Barcelona v Real Madrid: Barca wait until the last moment & # 39; about Lionel Messi fitness



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Lionel Messi suffered a thigh injury in Barcelona's draw with Valencia

Barcelona have called Lionel Messi on the team to face Real Madrid on Wednesday in the first leg of the King's Cup semi-final, but will "wait until the last minute" to decide whether to play.

The Argentine returned to training on Tuesday after suffering a thigh contusion in Saturday's 2-2 draw with Valencia.

"It is true that sometimes we have doubts with the players and we wait until the last moment," said coach Ernesto Valverde.

"It's the same with Messi."

Wednesday's draw at the Nou Camp will be the first of three at El Clasico in 25 days, with the second leg Wednesday, February 27, and a La Liga meeting on Saturday, March 2.

Striker Ousmane Dembele also should not be fit for the first match at Camp Nou, as he is still recovering from a tendon injury.

Real Madrid have all available in addition to defender Jesus Vallejo, who is out with a muscle problem.

No Messi, no problem

Messi's pedigree is undeniable and he is the greatest scorer of all time in this event with 25 goals.

However, the 31-year-old striker lost the last meeting between the two teams in October, with a broken arm, as Luis Suarez's hat-trick led Barça to a 5-1 victory.

Barcelona also have a higher average number of goals without him against their fierce opponents than when they are on the pitch, despite having been absent in just three games.

Barcelona are about to embark on a series of championship games at Athletic Bilbao, Sevilla and Real in the next four weeks, as well as two Champions League games against Lyon.

However, a suitable and available Messi is clearly preferable to La Liga leaders who are giving their captain the time he needs to prove his good form.

Messi missed training on Monday, but during a 15-minute open session the next day, a smiling Messi was seen doing light jogging and taking part in a relaxing ball session.

Is the tide changing at the Bernabeu?

The Real was in disarray after the last meeting between the two Spanish giants, when Barça returned to the top of the table, seven points ahead of ninth placed Madrid.

Julen Lopetegui lost his job the next day with the holders of the Champions League, due to his dismissal of a "great disproportion between the quality of Real Madrid's staff and the results."

Julen Lopetegui, former Real Madrid coach, was fired on October 29, 2018

However, Los Blancos climbed to third in the table – eight points behind Barcelona – having won the last four league games, and they are only two games in the Cup final.

Whether it's a sign of challenge or just a tempting fate, coach Santiago Solari says he hopes Messi will be ready for the first match.

"It's always good when the best players start playing all the games, but whether or not they play will not influence the way we prepare for the game," said Solari.

With only Vallejo unavailable to visitors, Solari said: "It's harder to pick a team when everyone is available, but the important thing is for each player to put their talent, ability and effort into the service of the team."

Real Estate and Barca

Barcelona have a strong influence in this competition, having won the last four finals to bring the total number of Copa del Rey wins to 30 – more than any other.

Real are the third most successful club, having won the trophy 19 times, although they won the title for the last time in 2014.

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

2018-19 continues this trend, with one of the two Spanish giants secured a place in the final for the ninth consecutive year.

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