Bookmakers' view on Barça vs. Real Madrid clash

Bookmakers' view on Barça vs. Real Madrid clash

Lionel Messi is expected to be fit after struggling with a thigh problem and if he does grace the pitch, he'll don a commemorative match shirt.

Barcelona come into Wednesday's match in good form, leading La Liga by some margin, making good progress in all other competitions and having achieved a notable comeback against Sevilla in the last round of the Copa del Rey last round, winning 6-1.

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu says that he is open to negotiating terms with Real Madrid chief Florentino Perez for out-of-favour attacker Isco.

Asked at the prematch news conference in Madrid whether he wanted his fellow Argentine to be available for Wednesday's game, Solari said it would be best for the spectacle for Messi to feature.

If I was Barcelona manager on this occasion, I would play with the best possible 11. The Barca coach will then have to decide whether Messi is fit enough to start the game.

It was an unusual delay by the club, which normally is quick to release reports about its players' injuries.

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"If La Liga ended tomorrow or if it was our last game, maybe [I would take a risk]. but if a player has an injury, whether it's Messi or not, I prefer to be careful".

Real Madrid will be looking to avenge their 5-1 demolition in October that ultimately led to the dismissal of coach Julen Lopetegui.

Barcelona will look to make the most of their home advantage in the first leg of their semi-final cup tie this evening.

Valverde said his team won't change the way it plays if Messi is absent, and that his participation shouldn't be seen as a key factor.

Barca are seeking to win the Copa del Rey for the fifth year in a row, but they will have to triumph against rivals Madrid if they are to reach the final again.

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