BARCELONA, Spain – After losing Neymar for good, Barcelona will also face the first month of the Spanish league season without Luis Suarez.
Barcelona said Thursday that Suarez will be sidelined for four weeks after medical tests revealed a knee injury in his right leg.
That will rule him of Sunday’s league opener against Real Betis, and the following matches against Alaves and Espnayol. The club said he could also miss the match again Getafe after the international break.
Suarez was injured in the final minutes of Wednesday’s 2-0 loss at Real Madrid in the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup. After running into goalkeeper Keylor Navas, Suarez writhed in pain but remained in the game and was limping by the final whistle. Madrid won 5-1 on aggregate.
Suarez has scored 148 goals in the Spanish league, the Champions League and the Copa del Rey in his three seasons at Barcelona. He led the Spanish league in scoring with 40 goals in 2015-16.
Barcelona is planning to rely on the 30-year-old Suarez to keep up that level of production to help Lionel Messi overcome the loss of Brazil striker Neymar, who bolted for Paris Saint-Germain on a world-record transfer earlier this month.
Barcelona struggled to produce goals without Neymar in its Super Cup loss to Madrid.
The injury is also a blow for Uruguay, with Suarez set to miss its next two World Cup qualifiers on Aug. 31 against Argentina and Sept. 5 at Paraguay. Uruguay is currently third in the South American qualifying group, tied on points with Chile and one point ahead of Argentina. The top four finishers qualify for the 2018 World Cup, while the fifth-place team enters a playoff.
Barcelona also said that defender Gerard Pique, who was substituted during the second half of Wednesday’s match, has a muscle injury in his left leg. It said the speed of his recovery will determine if he can play against Betis.
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