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Barca must avoid complacency

Barcelona
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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Lionel Messi can close on Cristiano Ronaldo but both will score - projection

Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo is the modern game's greatest individual rivalry.
Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo is the modern game's greatest individual rivalry.

Current goals total in La Liga: Ronaldo 19-12 Messi

After each man failed to find the net in his last league outing, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi should get back to scoring form this weekend, according to ESPN's projection model, with the Argentine slightly more likely to do so.

Ronaldo and Real Madrid are in action first when they host Athletic Bilbao on Saturday. The following day, Messi and Barcelona are at home to Celta Vigo.

(Numbers for each player are based on him...

 By Lee Roden

Nolito misses Barcelona with Celta and may have missed Camp Nou chance

ESPN FC's Craig Burley says there's no end in sight for Barcelona's record-breaking unbeaten run.

Meetings with Celta Vigo have turned into particularly special fixtures for Barcelona in recent years.

Eduardo Berizzo's unwavering dedication to attacking football means a spectacle is guaranteed when the two teams lock horns, while an abundance of side-stories only further add to the drama. Many of them stem from Luis Enrique's history with O Celtinha, the coach ultimately landing the Barca job in 2014 because he had reaffirmed his managerial credentials with a thrilling season in charge at Balaidos.

Things...

 By Shaka Hislop

Barcelona stay top ahead of Bayern Munich; Leicester on the rise

Shaka Hislop is away on international assignment, but that hasn't stopped him from putting together his power rankings.
ESPN FC's Craig Burley says Barca's record-breaking 29 match unbeaten run could be extended thanks to their front three.

It's as you were at the top but, further down, two unlikely Premier League title hopefuls are making an impression.

1. Barcelona (no change)

Given they were 7-0 up from the first leg, Barcelona possibly needed some motivation for their Copa del Rey semifinal second leg at Valencia. Thus, the prospect of a club record 29th consecutive game unbeaten was a welcome target and one which was achieved by Wilfrid Kaptoum's late goal. Earlier in the week, Barca won 2-0 at Levante.

2. Bayern Munich (no...

Inside the numbers of Barcelona's club-record 29-game unbeaten run

ESPN FC's Craig Burley says Barca's record-breaking 29 match unbeaten run could be extended thanks to their front three.

Barcelona drew 1-1 away to Valencia on Wednesday, winning their Copa del Rey semifinal 8-1 on aggregate. The Catalan club will face either Sevilla or Celta Vigo in the final in May. In doing so, Luis Enrique's team is unbeaten in 29 straight games, a new record in the club's 118-year history.

ValenciaValencia
BarcelonaBarcelona
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1
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Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 8
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Here are some notes on the streak:

- During the unbeaten run that started on Oct. 17 with a 5-2 win over Rayo Vallecano, the club has won 23 games and drawn six. It has a goal difference of plus-72, scoring...

Barcelona set club record unbeaten run as Ivan Rakitic excels vs. Valencia

Ivan Rakitic was superb in a heavily rotated XI as Barcelona fought back to draw 1-1 at Valencia.

Barcelona qualified for their sixth Copa del Rey final in eight years after drawing with Valencia 1-1 at the Mestalla, making an 8-1 aggregate win. Wilfrid Kaptoum scored the only goal for the Blaugrana, who enjoyed 64 percent of possession, created 13 goalscoring chances and attempted 11 shots, three of them on target.

Given the overwhelming 7-0 advantage that the Catalans earned in the first leg at the Camp Nou, it was hardly surprising to see Luis Enrique using the game as a golden chance...

 By Lee Roden

Marc Bartra must prove himself at Barcelona or consider leaving

Barcelona lead their Copa del Rey semifinal tie 7-0 against Valencia, but Luis Enrique insisted the second leg will be tough.
Luis Enrique is not concerned with personal milestones unless they lead to trophies for Barcelona.

Even Gary Neville would acknowledge that Barcelona's task against his Valencia side on Wednesday night is to see the job through.

A seven-goal Catalan lead from the first leg, combined with Los Che's status as one of the poorest form teams in Spain means that Luis Enrique will hope for a relatively straightforward encounter, and demand that his players commit as few mistakes as possible.

For one of the Blaugrana fringe figures likely to make an appearance at the Mestalla, avoiding errors will be...