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Lionel Messi played injured in El Clásico

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This explains a lot.

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno

Two days after Barcelona's defeat at the hands of Real Madrid, reports are leaking out that Lionel Messi played El Clásico with a sprained ankle. Spanish newspaper El Confidencial claims that he took a pain injection before the match to be able to play, and Sport reports that they've confirmed that through their own sources.

If this is true, it certainly explains a lot about Messi's performance in the match. His most notable contribution to the game was a surprising miss from close range in the 25th minute, when his team was leading 1-0 and could have taken control of the match. Afterwards, he was largely anonymous and struggled to make an impact, despite Real Madrid playing with only two midfielders, neither of whom is much of a ball-winner.

Barcelona have yet to confirm Messi's injury, and there's no information yet about whether he will miss any time going forward. Barcelona's next match is on Saturday, against Celta Vigo.