Barcelona seem set to be without star man Lionel Messi for the El Clasico showdown with fierce rivals Real Madrid later this month.
The Argentine forward has been missing since sustaining a knee injury in the win over Las Palmas at the end of September.
It had initially been hoped Messi would be fit for the trip to Madrid on November 21 but Barcelona-based publication SPORT say the 28-year-old’s recovery is behind schedule and they claim he will miss the El Clasico as a result.
Barcelona have been in fine form in Messi’s absence with six wins from eight games and they are second in the standings, level on points with table toppers Real.
Luis Suarez and Neymar have impressed during Messi’s time in the treatment room with 14 goals between them, but the fact he is missing for El Clasico will come as a big blow to the Camp Nou outfit regardless.
Barca host BATE Borisov in the Champions League on Wednesday and Suarez is 3.20 to score the first goal of the game, while Barcelona are 4.00 to win the tournament outright.
Messi’s injury will also see him miss Argentina’s World Cup qualifiers against Brazil and Colombia.
Argentina are already in a precarious position in terms of qualification for the 2018 World Cup as they have managed just one point from two games to date, having drawn with Paraguay and lost to Ecuador.