Barca optimistic about Messi, Madrid all fit for Copa semi

Match Preview - Barcelona vs R Madrid | 06 Feb 2019

Lionel Messi has been left out of Barcelona's starting lineup for Wednesday's Copa del Rey semifinal match against Real Madrid.

Messi, the all-time top-scorer in Spanish football as well as in the "Clasico", ended Barca's 2-2 draw with Valencia on Saturday with a knock.

"The most important thing is for the player to tell you that he is ready", coach Ernesto Valverde said.

He missed Barcelona's 5-1 league rout of Madrid in October because of a broken right arm. The run in the Copa Clásicos is completed by the draw in Barcelona during the second leg of the 2011/12 quarter-finals. The tie is wide open, we have really good players.

Messi, 31, last played for the national team at the 2018 World Cup, but is widely expected to make his return in March.

Meanwhile, Los Blancos reached the last four, after securing an emphatic 7-3 aggregate victory over Girona.

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The fact two teams are in such good form at the moment makes it more attractive and we're really looking forward to the game. He refuted the claim, though, that Messi's presence would have a major impact on the game.

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First half: Lucas Vazquez has given Madrid a 1-0 lead.

Bale is one of the many Madrid players who have recovered from injury in recent days, along with other forwards Mariano Diaz and Marco Asensio.

For Real Madrid, however, they have nearly a fully fit squad - only Jesus Vallejo and Luca Zidane are unavailable - and Santiago Solari has made a decision to bring 21 players to Barcelona, meaning that there will be two outfielders who will have to watch on from the stands, along with third-choice goalkeeper Diego Altube. "We are expecting them at their best".

"In a semi-final between Barca and Madrid there's no favorite".

"They are usually strong at Camp Nou, they play well here".

He has been a regular in their Copa del Rey campaign, though, meaning he could come up against Barça on Wednesday.

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