6th February, 2019
There are very strong indications that Lionel Messi will start today’s first leg in the Copa del Rey semifinal against Real Madrid from the bench. FC Barcelona is approaching tonight’s game cautiously with their captain and star having missed one training session due to a muscle spasm after receiving a knock in the 2-2 draw with Valencia.
Sergi Roberto is expected to take his spot in the team sheet in this el clásico, with Nélson Semedo taking the right-back position.Aside from those two changes, 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.