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Rumor: Lionel Messi to start el clásico from the bench

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The Barcelona superstar may only be fit to play part of the Real Madrid clash

FC Barcelona v CD Leganes - La Liga Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Lionel Messi will start from the bench today, according to COPE, as FC Barcelona approach a pivotal first leg in the Copa del Rey semifinal against Real Madrid. The Barcelona star missed one training session due to a muscle spasm after receiving a knock in the 2-2 draw with Valencia.

Sergi Roberto is rumored to take his spot in the teamsheet in el clásico, with Nélson Semedo preferred at right-back. Other than that, the team would have few surprises. Marc-André ter Stegen would be in goal, with Semedo, Gerard Piqué, Clément Lenglet, and Jordi Alba in defense. Arthur would partner Ivan Rakitić and Sergio Busquets in midfield. Upfront, Philippe Coutinho and Luis Suárez would start alongside Roberto. Messi would be on the bench.

Diario SPORT reported the same XI except with Messi starting and Roberto at right-back in place of Semedo.

Mundo Deportivo wrote that it is unclear yet if Messi will start tonight.

Ousmane Dembélé will miss out for sure, having not been called up. Jasper Cillessen, Rafinha, and Samuel Umtiti are out through injury as well.