Barcelona could be without Lionel Messi for Wednesday’s Clásico against Real Madrid in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final.
Messi picked up a thigh injury during Barça’s 2-2- draw with Valencia on Saturday night, but played through the pain to complete the 90 minutes. He is now a doubt, though, for the clash with Madrid this week.
Speaking after the game, Barça boss Ernesto Valverde said: “(Messi) has a small problem. I can’t say exactly what problem he has, I don’t know.
“We will have to wait to see what medical staff say. If he’s in good shape, he’ll play on Wednesday. We will wait. I imagine it’s nothing, but we’ll wait a few hours. Leo didn’t ask me to sub him off.”
The ‘fifth best player in the world’ bagged a brace against Valencia after the league leaders went 2-0 in the first 30 minutes, with goals for the away side coming from Kevin Gameiro and Dani Parejo.
Messi pulled one back before the break and levelled the scoring with a carefully placed shot from outside the box in the second half.
Valencia will have been disappointed to let their lead slip but content with a point at the hardest ground to go to in LaLiga.
Barcelona, meanwhile, will be more concerned by Messi’s injury than the result, with such an important game just three days away.
Barça reached the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey after coming back from a two goal deficit to thrash Sevilla 6-1 in the second leg at the Camp Nou. Madrid beat Girona 3-1 in the second leg, sealing a 7-3 aggregate victory over the Catalan side.
While Madrid have been far from their best this season, the absence of Messi would go a long way to levelling the playing field in Wednesday’s cup tie, which will take place at the Camp Nou.
In the other semi-final, Valencia travel to Real Betis on Thursday, who will host the final at the Benito Villamarín Stadium in Seville.