Barça's Bartomeu: Isco? We'd certainly talk to Madrid

Barça's Bartomeu: Isco? We'd certainly talk to Madrid

Javier Howell
February 7, 2019

The Catalan giants host their fierce rivals Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey semi-final first-leg.

Real Madrid's Welshman Gareth Bale starts on the bench as Los Blancos go for a front three of Lucas Vazquez, Karim Benzema and exciting teenage prospect Vinicius Junior. "They had a few problems when they played here in the league and tomorrow we expect to see the best version of Real Madrid", he said.

Lionel Messi is a doubt for the first leg at the Camp Nou on Wednesday after feeling discomfort in his thigh during Sunday's draw with Valencia.

Messi missed Barcelona's 5-1 league rout of Madrid in October because of a broken right arm. "It's one of the hardest parts of the job for a coach". Judging it off recent performances, there is no debate but Solari understands that he needs Marcelo to recover his best level and not playing at the Camp Nou could have a serious knock-on effect for the Brazilian. The French striker has 18 goals, six more than he had in all of last season.

He was rested two weeks ago when Barcelona lost at Sevilla 2-0 in the Copa quarterfinal first leg, but returned to score in a 6-1 second leg victory.

Putin: Russia will only deploy new missiles if USA does
Russia's foreign minister said the U.S. withdrawal from the pivotal pact has further upset strategic stability. Putin has previously threatened to develop nuclear missiles banned under the INF treaty if it is scrapped.

Barcelona are among the clubs to have been linked with a move for the 26-year-old, along with the likes of Manchester City and Juventus, and Bartomeu would be happy to negotiate a deal with opposite number Florentino Perez.

It was an unusual delay by the club, which normally is quick to release reports about its players' injuries.

Barcelona have been flying high largely thanks to talisman Lionel Messi's impressive form but his participation in this fixture is under a question mark.

Bookmaker companies consider Barça the favorites in this clash. "I don't think there is a favorite in a semifinal between Barcelona and Real Madrid". The forward was then included in the squad announced at 1900 GMT on Tuesday.

He has been a regular in their Copa del Rey campaign, though, meaning he could come up against Barça on Wednesday.