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Valverde has included Messi in his squad for Clasico clash against Real Madrid
Valverde has included Messi in his squad for Clasico clash against Real Madrid
Valverde has included Messi in his squad for Clasico clash against Real Madrid

Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde has included Lionel Messi in his squad for Wednesday night's Clasico against Real Madrid, a match that would not be the same without the Argentinian.

Much of the intrigue surrounding the semi-final of the Copa del Rey came with the health of Messi after he suffered a knock against Valencia at the weekend, and it is still unclear if he will start or begin the match on the bench.

It is likely that Barcelona's No. 10 will start as they recover their most dangerous player, especially when it comes to playing Madrid as he has scored 26 goals in 38 games against Los Blancos.

Although the Blaugrana have already shown this season that they can win El Clasico without their talisman, as they won 5-1 at the Camp Nou, though this Madrid side are in far better form than they were at that point.

There is no denying that Barcelona's chances of advancing to the final are far stronger with Messi in the line-up, though, and the 31-year-old has five goals in his last five games against Madrid.

If he does feature, as expected, Messi will grow ever closer to beating Xavi Hernandez's record of 42 Clasico appearances as this will be the Argentine's 39th, one ahead of Andres Iniesta.

However, the player who did not recover in time in Ousmane Dembele as the Frenchman has been left out of the squad list.

Although Dembele competed in training on Tuesday evening, Valverde has decided that he is not yet ready to return.

The Barcelona squad for the Clasico is as follows: Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Inaki Pena; Nelson Semedo, Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet, Jeison Murillo, Jordi Alba, Sergi Roberto, Thomas Vermaelen; Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets, Philippe Coutinho, Arthur, Carles Alena, Arturo Vidal; Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi, Malcolm and Kevin-Prince Boateng.

Seeing as 19 players have been called up, one player from the list will have to watch the game from the stands.

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