Manuel Friedrich and Michal Kadlec were forced to auction the Messi shirts they received from the four-time World Player of the Year for charity by Voeller after fighting over the right to take the souvenir home three years ago.
Barcelona’s Twitter feed later confirmed that Messi had torn the internal collateral ligament of his left knee. That sort of injury usually requires a recovery period of between seven and eight weeks. In October, Barcelona has Argentina’s World Cup qualifying matches against Ecuador and Paraguay and a return to La Liga against Rayo Vallecano which will all be played without Lionel Messi.
Known as a durable player unafraid of tough tacklers, Messi was limited by a persistent series of hamstring injuries during 2013, but returned to his best form last season and scored 58 goals.
Suarez set up Neymar to get another goal when Las Palmas defender Antolin Alcaraz handled his lofted ball in the area, only for the Brazil striker to fire his spot kick over the bar.
Luis Enrique rejected the idea that his team would have to “survive” without Messi.
Forward Sergio Busquets added: “The worst news is the injury to our best man. He asked to be changed because something was wrong, he doesn’t like not to play”.
Barcelona should have doubled their lead shortly after when Suarez and Neymar charged toward the visitors’ goal, but the former Liverpool man’s pass toward the Brazilian lacked accuracy and Bigas got back in time to clear the danger.
Villarreal’s players celebrate their victory over Atletico Madrid after their Spanish first division soccer match at the Madrigal stadium in Villarreal, Spain, September 26, 2015.
Such an absence could see Messi, who has scored six goals in all competitions so far this term, miss his side’s next 10 outings including the first “El Clasico” derby of the season against fierce rivals Real Madrid in late November.
“This team will cope fine and will deal with this”.
Despite the blow of losing their talisman, Bartra is determined that the European champions will prove their mettle when Leverkusen visit Camp Nou on Tuesday for the second game of the Champions League group stage after they drew their opener 1-1 at Roma.
“We have to improve our performances, this is something we can do”.
“I was especially pleased that we gave the opposition hardly any chances and it is important for us that Lars Bender is fit”, said Schmidt.