Barcelona forward Lionel Messi will miss the Copa del Rey semi-final second leg against Valencia due to kidney surgery, but the club have insisted that it is only a minor problem. The 28-year-old is to undergo the procedure on 9 February to correct a problem that first surfaced in December, according to Catalan daily Sport.
Messi did not play the Club World Cup semi-final against Guangzhou Evergrande due to renal colic on 17 December, but started and scored in the final against River Plate three days later.
A statement on Barcelona's website said the forward will undergo tests "to assess the evolution of the kidney problems he suffered last December". "Messi will return to his normal duties with the first team on Wednesday," it added.
Messi played the full 90 minutes of Barcelona's 2-0 win at Levante at the weekend but did not take part in training on 8 February. The Argentina international has scored 12 goals in 17 league games for Barcelona this season and was awarded his fifth Ballon d'Or crown last month.
Barcelona travel to the Mestalla to face Gary Neville's Valencia in the second leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final on 10 February with a seven-goal advantage from the first leg. The Catalan giants equalled a club record 28-match unbeaten run with the win over Levante and can set a new record by avoiding defeat at the Mestalla.
"When the season finishes I'll tell you whether or not the record has been of use to us," Enrique, who took charge of his 100th match, was reported as saying by Sky Sports after the Levante match. "It's good to reach 100 games, it's better than 50, but statistics don't tell me anything. I'm more interested in group objectives, like winning league titles."
Barcelona have a three-point lead at the top of the La Liga table and face Arsenal in the Champions League round of 16 later this month.