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Messi on form as Barcelona score six

Lionel Messi is quite good. Credit: Reuters

Lionel Messi created three goals and scored another as Barcelona warmed up for their Champions League showdown with Arsenal by thrashing Getafe 6-0 at the Nou Camp to equal a club record 12 consecutive La Liga wins.

The Argentinian missed a fourth penalty of the season after Juan Rodriguez's own goal had given the Catalans the lead after just eight minutes, but soon made amends by laying on goals for Munir El Haddadi and Neymar before he got on the scoresheet himself with a brilliant strike from 20 yards.

Messi got his third assist by teeing up Neymar's second after the break and then Arda Turan scored for the second time in three matches with an impressive bicycle kick.


Barcelona and Arsenal combined revenue almost €1bn

Action from the first leg of Arsenal's last-16 tie with Barcelona. Credit: PA

The Champions League clash between Barcelona and Arsenal features two clubs with combined revenues of almost €1billion - the highest ever for a last-16 tie in the competition, according to new figures.

The Deloitte Football Money League, which profiles the highest-earning clubs in world football, puts the two clubs' combined revenue from 2014/15 at €996.3million (£769.9million). Barcelona's revenue is €560.8million (£433.3million) and Arsenal's €435.5million (£336.5million).

The clubs in the last 16 have a total revenue of more than €4.3billion (£3.3billion).

The European tie with the second-highest joint revenue takes place in the Europa League, where Manchester United take on Liverpool in a meeting featuring teams with a combined revenue of €911.3million (£704.2million).

Barcelona defender won't make Man City move

Pep Guardiola and Gerard Pique know each other well. Credit: PA

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has ruled out any chance of him following Pep Guardiola to Manchester City this summer due to his "love" for United.

Guardiola will take over at City this summer and there has already been plenty of speculation about which stars the current Bayern Munich coach might try to bring to the Etihad Stadium.

One player who insists he will not be re-joining his former Barcelona boss though is ex-United defender Pique, who admits he wants to play abroad again before the end of his career but has no intention of representing the blue half of Manchester.

My love for Manchester United is too great for me to sign for City, even though Pep is a great coach.

I'm very happy in Barcelona. United are my second club, but my future is at Barca. I'm very proud to play at Barcelona. I think it's the best club in the world.

I would like to try a different league when I've got a few years to go before retiring. I don't know if it will be Colombia, I'd like that for Shakira, but nobody can predict the future.

– Gerard Pique

Enrique refutes claims defender got himself booked

Gerard Pique took down Danny Welbeck. Credit: Reuters

Barcelona boss Luis Enrique has rejected claims Gerard Pique picked up a deliberate booking at the Emirates forcing him to miss the second leg at the Nou Camp.

The centre-back cynically fouled Danny Welbeck late on, earning him a caution and a suspension but Enrique has defended Pique.

It wasn't deliberate. Gerard Pique, if you saw the fault (foul), he had to do it, it wasn't deliberate at all.

Everyone who knows about football knows you need a first half like this in order to have a second like the one we had. Arsenal are very good at helping each other collectively and we needed a lot of possession of the ball.

My players individually performed perfectly. But there is nothing decided yet, we will have to perform very well in the (second leg).

– Luis Enrique


Arsenal recall their fully-rested big names for Champions League clash with Barcelona

Arsenal will recall their big-hitters for Tuesday night's Champions League first knock-out round tie against holders Barcelona.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger rested a number of his key men for the FA Cup fifth-round draw with Hull on Saturday with the first-leg against the Catalan outfit in mind.

Ramsey, Cech and Ozil are all set to return against Barcelona Credit: Reuters

But, while the likes of Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Petr Cech will return to the squad, Jack Wilshere (leg), Gabriel (hamstring), Santi Cazorla (knee) and Tomas Rosicky (thigh) are all still missing.

Provisional squad: Cech, Ospina, Monreal, Gibbs, Koscielny, Gabriel, Mertesacker, Bellerin, Chambers, Ramsey, Elneny, Coquelin, Flamini, Ozil, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Reine-Adelaide, Iwobi, Sanchez, Campbell, Walcott, Welbeck, Giroud.

Messi wins player of the month for the first time ever

Lionel Messi has been named Spain's La Liga player of the month for January - the first time he has ever won the award.

La Liga player of the month has been given out since the beginning of the 2013-14 Primera Division season, but the five-time FIFA Ballon d'Or winner had not won it until now.

Messi has never been named as player of the month in La Liga until now. Credit: PA

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner finally won the award at the 23rd time of asking after scoring six goals in as many league games in January.

The 28-year-old struck a hat-trick against Granada as well as scoring in victories over Athletic Bilbao, Malaga and Atletico Madrid to take his total of league goals for the season to 12.

Messi is only the second Barcelona player to win the award following Neymar's success in November.

Cristiano Ronaldo has won the award twice since it began in September 2013.

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