5 Barcelona players who must step up in Lionel Messi's absence

Barcelona returned to their winning ways with an unconvincing yet valuable 2-1 home victory over Las Palmas on Saturday. However, not a single one of the 99,000 supporters who attended the game at the Camp Nou left the stadium with a smile.

Their beloved Lionel Messi had to be taken off on a stretcher after just three minutes on the pitch, and judging by his teammates' reaction as soon as the injury happened, the No. 10 was inevitably destined for a long spell away from football.

The early fears were confirmed shortly after; Messi's collision with Pedro Bigas inside the 18-yard box resulted in a torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee.

READ the full "Lionel Messi injury places even more pressure on Neymar and Co. at Barca" column by Francesc Tomas for ESPN here.