Messi fit for Super Cup

Lionel Messi has been passed fit to play the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup for Barcelona against Atletico Madrid.

Last Updated: 27/08/13 at 22:40 Post Comment

Lionel Messi: Passed fit to play

Lionel Messi: Passed fit to play

The Argentinian hobbled off at half-time with a hamstring injury of the first leg at the Vicente Calderon last week, which finished 1-1.

He played no part in Barcelona's 1-0 win at Malaga on the weekend, but has been named in a 19-man squad for the the match at the Nou Camp, and coach Gerardo Martino has assured reporters that the striker is "fine" after completing training on Monday and Tuesday and is ready to play.

Adriano, who scored the winning goal at Malaga, has been ruled out of the match with a muscle strain.

Martino gave no clues about the starting line-up he would put out against Diego Simeone's side, and remained ambiguous about whether Neymar, who came off the bench to score Barcelona's equaliser at the Calderon, would begin the match.

The Brazilian has still not started a single game for Barcelona since completing a 57million euro move to the club from Santos in the summer.

Martino told a press conference broadcast on Barcelona's official website: "His situation is the same as before. Of course he is ready to play but tomorrow we will see if he does. I expect Neymar to be at Barcelona for 10-12 years, I don't just need him for tomorrow's game."

Talk of the Brazilian forward dominated the press conference, prompting Martino to add: "The most important thing is that the coach makes these decisions. I have decided not to play him for a number of reasons, such as the fact there has been so much attention placed on him, and the fact he has only just arrived at the club."

And the Argentinian coach underlined the importance of beating Atletico and winning the Super Cup, which the club lost last season to Real Madrid, stating that it would give them an extra lift for the season.

"Every trophy is important, Barcelona compete in order to win trophies and tomorrow there's a trophy up for grabs," he said.

"Clearly, there's a big difference between starting the season by winning a trophy and starting the season losing a trophy."

Atletico boss Simeone admitted that, despite the 1-1 draw in the first leg, his side were the underdogs.

However, he still has faith his players can conquer what would be their fourth trophy since taking charge of the club in January 2012.

"The tie is wide open; but, playing at home and with their characteristics, they [Barcelona] will take the lead role," he told a press conference, quoted in AS.

"They're a better team than us and we have to be ready. The match lasts for 90 minutes and we need to know when to hurt them.

"We're playing a final at our opponents' ground and I hope we rise to the occasion."

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may well get slated by other United fans for this, but out of the three contenders, I'd far prefer Liverpool to win the title. Yes some elements of their fanbase can be a bit OTT, yes they're our biggest rivals and yes it will make our poor season feel even more like the end of an era (Fergie's gone, Liverpool are back on top). However I just have to applaud Brendan Rodgers and the way he's turned Liverpool around in just a couple of seasons. It...

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ooray! We are all excited now, we beat a very mediocre team! With all due respect to WHU supporters, not winning that game shouldn't even be a consideration. This is the problem, there is no winning mentality at the Emirates - we're all congratulating ourselves beating a team that we have a winning record against.

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