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FC Barcelona News: 9 March 2015; Lionel Messi Sets More Records, Everton Chasing Munir El Haddadi

David Ramos/Getty Images

FC Barcelona v Rayo Vallecano: Storming to the top of the table! (6-1) | FC Barcelona
Leo Messi led the onslaught with his 32nd career hat trick – all three goals coming in a 12-minute span – giving him the all-time lead in that category in both La Liga and among all Spanish clubs in official games while also tying him with Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo as the league's top scorer on the season. Luís Suárez added a brace for the Catalans.

Leo Messi sets hat-trick records, moves into tie for league scoring lead | FC Barcelona
No other Spanish club player ever made 32 hat tricks. Messi now has 24 in league games, five in the Champions League, two in the Spanish Cup and one in the Spanish Supercup. He leaves Telmo Zarra (31), Alfredo Di Stéfano (28) and Cristiano Ronaldo (27) behind him.

Luis Enrique says collective effort has team alive in all three competitions | FC Barcelona
After Barça's 6–1 rout over Rayo Vallecano that vaults them into first place in La Liga, Luis Enrique told the press he was content with the team's performance in the midday match against a courageous opponent. While the coach was happy to be the league leader, he warned: "The objective is to lead at the end of the season." He affirmed that the team find themselves alive in all three competitions "due to sheer effort."

Barça are in a best-case scenario, explains Piqué | FC Barcelona
"It's good to regain the top spot but the most important is to be first when the season ends. We started the league well, then we suffered a setback and now we're back up." The central defender, author of the second goal of the match, said: "The goal was important because it relaxed the team at the start of the second half. From that moment on the game was open."

FC Barcelona's road back to the top of the table | FC Barcelona
When FC Barcelona's players climb into bed tonight, they'll snooze away as leaders of La Liga. And they won't be dreaming. They'll be recalling vivid images from Sunday's authoritative 6–1 rout of Rayo Vallecanothat, combined Real Madrid's 1–0 Saturday afternoon setback at the new San Mamés, catapulted the Luis Enrique's Catalan contingent to the peak of the league standings 16 weeks later.

Attendance of 87,151 highest on the season | FC Barcelona
In FC Barcelona's 6–1 win on Sunday over Rayo Vallecano, Camp Nou recorded its biggest crowd of the current season with 87,151 spectators present for the 12.00pm CET encounter. All the ingredients were present for an excellent turnout at the stadium: sunshine, an early kick-off time perfect for younger Barça fans, and the chance for the team to return to the top of the table.

7 Truths: Barcelona are back to their best, and they have Luis Suarez to thank | Eurosport
Barcelona are back to their best. There is little doubt about that. Lionel Messi is in sparkling form, but so is Luis Suarez - and it's the former Liverpool man's resurgence that has been the true catalyst. These two look like they have been playing together for years. Suarez is constantly on the move. Both men create space for each other. Rayo Vallecano simply had no answer to either man in suffering a 6-1 beating that could have been heavier, but better teams than the Liga fodder will find difficulty in coping with such a pairing.

Everton linked with Barca striker | Football Espana
Barcelona striker Munir El Haddadi is top of Everton boss Roberto Martinez’s wish list, according to the Daily Star. Martinez, who has previously asked the Catalans about Adama Traore, Martin Montoya and Sergio Roberto, is now reportedly set to turn his attention to 19-year-old Munir as he looks to strengthen his squad this summer.

Poll: 32.2% of Real Madrid fans want Cristiano Ronaldo to be dropped | Eurosport
Madrid’s season took a turn for the worse at the weekend when they suffered a shock defeat to Athletic Bilbao, allowing Barcelona to claim top spot in La Liga. Worse still, Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick to draw level with Ronaldo on 30 Liga goals when it seemed previously that the Madrid star would cruise to the Pichichi award.

Sergio Ramos returns to training - Inside Spanish Football Inside Spanish Football
Further medical tests the following morning revealed that he had a tear in his left hamstring and would be sidelined for five to six weeks. However, Ramos has returned from injury earlier than expected and it couldn’t come at a better time, as Real Madrid are in one of their worst runs of the season.

Return of injured players will boost Real Madrid for run-in - ESPN FC
That Real have lost some of their own momentum is undeniable. One point from a possible six in the space of a week is not ideal, but Ancelotti's team still sit one point behind leaders Barcelona with 12 games to go. The two challengers meet for round two of their personal bout at the Camp Nou in two weeks' time and Real hold a 3-1 advantage over the eternal enemy from the return.

A late headed goal from Shkodran Mustafi salvaged a 1-1 draw for Valencia at champions Atletico Madrid | Sky Sports Football
Koke's piledriver had given the champions the lead in the first half but - with 12 minutes remaining - Germany defender Mustafi pounced on the rebound following a free-kick to hand a lifeline to Valencia, who had midfielder Javi Fuego dismissed in injury time for picking up two quick-fire bookings.

Kiko Casilla error hands victory to Real Sociedad | Sky Sports Football
A mistake by Espanyol goalkeeper Kiko Casilla proved to be costly as it set up Sergio Canales for the only goal of the game which saw Real Sociedad win 1-0 at Anoeta on Sunday. Casilla's clearance in the 38th minute fell directly into the path of Canales, who gratefully accepted the gift and put David Moyes's side ahead.

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