Saturday night may have begun with full excitement and enthusiasm for Barcelona fans but it ended with a feeling of mixed fortunes as their greatest fear became a reality after it was announced that Lionel Messi will miss three weeks of actions because of the injury he suffered in the 4-2 win over Sevilla that same night.
Lionel Messi was in thick of the action in the game as usual with him setting up Phillipe Coutinho’s opener before adding a second minutes later in a typical fashion. However, that was going to be the last act for the Argentina International as he was forced off after falling awkwardly on his arm.
Tests carried out after the game showed that the five-time winner ballon d’Or winner will miss three weeks of actions which automatically rules him out of the champions league matches against Inter Milan and Sunday’s El-Clasico.
Saying his absence will be a huge blow to Barcelona will be an understatement given how big of an influence he is for the team especially now that the Blaugrana are without Xavi and Iniesta.
Nevertheless, Barcelona will still have to find a way to cope with his absence and one of the players who could fill his void is Ousmane Dembele.
This is why we will be taking a look at the winners and losers of Lionel Messi’s Injury.
The French world cup winner was a big-money move from Dortmund last season. he was brought in to replace Brazilian Captain Neymar who left for PSG. However, things have not gone well for the ambidextrous French winger as he has failed to hit the ground running at Camp Nou. He had to miss three months of action shortly after making his debut last season. However, since he came back to the team in January he has given a series of indifferent performances. it was expected after winning the world cup with France in the summer he will be full of confidence but that hasn’t been the case as his form has been indifferent this season. There have been speculations Barcelona are aready to cut their losses by selling him next summer but the former Dortmund winger still have time to prove his critics wrong and there’s no better time to start than now. He is the obvious replacement for Messi and the French international has the chance to make sure Barcelona does not feel Messi’s absence over the next three weeks.
The two sides meet on Wednesday night with both teams currently on the same number of points in the group. Before the Injury to Messi, the Nerazzurri may have looked at the game as unwinnable given the form Messi’s has been in in the champions league this season. The La Liga top scorer has already scored five goals in two champions league matches this season and would have been looking to increase his tally against the Italian side.
However, his absence changes the dynamic of the game and the Luciano Spalleti led side will now have the believe they can get something out of the game given how Barcelona have been vulnerable in games without Messi this season.
The Serie A club are also full of confidence right now after securing a stoppage-time victory over City rivals in the Derby Della Madonnina on Sunday night.
Real Madrid and Lopetegui;
Real Madrid 2-1 loss to Levante on Saturday means they have now gone five games without winning. the latest result increased the pressure on Lopetegui. Prior to the international break, it was reported the El-Clasico could be the final straw for the former Spanish manager. After seeing the performance last Saturday it would have been difficult for Madrid to get something out of the El Clasico on Sunday but with Messi out of the game, it gives Madrid and Loptegui a lifeline. Though it is not certain the Los Blancos will beat Barcelona on Sunday, Messi’s absence makes it less difficult.
Spurs are in danger of missing out on the last 16 in the champions league after suffering losses in their opening two matches. The north London club would have hoped Lionel Messi will be fit for the games against Inter Milan. Spurs realistically need Barcelona to win the two games against Inter Milan to have a chance of qualification but with Messi out of the games, it reduces their chances. To make matter worse for Spurs they go to Barcelona in their last game and by that time they will be facing a fully fit Messi.
Barcelona may have won on Saturday but there are still question marks over their manager Ernesto Valverde. A Lionel Messi injury is the last thing Valverde needs right now and he has to hope his absence doesn’t have a major effect on Barcelona’s result. Barcelona faces Inter and Madrid in the next few days with Valverde knowing anything less than wins in those games will bring back the heat.