Barca, Real in big clash

Barca, Real in big clash

A week ago, Barcelona still had a chance of repeating the historic treble of 2009 but defeats in Europe and La Liga mean Wednesday's King's Cup final against Real Madrid may be their only hope of major silverware this season.

A wounded Barca travel to Valencia to meet their arch rivals after crashing out of the Champions League to Atletico Madrid on Wednesday and suffering a shock 1-0 reverse at Granada in La Liga three days later that left them four points behind leaders Atletico with five games to play.

Real, by contrast, are on a high after joining Atletico in the last four of Europe's elite club competition and climbing above Barca into second in La Liga, three points off the top, thanks to Saturday's 4-0 drubbing of Almeria.

The record Cup winners with 26 to Real's 18, Barca have had the upper hand against their rivals in La Liga this season, winning 2-1 at the Nou Camp in October and 4-3 at the Bernabeu last month.

Talismanic Argentina captain Lionel Messi has gone off the boil just when Barcelona needed his sublime skills the most, while Brazil forward Neymar has blown hot and cold since his high-profile move from Santos in the close season.

Meanwhile, Ronaldo will miss the match after failing to recover from knee and thigh muscle problems, Ancelotti said.