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FC Barcelona News: 25 January 2015; Barça Earn High Win Against Elche, Xavi Celebrates Birthday

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Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

Six of the best! | FC Barcelona
Elche fans are no doubt grateful that their team won’t have to play Barça again this season, or indeed this month, as Luis Enrique’s side ran riot at the Manuel Martínez Valero Stadium to chalk up six goals - that’s 15 in the three January games against Fran Escribá’s team. Gerard Piqué opened the scoring in the first half, with Messi and Neymar getting a brace each after the break before Pedro made it a round half dozen in injury time.

Five key points from the Elche win | FC Barcelona
The Chilean keeper has now conceded just 9 goals in 20 league games this season and his early saves from Faisal - with one particularly fine stop on 24 minutes - set the foundations for the avalanche of goals later on. After Ter Stegen’s excellent performance in midweek, Bravo again showed that the keepers’ gloves at Barça are in -and on- good hands.

Neymar loving every minute | FC Barcelona
The Brazilian explained: "Elche started strongly - they were at home and wanted to play well, but we got a good win. Playing with Messi, the best player in the world, is very simple. For me it’s an honour to be playing alongside him – he’s my hero!"

Luis Enrique very satisfied with performance | FC Barcelona
Not surprisingly perhaps, Luis Enrique expressed himself "very satisfied" with Barça’s 0-6 win at Elche – their biggest away win of the season: "these games are always hard to get going, but after the first goal we broke free and took control".

Messi and Neymar are two peas in a pod | FC Barcelona
Leo Messi has now scored in three consecutive games, his second best streak this season. He had a five-game streak earlier this season and scored the same number of goals—six—as in the last three matches. Neymar is second on the team in scoring and, on Saturday at the Martinez Valero, he got his first double wearing Barça colours away from Camp Nou. Before the Elche match, he had four doubles and two hat-tricks, all coming at home.

Losing Ballon d'Or to Ronaldo, Barca elections and learning to live with Luis Enrique - how Messi got his motivation back - Goal.com
The relationship between player and coach had become so tense that Luis Enrique told the Barca board he did not think the pair could coexist any longer. Suddenly, however, all of that has been confined to the past and Messi has returned to his brilliant best in recent weeks with some superb performances and six goals in his last four matches.

Happy Birthday to Xavi! | FC Barcelona
Xavi Hernández is celebrating his thirty-fifth birthday this Sunday. This is Xavi’s first season as Club captain and he is the Barça player who has made most appearances for the side (477), after joining the first team squad in the 1998/99 season.

Middlesbrough knock Man City out of FA Cup | FC Barcelona
Manchester City, who entertain Barça on February 24 in the Champions League second round, have crashed out of the FA Cup after losing 2-0 at home to Middlesbrough. There was simply no way through the Championship side’s tight defence and manager Aitor Karanka was able to celebrate an unexpected victory at the home of the Premiership champions.

Gareth Bale earns Real Madrid 2-1 win at Cordoba despite Cristiano Ronaldo seeing red | Sky Sports Football
Gareth Bale’s late penalty earned Real Madrid a dramatic 2-1 win at Cordoba, after Cristiano Ronaldo had been sent off for kicking an opponent. The former Manchester United star received his marching orders after kicking out at Cordoba’s Brazilian defender Edimar Fraga in the box as the score was tied at 1-1.

Lucas Silva gave up cash to join Real Madrid from Cruzeiro - ESPN FC
Lucas Silva has told Marca he waived his right to 10 percent of his transfer fee to secure his move from Cruzeiro to Real Madrid. Madrid finally completed the signing of the Brazilian midfielder last week after long negotiations, with a fee reported to be in the region of 14 million euros.

Nuno confirms two more exits | Football Espana
Nuno Santo has confirmed that Joao Pereira and Bruno Zuculini will leave Valencia before the end of January. The Portugal international has been demoted to Los Che’s third-choice right-back under his compatriot this season, while the Manchester City loanee has failed to break into the side’s midfield.

Straightforward win for Atletico | Sky Sports Football
Antoine Griezmann scored a brace - and somehow missed out on a hat-trick despite a string of second-half chances - and, although Roberto Trashorras pulled one back before half-time, an own goal from Alberto Manucho put Atletico back in firm control early in the second half. After wins earlier in the day for Real Madrid and Barcelona, Atletico could not afford a slip against a Rayo side who arrived having won five of their 10 away games in the league this season.

Luciano Vietto scores winner as Villarreal beat Levante 1-0 | Sky Sports Football
Villarreal kept the heat on the teams at the top of the Primera Division standings with a 1-0 win over neighbours Levante as visiting goalkeeper Diego Marino suffered a forgettable return to El Madrigal. On a night which saw Villarreal announce they had reached an agreement to for centre-back Gabriel Paulista to join Arsenal, Luciano Vietto netted a 56th-minute winner for the Yellow Submarine following a bad mistake from Marino.

Villarreal announce Paulista is joining Arsenal with Joel Campbell moving on loan to Spain | Sky Sports
Sky sources reported last Tuesday that the Gunners had begun talks to sign the 24 year-old Brazilian, which was confirmed by manager Arsene Wenger on Thursday. Paulista has agreed a long-term deal, with a fee believed to be £11.2million agreed between the clubs, and Villarreal pay Arsenal £700k to loan Costa Rica international Campbell.

David Moyes' Real Sociedad back to winning ways with 1-0 victory | Sky Sports Football
Xabi Prieto's second-half goal ensured Real Sociedad returned to winning ways in the Primera Division on Saturday evening. Prieto headed home the game's only goal at the Anoeta to see off Basque neighbours Eibar 1-0 and earn David Moyes' side a welcome three points after last weekend's late home loss at the hands of Rayo Vallecano.