FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi looks painful injured during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Sevilla at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

Lionel Messi was substituted following an injury during Barcelona’s La Liga match against Sevilla at the Camp Nou on Saturday. The 31-year-old, five-time Ballon d’Or winner suffered an elbow injury shortly after putting the Blaugrana 2-0 up.

The injury was later revealed to be a fracture of the radial bone that will force Messi to miss extended time:

The prolific No. 10 was later seen having his arm strapped up on the touchline before Frenchman Ousmane Dembele entered the fray:

Messi could now be set to miss pivotal matches, both domestically and in the UEFA Champions League:

Manager Ernesto Valverde will hope Messi isn’t out for long. He remains the inspiration in attacking areas for a team struggling to hit the heights of last season, when they lost just one match on their way to the league title.

Barca can go top with a win over Sevilla, but the champions have appeared vulnerable already during this campaign. The Blaugrana have lost once and drawn three matches even with Messi in the lineup.

Dembele has the pace and vision to be an asset alongside Suarez in the final third, but Messi remains the team’s creative spark. His eye for a pass and ability to conjure goals from nothing give Barca the edge in most matches.

Bitter rivals Real Madrid are struggling for form but will receive a massive confidence boost if Messi is not fit enough for next Sunday’s Clasico at the Camp Nou. Meanwhile, Wednesday’s visit from Inter Milan will suddenly appear a daunting fixture without Barca’s main man leading the line.

Valverde will know his squad is not strong enough to maintain a credible challenge on all fronts without its best player.

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