BARCELONA: European and Spanish champions Barcelona have hit a major setback with Leo Messi being ruled out for two months after a left knee ligament injury early in in their 2-1 home win over Las Palmas.
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.
Argentina’s captain received treatment on the pitch then, in vain, to continue playing and was substituted. He was taken to the nearby Creu Blanca hospital for tests before returning to Camp Nou before the final whistle.
A Barcelona statement said the injury would rule Messi out of action for up to two months, making him doubtful for the Clasico away to Real Madrid on November 21.
Coach Luis Enrique said: “I’m always sad when one of my players gets injured and even more when it’s Messi. 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.
The win was welcome for Barcelona after a shock 4-1 beating by Celta Vigo in midweek.
Messi’s injury was the latest in a series of setbacks with midfielder Rafinha ruled out for six months with a knee injury.
Barcelona are home on Tuesday to Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League.
Messi will also miss Argentina’s World Cup qualifiers next month against Ecuador and Paraguay.