El Clasico preview: Real Madrid and Barcelona meet in Copa del Rey
Lionel Messi & Cristiano Ronaldo will once again be centre stage when Barcelona & Real Madrid meet in the Copa del Rey.
Last Updated: 30/01/13 6:33pm
World superstars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will once again be centre stage on Wednesday when El Clasico foes Barcelona and Real Madrid meet in the Copa del Rey.
All eyes will be on the pair as the debate continues regarding the best player in the world and their competition was in full evidence at the weekend.
Ronaldo scored a hat-trick in Real's 4-0 win over Getafe on Sunday but Messi, who once again beat the Portugal captain to the 2012 Ballon d'Or, then netted four against Osasuna.
But the rivalry between the two clubs also surpasses any individual battle and Barcelona will therefore visit Madrid in the hope of adding to the problems at Real.
Copa del Rey holders Barcelona are 11 points clear at the top of La Liga, with third-placed Real 15 points behind after a stormy and troubled campaign.
Jose Mourinho's future is increasingly gloomy after reports of in-house fighting and spats with Spanish media, which have only led to increased speculation he will leave.
Tito Vilanova, who has had previous touchline confrontations with Mourinho, will consequently be keen to rub salt in wounds by gaining a first-leg advantage.
Real will be without defender Pepe and goalkeeper Iker Casillas due to injury while Angel Di Maria, Fabio Coentrao and Sergio Ramos are all suspended.
Barcelona can welcome back Gerard Pique from a ban and Jordi Alba, Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas are expected to start after being rested against Osasuna.