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Barcelona vs Real Madrid

Barcelona - Real Madrid: Messi "100% fit" but starts on the bench

Messi on the bench

ALBERT GEA

REUTERS

The Barcelona superstar forward will start this evening’s Copa del Rey Clásico on the touchlines after picking up a knock against Valencia.

Leo Messi will start tonight’s Barcelona - Real Madrid Copa del Rey semi-final on the bench, having taken a knock to his right thigh in a collision with Valencia left-back Toni Lato in the LaLiga match at the Camp Nou on Saturday.

According to Barcelona director Guillermo Amor, Messi is "100%" fit, but the club decided not risk playing him, due to the fact he's coming back from a knock.

Messi suffering pain ahead of Clásico

The Barcelona squad had Sunday off after the Valencia game and Messi rested at home, with a visit from the Barça medical team. The Argentinean was still experiencing pain on Monday morning when he arrived at the Barcelona training facilities for tests, and the sluggish rate of improvement meant his absence from the Barcelona starting XI tonight for the first leg against Real Madrid was always a possibility, particularly in light of the side's hectic schedule.

Messi’s place in the starting line-up has been taken by Malcom.

Barcelona starting XI: Ter Stegen, Semedo, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba, Busquets, Rakitic, Arthur, Malcom, Coutinho, Suárez.

Follow the match live here.