Barcelona leave Messi, Neymar and Suarez out for Valencia trip
Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has named a much-changed squad for Wednesday's Copa del Rey semifinal second leg at Valencia -- with Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez among 10 regular starters left behind.
Barca won last week's first leg 7-0 at the Camp Nou, with Suarez scoring four times, and Messi grabbing a hat-trick.
Messi was expected to miss the return game after reportedly undergoing a minor procedure to deal with a kidney issue on Tuesday morning. Those also rested include senior players Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba, Javier Mascherano, Dani Alves and Claudio Bravo.
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The 18-man squad announced on Wednesday morning includes Barca B youngsters Wilfrid Kaptoum, Sergi Samper, Dani Romera, Juan Camara and Gerard Gumbau, as well as Juvenil A winger Carles Alena - who scored a superb solo goal against Roma in the UEFA Youth League earlier this season and turned 18 in January.
Spanish federation rules limit the number of youngsters which teams can play in the Copa del Rey to just three -- so it is more likely that squad players such as Marc Bartra, Sandro Ramirez and Douglas will get rare first team starts.
At his prematch news conference on Tuesday Luis Enrique had said he would face the game like any other, although he also admitted that the 0-7 score from the first leg meant his players would face a "different challenge" at Mestalla.
Los Che coach Gary Neville said he would be prioritising Saturday's La Liga game at home to Espanyol, with the former Manchester United defender still searching for a first league win, although Neville denied he felt he was now in a relegation battle.
"FC Barcelona have a date tonight in the Copa del Rey," Barcelona's club statement said. "Despite the 7-0 in the first leg, there are still 90 minutes between the Blaugrana and the Copa final. Between this a Valencia side which is only thinking about La Liga, but who will want to begin a comeback and build some morale in the Copa."