According to Barcelona, Lionel Messi is set to miss three weeks of action due to a groin injury picked up in the second half of their 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid. That means Messi will miss out on away trips to Sporting Gijon, Borussia Monchengladbach in the Champions League and Celta de Vigo.
Barcelona seemed relatively comfortable as they entered the second half of their home game with Atletico at a 1-0 lead, following Ivan Rakitic’s header. Within three minutes, Messi grimaced as he pulled up with a groin injury and substitute Angel Correa equalized. The Atleti striker had barely been on the pitch for a full minute when he benefitted from Javier Mascherano’s slip to go one-on-one with Marc-Andre ter Stegen and score at the near post.
Substitutes Andre Gomes, who played deeper in midfield after replacing Sergio Busquets, and Arda Turan could do little to force the issue. Barcelona’s strength in depth will be tested through Messi’s absence, with even more responsibility falling on the shoulders of Luis Suarez and Neymar. Arda Turan seemingly has a starting spot reserved for the weekend’s clash with Sporting Gijon, and perhaps the Turkish international is the wiser option when compared with Paco Alcacer and Andre Gomes, as the news signings still progress through the adaption process.
“Without Leo we all lose. Football loses. We have to find solutions, knowing that with Messi we’re very strong,” says manager Luis Enrique, who also admits the side must improve following a difficult game. He must also be more careful with managing his star player, who missed two months of action this time last year when he injured his knee in a home game with Las Palmas.
The news comes after Barcelona were given an opportunity to close the gap on rivals Real Madrid, as they had just drawn 1-1 at home with Villarreal. The only consolation for Barca fans is knowing that an international break takes place in less than two weeks, giving Messi hope of recovering in time for the home game with Deportivo La Coruna on the 16th of October.
Also, just in case you forgot, here’s what happened the last time Barcelona travelled to the Estadio Municipal de Balaidos: