Valencia - Brazilian full-back Adriano looks set to play at
the centre of Barcelona's defence in the Copa del Rey final against Real Madrid
as captain Carles Puyol and Marc Bartra were unable to train with the rest of
the squad on Wednesday morning.
Puyol, who will leave the club at the end of the campaign
due to ongoing injury problems, has missed most of the season due to knee
troubles, whilst Bartra strained his hamstring as Barca were knocked out of the
Champions League by Atletico Madrid last week.
Gerard Pique has also been ruled out due to a hairline
fracture in his hip.
Coach Gerardo Martino had used Sergio Busquets and Alex Song
at centre-back during the Catalans' 1-0 defeat to Granada at the weekend, but
Spanish media reported that Adriano was the favourite to partner Javier
Mascherano on Wednesday night, to allow Busquets to maintain his normal role in
Chilean Alexis Sanchez is also expected to start up front
for Barca with Cesc Fabregas paying for his poor form of late by being dropped
to the bench.
Real have huge injury problems of their own as Cristiano
Ronaldo misses out due to a hamstring injury.
Gareth Bale will be expected to fill the World Player of the
Year's shoes in his first final for Madrid as he is likely to start in
Ronaldo's usual position on the left side of the attack alongside Karim Benzema
and Angel di Maria.
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