Madrid, Feb 5 (IANS) Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari said on Tuesday that he hopes Barcelona striker Leo Messi will be able to play in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final between the two sides on Wednesday evening.
Messi is doubtful for the game with a thigh strain that he suffered on Saturday, but when asked about his possible presence for the game, the Madrid boss said it was “always best if the best players take part in the big games.”
“This is a game between two great rivals,” added the coach, who didn’t want to discuss the 5-1 defeat Madrid suffered in the Camp Nou at the end of October which led to Julen Lopetegui’s sacking and his subsequent appointment, reports Xinhua news agency.
“They are two different competitions. We want to win everything and we will take this game as seriously as any other. The most important thing is how we approach the game,” commented Solari.
Real Madrid have won seven of their last eight matches in all competitions, but with the exception of Sevilla, most of their rivals have been sides they would usually expect to beat. However, the next four days could be vital for their season as they play Barcelona on Wednesday, before travelling on Saturday to the Wanda Metropolitano stadium to play local rivals Atletico Madrid in the Liga Santander.
“We love to compete and that is why we play football,” commented the Madrid coach, who added that “each game is the moment of truth; from the first game to the last. We try and play them all in the same way, that’s how we have prepared for the games we have already played and those we have still to play.”