Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino has admitted he will always favour Diego Maradona over Leo Messi.Read the full story ›
Lionel Messi scored his 400th career goal for Barcelona to round off a nervy but vital 2-0 win over fourth-placed Valencia to keep the Catalans top of the Primera Division.
The Argentina superstar scored with the last kick of the game after Luis Suarez had opened the scoring inside the first minute, but impressive Valencia were unlucky not to take more from the game, with Dani Parejo passing up an opportunity to equalise in the first half from the penalty spot.
Barcelona made it to half-time unscathed, though, and then produced a solid second-half performance to take the three points and inflict only a second league defeat of 2015 on their opponents.
The win keeps Barca two points clear at the summit ahead of Real Madrid, who responded with a victory of their own over Malaga later on Saturday, although not without a cost as both Gareth Bale and Luka Modric went off injured.
7 - Only Lionel Messi (8) has assisted more goals than Matt Phillips (7) in the top five European leagues in 2015. Superstar.
Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has scored a hat-trick against Levante, his 23rd in Spain's Primera Liga. Messi's amazing feat matches that of rival Cristiano Ronaldo.
23 - Lionel Messi has equalled Cristiano Ronaldo as the player to have scored the most hat-tricks in La Liga history. Voraciousness
Barcelona coach Luis Enrique says the thought of having a team without Lionel Messi is "not even something we contemplate".
The future of the Argentina forward as been the subject of much speculation recently, following reports that he had fallen out with Enrique.
Messi has been linked with a move to Barclays Premier League champions Manchester City and leaders Chelsea, but Enrique does not want to see the four-time former world player of the year leave the Nou Camp.
I don't know what the future holds for us. We all think that Messi will be at Barca in the next few years and that is what all the cules (Barca fans) want.
The thought of having a team without Messi is not even something we contemplate.
Sergio Busquets has reassured Barcelona fans that Lionel Messi has no intentions of leaving the club.
Busquets spoke out following reports which suggested the Argentinian had fallen out with manager Luis Enrique.
"He controls his future and he has said he has no intention of leaving - and that's very important for us," the Catalan told Barcelona's website.
"All he was saying yesterday was the typical cliche that you never know what might happen in the future.
"People usually only know what they are told by the press but I think everyone has now had a chance to speak. We just want to be united, to be as one, and for the fans to be behind us."
Chelsea have held discussions with Lionel Messi's father according to Catalan radio station RAC1.
Reports suggest that club officials have been in contact with Jorge Horacio Messi to work out whether a deal for his son to join the Blues next season can be agreed.
Roman Abramovich is said to be willing to part with £200m for the Argentine superstar, who missed Barcelona training on Monday as rumours of unrest at the Spanish club gather pace.
Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has refused to elaborate on rumours of unrest at the club and a fractious relationship with Lionel Messi.
Star man Messi is said to have skipped training on Monday after being left out of Sunday's defeat at Sociedad and growing tired of Enrique's methods.
Reports this week have seen the superstar linked with Chelsea, while others have suggested that Enrique has been given an ultimatum by the club's board.
I don't want to comment [on Messi]. We know things change and a month is a long time. Things have changed but it is up to you to speak to parties involved. I am as happy as ever here, happier even.
At the moment it just seems to be negative vibes, nothing positive. I don't think I should be asked to confirm any or deny any of these rumours.
It would stir up more problems than it would solve. Things are going to happen during the season and it is up to us to sort it out.
Senior members of Barcelona's squad met with Lionel Messi on Wednesday to discuss the Argentine's dissatisfaction with coach Luis EnriqueRead the full story ›
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi would not score as many goals in Italy's Serie A, according to Juventus striker Fernando Llorente.
The Real Madrid and Barcelona superstars have already notched a combined 36 goals this season, Ronaldo tucking away 23, in a league widely considered the finest in world football.
But Spanish striker Llorente, who joined Juventus in 2013 following nine years in Spain with Bilbao, told Cope:
"Messi and Ronaldo are players from another planet, but I'd like to see them in Italy.
"The defences are very tight here, with many players put behind the ball, so it would be more difficult for them to score goals."