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Football: Messi to make 400th Barca appearance

Four-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi will make his 400th Barcelona appearance as the Catalans travel to Levante for their Copa del Rey quarter-final, first-leg on Wednesday. It is the second time the two sides have met in four days at the Ciutat de Valencia as Levante dealt a blow to Barca's title hopes by holding the champions to 1-1 draw in La Liga on Sunday. Barca coach Gerardo Martino makes eight changes from that game with Pedro Rodriguez and Xavi Hernandez joining Messi as the only three players to retain their place in the side. kca/as

Football: Messi nets double, Neymar injured in Barca win

Lionel Messi scored twice, including one brilliant individual effort, in his first start of the year as Barcelona beat Getafe 2-0 in the second-leg of their Copa del Rey last 16 tie to progress 6-0 on aggregate. However, it was far from a perfect evening for the Catalans as Neymar had to be carried from the field after suffering a nasty looking right ankle sprain midway through the first-half. Barca boss Gerardo Martino, though, played down fears that the Brazilian could be sidelined for a significant period of time.

Football: Messi nets double, Neymar injured in Barca win

Lionel Messi scored twice, including one brilliant individual effort, in his first start of the year as Barcelona beat Getafe 2-0 in the second-leg of their Copa del Rey last 16 tie to progress 6-0 on aggregate. However, it was far from a perfect evening for the Catalans as Neymar had to be carried from the field after suffering a nasty looking right ankle sprain midway through the first-half. Barca boss Gerardo Martino, though, played down fears that the Brazilian could be sidelined for a significant period of time.

Messi shines in 1st game back from injury

Barcelona, Jan 9 (EFE).- FC Barcelona super-striker Lionel Messi was in top form in his first game back after missing two months with a hamstring injury, scoring two goals in the waning moments of Barça's 4-0 victory here over Getafe in Copa del Rey action. Messi came on with a half-hour remaining in Wednesday night's contest - the first leg of the teams' round-of-16 clash - to a standing ovation from the fans at Camp Nou, and initially seemed content to let the game come to him.

Football: Pain-free Messi ready for the challenge in 2014

Lionel Messi said he is looking forward to another big year in 2014 after scoring twice in his comeback from injury as Barcelona swept aside Getafe 4-0 in the first leg of their Copa del Rey last 16 tie on Wednesday. The four-time World Player of the Year made his first appearance since early November as a substitute just after the hour mark with Barca leading 2-0 thanks to a Cesc Fabregas double.

Football: Messi scores twice in long-awaited return

Lionel Messi scored twice on his first appearance in 59 days as Barcelona cruised towards the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey with a 4-0 win over Getafe in the first leg of their last 16 tie. The four-time World Player of the Year replaced Andres Iniesta after 63 minutes with Barcelona leading 2-0 thanks to a Cesc Fabregas double. Messi then put the tie to bed a minute from time when he slotted home a loose ball inside the area. And he added his 16th goal of the season with a stunning run and finish to round off the scoring in stoppage time.

Football: Pain-free Messi ready for the challenge in 2014

Lionel Messi said he is looking forward to another big year in 2014 after scoring twice in his comeback from injury as Barcelona swept aside Getafe 4-0 in the first leg of their Copa del Rey last 16 tie on Wednesday. The four-time World Player of the Year made his first appearance since early November as a substitute just after the hour mark with Barca leading 2-0 thanks to a Cesc Fabregas double.

Football: No Elche return for Messi

Four-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi will need to wait to make his return from a hamstring injury after being left out of Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino's squad for Sunday's visit of Elche. Messi only returned to the Catalan capital on Thursday after a month of recovery work and training in his native Argentina. Martino insisted that his compatriot looks in fine shape, but is still someway short of being fully match fit. "In my view Messi is full of desire, I think he is in very good shape physically and has the look of a killer," said Martino.

13,000 Flock to Barça practice for Messi's return

Barcelona, Jan 3 (EFE).- Nearly two months after he was sidelined with a hamstring injury, Argentine superstriker Lionel Messi was back with his FC Barcelona teammates Friday for an open practice that drew more than 13,000 people to the club's mini-stadium. The four-time World Player of the Year arrived here Thursday after a month spent in Argentina. Messi, 26, showed no signs of rust during Friday's scrimmage, notching a hat trick and earning an assist on another goal.

13,000 Flock to Barça practice for Messi's return

Barcelona, Jan 3 (EFE).- Nearly two months after he was sidelined with a hamstring injury, Argentine superstriker Lionel Messi was back with his FC Barcelona teammates Friday for an open practice that drew more than 13,000 people to the club's mini-stadium. The four-time World Player of the Year arrived here Thursday after a month spent in Argentina. Messi, 26, showed no signs of rust during Friday's scrimmage, notching a hat trick and earning an assist on another goal.
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