Barcelona forward Lionel Messi will be out of action for three weeks after suffering a groin strain in the 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid on 21 September.

Messi, 29, was forced off in the 59th minute of the La Liga clash at Camp Nou and was replaced by Arda Turan, minutes after Sergio Busquets hobbled off with a knock to be replaced by Andre Gomes.

A statement on Barcelona's website said the Argentina international would miss the league games against Sporting Gijon and Celta Vigo and the Champions League clash against Borussia Monchengladbach.

He should return in time for the Catalan club's meeting with Manchester City at Camp Nou on 19 October.

Messi was diagnosed with a muscle injury before the international break but he played in Argentina's 1-0 win against Uruguay on 1 September.

He played the full 90 minutes for Barcelona in the games against Celtic and Leganes last week.

'Barca deserved three points'

Ivan Rakitic nodded in Andres Iniesta's cross to give Barcelona the lead against Atletico late on in the first half, but the visitors hit back through Angel Correa in the 61st minute.

Neither side was able to find a winner and close the gap on La Liga leaders Real Madrid, who had played out a 1-1 draw with Villarreal earlier in the evening.

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi has featured in all five of Barcelona's league games this season Reuters

"We deserved to win based on our approach and how we played. But in football other factors are at play," Barca boss Luis Enrique told the club's website.

"We had few scoring chances because our opponents didn't allow us to get them.

"We're the best team attacking close to the goal and they're the best team defending close to the goal."

He added: "When Leo left the game it got a little more difficult for us. Last year he had a longer injury and we overcame it.

"With Leo we're stronger, but we'll continue to be strong."