Gonzalez fear over Messi threat

A look ahead to the midweek action in the Spanish Copa del Rey.

Last Updated: 10/12/12 at 17:29 Post Comment

Lionel Messi: Broke Muller's goal record on Sunday

Lionel Messi: Broke Muller's goal record on Sunday

Cordoba president Carlos Gonzalez has joked his side may need police assistance to achieve during their Copa del Rey showdown with holders Barcelona what few defences have managed this year - stopping Lionel Messi.

Messi broke Gerd Muller's 40-year-old record for the most goals in a calendar year on Sunday night when he netted his 85th and 86th of 2012 in Barca's 2-1 victory at Real Betis.

Messi could further stretch that record before the end of the year with Barca still having four fixtures left, the first of which is Wednesday's Copa del Rey last-16 first leg against Cordoba.

It may be that Barca coach Tito Vilanova will opt to rest Messi for that game, but if he does unleash the Argentina superstar against the second division side, Gonzalez has been weighing up his options about how best to stop the 25-year-old.

He joked in AS: "I've tried to talk with the civil guard to have him arrested!"

The good news for Gonzalez and Cordoba is that it seems unlikely Vilanova will risk too many of his star names in the first leg, especially with a top-of-table showdown with Atletico Madrid in La Liga to come on Sunday.

However, the Cordoba chief concedes even a second-string Barca are a team to be feared.

"I hope Barca come with the worst team they have. In sport anything can happen, although it's difficult because even with their second team Barca would be runners-up in La Liga," he said.

Atletico coach Diego Simone has a similar selection dilemma to Vilanova regarding his own star forward, Radamel Falcao, ahead of his side's last-16 home clash with city rivals Getafe.

Falcao also wrote his name into the record books last night after scoring five goals in Atletico's 6-0 league win over Deportivo La Coruna, but he has yet to feature in any of the Rojiblanco's cup or Europa League games this season and could be rested again.

Atletico president Enrique Cerezo said of the sought-after Colombia international: "I think that right now he is the best number nine in world football and, of course, he is the best Atletico striker up to this point."

Real Madrid, who won their first Copa del Rey title in almost 20 years in 2011, travel to top-flight rivals Celta Vigo on Wednesday knowing their best chances of silverware this season now look to be in the knockout competitions.

In La Liga, Jose Mourinho's reigning champions have fallen 11 points behind leaders Barca, but are through to the last 16 of the Champions League and are firm favourites to knock out Celta and reach the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey.

Elsewhere, Valencia will hope for a similar result to Saturday's 1-0 league win at the Reyno de Navarra when make their second trip to Osasuna in four days on Tuesday night, while two struggling top-flight sides go head-to-head when Real Mallorca host Sevilla.

Also, Levante meet Real Zaragoza, Real Betis take on second division Las Palmas, while on Wednesday Athletic Bilbao face Eibar in the second leg of their postponed last-32 tie, with Malaga awaiting the winners.


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