In Review

Barcelona vs. Real Madrid: cup Clasico team news, starting XIs, TV and live stream

Will Barca star Lionel Messi be fit for the Copa del Rey semi-final first leg?

Barcelona vs. Real Madrid
  • What: Copa del Rey semi-final first leg 
  • When: Wednesday 6 February 
  • Where: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain
  • Kick-off time: 8pm GMT 
  • Channel/live stream: Eleven Sports UK

Lionel Messi has been named in Barcelona’s squad to face rivals Real Madrid tonight but the star No.10 will face a late fitness test ahead of the Copa del Rey semi-final first leg.

The Argentine, 31, injured a thigh muscle in the 2-2 draw against Valencia on Saturday and the BBC reports that Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde will wait to see if Messi will be fit to play.   

Valverde said: “It is true that sometimes we have had doubts with players and we have waited until the last moment. It’s the same with Messi.”

However, if Messi is not fit Valverde won’t take any risks with vital Champions League and La Liga matches coming up this month.

The Barca boss told ESPN: “I’m not big on taking risks when there are a lot of games ahead of us. 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 travel to the Camp Nou hoping to gain revenge from their 5-1 thrashing in La Liga in October. Messi missed that clash but Luis Suarez hit a hat-trick for the Catalans.

Real head coach Santiago Solari hopes that Barca star Messi will be fit. He said: “It’s always good when the best players get to play every game, but whether or not he plays will not influence the way we prepare for the game at all.”

What time is kick-off?

Tonight’s cup clash at the Camp Nou kicks off at 8pm (UK time).

How to watch tonight’s El Clasico

Although the Copa del Rey semi-final first leg will not be on TV, it will be shown in the UK and Ireland via online streaming service Eleven Sports. The Daily Mail reports that Eleven Sports will show both legs of the semi-final (tonight and 27 February) as well as the La Liga fixture on 2 March. A monthly pass costs £5.99 and viewers can sign up at elevensports.uk.

Messi vs. Real Madrid in El Clasico

Squads, injury news and predicted starting XIs

Barcelona team news

Marca reports that Valverde has named a 19-man squad but Ousmane Dembele is not included on the list. The French forward has a hamstring problem. 

If Messi is not fit enough to start the Clasico then his place could go to youngster Carles Alena or winger Malcom, the London Evening Standard reports.

Luis Suarez will start down the middle in attack. Philippe Coutinho and, fitness permitting, Messi, will be on the flanks.

  • Barcelona’s 19-man squad: Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Inaki Pena; Nelson Semedo, Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet, Jeison Murillo, Jordi Alba, Sergi Roberto, Thomas Vermaelen; Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets, Philippe Coutinho, Arthur, Carles Alena, Arturo Vidal; Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi, Malcolm, Kevin-Prince Boateng
Real Madrid team news

Real head coach Solari takes a 21-man squad to Catalonia, meaning three players will have to watch from the stands this evening.

The BBC reports that Los Blancos have everyone available except for defender Jesus Vallejo.

Goalkeeper Keylor Navas is expected to start at the Camp Nou but Wales forward Gareth Bale may have to settle for a place on the bench.

The Evening Standard predicts that Vinicius Junior, Lucas Vazquez and Karim Benzema will start in a front three.

Possible starting XIs

How the teams could line up tonight, according to the Evening Standard.

  • Barcelona possible starting XI (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Busquets, Arthur, Rakitic; Messi (or Alena), Suarez, Coutinho
  • Real Madrid possible starting XI (4-3-3): Navas; Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Reguilon; Casemiro, Kroos, Modric; Vazquez, Benzema, Vinicius Jr
Three El Clasicos

Tonight’s fixture is the first of three El Clasicos in the next few weeks. The Copa del Rey semi-final second leg will be played in Madrid on 27 February (8pm) and the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium will also host a La Liga fixture between the Spanish rivals on 2 March (7.45pm).

Infographic: messi.com 

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