(GSM) – Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has admitted that injured star Lionel Messi is almost irreplaceable as the Spanish champions look to over come his temporary absence behind them.
The Argentina playmaker will miss Barca’s La Liga matches at home to Sporting Gijón on Wednesday and at Athletic Bilbao on Saturday after he was injured by a late tackle from Atlético Madrid defender Tomáš Ujfaluši at the weekend.
The World Player of the Year, who scored the opening goal in Barca’s 2-1 win at Vicente Calderón, is also doubtful for the Champions League match at Rubin Kazan on September 29.
“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,” the former Barca and Spain midfielder said.
The Spanish football federation’s disciplinary committee sanctioned Ujfaluši with a two-match ban later on Tuesday, saying he had “acted dangerously causing injury”.
The Czech, who was shown a straight red card for the challenge in added time, has apologised and said he did not deliberately hurt Messi.
“I am not a hard player,” he told a news conference on Monday. “I go in hard but always going for the ball and I give my all in every game.
“There are harder tackles than the one on Messi. The problem is that I did mine on Leo Messi.”
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