Messi to miss El Clasico with fractured arm

Asensio and Busquets

Lionel Messi will be out of action for three weeks after he fractured his right arm during Barcelona's 4-2 Spanish La Liga win over Sevilla, the league leaders confirmed.

Messi had set up the opener before doubling the score, but his evening took a sudden turn for the worse in the 23rd minute when he fell awkwardly under an innocuous challenge from Franco Vazquez. Suarez buried the penalty.

"It is clear it is a blow", Barca coach Ernesto Valverde said.

Sevilla need just a point to replace Alaves at the top of the table, while Barcelona will move into pole position if they win.

Julen Lopetegui is under intense pressure at the Bernabeu after Madrid's third defeat on the bounce to Levante. Marcelo pulled one back in the 72nd. It still created enough chances, striking the woodwork three times and having a goal by Mariano Diaz disallowed for offside in the final minutes.

Madrid finished with 70 per cent possession and more than 30 attempts. Barcelona, meanwhile, seem to have sparked a rival.

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After joining Real Madrid for a then-world-record fee in 2009, Cristiano Ronaldo played in all 18 La Liga matches against Barcelona, scoring nine goals.

Barca face Inter Milan in the Champions League on Wednesday, before hosting Real next Sunday.

Atletico struggled against Villarreal and goalkeeper Jan Oblak pulled off hard saves to keep Diego Simeone's team from defeat.

Villarreal, 14th in the standings, remained winless after six home matches in all competitions this season.

That was on December 23, 2007, with Messi winning 1-0 thanks to Julio Baptista's goal.

Barcelona put the game beyond Sevilla in the 63rd minute, however, when Luis Suarez, who had been fouled by Vaclik inside the Sevilla box, converted from the penalty spot.

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