Real Betis boss Rubi joked in his pre-match press conference that he hoped Lionel Messi would pick up a cold and not be able to play against his side on Sunday.
The Barcelona captain bagged a hat-trick the last time the two sides met in La Liga but is a doubt for the game after a spell on the sidelines with a calf injury.
Rubi is expecting Messi to start the game at the Camp Nou, with Betis coming into the match off an opening weekend defeat to Real Valladolid.
“I think Messi is going to play from the start. It’s what I think,” he said.
“I’d prefer Messi to have a major cold, not an injury, but a cold so he can not play.”
Messi has been back in full training this week and is in contention to play, although there are reports he may start Sunday’s match on the bench.