Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari hopes for the good of football that Lionel Messi recovers in time to participate in Wednesday’s classic against Barcelona in the semifinals of the Copa del Rey, although he said that the presence of the Argentine star will not affect his game plan.
It is unclear whether the captain of Barcelona, who is the top scorer in Spanish football and the history of the classics, will be fit for the match, as he is still recovering from the blow he received on a thigh in the 2-2 draw on Saturday against Valencia. The azulgrana team has not offered an update on the evolution of his injury.
“It’s always good for the best to play every game. We don’t have any influence on whether or not he plays to prepare for the match,” Solari said at a press conference on Tuesday.
Messi missed the last meeting between Spain’s top two clubs in October with an arm injury. However, the “culé” team barely missed their star striker, as they crushed Real Madrid 5-1 in what turned out to be Julen Lopetegui’s last game at the helm of the white team before Solari’s arrival.
The “Meringues”(Real Madrid), who are third in the league, eight points from Barcelona, want to end the streak of four consecutive wins of their rivals in the Copa del Rey and arrive for the first time since 2014 to the final of the tournament when they beat the Catalans 2-1.
Barcelona’s French striker Ousmane Dembele is probably not ready for the first leg either, as he is still recovering from a muscle injury.
Solari, for his part, has practically all his squad, as the only player who is not available is the defender Jesus Vallejo, to whom he usually resorts on rare occasions.
“Since everyone is healthy, and Vallejo is almost healthy, there are more who stay outside. It’s the hardest part of this job, making the list and knowing that people are left out. But others come in. What matters is that everyone put their talent and effort,” said the Argentine coach.