Messi in contention for 'Clasico' comeback
Lionel Messi will be in the Barcelona squad to face Real Madrid at the Bernabeu tonight but his manager Luis Enrique admits his talisman will not be at full fitness.
Messi has not played since injuring his knee at the end of September, during which time champions Barca have pulled three points clear of second-placed Real at the top, largely thanks to the form of Neymar and Luis Suarez. Enrique said a decision would be made today whether Messi will start.
"Since he started training again (on Monday) the feelings are positive," Enrique said. "He has recovered and he is playing at the same level as the rest of the squad. Obviously he won't be at 100pc in physical terms due to the time he has been out but he is so important that to have him recovered at least gives us some security."
There was more good news for Enrique on the injury front this week when Barca's Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic returned to training after a calf injury.
Real Madrid coach Rafa Benitez has a full squad available, including Karim Benzema, who has missed four domestic league games and two Champions League matches.
Benitez said Benzema was in the squad and a decision on his participation would be taken today. Centre-back and captain Sergio Ramos, who has been struggling with a shoulder injury, would definitely play, Benitez added.
Benitez was also quizzed about Benzema's mental state following his implication in a blackmail probe. The 27-year-old was put under formal judicial investigation in connection with an alleged attempt to blackmail Lyon's Mathieu Valbuena with the use of a sex video.
"We'll talk to him and assess how he is in every sense and decide what is best for us and him," Benitez said.
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