IBTimes UK

Lionel Messi will be missing competitive football action for at least three weeks after the Barcelona star strained his groin during their 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid during the league clash on 21 September.

With Barcelona leading 1-0 at Camp Nou on Wednesday, the Argentina international limped off the field in the second half after having struggled through the first half with the groin injury in his right leg. The visitors grabbed an equaliser soon after the 29-year-old's exit with a strike from substitute Angel Correa.

"The Argentine star tore a muscle in his groin in the second half of the game against Atlético Madrid at Camp Nou," a statement on Barcelona's official website read.

"As such, Barça will be without the best player in the world for the three games that the blaugranes have before the next break for international fixtures: league games against Sporting Gijon and Celta Vigo and the game against Borussia Monchengladbach in the Champions League."

"To lose Messi means that football loses. With Messi we are stronger, but we will continue being strong," Barcelona coach Luis Enrique was also quoted as saying by The Guardian.

Notably, Messi, who came out of international retirement and scored a winner for Argentina against Uruguay in the 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifiers on 1 September, was grappling with a similiar groin injury in his left leg and was forced to miss their next game against Venezuela.

Sergio Busquets left the field before Messi in the second half after suffering an injury to his lower leg. After the Camp Nou draw, both Barcelona and Atletico failed to capitalise on an opportunity to close in on Real Madrid's lead at the top of the league table.

Zinedine Zidane's side sit pretty with 13 points from five games despite playing out a 1-1 draw with Villarreal on Wednesday while Barcelona, who are placed fifth with 10 points, maintained their one-point lead over Atletico.

IBTimes UK