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By ESPN Staff

Guardiola plays down Rosell remarks

Pep Guardiola has played down Barcelona president Sandro Rosell's prediction that they will beat Real Madrid 5-0 in the Copa del Rey final later this month.

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Barca beat Jose Mourinho's Madrid side 5-0 when the sides met at the Camp Nou in the Primera Division earlier this season and Rosell caused controversy on Thursday by boldly predicting a repeat of that scoreline in the cup final at the Mestalla on April 20. "I bet on a 5-0 in the cup final, so as not to lose the habit," Rosell said.

However, Guardiola said on Friday: "It is impossible to win the final 5-0 - impossible. I do not know if these words will be motivational for Madrid.

"I know the president's intent was not to offend. In my opinion, it could have been avoided.

"The president is the most responsible person of the institution. He explained yesterday the reason for this assertion. It was a charity event and the higher the bet the more was received."

He joked: "I don't want to justify it but, if you asked me and it was to collect food for the needy, I would have said we will win 60-0!

"If I had said 60-0 it would not have produced this debate."

Sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta earlier also sought to make light of Rosell's remarks.

"I would be content with a 1-0 win," he said. "What the president said is simply an anecdote - let's hope we can get back to talking about football again tomorrow."

Barca visit Villarreal on Saturday night and Guardiola will make a late decision on the fitness of Lionel Messi, who missed Argentina's friendly with Costa Rica this week because of a worry over his right groin.

"We'll see how he gets on today and tomorrow we will decide," Guardiola said. "We have matches every three days and we'll see how it is.

"The good news is that Messi has no injury. He has many games but does not come with an injury."

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