Messi, Neymar rested for Barcelona's Cup game at Elche

Reuters , Thursday 15 Jan 2015

Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates a goal against Elche during their Spanish King's Cup soccer match at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona January 8, 201 5 (Photo: Reuters)

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has decided to rest Lionel Messi, Neymar and most of his regulars for the King's Cup last 16, second leg match at Elche later on Thursday.

Barca have a 5-0 lead from last week's first leg at the Nou Camp and Luis Enrique has called up six players from the B team, including teenage Croatia midfielder Alen Halilovic for the return game.

Playmaker Xavi and defender Thomas Vermaelen will miss the match due to injury, while centre back Gerard Pique and midfielder Ivan Rakitic are the only players included who featured in Sunday's 3-1 La Liga win at home to Atletico Madrid, Barca said on their website (

Barca are likely to face Atletico in the quarter-finals as the La Liga champions take a 2-0 advantage over holders Real Madrid into their last 16, second leg at Real's Bernabeu stadium later on Thursday.

Sevilla, Athletic Bilbao, Villarreal, Malaga, Espanyol and Getafe are already through to the last eight.

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