Lionel Messi suffered a knee injury early in Saturday’s La Liga game at home to Las Palmas and will now face seven to eight weeks on the sidelines, according to the club.
The incident happened inside the opening stages at the Camp Nou, when Messi cut inside from the right wing, and his left-footed shot was blocked by visiting defender Pedro Bigas.
The Argentine received treatment to his left knee on the pitch, then tried to continue for a few minutes, but soon admitted he could not continue and was replaced by youngster Munir El Haddadi with just 10 minutes played.
After initial inspection in the dressing-room, Messi was quickly taken to the nearby Creu Blanca hospital for tests on the injured joint. After leaving the clinic on foot he was back at the Camp Nou by the final whistle.
Barca released a statement saying the injury was serious enough to rule Messi out of action for up to two months — making him a doubt for El Clasico against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu on Nov. 21.
“Tests carried out on Leo Messi have confirmed that the player has suffered a tear in the internal collateral ligament of his left knee,” the statement said. “The time out will be approximately between seven and eight weeks.”
“I’m always sad when one of my players gets injured, and even more when it’s Messi,” manager Luis Enrique said after the game. “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.”
Messi will not feature in Tuesday’s Champions League group game at home to Bayer Leverkusen, or next Saturday’s La Liga trip to Sevilla. Also on the horizon are Argentina’s World Cup qualifiers against Ecuador (Oct. 8) and Paraguay (Oct. 13), and a return to La Liga action on Oct. 17 against Rayo Vallecano at the Camp Nou.