Lionel Messi Left Out Of Barcelona Starting Line-up for El Clasico vs Real Madrid

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Lionel Messi has been left out of the starting XI for El Clasico.

It is the second time this season that Messi has sat out of a Clasico encounter at the Nou Camp, after missing the La Liga clash where Barca ran out 5-1 winners.

The two sides meet again tonight in what will be the first of three clashes in 24 days between the Spanish juggernauts.

Barca and Real face off on Wednesday night in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final.

The second leg takes place on February 27 at the Bernabeu, just days before their league encounter at the same location.

Messi’s fitness issues ensured that he would be left out of the starting XI to face off against Real.

Barca boss Ernesto Valverde commented ahead of the game on Messi’s fitness and hinted that he might not be ready to play a part in the game.

“It is true that sometimes we have had doubts with players and we have waited until the last moment,” he said. “It’s the same with Messi.”

The Argentinian suffered his setback during the 2-2 draw with Valencia on Sunday, in a game where he netted both goals for his side.

He played the full 90 minutes during the game but Valverde admitted afterwards that he was waiting for the verdict of the medical staff.

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