Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar are set to miss the Catalan Super Cup between Barcelona and Espanyol on Tuesday night (25 October) having received a three-day break following the weekend's 3-2 victory over Valencia. Manager Luis Enrique has decided to give most of his starters at Mestalla a rest amid the injury situation at the Nou Camp, after Andres Iniesta became the latest major star to join the growing list of casualties, going down with a serious knee injury during the game.
The Catalans managed to secure the three points in a thrilling game at Valencia, with Messi scoring an injury-time penalty to keep Barcelona just two points behind leaders Real Madrid in the La Liga table. However, the win came at a costly price for the reigning champions after their captain was forced off early in the game following a tackle from Enzo Perez.
Barcelona later confirmed fans' worst fears, with the 32-year-old midfielder expected to be on the sidelines for between six and eight weeks, having damaged the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee.
The blow came just days after Barcelona lost key players Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba during the Champions League victory over Manchester City, with the duo expected to be out of action for around three and two weeks respectively.
With Jasper Cillessen also out, the news has left the Barcelona treatment room overcrowded ahead of a busy run of fixtures, which sees the Catalans facing key games away at Manchester City (1 November) and Sevilla (6 November).
Luis Enrique has thus decided to give a break to some of his key players, meaning that he will need to deploy a line-up full of fringe players in the Catalan Super Cup game against Espanyol.
The club have confirmed that Messi, Suarez, Neymar, Ivan Rakitic, Neymar, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Lucas Digne, Javier Mascherano, Sergi Roberto, Sergio Busquets and Samuel Umtiti will be off until Thursday, when they will rejoin the rest of the group to begin preparations for the La Liga game with Granada on Saturday (29 October).
Andre Gomes is the only starter at Valencia who trained on Monday. The Portuguese summer signing is still adapting to the Barcelona's style and is expected to play a key role in the coming games to cover Iniesta's absence in the middle of the park.