Barça came from behind to take three vital points and beat Almeria 3-1 at the Nou Camp tonight with a goal from Thiago and two from Messi, one a penalty, that send them to the Bernabeu next week with an 8 point lead.
The bad news for the young Catalan came after he was carried off on the half hour. Tests showed that his injury will probably rule him out for the rest of the season, with doctors predicting a six to eight week recovery period.
Kaka scored two penalties as Real Madrid won 3-0 away to Athletic Club Bilbao in the Spanish BBVA Primera Liga on Saturday night. The win means that Madrid still have a slight chance of overtaking FC Barcelona at the top of the league table and was rewarded for a solid defensive display against a home side that placed too much emphasis on physical effort and forgot to play enough constructive football.
The midfielder was delighted by his team's response to going a goal behind against Almeria and is now targeting victory when the Blaugrana meet Los Blancos next weekend.
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has asked his players to win against Real Madrid next weekend and end their rival's title hopes: "This is a unique opportunity for us to strike a decisive blow in the title race."
Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola admitted his side's 3-1 win over bottom side Almeria was not without its difficulties. "They have a good defensive structure and because of that, we struggled a lot," Guardiola said. "In the second half, we improved, but these games are always dangerous and there were things that didn't go well for us."
The arduous task FC Shakhtar Donetsk face in overturning their four-goal UEFA Champions League quarter-final deficit against FC Barcelona has been made all the harder by an injury that has ruled Darijo Srna out of the second leg on Tuesday.
Barca B put in a great performance at the Mini on Friday night , brushing aside Granada with goals from Bartra, Jonathan Soriano(2) and Sergi Roberto to keep themselves up in the leading positions in the second division. The B team now sit third, having played a game more than Celta, and have put together an unbeaten run of eight games. Pep Guardiola, Andoni Zubizarreta and Narcís Julià all watched the game from the stands.
Sevilla's hopes of breaking into the top four of La Liga were effectively ended with a 2-2 draw at Mallorca tonight. Overhauling the nine-point gap between themselves and fourth-placed Villarreal was always going to be a tough task, but this loss of points leaves them little hope.
Villarreal, given every opportunity to truly solidify a Champions League place (and third, at that), has continually shown no spine, and is now paying the price. Now, every match in La Liga carries huge import despite the fact that Villarreal should have been able to stop worrying about league matches three or four weeks ago.
The victory is the perfect riposte for Spurs following their quarter-final first-leg loss to Real Madrid, which has - barring the most unlikely of second-leg turnarounds - ended their involvement in this season's Champions League.
Roberto is a product of the Barca youth academy and is considered to be one of the most promising youngsters coming through the ranks at the Nou Camp. The midfielder made his first team debut in November 2010, but has mainly been playing for Barcelona B in the Segunda Division.