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Messi eyes history, Suarez first goal

Messi eyes history, Suarez first goal
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Lionel Messi continues his quest to become the all-time leading goalscorer in La Liga just days after equalling a similar feat in the Champions League when Barcelona visit Almeria on Saturday.

Messi drew level with Real Madrid legend Raul on 71 Champions League goals with a brace as Barca bounced back from two consecutive defeats to beat Ajax 2-0 in midweek and progress to the last 16. The Argentine is just one goal short of the 251 goals Telmo Zarra scored for Athletic Bilbao between 1940 and 1955, but has been kept scoreless in his last La Liga outings as Barca slipped to defeat against Real Madrid and Celta Vigo.

That downturn in form has coincided with Luis Suarez’s introduction to the side after serving his four-month ban for biting at the World Cup. The Uruguayan has yet to find the net in his three appearances for the Catalans and endured a frustrating night on his return to old club Ajax as he squandered his best chance to break his duck by firing straight at Jasper Cillessen with only the Dutch international ‘keeper to beat.

However, Barca boss Luis Enrique played down the importance of Suarez’s slow start and is confident his star front three of Messi, Suarez and Neymar will click in the coming weeks. ‘Messi is the best player I have seen in my life. In attack we have distinct possibilities. We know Neymar and Luis can play in different positions and that their responsibilities change when we have the ball and when we don’t. I like to have those variations. We have players of a very high level,’ said Enrique.

At the back Enrique will still be without the injured Jeremy Mathieu, so Gerard Pique may be recalled after missing out in the last two games.

League leaders Real Madrid are also in action later on Saturday as they look to extend their 12-game winning streak against Rayo Vallecano at the Santiago Bernabeu. Madrid eased past an under-strength Liverpool on Tuesday thanks to Karim Benzema’s winner to secure their passage into the last 16.

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