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Barcelona

Lionel Messi and Neymar score twice to lead Barcelona past Elche

Despite Barcelona's 6-nil win over Elche, ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno still believes Barcelona can still make plenty of improvements in defence, but their mistakes can be forgiven with the likes of Lionel Messi and Neymar scoring goals in bunches.

Barcelona achieved a comfortable 6-0 away win against Elche in Matchday 20 of La Liga. Star attackers Lionel Messi and Neymar both had braces while centre-back Gerard Pique and winger Pedro added a goal each to lead the team's dominant performance. The club enjoyed 77 percent of possession, created 12 goal-scoring chances and attempted 11 shots, eight of them were on target.

Luis Enrique opted to rotate several of his key players in a match in which the Catalans were the clear favourites. Such theory...

Luis Enrique has big decisions to make with Barcelona's lineup vs. Elche

Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique insists that his side fully deserved their 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid in the first leg of Copa del Rey quarter-finals.

All has gone right on the pitch for Barcelona since the fallout of the first result of the New Year and Wednesday night's narrow 1-0 Spanish Cup win over Atletico Madrid was another step in the right direction.

Make no mistake, the quarterfinal tie is far from won and next Wednesday will see another equally tight encounter in Atletico's Vicente Calderon between two sides with very differing styles that have matched each other very closely in recent duels.

BarcelonaBarcelona
Atletico MadridAtletico Madrid
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Psychologically, however, Barcelona...

Bayern Munich stay top as Barcelona make their move

ESPN FC's Tommy Smyth delves into Shaka Hislop's power rankings where Manchester City fell off the map, while Lyon, Benfica and Southampton all made moves forward.
Barcelona's talisman Lionel Messi scored a decisive goal against Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Copa del Rey match.
Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique insists that his side fully deserved their 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid in the first leg of Copa del Rey quarter-finals.

The top four remain the same in Shaka Hislop's latest countdown but Barcelona's improved recent form sees them return to the upper echelon.

1. Bayern Munich (no change)

Mercifully, the Bundesliga season restarts in just over a week so this space will soon be filled, once again, by comments about actual games. In the meantime, why not catch up on Pep Guardiola declaring love for one of his players, Arjen Robben claiming he was bitten by a crocodile and a busy week for Pepe Reina

2. Real Madrid...

Gerard Pique returns to top form as Barcelona edge Atleti in Copa del Rey

Barcelona's talisman Lionel Messi scored a decisive goal against Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Copa del Rey match.

Barcelona achieved a hard-earned 1-0 home win against Atletico Madrid in the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarterfinals. Lionel Messi scored for the Blaugrana, who enjoyed 71 percent of possession, created 12 goal-scoring chances and attempted seven shots, four of them on target.

Luis Enrique decided to field his preferred XI for the crucial clash against an opponent that, regardless of what manager Diego Simeone may say, can clearly be considered a major contender at both domestic and European...

Barcelona emerge victorious from tight, tense Copa clash with Atletico

Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique insists that his side fully deserved their 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid in the first leg of Copa del Rey quarter-finals.
Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone remained upbeat about his side's Copa del Rey chances despite Wednesday's defeat to Barcelona.
ESPN FC's Sid Lowe expands on Lionel Messi's great run of form for Barcelona and questions whether Luis Enrique may now be doing things Messi's way.

BARCELONA -- Three things from the Camp Nou as Lionel Messi's late penalty saw it finish Barcelona 1-0 Atletico Madrid in Wednesday night's Copa del Rey quarterfinal first leg.

1. Messi penalty decides tight and tense game

A surprisingly fast and intense start from Barcelona blitzed Atletico in their La Liga meeting here 10 days ago. Diego Simeone's side shocked Real Madrid in their Copa last 16 return game last week, with the tie's key goal coming inside the opening 60 seconds. This was more...

Barca vs. Atletico, Valencia vs. Sevilla highlight a big week in Spanish football

ESPN FC's Janusz Michallik and Alexis Nunes preview the biggest storylines heading into the first leg of the quarterfinal matchup between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.

I'm sure there have been and will be quiet weeks in Spanish football. But I'll be damned if I can remember them, and this certainly isn't going to be one.

The Camp Nou's attendance for Barcelona's previous Copa del Rey game was 27,000. If the Barca vs. Atletico quarterfinal first leg is anything (and I do mean anything) like the other week, when we had tumultuous football and four goals, then it shouldn't be just a 98,000 sellout Wednesday; they should re-introduce the old 120,000 limit that...