Pep Guardiola has admitted that Lionel Messi’s injury-enforced absence will weaken Barcelona in their coming games.
But the coach of the Spanish champions insists they have enough quality to cope without the Argentinian forward, who sustained ankle ligament damage after a heavy challenge by Atletico Madrid defender Tomas Ujfalusi at the weekend.
Guardiola will have to make do without the 23-year-old for the Primera Liga double-header this week, starting on Wednesday against Sporting Gijon and then the Athletic Bilbao clash on Saturday.
Ujfalusi has been handed a two-match suspension for his challenge on Messi.
The Barca coach admits the reigning World Player of the Year will be sorely missed over the coming weeks.
“He (Messi) has some very special talents,” Guardiola told a news conference. “He is almost irreplaceable but we’ll move on and fortunately he’s out for only a short time.”
Guardiola said Messi could return in two or three weeks but Barca would not rush him back into action.
“I don’t know if he’ll make the Rubin Kazan game. He’ll rest until he is well,” added the former Barca and Spain midfielder.
Ujfalusi has apologised for the tackle and said he did not mean to cause injury.