BARCELONA star 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 was hurt in the third minute of the game at the Nou Camp following a tangle with Pedro Bigas.
He initially tried to continue but asked to be substituted six minutes later and was taken to hospital for tests where it was discovered he had torn a ligament in his left knee.
Barcelona then announced via Twitter that the 28-year-old Argentina playmaker would be out of action for around seven to eight weeks.
Messi therefore looks set to miss Barca’s Champions League fixtures with Bayer 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.
They are due to play the Clasico against Real Madrid on November 22 and that could be an early target for his comeback.
“I’m always sad when one of my players gets injured and even more when it’s Messi,” said Barcelona coach Luis Enrique.
“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.”
Forward Sergio Busquets added: “The worst news is the injury to our best man. He asked to be changed because something was wrong, he doesn’t like not to play. He is the best player in the world, so of course we will notice his absence.”
Barcelona bounced back from their 4-1 mauling by Celta Vigo on Wednesday with the 2-1 victory over newly-promoted Las Palmas, with Luis Suarez netting in the 25th and 54th minutes.
Neymar also missed a penalty in the 66th minute before forward Jonathan Viera replied for the visitors with two minutes remaining.
“We played a complete game and had chances to finish it off but we ended up suffering by the end,” added Enrique. – Sky Sports