Lionel Messi to miss El Clasico with fractured arm

Lionel Messi is expected to be out for three weeks with a fractured right arm but his last contribution was to help send Barcelona back to the top of LaLiga on Saturday. Ousmane Dembele came on for Messi. He headed down the tunnel, and reportedly straight to a nearby medical center. "He will be out for approximately three weeks", stated F.C. Barcelona on Twitter.

Saturday was an otherwise excellent day for Barca.

Messi had one deflected wide in the period that followed as chances continued to arrive, and it was not a surprise that the Argentine doubled Barcelona's lead in the 12th minute. Can Messi and Co do the business and put more points between them and Real Madrid (They lost 2-1 to Levante earlier today) ahead of next weekends El Clasico?

What now for Barca without Messi?

Barca are arguably more reliant on their talisman than ever before and if he is out for any serious length of time, their title aspirations will be severely dented. He's a transcendent player on an increasingly ordinary (and aging) team.

As well as Real Madrid, Messi is also set to miss both of Barcelona's Champions League meetings with Inter Milan, with both teams in the same group as Tottenham.

The European clash is less important.

On that day, Julio Baptista scored the only goal of the game to collect all three points for Bernd Schuster's side.

But Sunday's Clásico could go a long way toward deciding the domestic title race, even with Real struggling.

The Catalan giants were then dealt a blow midway through the first half when Messi landed awkwardly and sustained an arm injury, forcing him off.

Barcelona begin their Copa del Rey defence at the end of the month, though the absence of Messi should not prove too much of an issue given they face third-tier side Cultural Leonesa.

  • Rosalie Stanley