Monday 26 September 2016

Barcelona vow to be 'strong' without Messi

Published 23/09/2016 | 02:30

Lionel Messi shrugs off Atletico Madrid's Filipe Luis before later leaving the field due to injury on Wednesday night. Picture: Reuters
Lionel Messi shrugs off Atletico Madrid's Filipe Luis before later leaving the field due to injury on Wednesday night. Picture: Reuters

Barcelona are set to be without Lionel Messi for around three weeks after he ruptured an adductor muscle in his right leg in the 1-1 draw at home to Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night.

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The Argentinian maestro appeared to suffer the injury after tussling for possession with Atletico defender Diego Godin and was replaced by Arda Turan with 58 minutes gone.

Worse was to follow for Barca as Angel Correa then equalised for the visitors, jinking past Javier Mascherano and steering a shot past Marc-Andre ter Stegen and in off a post.

The club confirmed the time-frame of Messi's injury in a tweet from the club's official account, and coach Luis Enrique said: "Losing Messi is a loss to us and a loss to football.

"With Leo we are stronger, but we are still strong without him."

The injury means Messi is set to miss La Liga matches against Sporting Gijon and Celta Vigo plus a Champions League tie away to Borussia Monchengladbach in between.

Enrique admitted it would be "difficult to protect" Messi with the games coming thick and fast for Barcelona and with Argentina no doubt desperate to have him involved in next month's World Cup qualifiers.

Enrique said Atletico had been a tough nut for his side to crack.

"When there are 11 guys in the area, co-ordinated like that, it takes a lot out of us to break them down," he said.

"This result is not what we wanted, but we must move on."

There was also an injury for midfielder Sergio Busquets just before Messi suffered his problem, which will somewhat overshadow the ceremony to mark Busquets renewing his Barcelona contract until 2021 yesterday.

Irish Independent

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