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Rediff.com  » Sports » Messi injury a worry for Barca and Argentina

Messi injury a worry for Barca and Argentina

Last updated on: September 23, 2016 09:55 IST

Lionel Messi

IMAGE: FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi. Photograph: Denis Doyle/Getty Images

The rest of Barcelona's squad will have to do "a little bit more" to make up for the absence of five-times World Player of the Year Lionel Messi for the next three weeks, according to captain Andres Iniesta.

The Argentina forward faces a long time on the sidelines after sustaining a groin injury in Wednesday's 1-1 La Liga draw with Atletico Madrid.

"There's no question we are stronger with Messi," Iniesta told Cadena Cope radio ahead of Saturday's match at Sporting Gijon.

"When these things happen we all have to give a little bit more.

"We lost two points against Atletico and we have to make sure we don't throw away any more."

Third-placed Barca, who won eight of their 10 games when a knee injury kept Messi out for two months last season, are three points behind La Liga leaders Real Madrid.

Meanwhile, Argentina coach Edgardo Bauza launched a stinging attack on Barcelona on Thursday after losing star forward Messi for vital World Cup qualifiers against Peru and Paraguay next month.

"They send us messages to look after Messi but they don't protect him. He plays every match," Bauza, who said his team would nevertheless cope, told Fox Sports.

"We've already played without Messi. Having him is an advantage for the problems he creates (for opponents). But for me as coach and for the team it's a challenge if we have to play without him."

Argentina are third in the South American World Cup qualifying group, one point behind leaders Uruguay. They play Peru in Lima on October 6 before hosting Paraguay on October 11 in Cordoba.

Only the top four teams in CONMEBOL qualifying earn an automatic place at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. 

AGENCIES