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Dec 8, 2012

Lionel Messi will play at Real Betis

BARCELONA, Spain -- Barcelona's Lionel Messi has recovered from a knee injury and will attempt to surpass Gerd Mueller's 40-year-old record for most goals in a calendar year when Barcelona plays Real Betis.

Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova included Messi in his squad for the Spanish league match at Betis on Sunday, saying the forward will play barring a setback.

"(Messi) feels fine, he isn't bothered (by the knee)," Vilanova said Saturday. "If he is traveling, it's because he's in condition to play. It there existed even the smallest risk, he wouldn't travel with the team."

Vilanova said he didn't know yet if he would start Messi or bring him off the bench.

Messi was carried off the field after a late collision with the opposing goalkeeper in Barcelona's 0-0 draw against Benfica in the Champions League on Wednesday. He hasn't missed a game because of injury since September 2010.

The 25-year-old Messi is trying to match Mueller's record of 85 goals for Bayern Munich and West Germany in 1972. Messi has 84 goals this year for Barcelona and Argentina.

Forward Alexis Sanchez and defender Dani Alves also have recovered from injuries and made the squad. Barcelona leads the league after a record start of 13 wins and one draw in the opening 14 rounds.

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