Lionel Messi withdraws from Barcelona squad after birth of third child

Barcelona midfielder Philippe Coutinho has labelled teammate Ousmane Dembele as a "great" player after the team's 2-0 win over Malaga on Saturday.

Despite his absence, Messi is not expected to miss Barcelona's Champions League clash with Chelsea next Wednesday.

At 2-0 loss at La Rosaleda last April landed a damaging blow against Barcelona's title defence last season, but this Malaga find themselves rooted hopelessly to the bottom of LaLiga. "It wasn't very hard to replace him because I had a clear idea of how the game would go".

"He tries to dribble and he also gives us an extra edge such as with the second goal today due to his ability to cut inside and give assists".

"He has that ability", Valverde said of Dembele.

Schroder told Sky Sports: "We set up a clause which we think is enough to have Messi retire at FC Barcelona".

"They will remain to be a rival until the maths of the table suggest otherwise".

Ronaldo headed in an 84th-minute victor at Ipurua, having earlier put Madridin front with an emphatic near-post finish. Iván Ramis equaliser to Ronaldos first goal could not help the hosts keep their undefeated streak at home intact as Ronaldo thumped in a header in the 84th minute to hand Real Madrid the much-deserved win.

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But Ronaldo's two goals mean he has now scored in seven consecutive games and boasts a remarkable 13 goals overall in that period.

"(Ronaldo) is from another galaxy", Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said.

"He knows he's going to score, he's unique and special". He is a different, special player.

Malaga stayed in last place after a seventh consecutive loss.

Gareth Bale started up front alongside the Portuguese, while Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, fit enough only to come off the bench in midweek, returned.

Eibar created several early chances at the Estadio Municipal de Ipurua but fell behind when Ronaldo latched on to a pass from Luka Modric.

"We came here expecting a hard night but we managed to score early and, with an extra man, we were able to control the game".

  • Regina Holmes