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Barca plays down Messi concerns

25 January 2013-PA Sport

Barcelona have played down concerns over Lionel Messi's fitness after the Argentinian was substituted due to injury in the Copa del Rey win over Malaga.

Messi scored Barcelona's fourth goal in a 4-2 away win that carried the Catalans through to the semi-finals 6-4 on aggregate.

He was substituted two minutes later, in the 82nd minute, but Barcelona stress he is not carrying a significant injury.

Assistant head coach Jordi Roura said on fcbarcelona.com: "We brought Messi off the as a preventative measure. The adductor in his right leg was giving him problems. It's nothing serious."

Real Madrid awaits Barcelona in the last four, and Gerard Pique, who became a father this week before scoring against Malaga, is relishing that semi-final tussle.

The first leg takes place in Madrid on Thursday (AEDT), with the return at the Nou Camp four weeks later. Madrid is expected to be without injured goalkeeper Iker Casillas for both games.

Pique said: "It's exciting because it's a cup semi-final and because if you win you go onto the final.

"It's one of the most attractive matches of the year and we have been lucky enough to play it these past couple of years. First we have to play against Madrid, they will still be dangerous even though they will be missing important players."

Barcelona plays Osasuna in the Primera Division on Monday morning (AEDT).

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