FC Barcelona Sweating On Lionel Messi's Fitness For Copa Del Rey
07 February, 2019, 00:39 | Author: Lula Armstrong
La Liga leaders Barcelona will welcome arch-rivals Real Madrid to Camp Nou on Wednesday evening to contest the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final showdown.
The Barcelona superstar suffered a thigh injury Saturday in the draw with Valencia but he practiced with his teammates Tuesday.
He returned to training with the team on Tuesday and had been doubtful for the first leg of the semifinals against Madrid.
Messi has been in typically imperious form this season, netting almost 30 goals in all competitions but Valverde says that Barcelona have enough firepower in their arsenal to overcome Real Madrid even if their captain isn't on the field.
Ricardo De Burgos Bengoetxea will be the referee for Wednesday's, February mouthwatering Copa Del Rey El Clasico pitting Barcelona against Real Madrid.
"It's an open tie, we have great players and they do too, some of the best in the world".
But this is the first of three games between Barcelona and Real Madrid over the next 24 days, with the second leg of the semi-final and the LaLiga clash - both at the Bernabeu - still to come.
"The most important thing is that the player tells you he's able to play".
Real Madrid's Welshman Gareth Bale starts on the bench as Los Blancos go for a front three of Lucas Vazquez, Karim Benzema and exciting teenage prospect Vinicius Junior. "It's one of the hardest parts of the job for a coach". "If the league ended tomorrow, it would be a different question".
Ousmane Dembele is close to recovering from an ankle injury.
It would also be hard to leave out Vinicius, who has taken full advantage of Bale's absences to become a regular starter and a popular player with Madrid fans.
Valverde can only name 18 players in his final match day squad, though, so one player will have to miss out. The 18-year-old Brazilian has added flair to the attack.
"Real Madrid usually play well at the Camp Nou", Valverde said.
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