El Clásico: Messi in squad for Copa clash with Madrid
Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde has named Lionel Messi in his squad to play Real Madrid, after the Argentine makes full recovery from a muscle injury.
Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde has been able to call upon captain Lionel Messi for the Copa del Rey semi-final clash with Real Madrid on Wednesday, after his inclusion had been in doubt due to injury.
Concerns had been raised about the Argentine’s fitness for the crucial el Clásico clash after he received a blow to the leg from Toni Lato during Barcelona’s 2-2 draw with Valencia on Saturday night.
But after completing a full training session with his team mates on Tuesday evening without any issues, Valverde has decided to include Messi in his match day squad for first leg of the semi-final tie. However it remains to be known if the striker will be named in the coach’s starting eleven or feature off the bench.
Messi’s inclusion will come as a big boost for Barcelona, who still managed to beat Madrid 5-1 when the teams last met in October, despite the absence of their Argentine talisman on that occasion through injury. However, Valverde has said he expects a much better version of the Madrid that travelled to Camp Nou a little over four months ago.
Meanwhile, Ousmane Dembélé has been left out of the Blaugrana squad due to an ankle issue he has failed to completely shake off. After having trained alone on Monday, the Frenchman re-joined the group for Tuesday’s session. But Barcelona’s fitness coaches have deemed him not ready to return to action for Wednesday’s clash with Los Blancos.
Barcelona squad for Real Madrid clash:
Goalkeepers: Ter Stegen, Peña
Defenders: Semedo, Sergi Roberto, Piqué, Lenglet, Murillo, Vermaelen, Jordi Alba.
Midfielders: Rakitic, Busquets, Arthur, Vidal, Aleñá.
Strikers: Coutinho, Messi, Suárez, Malcom, Boateng.