Barcelona yet again managed to thwart Atletico Madrid in Catalunya on Wednesday night.

A 1-1 draw meant Diego Simeone’s men failed to come away from Camp Nou with a win, something yet to happen in his tenure.

However, the evening did not all go Barca’s way. They were pegged back by Atletico after going in front, missing the chance to close the gap on Real Madrid who were also held at home by Villarreal.

Most concerning for manager Luis Enrique though, will be the fact that star man Lionel Messi had to withdraw from the game in the second half.

Maybe though, Enrique should not be too concerned – the club have confirmed that the groin strain suffered by the Argentine will keep him out for just three weeks.

Messi had been nursing the problem over the last fortnight and will now be given the extended break to recover.

The associated rest could also be something which stands the La Liga champions in good stead, as they look to defend their crown and challenge for the Champions League over the long season ahead.

While a player like Messi is nigh-on irreplaceable, Barcelona still have the devastating pair of Neymar and Luis Suarez to carry the side in his absence, plus attacking strength in depth like never before.

Arda Turan filled-in to good effect as part of the attacking trio during Neymar’s absence for the Olympics and it was the Turk who replaced Messi on Wednesday night.

Another formidable looking option is Paco Alcacer. The 23-year-old summer signing netted 17 times in each of his last two seasons with Valencia and will be itching to show the Camp Nou crowd what he can do.

The timing of the injury is also as good as Luis Enrique could have hoped for with less-than-daunting fixtures in the offing.

Messi will miss La Liga trips to Sporting Gijon and Celta Vigo plus the visit of Deportivo La Coruna.

With the attacking talent at their disposal Barca should still be eying nine points domestically during the 29-year-old’s absence.

In Europe the 7-0 crushing of Celtic got them off to the perfect start and Messi should only miss the trip to Borussia Monchengladbach.

Both the player and Enrique will be targeting the visit of Manchester City and Pep Guardiola as the comeback date on October 19.


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