Lionel Messi is facing up to two months on the sidelines after suffering a knee injury during the 2-1 La Liga win over Las Palmas on Saturday.
Messi received a blow to the knee in a tangle with Pedro Bigas just three minutes into the match and although he initially tried to continue he was withdrawn six minutes later and taken to hospital.
Tests revealed a torn ligament in his left knee, and Barcelona announced the Argentina international would be out for between seven and eight weeks.
That means Messi could miss the Clasico against Real Madrid on November 22nd, while he is certain to sit out Barca’s Champions League fixtures with Bayern Leverkusen and BATE Borisov, league games with Sevilla, Rayo Vallecano, Eibar, Getafe and Villarreal, plus Argentina’s World Cup qualifiers against Ecuador, Paraguay, Colombia and Brazil.
“I’m always sad when one of my players gets injured and even more when it’s Messi,” Luis Enrique said. “But we need to accept the challenge and understand that this is part of football and get through it.
“We will not change our style of play without Messi, although there are many moments in games in which Messi liberates us and finds solutions for us, so we’ll have to strengthen in other areas and the team will have to step up without him.”
Barca won the game thanks to goals from Luis Suarez in either half, while Jonathan Viera’s late deflected goal made for a nervy finish for Luis Enrique’s side. “We played a complete game and had chances to finish it off but we ended up suffering by the end,” the coach admitted.
The win was just what Barcelona needed after they were thrashed 4-1 by Celta Vigo in midweek, but the victory was marred by the injury to Messi. It is the latest in a series of setbacks for Barcelona, who have already had midfielder Rafinha ruled out for six months with a knee injury, while Dani Alves and Claudio Bravo have also had to spend time on the sidelines.
“The worst part of the game was the injury to Messi,” midfielder Sergio Busquets told Canal Plus.
“The fact Leo complained and asked to be substituted means it’s very bad. We are going to miss him because he is the best player in the world, he is the player who makes things happen the most.”