Barcelona's terrific trident
(Neymar 22, 53, Luis Suarez 41, Lionel Messi 90+1)
REAL SOCIEDAD 0
Barcelona's devastating attacking trident of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez are only happy if they all score, emphasising the camaraderie between them, says coach Luis Enrique.
Little wonder then that the trio were again smiling yesterday morning (Singapore time), as they each found the target in a 4-0 hammering of Real Sociedad at the Nou Camp which took Barca's tally to a remarkable 32 goals in their last nine matches in both La Liga and the Champions League.
Most surprising has been that talisman Messi has been injured for most of that remarkable run, having missed almost two months with a knee problem and only returning to action in the 4-0 pulverising of Real Madrid the previous weekend.
In his absence, both Neymar and Suarez flourished, scoring 16 goals between them from the previous six games going into El Clasico.
"When the game is won, they look for each of them to score and it is something natural for them," Enrique, pondering the trio's combination, said after the win over Sociedad.
"They have a really good understanding and if they don't all score, then they are not happy."
Last season, the trio hit a Spanish record 122 goals as Barca won the Treble and now they have 125 - and counting - this calendar year after a double from Neymar and a goal each from Suarez and Messi against Sociedad.
Their attacking displays have helped Barca top La Liga with 33 points, four more than Atletico Madrid and nine ahead of Real Madrid, who face Eibar this morning.
Yet, despite the way that they have been crushing sides recently, Enrique feels that Barca are still not at their peak.
"I don't think we are playing at our best and last season we were better," he said. "We are playing very well, which is great and I hope that our best football is ahead of us. Nobody has won the league in December and it will be an interesting month for us." - Reuters.
:"I still have some years left on my contract. It’s true that my father said that the tax issues are a problem, but we’re talking all that over. I’m still under contract and of course I intend to sign a new one."
- Neymar, 23, on his future at Barca. He is under contract until 2018 but his father recently said that ongoing tax issues in Spain could throw any extension into doubt
- Atletico Madrid 1 Espanyol 0
- Celta Vigo 2 Sporting Gijon 1
- Las Palmas 0 Deportivo 2
- Malaga 2 Granada 2
- Levante 0 Real Betis 1