Lionel MESSI double secures draw for FC Barcelona against Valencia

Xavi could help to replace Messi not an easy task. Image PA Images

"Fixtures lists are always hard at this time of year, throughout January, and with this semi-final with two top-level games, league games and the Champions League starting soon, we all need to be careful", Valverde added.

Messi then struck again in the 64th minute, curling in a shot from 20 yards after Arturo Vidal had laid the ball off to him at the top of the penalty area to bring Barca level at 2-2.

Ousmane Dembélé, who recently recovered from an ankle injury and is now battling tonsilitis also trained having worked out on his own on Monday. "We'll see if he can complete the session, if he will show that he is in condition to play".

"I have not seen Leo Messi, we will see how it is, if it can be done, if it can be completed and if he is fit".

'I'm not in favour of taking risks with so many games coming up, if the season finished tomorrow, it would be another matter. But Barca barely missed their talismanic forward, thrashing Real 5-1 in what proved to be Julen Lopetegui's last game in charge before Solari took over.

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A semi-final against Madrid adds to a complicated fixture list for Barca, but Valverde feels a busy schedule should not be used as an excuse for either side.

Copa del Rey: Barcelona vs.

Before his fitness put a damper on a thrilling match, Messi extended his scoring run to nine straight games across all competitions. "In football, it's always best that the best players play in every game, that's just how it is", Solari said.

Valverde said he would make a final decision on Messi after consulting with the player and the club's medical team. "If Messi's ready he will play, if he's not he won't".

However, the dropped points leaves the door open for Atletico Madrid to close the gap on the La Liga leaders, who they trail by six ahead of their match with Real Betis on Sunday.

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