Both Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembélé completed today’s training session for FC Barcelona, boosting their chances of taking part in the upcoming clásico. Messi played Barcelona’s last match, but he was seen to have difficulties from an apparent muscle spasm. Meanwhile, Dembélé had not played for a couple of weeks due to an ankle injury.
The two Barcelona stars are in a race for fitness to play against Real Madrid tomorrow in the first leg of their Copa del Rey tie.
Messi reportedly does not have a muscle injury, just a spasm. He may have the higher chance of starting as he only had a brief pause between matches and practice.
Dembélé meanwhile, recovered both from an ankle injury and a high fever. He may lack competitive rhythm and sharpness, as he’s been out of action for a few days.
While it’s the biggest derby in the world, the fact that this is the Copa del Rey rather than La Liga or UEFA Champions League means there’s a chance the manager will be less willing to risk a possible re-injury by forcing his stars. There’s also a set of quick fixtures on the horizon, including two more matches against Real Madrid.
If neither starts, there is a big question mark for Ernesto Valverde. Malcom, Carles Aleñá, and Sergi Roberto are some alternatives to start the match. There’s also Kevin Prince-Boateng, who recently joined on loan.