Lionel Messi is a major doubt for this week’s Copa del Rey Clasico semi-final at home to Real Madrid.
The iconic Barcelona star sustained a thigh injury in Saturday’s 2-2 La Liga draw with Valencia.
Messi scored twice, including the equaliser from the penalty spot, as the hosts came from 2-0 down to earn a point and extend their lead at the top of the table to six points.
The 31-year-old Argentine took his tally to 12 in his last nine matches in all competitions and passed 20 league goals for the 11th successive season.
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But it was not without cost as he needed treatment for what appeared to be a dead leg shortly after equalising at the Camp Nou.
It has made him doubtful for Wednesday’s Copa del Rey semi-final first-leg against arch-rivals Real.
Lionel Messi: What has Ernesto Valverde said?
Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde said after the weekend’s result that he did not know if Messi would recover in time for the visit of Los Blancos.
But he did reveal he ‘imagines it’s nothing’ when pushed on the forward’s injury.
He said: “Lionel has a small problem. I can’t say exactly what problem he has, I don’t know.
“We will have to wait to see what medical staff say. If he’s in good shape, he’ll play on Wednesday.
“We will wait. I imagine it’s nothing, but we’ll wait a few hours. Leo didn’t ask me to sub him off.”
Lionel Messi: The Barcelona superstar’s incredible El Clasico record
Messi’s career stats make for mind-blowing reading and he has continued his stunning scoring exploits in El Clasico clashes, too.
He is the all-time leading scorer in the rivalry with 26 goals – Real greats Alfredo Di Stefano and Cristiano Ronaldo are next on the list with 18.
Messi was forced to miss the La Liga meeting between the pair in October but that didn’t stop Barca, who claimed a 5-1 win thanks mainly to Luis Suarez’s hat-trick.
Messi’s last Clasico was the league meeting at the end of last season and he scored in the thrilling 2-2 draw in Catalonia.
The two sides went head-to-head in four games last term and Messi scored in three of them.
For all his incredible records, Messi is yet to score a Cope del Rey goal against Real.
Barcelona vs Real Madrid: All the information
Barca host Real in the cup semi-final first-leg on Wednesday, February 6 with the match set to kick off at 8pm UK time.
For more information about how to watch the match, please click here.