All Real Madrid fans ‘annoyed’ with Bale - Mijatovic

Cómo estás Leo? La cara de Messi lo dice todo

Lionel Messi has been left out of Barcelona's starting lineup for Wednesday's Copa del Rey semifinal match against Real Madrid.

On Saturday, he was treated on the sideline for a leg injury during a 2-2 draw with Valencia in which Messi scored twice. Messi didn't play in the first El Clasico of the season at Camp Nou and he will certainly be fighting to avoid missing another one due to injury.

However, despite making the bench, boss Ernesto Valverde will be keen to negotiate a way past Real Madrid without relying on Messi. The tie is wide open, we have really good players. "If Messi is fit he'll play and if he isn't in shape, he won't", commented Valverde.

In midfield, it is likely that Valverde's most hard decision will be whether to start the passionate Arturo Vidal, or whether to play with more touch and control with Arthur Melo.

It is unclear whether Messi, the all-time top goalscorer in Spanish football, as well as in the "Clasico", will be fit for the game.

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Ousmane Dembele, who also trained after recovering from two weeks out with an ankle sprain, has not been named in the squad. Bale returned as a starter on Sunday alongside Benzema and Vinicius Junior as Alaves were beaten 3-0, the team's fifth consecutive win in all competitions.

Valverde can only name 18 players in his final match day squad, though, so one player will have to miss out.

Barcelona are among the clubs to have been linked with a move for the 26-year-old, along with the likes of Manchester City and Juventus, and Bartomeu would be happy to negotiate a deal with opposite number Florentino Perez.

But the way Barca play allows them to save energy more than other clubs as they have great ball possession and force their opponents to run a lot.

It would also be hard to leave out Vinicius, who has taken full advantage of Bale's absences to become a regular starter and a popular player with Madrid fans.

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