Mascherano: Messi is the greatest

A look ahead to the weekend's action in the Spanish Primera Division.

Last Updated: 13/12/12 at 16:16 Post Comment

Messi: Praise from team-mate Mascherano

Messi: Praise from team-mate Mascherano

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has been hailed as the greatest player of all-time by team-mate and fellow Argentinian Javier Mascherano.

The Primera Division leaders take on second-placed Atletico Madrid on Sunday, with Messi and Atletico's own hot-shot Radamel Falcao both likely to be on show at the Nou Camp.

Messi and Falcao have 39 league goals between them already this season with the former breaking Gerd Muller's all-time record for the number of goals in a calendar year, previously 85, in Barcelona's win at Real Betis last weekend.

Meanwhile Falcao, who missed training with a muscle injury on Thursday but is expected to play from the start on Sunday, smashed five goals in Atletico's 6-0 hammering of Deportivo on the same evening.

But it is the continuing goalscoring exploits of Messi, who has moved three ahead of Muller after netting twice against Betis and twice again in the cup win over Cordoba, which set him apart from the rest according to Mascherano.

"Messi is unique because he is already the best player in the history of this sport," Mascherano said.

"We are talking about 88 goals as if it were something normal but what he has done is incredible. This is a lad who has been touched by a magic wand."

But the top-of-the-table clash is not just about the two main goalscoring protagonists as Barcelona look to extend their lead at the top of the table to nine points with a win over Atletico.

Arch rivals Real Madrid are already 11 points adrift but Barcelona midfielder Xavi is not ruling either of the Madrid giants out of the title hunt.

"Atletico Madrid are rivals and have not given up after they lost to Madrid, far from it," he said. "It is increasingly difficult to win - Madrid can overcome many things and it is far too early to predict anything and start speculating."

Madrid also play Sunday night when they host Espanyol at the Bernabeu, with the visitors languishing in 19th place in the table and with only one away win in the league so far this season.

Ernesto Valverde has won his first two games as coach of Valencia and will look to keep the improvement going against Rayo Vallecano at the Mestalla, while Sunday's other game sees Real Zaragoza take on Levante.

Malaga reached the knockout rounds of the Champions League as group winners and stand fourth in the Primera Division, on course for top-level European football again next season.

They travel to Sevilla on Saturday, with seventh-placed Getafe, only two points behind Malaga in the table, hosting Osasuna.

Elsewhere on Saturday two of the league's struggling sides will be looking to pull away from the relegation zone.

Granada, who occupy 18th place, host Real Sociedad while 17th-placed Real Mallorca take on Athletic Bilbao.

Bottom side Deportivo play on Monday when they host eighth-placed Real Valladolid, with Real Betis travelling to Celta Vigo on the same night.


Click here for completely free £10 bet with Sky Bet & £5 free every week


More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

sn'tthis strange. Last season we were worried that we were stuck with a Dinosaur in Moyes while Liverpool and Everton were disappearing into the distance with their young, spritely managerts, playing football from heaven. Progressive managers, they said. Managers who understand the modern game.........

HarryBoulton
Rodgers: The pressure's on

B

eing consistently and unrelentingly dog turd really takes it out of you. Try shadow boxing. That's what it's like watching Liverpool, punching thin air.

sinbadsdad
Neville: Reds need a rest

G

ood list, some crackers in there. For me, I'd have had Steve McManaman for Liverpool away at Celtic in the UEFA cup in 1997. I was in the ground that night and everyone kept screaming at him to make a pass, but he just kept going and going and going...brilliant, and in the dying minutes too.

uncle-muller
F365's Top Ten Counter-Attacking Goals

Footer 365

FIFA could face UK criminal probe from Serious Fraud Office

The Serious Fraud Office is looking into claims of corruption in the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Scottish football: Aleksandar Tonev's appeal against seven-game ban to be heard on December 4

Celtic winger Aleksandar Tonev will find out on December 4 if his appeal against a seven-match ban has been successful.

Cesc Fabregas buries hatchet with Sergio Ramos over Spain row

Cesc Fabregas says he has spoken to Spain team-mate Sergio Ramos after the Real Madrid star questioned his commitment to the national team.

Mail Box

Mails: Quit Massaging Mourinho's Ego

That's the message from the afternoon mailbox after it was claimed that the Chelsea boss has transformed Cesc Fabregas into a complete player. Plus, more on Arsenal...

F365: Saving You From Bad Relationships

A cracking Mailbox, with thoughts on Chelsea, Willian, Jurgen Klopp, Brendan Rodgers and Aguero. Plus how Football365 saved one man from an unhappy relationship...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property