Liga - Barcelona rest stars for cup clash, Vilanova absent

Holders Barcelona will rest midfielders Xavi and Andres Iniesta, centre-back Gerard Pique and forward Pedro for Thursday's Copa del Rey last-16 second leg at home to second-division Cordoba, while manager Tito Vilanova will not lead the team out.

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Barcelona's Xavi celebrates scoring against Real Madrid in their Spanish Super Cup first leg clash at Nou Camp (Reuters)

Barca have a 2-0 lead from last month's first leg and despite the absence of the Spain quartet should have little trouble securing a last-eight meeting with Malaga, who eliminated third-tier Eibar on Tuesday.

Vilanova, who had surgery on a throat tumour last month, will be absent from the dugout undergoing further tests, assistant coach Jordi Roura has confirmed.

Barca full-back Adriano, who picked up a minor muscle injury at the end of December and missed Sunday's 4-0 La Liga win at home to Espanyol, returned to training on Wednesday and had been included in the squad, the club said in a statement.

Argentina forward Lionel Messi, who collected a record fourth consecutive FIFA Ballon d'Or award on Monday, was also available, they added.

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