Ernesto Valverde: Messi spends the 'first minutes' of games analysing the opposition defence

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Barcelona are on course for yet another trophy-laden season following Wednesday night's 3-0 victory over Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey semi-finals.

They face Valencia in the final on May 25 as the Blaugrana look to win the competition for an incredible fifth time in a row.

Winning La Liga is also on the cards as Barcelona are currently seven points clear at the top of the table with 13 games remaining.

On Saturday they travel back to the Bernabeu to take on Real, who they demolished 5-1 in the reverse fixture earlier this season.

Luis Suarez scored a hat-trick during that game and the thumping victory was made even more impressive by Lionel Messi's absence.

Messi missed the game through injury, but since returning the Argentine has scored 18 league goals and recorded hat-tricks away to Levante and Sevilla.

He's been in stunning form and Real's defence will have a hard time stopping him - especially judging by Ernesto Valverde's latest comments.

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In an interview with the Financial Times, Valverde explained how Messi spends the "first minutes" of every game walking around and analysing the opposition defence for weaknesses.

And once he finds those weaknesses, that's when his game really starts.

"As the game advances, he (Messi) gets in little by little," added Valverde. "But he knows perfectly where the rivals' weaknesses are."

Messi has never scored a goal in the first or second minute of a match and it's no wonder if he spends the opening stages walking around focusing on the opposition, rather than the ball.

Real Madrid v FC Barcelona - Copa del Rey Semi Final: Second Leg

But that's what makes the 31-year-old so unique; Messi walks for the vast majority of games but still ends up making the difference with one moment of magic.

The only other minute he's never scored in is the 69th, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic the only two players known to have scored in every minute.

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