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The Spain international starts alongside Lionel Messi and Alexis Sanchez in attack for the Blaugrana following his well-taken goal against Milan on Tuesday evening

David Villa continues up front for Barcelona as they take on Rayo at Camp Nou in La Liga this evening.

The former Valencia man scored a fine goal against Milan as Jordi Roura's side sealed a place in the last-eight of the Champions League, and retains his place in the side for Sunday's clash alongside Lionel Messi and Alexis Sanchez up front.

The Catalan giants are without their captain Carlos Puyol for up to a month after he underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on Friday. Javier Mascherano starts at centre-back in his absence.

Xavi also misses out through injury, which means Cesc Fabregas returns in midfield. Elsewhere Victor Valdes serves the second game of his four-match suspension, with Pinto starting in goal.

Rayo are forced into making a number of changes to their side, as they make do without the suspended trio of Jose Manuel Casado, Javi Fuego and Leo Baptistao.

Andrija Delibasic replaces Baptistao as the lone striker for the visitors, while Adrian comes in for Fuego and partners Roberto Trashorras in a midfield pivote.

Despite returning from a one-match ban Jordi Amat is only named as a substitute.

Barcelona (4-3-3):
Pinto; Adriano, Pique, Mascherano, Alba; Cesc, Busquets, Iniesta; Alexis, Messi, Villa

Subs: Oier, Alves, Bartra, Song, Thiago, Pedro, Tello

Rayo Vallecano (4-2-3-1): Ruben; Tito, Galvez, Figueras, Arbilla; Adrian, Trashorras; Carlos, Dominguez, Piti; Delibasic

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