El Madrigal

Next Game

Villarreal v Barcelona

Sunday, 31 August 2014, 18:00

Spanish Primera BBVA

Camp Nou

Last Game

Barcelona 3 - 0 Elche

Sunday, 24 August 2014, 20:00

Spanish Primera BBVA

La Liga weekend preview

Levante coach Juan Ignacio Martinez does not expect his life to be made any easier by the potential absence of Lionel Messi when his side take on Barcelona on Saturday.

Last Updated: 19/04/13 at 07:43 Post Comment

Lionel Messi: Could miss out for Barcelona against Levante

Lionel Messi: Could miss out for Barcelona against Levante

Messi has been struggling with a thigh injury and missed the last two Primera Division games although Barca have continued to shine in his absence, with a 5-0 win over Real Mallorca followed by a 3-0 triumph against Real Zaragoza.

And, despite returning to training on Thursday, it is expected the Argentinian will be rested for Saturday's clash at the Nou Camp as Barca prepare for their Champions League semi-final encounter with Bayern Munich three days later.

Not that Martinez is expecting Messi's absence to make the task any easier against a side who go into the weekend 13 points clear at the top of the league.

He said: "He may not be playing but he has not played in the last two games and I think they have an 8-0 aggregate.

"We must be bold when we have chance, but we have to be very strong defensively.

"Both Real Madrid and Barcelona are games that you know are going to be difficult. Their statistics are ridiculous, so it's another nice challenge for Saturday."

Just as Barca are 13 points clear at the top of the league, Levante are 13 points away from the relegation zone and virtually assured of top-flight football next season.

Second-placed Real Madrid host Real Betis on Saturday as they attempt to keep ahead of city rivals Atletico, who travel to Sevilla on Sunday.

Just three points separate the two sides who will meet in the Copa del Rey final on May 17 and Atletico winger Juanfran wants to finish the season with a flourish.

"For us it is a very exciting final course," he said. "We have some big games in which everything will be decided and we will see if our season has been good, very good or great.

"We want to finish second and win the cup final, but first we have a match against Sevilla.

"Encounters at the Sanchez Pizjuan are always very hard."

Relegation-threatened Mallorca take on Rayo Vallecano on Friday night and will be desperate for a win to take them out of the relegation zone and apply some pressure on the teams around them.

The other two teams in the drop zone play on Monday night as Celta Vigo host Zaragoza.

Malaga travel to Valencia on Saturday with both sides level on 50 points and three points for either would move them to within a point of fourth-placed Real Sociedad who travel to Osasuna on Sunday.

Granada host Real Valladolid on Saturday while in Sunday's remaining games Getafe take on Espanyol and Athletic Bilbao travel to Deportivo la Coruna.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

E

ven if United were to sign CR7 & Messi to play upfront, the fact remains Fletcher and Cleverly are playing in midfield. That's where the problem is. Fletcher is too slow with an awful pass, while Cleverly is simply rubbish

mrunited4life
Di Maria - A Signing of Necessity, or Opportunity?

T

hese days, these days, you can't say something racist without somebody saying that you're a racist.

tk421
'Wrong' Views Not Silenced By Shouting...

D

rop Rooney (he's so disappointing, overrated and overpaid), and play Di Maria and RVP upfront, much like the set up at the Netherlands team with Roben and RVP...

eric bush3
Di Maria - A Signing of Necessity, or Opportunity?

Footer 365

Champions League: Emergency keeper sends Ludogorets through to group stage

Emergency keeper Cosmin Moti saved two penalties as Bulgarians Ludogorets Razgrad made the Champions League group stage.

Arsene Wenger confirms injured Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud will be out until New Year

Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud is unlikely to play again this year after having surgery on his injured ankle.

Villa and QPR shocked, Leeds lose

Aston Villa were shocked 1-0 at home by Leyton Orient in the Capital One Cup second round, while QPR lost at Burton and Bradford beat Leeds.

Mail Box

Should Kagawa Play Ahead Of Mata?

That's one question posed in the afternoon mailbox, although it looks like the Japanese playmaker could soon be on his way. Plus, tipping Palace to go down under Warnock...

Well, This Isn't Going That Well Is It?

Plenty of fall out from Manchester United's shambolic 4-0 League Cup defeat, plus thoughts on Van Persie, Arsenal strikers, Benik Afobe, Celtic and Astroturf...

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