Barcelona got bad news on Wednesday as it lost star Lionel Messi
, who limped off with a groin injury during its game against Atletico Madrid and will be sidelined for three weeks.
Messi went down with a knee injury almost a year ago to the day. He missed five games, but Barcelona survived without him, winning four of five games and going on to win La Liga title for the eighth
time with Messi in the team.
On Wednesday, it had to settle for a 1-1 tie with Atletico and got lucky when Real Madrid drew, 1-1, at home to Villarreal, halting its run of 16 successive
league wins. It was Barcelona's good fortune that Real Madrid struggled for the first part of last season, replacing Rafa Benitez
with Zinedine Zidane
in January, and it had enough of a
lead that it could hold off Real's late charge.
Barca can't count on Real Madrid stumbling again. After Wednesday's results, Barca finds itself in third place, three points behind Real
Madrid and one behind Sevilla.
Barca got great seasons from Luis Suarez
(40 goals) and Neymar
(24) in 2015-16. What it can't afford in Messi's absence is some slack
defending like that which cost it the Atletico goal scored by young Argentina Angel Correa
-- and definitely not Suarez getting sidetracked.
After the game, the Uruguayan had harsh
words for Atletico defender Filipe Luis
, who uploaded a picture on his Instagram page of his bloodied foot bearing stud marks from a clash with Suarez.
"Soccer is for men and what
happened on the field stays on the field," Suarez said. "If every time someone got hit it was uploaded to Instagram, this would turn into a circus. I'm not going to be sending photos out after every