FC Barcelona captain Luis Enrique will not play again before the new year because of an achilles tendon injury.
Missing since October
The 32-year-old originally suffered the injury in the 2-1 defeat by Real Valladolid on 20 October. He started the 6-1 victory over Deportivo Alavés the following week, scoring one goal, but was taken off at half-time and has not played since.
Misses two Group A matches
Luis Enrique will miss Barça's opening two UEFA Champions League second group stage matches, away to Bayer 04 Leverkusen on Wednesday and at home to Newcastle United FC on 10 December, as well as their next four Primera División fixtures.
The decision not to rush the former Spanish international's return is to avoid the risk of a rupture of the tendon. Club doctor Ricard Pruna suggested the player needed a "second pre-season" and said: "When a player gets to a certain age and his problems persist, you cannot rush things nor be too brave, because the problem can become chronic and you might do serious damage."
However, Luis Enrique should be completely recovered by the time Louis van Gaal's side resume their Champions League campaign in February with a Group A game away to Internazionale FC.
Luis Enrique started the season in impressive form, scoring twice in three Champions League games, as well as five goals in Barça's opening seven league games. In his absence, they have slipped to tenth place in the Primera División table.
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