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Messi included in Barcelona squad against Real Betis

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Associated Press
12/8/2012 9:05:01 AM
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BARCELONA, Spain -- Barcelona forward Lionel Messi looks set to try and surpass Gerd Mueller's 40-year-old record for most goals in a calendar year when Barcelona plays Real Betis after recovering from a bruised left knee.

Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova included Messi in his squad for the Spanish league match at Betis on Sunday, saying the forward will play barring a setback.

"(Messi) feels fine, he isn't bothered (by the knee)," Vilanova said Saturday. "If he is travelling it's because he's in condition to play. It there existed even the smallest risk he wouldn't travel with the team."

Vilanova said he didn't know yet if he would start Messi or bring him off the bench.

Messi was carried off the pitch after a late collision with the opposing goalkeeper in Barcelona's 0-0 draw against Benfica in the Champions League on Wednesday. He hasn't missed a game because of injury since September 2010.

The 25-year-old Messi is trying to match Mueller's record of 85 goals for Bayern Munich and West Germany in 1972. Messi has 84 goals so far this year for Barcelona and Argentina.

Forward Alexis Sanchez and defender Dani Alves have recovered from injury and made the squad

Barcelona leads the league after a record start of 13 wins and one draw in the opening 14 rounds.

Lionel Messi (Photo: Epsilon/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Epsilon/Getty Images)
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