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FC Barcelona News: 22 December 2013; Barça Need Win to End Year in First Place, Lionel Messi Doing Well

David Ramos

Martino looking for solid performance | FC Barcelona
Barça, who are almost neck and neck with Atlético Madrid at the top of the table, end 2013 with a league match at Getafe. There is a lot of psychology attached to the game, and manager Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino told the press today that "it is very important not just to end the year in first place, but also to put in a solid performance … That will be ideal way to raise our spirits before the holiday season".

FC Barcelona are in Madrid | FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona will close out 2013 with the league match at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez. The match against Getafe will kick off at 5 in the afternoon and that’s why Tata Martino decided to travel to the Spanish capital on Saturday. The 18-man team landed in Madrid at 20.30. Dani Alves is the newest addition to the squad after he successfully recovered from injury, while Xavi (injury) and Puyol (technical reasons) will miss the match.

"The countdown begins," says Leo Messi | FC Barcelona
"I’m doing very well clinically, now the countdown begins." Messi underwent tests on Friday which confirmed that he has progressed passed the clinical stage of his recovery. The player is now in the third phase of his recovery programme, which focuses on physical conditioning.

Atletico Madrid 3-2 Levante |
Atletico Madrid overcame an almighty scare to beat Levante 3-2 and go top of the Primera Division. Diego Costa slammed home a 77th-minute penalty to preserve all three points for Diego Simeone's side, who had gone behind with less than two minutes on the clock and then conceded a second-half equaliser shortly after taking the lead.

Vela brace puts Sociedad into fifth |
A goal in each half from Carlos Vela saw Real Sociedad move into fifth in the Primera Division table with a comfortable 3-1 victory over Granada at Los Carmenes. The former Arsenal striker opened the scoring after 29 minutes before Francisco Piti equalised for the home side. Antoine Griezmann doubled Sociedad's score minutes ahead of half-time before Vela struck again midway through the second half.

No stopping Sevilla | Sky Sports Football
Sevilla continued their excellent recent run of form by beating Villarreal away from home to move up to seventh place in the Primera Division table. Unai Emery's side's plan was to frustrate their hosts and it worked perfectly. Juan Cala headed the visitors into the lead in the 24th minute from a set piece, and with 19 minutes remaining Carlos Bacca made sure of the points by taking advantage of a defensive error.

Azeez effort enough for Almeria |
Ramon Azeez's early score was enough for Almeria to claim a much-needed 1-0 Primera Division win over fellow strugglers Real Betis. Azeez drilled home a strike from 30 yards in only the third minute which beat the Betis defence in the sole breakthrough of the game. The result means Almeria climbed out of the bottom three and into 15th place while Betis remain rooted to the bottom of the overall standings.

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