Barca grant Messi, Suarez & Mascherano additional Christmas leave

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Fresh from defeating Real Madrid 3-0, the Liga leaders have announced that three star players will be afforded a longer break

Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Javier Mascherano have been granted an extended rest over Christmas after helping Barcelona to open up a commanding lead at the top of La Liga.

Barca signed off on 2017 with an emphatic 3-0 Clasico win over fierce rivals Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday. 

That result, together with defeats for Atletico Madrid and Valencia, means the Blaugrana are nine points clear of Diego Simeone's men going into the mid-season break.

Title holders Madrid, meanwhile, are a distant fourth, 14 points behind Barca, albeit with one game in hand.

"The FC Barcelona squad are now on their Christmas holidays," read a club statement. "The final whistle at the Bernabeu and the 3-0 victory over Real Madrid marked the beginning of the festive break for the players until their return to training on 30 December at 6.00pm CET. 

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"Luis Surez, Leo Messi and Javier Mascherano all have the club's permission to rejoin the rest of their team-mates on in the New Year on 2 January."

Barca's next match is against Celta Vigo in the Copa del Rey on January 4, followed by a LaLiga clash at home to Levante three days later.

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