(CNN) — Missing Lionel Messi, La Liga winner Barcelona stumbled on a 1-0 defeat by Athletic Bilbao on Friday as the Spanish league season got underway in thrilling fashion.
Messi sustained a calf injury throughout pre-season and without the Argentine, Barca looked distinctly ordinary as replacement Aritz Adurizs stunning volley from the games closing minutes sealed Bilbaos shock win.
The contest has put us at our place, Barca defender Gerard Pique told Bloomberg. We werent us.
Season, Barcelona coasted losing only three times and finished 11 points clear. Messi was the leagues top scorer with 34 goals.
But went right for the Spanish winner on Friday. Barca striker Luis Suarez, who scored 33 goals last year, hit the pole from the first half but shortly limped off with the injury.
Tests completed on Saturday morning have verified that first team participant Luis Su??rez has an injured right calf, said Barcas site on Saturday. His recovery will dictate that his return to action.
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Antoine Griezmann and frenkie de Jong made their debuts but it had been the Aduriz who delivered the game finale.
Sometimes soccer can be so beautiful, Aduriz told reporters. It will be impossible to not miss this but what has a beginning and an end. I am incredibly grateful to be able to select this end.
Bilbao, who finished last year, were well worth their triumph with striker Inaki Williams troubling the Barca defense.
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Meanwhile, the Barca and Bayern Munich have reached agreement to Philippe Coutinhos transfer to the Bundesliga team.
With Bayern having an choice to make the deal permanent to your 27-year-old forward, the Brazil will join to a loan.
We have watched Coutinho for quite a while. The name doesnt matter, just the caliber, Bayern chief Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told the club website after the 2-2 draw with Hertha BSC at Fridays Bundesliga opening match.
Obviously we still have to finalise a few details, but were thrilled to be bringing this participant to Bayern, additional Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic.
After filming at the English Premier League coutinho, who joined Barcelona for a reported $170 million from 2018 in Liverpool, has fought to make an impact in Spain.
When he chose to 16, he became the next most expensive player in history.