Lionel Messi injury: Barcelona scared striker could miss Real Madrid showdown

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Messi, 31, injured his thigh in Saturday's 2-2 draw against Valencia but was able to finish the game.

He refuted the claim, though, that Messi's presence would have a major impact on the game.

Nonetheless, a fit and available Messi is clearly preferable for the La Liga leaders who are giving their captain the time he needs to to prove his fitness.

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For instance, Roma dealt a huge blow in last year's Champions League when they knocked out Barcelona by defeating them 3-0 in the second leg. Barcelona were ahead by a three-goal margin but their players failed to show up at Rome which ended their hopes of conquering Europe. We will wait. I imagine it's nothing, but we'll wait a few hours. "I am not very supportive of taking risks when there are so many games ahead", Valverde said. I can't say exactly what problem he has, I don't know.

"In a semifinal between Barca and Madrid there's no favourite". "In football, it's always best that the best players play in every game, that's just how it is", Solari said.

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Leo Messi was instrumental in Barcelona's Copa Del Rey matches, as usual, helping them overcome teams like Sevilla.

Solari did not want to generate more noise than necessary by leaving out two players, and he will instead make his decision two hours before the game, which is when he will announce the starting line-up prior to Madrid travelling to the Camp Nou. "If Messi's ready he will play, if he's not he won't".

But Madrid are in good form under Santiago Solari, having won their past five games in a row in all competitions, while Barca were held 2-2 by Valencia last time out.

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The draw presented Atletico Madrid, playing on Sunday, the chance to close the gap at the top to three points.

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