Barcelona star Lionel Messi might be out for a month after aggravating the calf injury which had kept him out from the first two games of the season.
After returning from Copa America duties with Argentina earlier in the summer, Messi picked up a calf problem in his very first training session with FC Barcelona.
While at the time it was thought that the injury wasn't particularly severe – with a Barcelona based news outlet claiming that Messi was targeting to make a comeback in the first game of La Liga – injury forced the 32-year-old to watch the first two games of the season from the stands.
And now, with Messi reportedly aggravating his calf problem, it seems that it might be some time before Barcelona fans could see the Argentine back in action.
International break might save Barcelona
While having the best player on the planet ruled out for a month would hit any team hard, Barcelona fans could take solace from the fact that Messi's injury won't hit the squad that hard due to the upcoming international break.
After Barcelona's next game against Osasuna at the weekend, there won't be any club football for a fortnight, with international teams locking horns with each other.
That is good news for the Barcelona faithful as even if the news is true and Messi is out for a month, the fact that one of the four weeks will be consumed by the international break means that the Argentine would at least miss one less game for the Catalans.
Still, despite beating Real Betis with a comfortable 5-2 margin last weekend, Ernesto Valverde knows that his team could ill-afford to play without Messi for a substantial amount of time.
Who will take Messi's position in Barcelona starting XI?
Based on how the team has lined up for its opening two games of the La Liga season, it seems that it would be 21-year-old Carels Perez who would play on the right flank in the Argentine's absence.
After getting only 14 minutes of action in Barcelona's opening game defeat against Athletic Bilbao, Perez was named in the starting XI by manager Ernesto Valverde as the Barcelona manager looked to the youth to solve his injury problems.
The 21-year-old made good of his chance as he scored a goal before being subbed off for 16-year-old Ansu Fati in the 78th minute.
Conversely, if Ernesto Valverde decides against this option, he might have to shift new signing Antoine Griezmann to the right considering the fact that Ousmanne Dembele, who is seen as a more natural right winger, is once again injured.
Ligalive Infographics: Player Performance; Premier League Season 2018/19