Messi under injury cloud ahead of Copa Clasico

Messi under injury cloud ahead of Copa Clasico

Messi under injury cloud ahead of Copa Clasico

"If La Liga ended tomorrow or if it was our last game, maybe [I would take a risk]. but if a player has an injury, whether it's Messi or not, I prefer to be careful".

"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", said Solari.

"Fixtures lists are always hard at this time of year, throughout January, and with this semi-final with two top-level games, league games and the Champions League starting soon, we all need to be careful", Valverde added.

Barca's French forward Ousmane Dembele is unlikely to be fit for the game, as he is still recovering from a hamstring injury.

A semi-final against Madrid adds to a complicated fixture list for Barca, but Valverde feels a busy schedule should not be used as an excuse for either side.

Now, they are looking to end FC Barcelona's run of four consecutive Copa del Rey triumphs.

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The last time one of the Clasico clubs did not win the competition was in 2012-13 when Atletico Madrid beat city rivals Real, while the last time one of the two giants did not participate in the final was during the 2009-10 season when Sevilla lifted the trophy.

"We did not play well in the first half but then we showed our character and we dominated", said Barca midfielder Ivan Rakitic. "The most important thing is the player tells you he is ready".

Solari did not want to generate more noise than necessary by leaving out two players, and he will instead make his decision two hours before the game, which is when he will announce the starting line-up prior to Madrid travelling to the Camp Nou.

But Barcelona face a crucial test as they will play against Real Madrid three times in the span of a month amidst their Champions League fixtures.

"Real Madrid usually play well at the Camp Nou", Valverde said. "We expect the best version of Madrid on Wednesday, as we have seen in recent weeks".

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