FC Barcelona News: 22 March 2012; Messi Receives More Praise, La Liga Lead Shrinks as Real Madrid Drop Points

Will Pep again say that the La Liga title is out of reach? Probably, but it's undeniably closer than it was a week ago.

Lionel Messi's achievements beyond exaggeration as another record goes | Sid Lowe | Football | guardian.co.uk
The first meeting Lionel Messi ever had with Pep Guardiola ended on a promise. "With me," the new Barcelona coach said, "you'll score three or four goals a game." Guardiola exaggerated for effect; the ridiculous thing is that he was not that far wrong. Leo Messi scored another hat-trick on Tuesday night. It came just a fortnight after he became the first ever player to score five in a Champions League match, and it was the 18th hat-trick of his career. Eighteen is a record. Another one.

Messi: Detailed analysis of 234 goals | FC Barcelona
Athletico Madrid is Messi’s favorite victim, with 18 goals scored against them. Dani Alves is his best ally, with 31 assists, and the last fifteen minutes is his preferred scoring period. These are some of the stats of Messi’s record. Below are details of how Messi managed to reach the figure of 234 goals, two more than César, who was, until Tuesday, the top scorer in Barça history in official games.

Messi. DNA Blaugrana | FC Barcelona
After becoming the highest goalscorer in the history of FC Barcelona, with 234 goals in official matches, we take a look at Messi’s journey through the Club’s youth teams with commentary from his old managers.

Thiago: "In the League we still have hope" | FC Barcelona
With the victory against Granada, FC Barcelona have now won eight consecutive matches, which has allowed them to be a contender for the Champions League, and also to reduce the points difference in the League with Real Madrid. Thiago Alcántara, who attended a press conference, knows that winning the League title "doesn't depend on ourselves" so the players are "only thinking about our games. We have 10 games left and we have to win the maximum number of points possible".

Cruyff: Messi is a gem; he is an example for every child in the world - Goal.com
Barcelona legend Johan Cruyff has heaped praise on Lionel Messi, saying that the 24-year-old has set a great example for children across the globe to follow. "For football, Messi is a gem because he is a role model for every child in the world," Cruyff told Catalunya Radio. "Barca play a type of football which delights everyone in the world and they have a coach with great human qualities, something that is extremely important nowadays.

How many goals will Messi score? - Yahoo! Eurosport
The Messi forecast line offers a tentative prediction of his future goals. With 10 Liga games remaining, the Copa del Rey final and at least two more Champions League matches, his current seasonal scoring rate of 1.2 goals per game should see him net 15 more this season, bringing him to 249.

Fuchs & Siqueira on Barcelona radar - report - Goal.com
Schalke defender Christian Fuchs and Granada full-back Guilherme Siqueira have caught the interest of Barcelona with their good performances so far in the 2011-12 campaign, Ona FM reports. The Catalans are in the market for a new left-back due to the uncertainty surrounding the future of Eric Abidal, who is due to undergo a liver transplant in the upcoming weeks.

Nine-man Madrid held to a draw - ESPN Soccernet
Real Madrid completely lost their discipline as they let Barcelona back in the title race with a 1-1 draw at lowly Villarreal. The visitors conceded an equaliser to Marcos Senna, had boss Jose Mourinho sent from the dugout and Sergio Ramos and Mesut Ozil red-carded all in the space of three minutes late in the game.

Referee reveals Pepe abuse, explains decisions - Yahoo! Eurosport
Referee Paradas Romero has revealed that Real Madrid defender Pepe launched into an astonishing tirade of insults after his nine-man team stumbled to a 1-1 draw at Villarreal. Paradas was the centre of attention after sending off Mesut Ozil and Sergio Ramos on Wednesday night, the result seeing Real Madrid’s lead over Barcelona - which was 10 points last week - cut to six points.

Sergio Ramos sets new Real Madrid record with 11th red card in La Liga - Goal.com
Sergio Ramos has added his name to the Real Madrid record books following his dismissal in Wednesday evening's 1-1 draw away to Villarreal in La Liga. The 25-year-old took a total of 221 league appearances for the Primera Division leaders to achieve his record, an average of one red card every 20 games.

Figo owes Spain 2.4 million euros in unpaid tax - Yahoo! Sports
Former World Player of Year Luis Figo has been ordered to pay around 2.4 million euros in income tax to the Spanish government from his time as a Barcelona player, the country’s supreme court ruled on Wednesday. The former Portugal international had appealed against a 2008 demand from the Spanish tax authorities which claimed monies due from 1997 to 1999 relating to his image rights when he was a player at the Nou Camp.

Zaragoza stun Valencia, Athletic woes continue - Yahoo! Eurosport
Basement club Real Zaragoza fired their slim hopes of avoiding relegation with a stirring comeback win at high-flying Valencia and a double from Radamel Falcao gave Atletico Madrid a 2-1 victory at home to Athletic Bilbao. Valencia stayed third in the table with 47 points, but city rivals Levante closed to within three points in fourth after they won 3-1 at Real Sociedad.

Malaga express interest in Real Madrid's Sahin - report - Goal.com
Malaga have expressed an interest in Real Madrid midfielder Nuri Sahin, Marca TV reports. The Turkey international has been on the periphery at the Santiago Bernabeu since completing a €10 million move from Borussia Dortmund last summer, with only five competitive appearances to date under coach Jose Mourinho.

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