Barcelona's Lionel Messi could be out for a fortnight after club doctors confirmed the Argentine had sustained ligament damage to his right ankle in his side's 2-1 win at Atletico Madrid tonight.
Messi, 23, was stretchered off in the final minute of the match following a robust challenge from Czech defender Tomasz Ujfalusi who collected a second yellow card for his tackle.
"We are happy with the win but sad about Messi," said Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola.
"The TV pictures speak for themselves. It is not only Cristiano Ronaldo (of Real Madrid) who needs protecting. The referees should protect all the players.
"He'll be having more tests tomorrow, but in principle a break has been ruled out.
"He's injured and the doctors will tell us how he is. Let's hope the first diagnosis is correct and we can help get him fit again. He's very sad and in tears. These things happen in football."
Messi, who scored the opening goal in the Atletico win, is expected to miss league matches against Sporting Gijon, Real Mallorca and Athletic Bilbao along with the UEFA Champions League trip to Rubin Kazan on 29 September.