BARCELONA, SPAIN – Lionel Messi is expected to be out for three weeks with a fractured right arm, but his last pre-injury contribution was to help send Barcelona back to the top of La Liga on Saturday.
Messi scored and then went off injured as Barca beat Sevilla 4-2 in a six-goal thriller at Camp Nou which never looked like it would end in any way other than a home win.
Any joy at jumping above in-form Sevilla, however, was tarnished by Messi’s injury, which will keep him out of next weekend’s Clasico against Real Madrid.
A Barcelona club statement read: “Tests carried out on Leo Messi have confirmed that he has a fracture of the radial bone in his right arm. He will be out for approximately three weeks.”
It means Messi will also miss the Champions League match at home to Inter Milan on Wednesday, and probably the return trip to Italy on November 6, as well as league games against Real Madrid and Rayo Vallecano in between.
“It is clear it is a blow,” Barca coach Ernesto Valverde said. “We know what he gives us and we know what he does to the opposition.
“We have to prepare ourselves, it is clear we are going to notice the loss of Messi but we have players that can cover.”
Messi fell to the ground following a tussle with Sevilla’s Franco Vazquez and, as his right hand tried to cushion the landing, his elbow appeared to buckle.
Messi was helped off the pitch by medical staff and, despite having his right arm heavily strapped, he was finally substituted in the 26th minute.
“Emotionally, we know when he is there, he gives us more confidence because he is the best in the world,” Gerard Pique said. “But it does not have to affect us.”
Philippe Coutinho had opened the scoring and Luis Suarez’s penalty, which he also earned, made sure of victory before a three-goal flurry in the final 11 minutes.
Even without Messi, Barca might be confident of seeing off Madrid, whose slump had continued on Saturday with a 2-1 loss at home to Levante. Barcelona, meanwhile, are in the midst of a revival.
Since drawing at home to Athletic Bilbao last month to make it three games without a win, they have blown Tottenham away at Wembley, taken a point away at Valencia and now eased past Sevilla, who came into the weekend on top of the table.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5