Barcelona have been given a massive boost ahead of their Copa del Rey clash against Real Madrid on Wednesday, with reports claiming that both Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembélé will be fit for the game.
It's been an anxious couple of days for Barça fans, who saw Messi suffer a painful looking thigh injury in last weekend's 2-2 draw with Valencia. On top of that, Dembélé, who was in fine form before picking up an ankle sprain that has seen him out of action for the last two weeks. However, it appears that the two could be back in time for El Clásico tomorrow evening.
Dembele voltou a treinar em campo hoje. Previsão era que estivesse fora por 15 dias, o que significa voltar na quarta.— Marcelo Bechler (@marcelobechler) February 4, 2019
Messi fez trabalho na academia, o que é normal. Nem foi preciso mais exames.
Os dois estarão à disposição pro clássico de quarta-feira.
Tweeting about the pair's imminent return, journalist Marcelo Bechler said: "Dembélé returned to practice on the pitch today. Prediction was to be out for 15 days, which means to go back (to training) on the fourth (of February). Messi did work in the gym, which is normal. No further tests were needed. The two will be available to the classic pro Wednesday."
While this sounds like excellent news for the Catalan giants, it is worth noting that AS are slightly more conservative in their evaluations of Messi making the Real Madrid clash. Their report confirmed that Messi trained in the gym yesterday, but claimed he was in pain throughout the session, before concluding that the 31-year-old wouldn't play if still in discomfort.
With the rivalry between Barça and Los Blancos as fierce as ever, it would be fair to assume that Messi will be desperate to recover in time for the first-leg clash. The veteran forward's side have won the competition for the last four seasons on the trot, and powered their way to glory with an emphatic 5-0 cup final win over Sevilla last year.
Meanwhile, Ivan Rakitić's agent has rejected suggestions that the midfielder could leave the Camp Nou this summer, as his client waits for a new deals from the club. The Croatian ace was heavily linked with a move to Inter in the last transfer window, after Barça appeared to sign his long-term successor in the form of Ajax prodigy Frenkie de Jong.