FC Barcelona ensured that they progressed to the next round of the Champions League as group winners after a convincing victory against Panathinaikos on Wednesday thanks to two goals from Pedro and another from Lionel Messi.
Josep Guardiola has said that the team is entirely focused on the Champions League game with Panathinaikos, and has promised that he won’t be conditioning his selection by the forthcoming Madrid match.
Leo Messi just keeps on smashing records and there seems to be no limit to what he can achieve. His brilliant performance in Almeria was rounded off with another hat trick –his seventh for the team – as well as two assists.
Barça have subjected Almeria to a rout in a show of attacking brilliance, going 5-0 ahead in just 36 minutes thanks to goals from (2), Iniesta, Acasiete (own goal) and Pedro. Bojan (2) and Messi added three more on a historic night.
PSV Eindhoven and FC Barcelona have reached agreement on a deal to bring Ibrahim Afellay to Barça, with only the personal terms between the player and the Catalan club to be settled over the next few weeks.
Carles Puyol played his 500th game for the club on Saturday against Villarreal and showed that at 32 he is still well on top of his game. Speaking to Barça TV he joked after the game: “I’m still only half way through my career”.
The Camp Nou is the venue tonight (at 22.00) for a gripping encounter between Barça and Vila-real, second and third in the table respectively. Without Piqué or Milito, the big mystery is who will partner Puyol in the centre of defence.