Barcelona won't take Lionel Messi 'risks' despite Copa del Rey squad inclusion

Barcelona won't take Lionel Messi 'risks' despite Copa del Rey squad inclusion

Barcelona won't take Lionel Messi 'risks' despite Copa del Rey squad inclusion

Isco has instead had to settle for starts in cup competitions and cameo appearances from the bench in the Spanish top flight, leading to rumours that he will be on his way out in the summer.

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.

Real Madrid's will be without defender Jesus Vallejo in an otherwise fully fit squad. Some clever play down the left flank from the in form Vinicius Jr allowed him to find Karim Benzema at the far post, who squared the ball to the on-rushing Lucas Vasquez for a simple finish.

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. The result led to Julen Lopetegui's dismissal as Real Madrid coach and Santiago Solari's installment in the role.

"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".

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Barcelona entered the second period facing the prospect of yet another Copa Del Rey first leg defeat, but the floundering Malcom would draw his side level just before the hour mark.

"It was already complicated in January but with this semi-final at a very high level, more league games, more games in the Champions League knock-out stages, we have to walk a fine line".

Valverde said his team won't change the way it plays if Messi is absent, and that his participation shouldn't be seen as a key factor.

Bookmaker companies consider Barça the favorites in this clash. The forward was then included in the squad announced at 1900 GMT on Tuesday.

The former Madrid player and Castilla youth team coach was happier to go along with local reporters who suggested that La Liga's authorities had favoured Barca by giving them an extra day to prepare for both Wednesday's first leg and the return at the Bernabeu on February 27.

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