Luis Enrique confirms Lionel Messi is fit but not if he’ll be involved in Barcelona’s Copa del Rey tie against Athletic Bilbao.
Messi was substituted at half time of the meeting between the sides in the League at the weekend and it was subsequently reported he was suffering with muscle pain, but Barca stressed the Argentine wasn’t actually injured.
“He’s ok. We’ll decide [on Wednesday] if he plays. As a Coach I never to take risks with the players,” Enrique replied when asked about Messi, Marca reports.
“You don’t take risks with a professional. Another argument is we can get to the final and it’d be worthwhile. He has no injury and we’ll decide.”
Luis Suarez is banned for the game, leaving Neymar as the only one of Enrique’s regular front three likely to be involved.
“Neymar’s in better shape than I am. After games we work on recovery and it can be done in the gym,” Lucho explained regarding the Brazil international.
“That’s their choice and it’s perfect. I see Neymar exceeding last year’s level, whether Messi plays or not. And last year he was already at a high level.
“Players of this profile, faced with fantasy and magic, tend to bring [an aggressive] reaction from the opposition. I’m sure he gets kicked everywhere for Brazil. We’re delighted he can continue in this line.”