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In-form hitmen give Barca boss selection dilemma

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Barcelona's Lionel Messi. Picture credit: Albert Gea/REUTERS

Barcelona's Lionel Messi. Picture credit: Albert Gea/REUTERS

Barcelona's Lionel Messi. Picture credit: Albert Gea/REUTERS

LIONEL MESSI and Neymar are ready to return for Barcelona against Getafe in the King's Cup tomorrow but coach Gerardo Martino has a selection headache with the fine form of Pedro and Alexis Sanchez.

Messi has been sidelined since mid-November with a hamstring injury and the last-16 first leg tie was earmarked for the prolific forward's return ahead of the top of the table La Liga clash with Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

The Argentine has resumed training with Barca since returning from his recovery programme in Buenos Aires and Rosario and scored a hat-trick in a practice game on Friday.

He did not play in the weekend win over Elche but is set to get some game time as he works towards recovering match fitness.

Neymar was suspended for the final match of 2013 and then rested against Elche but in his absence Barca won 5-2 and 4-0 respectively with Pedro and Sanchez both notching hat-tricks.

"I've not decided who will now play against Getafe," Martino said.

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"Pedro would win over any trainer and is the type of player who can deliver against any team. He can provide passes for goals, is good with both feet and pressures. It will be difficult to decide."

Cup holders Atletico face a tough cup game tonight away to Valencia, while Real Madrid are at home on Thursday to Osasuna.

In last night's Primera Liga matches, Real Madrid were made to work hard before Karim Benzema's opener and two late strikes from Cristiano Ronaldo lifted them to a 3-0 victory over Celta Vigo at the Bernabeu Stadium.

Ikechukwu Uche's hat-trick provided the inspiration for Villarreal to seal a slightly flattering 5-2 victory at struggling Rayo Vallecano.


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