Zidane - Messi absence weakens Barca
La Liga, Updated:
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Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane believes rivals Barcelona have been weakened following the injury suffered by Lionel Messi.
The Argentina international suffered a groin injury during Barca's 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid on Wednesday and he is expected to be out of action for around three weeks.
The Catalan giants are already three points behind Real in the early La Liga standings and Zidane believes the defending champions will be considerably weakened during Messi's enforced absence.
"They are weakened, definitely," Zidane said. Not too much, but Messi is Messi with what he brings to their side. Their side is definitely different when he is not there."
The former France international is pleased with his own striking options, however, as Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale played together for the first time in the league this season during the midweek draw with Villarreal.
"They are in good shape," Zidane added. "They could be better, perhaps yes. They can all score goals and can all score two or three goals but I'm happy with the way they are working."
Los Blancos will be hoping to consolidate their position at the top of the La Liga standings when they take on Las Palmas at Estadio Gran Canaria on Saturday.