Real Madrid - Copa del Rey - 6 February 2019

May JohnsonFeb 07, 2019

The second El Clasico of the season has kicked off with Barcelona hosting Real Madrid on Wednesday in the first leg of a Copa del Rey semifinal battle.

Messi picked up an unspecified injury in his right leg during Saturday's 2-2 draw with Valencia in the Spanish league.

The good news for Barca is that Ousmane Dembele was also able to train after suffering from a twisted ankle and flu, but Jasper Cillessen is likely to miss out through injury with Marc Andre Ter Stegen making a rare cup appearance.

'It's an open tie, we have great players but they do too, some of the best in the world'. "If Messi is fit he'll play and if he isn't in shape, he won't", commented Valverde. Barca have indicated they will not risk their captain with a gruelling month ahead.

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He was out with a broken arm the last time Spain's two biggest clubs met, back in October. However, he completed Tuesday's session and was named among the 19 players called up for the first leg of the semifinal tie at Camp Nou. "It's one of the hardest parts of the job for a coach".

Benzema and Vinicius have wreaked havoc thus far.

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. "If the league ended tomorrow, it would be a different question". The French striker has 18 goals, six more than he had in all of last season. Vinicius plays better at the Bernabeu.

Barcelona are among the clubs to have been linked with a move for the 26-year-old, along with the likes of Manchester City and Juventus, and Bartomeu would be happy to negotiate a deal with opposite number Florentino Perez.

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