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

Arnold Nichols
February 6, 2019

Speaking ahead of Wednesday's game at the Nou Camp, Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said he would see how Messi responded in training, but that he would take no risks with the club's all-time top scorer.

I imagine it's nothing, but we'll wait a few hours.

Lionel Messi has been involved in 47.4% of Barcelona's total goals this season. However, he completed Tuesday's session and has been named among the 19 players called up for the first leg of the semifinal tie at Camp Nou.

Barca might also be cautious, given they have a testing month of fixtures ahead.

'I'm not in favour of taking risks with so many games coming up, if the season finished tomorrow, it would be another matter.

Whether it's a sign of defiance or just tempting fate, manager Santiago Solari says he hopes Messi is fit for the first leg. They also defeated Inter Milan in the Champions League without him.

"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", said Solari.

Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele is unlikely to be fit for the game, as he is still recovering from a hamstring injury. Against Sevilla, they went all out last week to claim a 6-1 win and turn a first leg's deficit in the Copa del Rey, whereas over the weekend, they had to come from two goals down to pick up a point against a resolute Valencia side.

The ex-Ajax ace has yet to score against Madrid in cup competitions, though, firing blanks in both legs of the Supercopa last season, despite playing a full part in both matches. We'll make a decision based on that. "If Messi's ready he will play, if he's not he won't".

Barcelona's winning streak in La Liga ended at eight matches and they lead second-placed Atletico Madrid by six points, before their closest challengers visit Real Betis on Sunday.

Other reports by

Discuss This Article