Barcelona - Rayo Vallecano Preview: Messi nears landmark tally
The Argentine is back amongst the goals and on the verge of reaching another personal milestone
By Peter Thompson
Lionel Messi will break yet another record if he scores in Barcelona's La Liga clash with struggling Rayo Vallecano on Saturday.
The Argentina forward took his tally to an incredible 335 goals for the Catalan giants when he found the back of the net in the 1-1 Copa del Rey semi-final second leg draw at Real Sociedad on Wednesday.
Messi was not only able to celebrate Barca's progress to the final - where they will face Real Madrid - but he also moved level with the record set by Athletic Bilbao's Telmo Zarra for the most goals scored for a single Spanish club.
The 26-year-old will fancy his chances of adding to his haul net against Vallecano, as he scored four times against the Madrid outfit last season and has struck on seven occasions in the last five meetings between the two sides.
Barca returned to the top of the table last Sunday with a 4-1 win of their own at Sevilla, and remarkably all three leading sides - Barca, Real Madrid, and Atletico Madrid - share the same win, draw, loss record.
Gerardo Martino's men suffered a 3-2 defeat against Valencia in their last home game in La Liga, but it would be a major shock if they are unable to beat Jemez's side.
Barca are set to welcome back Carles Puyol after the defender missed the last two games with a back problem.
Javier Mascherano and Jordi Alba played in the midweek cup victory and the duo are available to return to duty on Saturday after missing the win at Sevilla due to suspension.
Neymar (ankle) is closing in on a return, but Saturday's game will come too soon for the Brazil forward. Jonathan dos Santos (knee) is a long-term absentee and Oier Olazabal (finger) is also sidelined.
Romania full-back Razvan Rat could make his Vallecano debut after signing as a free agent on Thursday having been released by Premier League side West Ham last month.
Jemez has a doubt over Jonathan Viera, while Borja Lopez, Jose Carlos and Seba Fernandez will play no part.
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Top 3 Predictions
Barcelona 4-0 Rayo Vallecano
- 46.25 %
Barcelona 4-1 Rayo Vallecano
- 11.99 %
Barcelona 3-0 Rayo Vallecano
- 11.92 %
|La Liga (LIGA)||15 Feb 2014||Barcelona 6 - Rayo Vallecano 0|
|La Liga (LIGA)||21 Sep 2013||Rayo Vallecano 0 - Barcelona 4|
|La Liga (LIGA)||17 Mar 2013||Barcelona 3 - Rayo Vallecano 1|
|La Liga (LIGA)||27 Oct 2012||Rayo Vallecano 0 - Barcelona 5|
|La Liga (LIGA)||29 Apr 2012||Rayo Vallecano 0 - Barcelona 7|
|8 Mar 2014||Valladolid 1 - Barcelona 0||LIGA|
|2 Mar 2014||Barcelona 4 - UD Almería 1||LIGA|
|22 Feb 2014||Real Sociedad 3 - Barcelona 1||LIGA|
|18 Feb 2014||Manchester City 0 - Barcelona 2||UCL|
|15 Feb 2014||Barcelona 6 - Rayo Vallecano 0||LIGA|
|8||Andrés Iniesta Luján||Midfielder|
|13||José Pinto Colorado||Goalkeeper|
|-||Leonel Ezequiel Galeano||Defender|