Next weekend’s El Clasico in the Spanish La liga will not feature a critical actor, Lionel Messi. The Barcelona’s all-time record goal-scorer will miss the attention-attracting match against Real Madrid after suffering a broken arm.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner fell awkwardly on his right arm in the 17th minute of the La Liga clash with Sevilla at the Camp Nou on Saturday and was immediately in visible pain.
He underwent treatment as the game continued with his arm being wrapped by trainers while he laid on the sidelines.
However, he remained down after treatment in obvious discomfort and was unable to continue, eventually being replaced by Ousmane Dembele after 26 minutes.
The club have now confirmed he has fractured a bone in his right arm, ruling him out for the next three weeks including the visit of their arch rivals, along with a crucial Champions League tie against Serie A side Inter.
Messi had already left his mark on the game as he helped Barcelona into a 2-0 lead, teeing up Philippe Coutinho for the opener before netting his 32nd career goal against Sevilla inside the opening 12 minutes. Ernesto Valverde’s side went on to win 4-2.
But that cameo display has been overshadowed by an injury which will see him miss the club’s next five games.
Barca face Inter Milan in the Champions League on Wednesday, before hosting Real next Sunday.
The Catalans then face three away games in a row against Cultural Leonesa in the Copa del Rey, Rayo Vallecano in La Liga and the return game with Inter.
The three-week injury assessment means Messi will likely return in time for the club’s clash with Atletico Madrid at the end of November, which follows an international break.