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FC Barcelona News: 6 January 2014; Alexis Sanchez Leads Barça Back Into First Place, Gerard Pique Reaches Milestone

David Ramos

FC Barcelona v Elche: Alexis the Superstar (4-0) | FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona kicked off 2014 like they ended 2013, by thrashing the opposition. This time, though, they didn’t need a comeback like the Getafe game. The Elche match went Barça’s way from the first 15 minutes, thanks to goals from Alexis and Pedro, and Elche were finished off with two more goals from Alexis in the second half.

First hat trick for Alexis Sánchez | FC Barcelona
Alexis, who’s scored a total of 11 goals in all competitions this season (all in the league), has netted a total of six braces, five of which were scored at the Camp Nou. Alexis, who has featured in 23 matches this season, kicked off the year by earning a great All Kings Day present: the match ball.

Pedro is on a three-match scoring streak | FC Barcelona
Gerard Piqué featured in his 250th official match for FC Barcelona. He's made 153 appearances in the Liga, 58 in the Champions League, 26 in the Cup, 9 in the Spanish Super Cup, 3 in the Club World Cup, and 1 in the European Super Cup.

"I'm starting to feel important," says Marc Bartra | FC Barcelona
Marc Bartra is becoming a usual fixture in Tata Martino’s starting teams this season. "Things are working out," said the center back, "but I know that I have to continue working in order to take advantage of the opportunities the manager gives me." He added: "I’m starting to feel important, more a part of the team. Tata isn’t afraid to send me into a game. It’s better for the team to have a lot of players playing at a high level."

King's Day recovery session | FC Barcelona
There was no time for King’s Day indulgence after beating Elche at the Camp Nou, as the first team now have to immediately start thinking about the cup tie with Getafe on Wednesday (22.00). So, although today is a holiday in Barcelona, for the players it was work as usual at the Ciutat Esportiva, with the players that faced Elche focusing on recovery from the previous day’s exertions.

VIDEO: FC Barcelona players warm up for the match against Elche | FC Barcelona
Barça cruised to a comfortable victory at the Camp Nou against Elche a day before Three Kings Day – Alexis, who scored a hat trick, and Pedro scored for the Blaugrana (4-0). Check out this video of the team warming up before the match.

Intense week with Copa del Rey and League top spot in play | FC Barcelona
Tata Martino’s squad will train on Monday and Tuesday at 11.00 at the training ground in preparation for the Copa del Rey match on Wednesday against Getafe. The same Wednesday, Barça will have their last training session (12.00) at the Camp Nou, and that evening will play the first leg of the last 16 round (22.00).

"Messi will make us even better," says Martino | FC Barcelona
"It was between Alexis and Neymar, Alexis was in better condition and we have to pick one of the two. We tried to figure out who was in better condition to play," said Martino, who added that Pedro "is a player that can win any manager over. He always has answers for the team. He’s a player who can assist, he can score goals. He’s generous with his teammates. It’s hard for us to leave him on the bench."

Tata's test: Which Barcelona star makes way for Messi? -
It is a nice problem to have. Barcelona not so long ago remained largely dependent on Lionel Messi, yet in the absence of their finest footballer, the Argentine's fellow forwards have all stepped up of late. Now, however, with Leo ready to return, one will have to make way. So who will it be?

Pedro: "We have five difficult months ahead" | FC Barcelona
Barça started 2014 with a convincing victory over Elche thanks to three goals from Alexis and another from Pedro. After the match, the Spanish forward said, "we played a good match from the start. I’m happy that I’m scoring goals and that I’m helping the team." The forward then said, "we have five tough months ahead, we need to be at our best level."

Emotional minute's silence for Josep Seguer | FC Barcelona
Last Wednesday night Josep Seguer, a legend at Barcelona and the World of football, passed away. Seguer, a first team player for 14 seasons, playing 470 games and scoring 133 goals, was remembered with an emotional minute's silence before the start of the Barça v Elche game this Sunday. His three children, Josep, Isabel and Montserrat, were invited to the Stadium and watched the game from the Directors Box.

Real Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stefano pays tribute to Eusebio - ESPN FC
"He was a great friend and together we made our profession fun," Di Stefano said. "I want to give my condolences to all his family and friends. We were eating together not long ago in Madrid and in Lisbon, and I feel this loss a lot. I knew him very well, and do not have the words to describe what has happened.

Bale set to be on bench for Real's clash with Celta - Yahoo Eurosport UK
Welshman Bale has struggled with injuries since his 100 million euros move from Tottenham Hotspur, missing seven of Real's 22 games with different niggles. Ancelotti said he is still not fully recovered from a calf strain. "He is in the squad and we need to make a decision if he plays or not," Ancelotti told a news conference. "He is training well but we could wait a bit longer for him to be in top condition."

Real Sociedad win derby | Sky Sports Football
Antoine Griezmann put the hosts ahead in the closing stages of the first half and although Ernesto Valverde's side had significantly more possession, they were unable to carve together enough chances to equalise, and in injury time Ruben Pardo provided the finishing touch to a counterattack to seal the points.

Routine win for Sevilla | Sky Sports Football
Sevilla hammered Getafe 3-0 at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan to move sixth in the Primera Division. Goals from Vitolo, Carlos Bacca and Ivan Rakitic rewarded the hosts' dominance as they moved six points ahead of their opponents in the race for a European place.

Osasuna claim valuable win |
Alvaro Cejudo scored the only goal of the game after 33 minutes as Osasuna edged the first half, but the hosts were also indebted to goalkeeper Andres Fernandez for a string of quality saves as Espanyol put up a fight in the second period. The visitors' frustration grew with every wasted chance and coach Javier Aguirre was sent from his dugout to the stands midway through the second half after protesting a decision by referee Ignacio Iglesias Villanueva too vehemently for the official's liking.

Malaga seal Pablo Perez deal | Football Espana
Malaga have sealed an agreement to sign midfielder Pablo Perez from Newell’s Old Boys subject to a Tuesday medical. The 28-year-old [pictured, left], who is a product of the Argentine outfit’s youth academy, is set to pen a three-year deal at La Rosaleda and will cost €950, 000.

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