Barça ready for Betis after Messi's Ballon d'Or
Barça receives Betis in the quarter finals of the Copa del Rey (22.00 pm) two days after being the main attraction at the Ballon d’Or ceremony in Zurich. Leo Messi will be sharing the trophy with fans before kick off.
Barcelona (FCB).- There is no time for post-Zurich hangovers, even though having six members of the Ideal XI and all three of the best players in the world is due cause for plenty of celebration. Wednesday brings the fans the perfect opportunity to pay homage to Messi, Xavi and Iniesta for making such a historic achievement, but once that is over, there is the serious matter of a cup tie to contend with.
Getting the job done early
The Copa del Rey has pitted Barça against Betis in the last eight, and the first division side are clearly the favourites, although the Andalusians are runaways leaders in their own division and have the advantage of playing the second leg at home next week. So it\u2019s paramount that Guardiola\u2019s side can go south with something comfortable to defend.
Barça can play a full-strength side against Betis and have also called upon Thiago from the B side. The lack of injuries is fantastic news going into a hectic series of weeks in which there are midweek cup matches every day until the end of January. The quarters and potential semis, if Barça get there, will involve four games in four weeks.
But Betis are not coming to the Camp Nou to play the secondary role. They may be a second division club now, but are still one of the traditional giants of Spanish football, and have already left Zaragoza and Getafe by the wayside, although in beating the latter they surrendered two key strikers to injury: Emana and Dorado. The green and whites will be looking to emulate their feat of 1994 when they were also playing in the second division, but put the famous Dream Team out of the cup.
In memory of Pedraza
Before the Barça v Betis match, a respectful minute silence will be held in memory of Àngel Pedraza, who died last Saturday. Pedraza played for Barcelona in 1980 and again from 1984 to 1988.