Messi trains ahead of 'Clasico' but Valverde warns against taking risks

Credit: Reuters - Sports
Published on February 5, 2019 - Duration: 01:08s

Messi trains ahead of 'Clasico' but Valverde warns against taking risks

Barcelona captain Lionel Messi's hopes of playing in the Copa del Rey semi-final first leg against Real Madrid were boosted after he took part in training on Tuesday, having missed the previous day's session due to injury.

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Messi trains ahead of 'Clasico' but Valverde warns against taking risks

SHOWS: BARCELONA, SPAIN (FEBRUARY 5, 2019) (REUTERS-ACCESS ALL) 1.

(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) FC BARCELONA COACH, ERNESTO VALVERDE, SAYING: "I don't think there's a favorite in a semi-final between Barca and Real Madrid, it's an open tie, we have very good players including the one that we consider to be the best in the world and they also have great players, some among the best in the world, so if Leo (Messi) is fit he will play and if not, he will not play.

But this doesn't change who the favourites are.

It is an open tie." 2.

WHITE FLASH 3.

(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) FC BARCELONA COACH, ERNESTO VALVERDE, SAYING: "Real Madrid at Camp Nou usually play good matches.

In the league match we were superior and we won, they were going through a tough moment and now they are better, let's see what happens tomorrow.

We expect the best version of Real Madrid, like the one we have seen recently and we are preparing the match in that sense." 4.

WHITE FLASH 5.

(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) FC BARCELONA COACH, ERNESTO VALVERDE, SAYING: "The fact that both teams arrive at a good moment makes the match more attractive.

We are eager to face it and everyone else is excited to see a match of this level." STORY: Barcelona captain Lionel Messi's hopes of playing in the Copa del Rey semi-final first leg against Real Madrid were boosted after he took part in training on Tuesday (February 5), having missed the previous day's session due to injury.

Messi set alarm bells off after sustaining a knock to his calf during Saturday's 2-2 La Liga draw with Valencia, although he was able to finish the game after being treated, with Barca not releasing a medical report on his condition.

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.

"The most important thing is whether the player tells you he is ready or not.

Regardless of what tests say, if the player doesn't think he's ready, you have to leave him out," Valverde said.

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

When there is a risk of injury, players play with the handbrake on and tomorrow's game is not one where you want to do that." Earleir in the day Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari said he hoped Messi played for the good of the game - but he added that the Argentine's presence would not affect his match preparation.

Messi was out with a broken arm the last time Spain's two biggest clubs met, back in October.

But Barca barely missed their talisman, thrashing Real 5-1 in what proved to be Julen Lopetegui's last game as manager before Solari took over.

Real are third in the La Liga standings but cut their gap behind leaders Barca to eight points after beating Alaves on Sunday (February 3).

They will be looking to end Barcelona's run of four consecutive Copa del Rey triumphs and reach the final of the competition for the first time since 2014, when they beat the Catalans 2-1.

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