Published: Wed, February 06, 2019
Sport | By Joe Gonzales

Messi Named in Barcelona Squad for Copa Clasico

Messi Named in Barcelona Squad for Copa Clasico

For Wednesday's Copa del Rey semi-final first leg at home to rivals Real Madrid, Barcelona's shirts will include Chinese characters.

For the first 15 minutes at least, which is what the media are able to observe, the Argentine trained like usual.

The Real Madrid manager believes Cristiano Ronaldo is the best player in the world but only because Lionel Messi is playing another sport.

Ousmane Dembélé, who recently recovered from an ankle injury and is now battling tonsilitis also trained having worked out on his own on Monday.

Fatigue will obviously be a cause of major concern as the season progresses as Valverde would want a player like Messi to be at the top of his game as the business end of the season approaches.

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"I'm not big on taking risks when there are a lot of games ahead of us", said Valverde, whose side face Lyon in the Champions League later this month before a double header at the Santiago Bernabeu against Madrid.

"There is still one practice session left, we'll see how he's feeling", Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said. The tie is wide open, we have really good players. "If the league ended tomorrow, it would be a different question". "The most important thing is the player tells you he is ready".

It's not been an easy season for Real Madrid and Karim Benzema has been the focus for a lot of criticism, but he has improved a lot lately, scoring many goals, so Barca will need to be careful as he arrives in extremely confident form. "The calendar is very complicated", he said. They appear a team transformed since the 5-1 defeat by Barca in October.

Solari may not start Bale with Vinicius Junior on Wednesday as they usually play on the same part of the field and their presence could make the squad too unbalanced and more vulnerable defensively. "In October they were going through a delicate period but now they are better".

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