Spanish LaLiga Report: Barcelona v Atletico Madrid, 04 March 2018

A teenage Messi opened his account for Argentina in 2006, scoring in a friendly win against Croatia and his 61 goals for his country have come in 123 games.

At the beginning of February, Barcelona were galloping away with the La Liga title, leading their nearest challengers Atletico Madrid by 11 points.

It is also the 325th he has scored at Camp Nou.

However, Coutinho has attempted to explain that the Brazilian's lack of rest is a contributing factor to his lethargic appearances and that he simply needs rest to put the doubts over his ability to bed - as per Diario Gol, via the Express. Since the turn of the year, Simeone's men have scored 20 goals in nine league matches, conceding only three.

Iniesta walked off the pitch in the 36th minute. "Barcelona wouldn't normally lose four or five games in what they have left", Simeone said. With 10 goals and four assists in the league in 2018, the Frenchman is on fire, including seven goals in his last two games.

But Simeone's strategy of absorb and counter failed to pay off here and, in the end, the visitors might easily have been beaten by a more emphatic scoreline.

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However, Antoine Griezmann is in red-hot form for the visitors, after netting back-to-back hat-tricks in their last two games.

'I am incapable of guessing the future, but I am not going to talk about a player who is in another team and even less one we are facing'. Jan Oblak got a fingertip to it, but could not keep it out.

Barca have more recently been linked with the forward.

Atletico's goalkeeper could do little about the opener five minutes later, however.

But in the 26th minute, Messi made the breakthrough after he was brought down by Thomas Partey 25 yards out.

Barca continued to turn the screw, Luis Suarez seeing an effort blocked by Jose Gimenez and the Uruguay forward was involved again soon afterwards, combining brilliantly with Philippe Coutinho only for the latter to fire straight at Oblak. Costa, however, had strayed offside and Barca held on for what will surely prove a crucial three points.

  • Regina Holmes