Real Madrid Believes in Treble

Lionel Messi has been left out of Barcelona's starting lineup for Wednesday's Copa del Rey semifinal match against Real Madrid. "If you get a good result, Barca can also win at the Bernabeu".

If Messi manages to recover even partially, I think the decision will be up to him more than the manager, given his status at the club.

Real Madrid's Santiago Solari, meanwhile, said: 'This is going to be a great game between two great rivals.

Every player loves these big clashes, and Messi is in great form, so even if the manager tries to persuade him to rest, I think it would be hard to convince him of not playing. Barca have indicated they will not risk their captain with a gruelling month ahead.

Real Madrid, meanwhile, find themselves in third, eight points behind the Catalans, with Solari's men now on a run of four wins in a row in the league. The semi-final second leg will is scheduled for February 27, while a La Liga fixture follows soon after on March 2.


They arrive for the first-leg match at Camp Nou enjoying their best period of the season and with almost all of its players available.

Eighteen-year-old forward Vinicius Junior was the standout for Madrid in the first half, and made his impressive display count in the sixth minute when his perfectly weighted cross to the far post found Karim Benzema who squared for Lucas Vazquez to poke home inside the six-yard box.

"It's harder when you have all the players available, because it means you have to leave someone out", Solari said. "It's one of the hardest parts of the job for a coach".

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has revealed he would contact Real Madrid chief Florentino Perez before swooping to sign misfit Isco.

"They were in a completely different place then, which needs to be taken into consideration", he said of Madrid, who have won seven of their last eight matches in all competitions. The French striker has 18 goals, six more than he had in all of last season. "We are expecting them at their best".


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