Barcelona vs Real Madrid preview: EL Clasico Lionel Messi a doubt for Copa del Rey clash
Lionel Messi is a doubt for Barcelona as they prepare to host El Clasico rivals Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey semi-finals on Wednesday.
It is unclear whether Messi – the all-time Clasico; top scorer – will be fit for the game after ending Barcelona’s 2-2 draw with Valencia at the weekend with a knock.
Messi; was out with a broken arm in the last Clasico in October, but Barcelona barely missed him, thrashing Real 5-1 in what proved to be Julen Lopetegui’s last game in charge of Real.
“There is still one practice session left, we’ll see how he’s feeling,” Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said. “We’ll see if he can complete the session if he will show that he is in condition to play. We’ll make a decision based on that. If it was the last match tomorrow than it would be different.”
Real coach Santiago Solari; hopes the Barcelona captain is fit to face his side in the first leg for the good of the game but added the Argentine’s presence would not affect his game plan.
“It’s always good when the best players get to play every game, but whether or not he plays will not influence the way we prepare for the game at all,” Solari said.
“It’s harder to pick a team when everyone is available, but the important thing is that every player puts their talent, ability, and effort at the service of the team.”
Barcelona forward; Ousmane Dembele; is unlikely to be fit for the game, as he is still recovering from a hamstring injury.
Solari, meanwhile, has practically a full squad at his disposal – including the in-form Karim Benzema and fully fit Gareth Bale – with only little-used defender Jesus Vallejo unavailable.