests at the training ground.

Vermaelen, 32, pulled up during a foot race with Real Betis forward Sergio Leon during the first half of Barca's 5-0 win at the Benito Villamarin on Sunday.

The Belgium international was replaced by Samuel Umtiti, who was himself making a return to competitive football following a seven-week layoff with a hamstring problem.

Barca initially feared Vermaelen had torn his hamstring so there will be relief that he will only be sidelined for two weeks.

Vermaelen was making his 13th consecutive appearance for Barca against Betis, the longest run of games he has featured in since he joined the club from Arsenal in 2014.

He spent the majority of his first season at Camp Nou sidelined with a thigh injury and played a backup role in his second year at the club, which also featured regular injuries.

Last season he was on loan at Roma, but his time in Italy was also heavily affected by fitness issues.

After returning to Barca in the summer as the fourth-choice centre-back in Ernesto Valverde's squad, Vermaelen has taken advantage of injuries to Umtiti and Javier Mascherano to nail down a place in the team in recent months.

With Umtiti fit again, though, and Gerard Pique in good form, Vermaelen may find himself out of the side once again when he returns in a couple of weeks.

Mascherano, meanwhile, is set to leave the club for Chinese Super League side Hebei Fortune this week, with Colombian defender Yerry Mina arriving as his replacement from Palmeiras.