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FC Barcelona News: 19 September 2013; Barça Start Champions League Season With Win, Lionel Messi Sets New Milestone

David Ramos

FC Barcelona v Ajax: the perfect start in Europe (4-0) | FC Barcelona
A Messi hat trick plus a Piqué header from Neymar’s corner kick sealed a convincing win for FC Barcelona in the opening game of the group stage. Ajax started in great style but were overwhelmed as Barça grew in strength throughout the match, led by the goals of Leo Messi and the saves of Victor Valdés.

Messi becomes first player to score 4 hat tricks in the Champions League | FC Barcelona
With his three goals against Ajax, Leo Messi become the first player to ever score four hat tricks in the history of the Champions League. Barça’s No. 10 surpasses Mario Gomez, who scored three hat tricks with Bayern Munich and Filipo Inzaghi, who scored three during his time at Milan and Juventus.

Tata Martino: "It wasn't a brilliant match but we put in a strong performance" | FC Barcelona
Tata Martino made his debut in the Champions League this evening in spectacular fashion as his men thrashed Ajax by 4 to 0. Despite the decisive victory the manager noted after the match that "it wasn’t a brilliant match but we put in a strong performance."

Dani Alves: "We are still in transition" | FC Barcelona
As he seeks to get Barça back to the same level as in previous seasons, Tata Martino is making adjustments to the FCB machine. This period of change might mean that the team doesn’t always produce the same level of excellence, as was particularly evident in the first half against Ajax.

Valdés: "I want to win this year's Champions League" | FC Barcelona
"It’s important to go home with a victory. It would really mean a lot to me to win this year’s Champions League. I know it’s my last one with Barça," said Valdés. "I’m thankful for the support from the fans. It gives me more confidence," he added.

Valdes showing Barca what they will miss - Yahoo Eurosport UK
The 31-year-old, a product of the club's youth academy who made his first-team debut in the 2002-03 campaign, announced last term he was quitting because the pressure of being Barca's first choice keeper for a decade had taken its toll.

Messi not focused on Raul record - Yahoo Eurosport UK
"The idea of overtaking Raul at the top of the all-time Champions League scoring charts is a fine challenge, but it is not essential," reflected Messi post-match. "We, as a team, have other more important objectives. For example, to get as far as we are capable of in this competition. To try to win it again.

Messi 3-3 Ronaldo: The battle of the Champions begins again -
Good things, it is often said, come in threes. And as the Champions League commenced again this week, the tournament's two finest footballers both hit trebles to kick off their own personal duel in the latest edition of Europe's elite club competition: Ronaldo and Messi are already off and running.

Cox: Lionel Messi is three world class players in one |
When Simon Burnton of the Guardian interviewed Billy Beane and asked who the most underrated footballer was, the Moneyball mastermind had a fine answer. "You know, I’d actually say Lionel Messi," Beane declared. "He’s so remarkable, watching him play, he’s probably still undervalued. When you’re scoring five goals in one Champions League match, there’s no value that’s too high."

‘I put my hood up and stood on Anfield’s Kop’ – Andy Mitten meets Luis Enrique | Pitchside Europe - Yahoo Eurosport UK
Enrique, 42, was friendly from the off, yet his reputation preceded him. The Asturian wasn’t usually one for dealing kindly with the media. Journalists saw that first hand when he was Barcelona captain, the lungs of the side from 1996-2004, a cracking player who was also popular at Real Madrid where he’d spent five years.

Bojan still struggling to find his feet by Michael Cox - ESPN FC
In everything he says and does, Bojan exudes an air of sadness and resignation about his current plight. Underwhelming at both Roma and Milan, his loan move to Ajax is something of a step down. The Amsterdam club remains one of Europe's greatest names, but they are considered a breeding ground for Europe's best young talents, a stepping stone to the first-rate clubs.

Coentrao, Varane back in training for Madrid - Yahoo Eurosport UK
The duo were the notable additions to the main group in Wednesday’s training session at Valdebebas, returning to work alongside their colleagues after respective injuries. Coentrao had missed Madrid’s last two fixtures after returning from international duty with Portugal earlier this month with a thigh injury. Varane, meanwhile, has been out of action since May, when he suffered a torn meniscus that required surgical intervention on.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez denies Gerard Pique's spending claim - ESPN FC
Pique had claimed Madrid were being bankrolled by Spanish lenders, unlike his own club Barcelona who preferred to rely on home-grown stars. AS had earlier reported it was actually the UK arm of Spanish lender Banco Santander which had helped support the record-breaking Bale deal. According to Marca the Madrid chief told a group of socios on Wednesday evening that the Barca defender had been mistaken.

Atletico ride luck in 3-1 win over Zenit | Sky Sports Football
Atletico Madrid continued their stunning start to the season with a 3-1 Champions League victory over Zenit St Petersburg. Joao Miranda, Arda Turan and Leo Baptistao scored the goals in the Group F opener, which puts the Spaniards top of the pool ahead of Porto, who beat Austria Vienna 1-0.

Atletico Madrid's Adrian sustains broken cheekbone - ESPN FC
Atletico confirmed via a statement on Wednesday night that he would need an operation. "Adrian suffered a collapsed fracture in the right cheek bone," the statement said. "He will remain at the FREMAP Majadahonda [hospital] and will be operated on by facial surgeon Dr. Pedro Llopis early on Thursday afternoon."

Real Sociedad's on-loan playmaker Esteban Granero out for six monthhs | Football News | Sky Sports
Real Sociedad midfielder Esteban Granero has been ruled out for at least six months after suffering anterior cruciate ligament damage. The 26-year-old, on loan from Queens Park Rangers, sustained the injury to his right knee during Tuesday's Champions League clash with Shakhtar Donetsk, who won 2-0.

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