Will Barcelona wilt in the Champions League without Messi?

Lionel Messi’s injury leaves Barcelona with a large hole in their forward line – although history suggests his absence may not be as much of a worry as first thought.
Messi fractured the radial bone in his right arm after falling awkwardly in the 4-2 victory against Sevilla on Saturday and he is set to be sidelined for around three weeks.

He is therefore set to miss a Clasico for the first time since 2007 this coming Sunday, as well as the Champions League double-header against Inter Milan.
The Argentinian has been such a phenomenon at the Nou Camp through the years, breaking an assortment of records, the worry is that sitting out a few crucial games could significantly impact Barca’s progress this season.

But does the data suggest they should be concerned?

The Catalan giants, currently sitting at the top of LaLiga, have pointed out that previous instances of Messi being injured, suspended or rested have not led to a slump in team form.
Indeed, in the 61 games in all competitions Messi has missed since the 2010-11 season, Barcelona have won 49 times, with six draws and as many defeats.
Barcelona’s total win percentage in the Champions League with Messi in their ranks stands at 60 per cent, with 78 victories in 131 matches, as well as 33 draws and 20 losses.
However, since Messi’s debut in December 2004, on the rare European nights where he has not been included, that figure leaps up to 77 per cent with 17 wins in 22 games and only three defeats.

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