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

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Barcelona forward Lionel Messi

The Catalan side face Madrid in the first-leg of their semi-final Copa del Rey clash on Wednesday, before meeting in the return fixture on 27 February.

Argentine forward Messi, who is closing in on 600 career goals, has missed out on a starting place after suffering a small injury in Saturday's draw with Valencia. After drawing one each at the Santiago Bernabéu in the first leg, Real Madrid went through at the Camp Nou, where they won 3-1.

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.

"It's always good when the best players get to play every game, but whether or not he plays will not influence the way we prepare for the game at all", Solari said. "If Messi is fit he'll play and if he isn't in shape, he won't", commented Valverde.

Messi is part of Barcelona's squad and is available for the game, but it's unclear if he'll play against Real Madrid. "If the league ended tomorrow, it would be a different question".

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There are also selection issues at Madrid, with Solari likely to include either Gareth Bale or Vinicius Junior in his attack alongside Karim Benzema and Lucas Vazquez.

'If our coaches asked us for a player and they want to leave Madrid, of course we would sign them, ' Bartomeu told El Partidazo de COPE. Judging it off recent performances, there is no debate but Solari understands that he needs Marcelo to recover his best level and not playing at the Camp Nou could have a serious knock-on effect for the Brazilian.

"In a semi-final between Barca and Madrid there's no favorite".

Their 5-1 thrashing of Real Madrid earlier in the campaign led to Julen Lopetegui losing his job as coach just months after taking over.

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