HÉRCULES - BARCELONA

Dalmau: "Messi is the essence of football, he is football"

Hércules host Barcelona in Wednesday's Copa del Rey 4th Round tie and the former blaugrana defender is hoping Luis Enrique fields a weaker side. Barcelona-Alaves live

Dalmau con el Hércules
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Barcelona-Hércules Live

Aiming high

Albert Dalmau will get the chance to meet his old club when Hércules welcome Barcelona to the José Rico Pérez for their Copa del Rey 4th Round first leg. The defender, who spent his younger years learning his trade in La Masía, hopes that Leo Messi will be rested for the first leg and if the Argentine is left at home, Hércules will concentrate on winning the first game of the tie.

Hércules lost 3-0 to Alcoyano at the weekend.

The Alicante-based outfit are currently sixth in their group in Spain's third tier, the Segunda División B and go into Wednesday's match on a low ebb after losing 3-0 away at Alcoyano on Sunday. Dalmau insists that the team will lift their spirits in time for the Barça game. "I don't see it as a bad time for us to meet Barcelona - quite the opposite. The sooner, the better in my opinion because it will give us the chance to react. We're not in the best moment but this game will give us a chance to recover some of the confidence we've lost, by putting in a good job on Wednesday night, we can build for the future", the full-back told EFE.

El Clásico three days later

Dalmau is sure that Barça will not be affected or distracted by Saturday's clash with Real Madrid. "In contrast to us, the moment they are in won't affect them as much. And besides, we have to think about us, not them. If we can do a good job on Wednesday, that will help us to win our next league match. But we will be trying to beat Barcelona - you never know... Of course they are the big favourites but anything can happen in a game of football and while we only have a small possibility of beating them, the possibility is still there".

The defender says he is looking forward to seeing Luis Enrique, who coached him in the B team, and Sergi Roberto "a player who has been very patient, and who has known how to take full advantage of the opportunities the coach has given him".

Messi could be rested

As for Leo Messi, Dalmau said that while part of him hopes the Argentinean won't feature in the first leg, he is a huge fan: "Messi is football. He is the very essence of the game. And when he calls time on his career, he is going to leave a massive vacuum in football. I'd be delighted to see him, but I hope this time he doesn't play".