Barca striker Luis Suarez to miss 10-15 days with ankle sprain

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Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde admitted the brilliance of Lionel Messi transcends club rivalries after the Argentina superstar received a standing ovation from Real Betis fans.

Luis Suarez picked up an injury on Sunday evening, as his Barcelona side beat Real Betis 4-1. A single consolation goal for the hosts came from Loren Morón eight minutes from time, just three minutes before Messi's latest stroke of genius. After the hour mark, Suarez turned scorer, before Messi's physics-defying chip from just outside the edge of the area curled over the keeper and clip in off the bar which precipitated cheers even from home fans, who nearly in unison serenaded Messi with chants and a standing ovation.

The Barca boss told Movistar Partidazo after the game: "Leo's match has been extraordinary". "We did not want them to take control, in the first game they passed us, when they scored four goals".

"It's evidence of the player he is".

"It's significant that they gave him this ovation, it's an acknowledgment".

Messi admits he can not recall ever receiving such a reception from rival fans and thanked the Betis supporters.

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Image PA

"No, I can't remember that happening before".

"We were playing against a team that treats the ball very well but the coach read the game perfectly from a tactical point of view".

"After the result of Atletico Madrid, the three points against Betis were very important", Valverde said.

Messi opened the scoring in the 18th minute with a brilliant 25-yard free-kick before linking up well with Luis Suarez to make it 2-0 on the stroke of half-time.

Barcelona have confirmed a 10-15 day absence for the 32-year-old, ruling him out of Uruguay's forthcoming participation in the China Cup friendly tournament. "We knew that we had a good opportunity to put a little distance between ourselves and Atlético and we couldn't fail", he was quoted as saying.

Messi's first goal was the product of a foul by Andres Guardado on Arthur that gifted Argentina forward a free kick ideal for his preferred left foot _ just slightly outside the semi-circle atop the area.

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