La Liga

‘It’s the moment’: Xavi returns to Barcelona with plan to restore order

At last, the time was right and the place was too. Xavi Hernández returned to Barcelona as manager and revealed that not only had he twice turned the job down previously – first because he didn’t feel ready and then because he didn’t trust the previous administration or the chaotic situation in which the club found itself – but that he had also passed up the opportunity to work with the Brazilian national team under Tite in order to head home. That, he said, was what moved him.

Messi contract still valid

The ruling body said the only way for the Argentine forward to be released from the contract was to trigger a 700-million euros (NZ$1.2 billion) release clause.

The 33-year-old six-times world player of the year informed his lifelong club last week he wished to leave immediately, plunging Barca into new turmoil less than two weeks after their humiliating 8-2 Champions League quarter-final defeat by Bayern Munich.

Closed doors no obstacle to selfie-seeking Messi fan

Clad in an Argentina shirt with Messi's number 10 on the back and holding his phone, the fan calmly walked onto the pitch in the 52nd minute and approached Barca defender Jordi Alba before heading towards Messi.

The intruder was tackled by security guards before he could make any contact with the six-times world player of the year, while two police officers helped remove him from the pitch.

Madrid score 6,000th Liga goal

Spanish champions Madrid became the first side to score 6,000 LaLiga goals as they overturned a 2-1 half-time deficit in Andalusia.

Asensio opened the scoring in the 11th minute before Aissa Mandi's strike and a Nacho own goal saw the visitors fall behind.

Sergio Ramos equalised for Madrid and Asensio then notched his second and Madrid's third to bring up the milestone.

Goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, either side of a Sergio Leon strike, took Madrid's tally to 6,002 by the end of the match, and sealed all three points for Zinedine Zidane's side. 

Barca dedicate shirts to victims

The club has announced it will use the space traditionally reserved for player names to display the world 'Barcelona' to commemorate those who lost their lives.

The '#TotsSomBarcelona' hashtag, which translates as 'We Are All Barcelona', will also be emblazoned across the front of the famous first-team shirt for their league opener at Camp Nou.

Thirteen people died and more than 100 were injured when a van drove into pedestrians on the crowded Las Ramblas street, an incident that local police are treating as an act of terrorism.

Neymar sent off as Malaga shock 10-man Barca

The current Spanish champions were given a boost after Real's 1-1 draw with city rivals Atletico earlier.

However, a first-half strike from ex-Barcelona forward Sandro Ramirez and a late effort from Jony Rodriguez ended their hopes.

Forward Neymar was sent off in the 65th minute after receiving a second yellow.

Messi 300: A statistical breakdown

Lionel Messi set yet another record on Wednesday, as he became the first man to break the 300-goal mark in La Liga.

The Barcelona superstar reached his triple-century in the 25th minute of his side's 3-1 victory at Sporting Gijon, opening the scoring with a typically unerring left-footed finish from 20 yards.

For good measure, Messi notched his 301st league goal with another clinical strike 16 minutes later. He is now 50 clear of second-placed Telmo Zarra in La Liga's all-time leading scorers' list.