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Football | Spain

Messi ready to help Barca in Clasico



Scoring or not, Lionel Messi is ready to help Barcelona any way he can when the team faces Real Madrid on Tuesday in the second leg of the Copa del Rey semifinals.

Messi has scored in 15 straight Spanish league games, but failed to find the target in the 1-1 draw at Madird in the first leg. He also failed to score in the 2-0 loss to AC Milan in the first leg of the last 16 of the Champions League.

"We need to get these two very important games coming up out of the way and if I can't help by scoring goals then it's not so important so long as we win," Messi said. "A match against Madrid is a game apart, simply because of what it means. We'll have to be at our best level to get to the next stage."

Cesc Fabregas scored Barcelona's lone goal in the first leg against Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Barcelona, who lead the league by 15 points, have conceded goals in their last 11 matches and had to make a comeback to beat Sevilla 2-1 at the Camp Nou on Saturday.

"These last few games we've had good possession of the ball but we failed to create, to finish, to find the depth we used to have," Messi said. "It's true that our last two matches weren't our best, but we shouldn't make a big thing of that. We have to return to our previous form and think of those results."

Messi also said he preferred continuity on the field rather than resting up before a match.

"The truth is I find I feel better when I play than when I just train," the Argentina forward said. "Going back years now I'm used to that. I find I feel better when I play, my physical fitness gets better when I have continuity playing."

Madrid also had to come back to win on Saturday, rallying for a 2-1 victory over Deportivo La Coruna. Kaka scored his first goal of the season.

After beating Sevilla 2-1 at home in the first leg, Atletico will hope striker Radamel Falcao continues on his prolific scoring run on Wednesday.

The 27-year-old Colombia striker scored his 21st league goal despite his side being one man down against Espanyol on Sunday, ensuring the team stays in second place behind Barcelona.



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