Barcelona vs. Real Madrid

Lionel Messi Luis Suarez Barcelona Champions League 2018-19

Real Madrid also have the small matter of the Madrid derby not to mention Champions League fixtures against Ajax in a hectic schedule.

Both teams had enjoyed remarkable comebacks during the week to reach the Copa del Rey semi-finals, with Barca thrashing Sevilla 6-1 to win 8-3 on aggregate and Valencia seeing off Getafe 3-1 for a 3-2 aggregate win with two goals in stoppage time.

Barcelona have a tight grip on this competition having won the past four finals to take their overall number of Copa del Rey triumphs to 30 - more than anyone else.

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Barca also have doubts over Ousmane Dembele ahead of the Madrid game.

Asked whether Vinicius' recent displays made him undroppable, Solari replied more shortly that: "Nobody is undroppable in football". Fatigue will obviously be a cause of major concern as the season progresses as Valverde would want a player like Messi to be at the top of his game as the business end of the season approaches.

Real Madrid: Improvement is what's on this team's mind, showing something better than in the first match of the season.

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Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari had said earlier on Tuesday that he hoped Messi would be available.

"When we prepare the game obviously we have the reference of the players and how they performed [in the 5-1], but there was a different morale [at Madrid] at that time, that counts for a lot".

Valverde admitted he might have to rotate his line-up given the number of important games coming up. "We are in a decisive part of the season".

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Barcelona's winning streak in La Liga ended at eight matches and they lead second-placed Atletico Madrid by six points, before their closest challengers visit Real Betis on Sunday. The tie is wide open, we have really good players. "In October they were going through a delicate period but now they are better".

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