TOP 5 Barca: Player Ratings vs Athletic Bilbao, Messi, Coutinho, Alcacer, Ter Stegen


Lionel Messi, Philippe Coutinho both 8/10 in comfortable win over Bilbao | ESPN

Barca barely missed Sergio Busquets and Luis Suarez due to strong displays from Ivan Rakitic and Paco Alcacer and still enjoy an 11-point lead at the top of the league with only nine games remaining in the campaign.

Barca have hammered the woodwork all season long and it came between them three times here, depriving Coutinho especially of a deserved goal or two. More here.

Valverde 'We attack and defend together' | FCBarcelona.com

Valverde said: “We dominated in the first half and created lots of goal scoring opportunities: we were brilliant. In the second half, we were solid."

Valverde said he was satisfied with how the season has gone so far: “We only have 27 points left and we will try and win them all. Carrying on like this will help us reach our objective.” Before concluding how important the players are to all this, especially Messi: “The manager always learns from his players.” More here.

Ter Stegen: We want Iniesta to stay but it's a personal decision | Sport

Ter Stegen: "We know we need to keep going as team until the end and we need him now and in the years to come. We're focused on the present and he will take his decision when he has to."

"I hope he stays but he's the only one that knows. We know what a great person he is, how important he is to the club and we have to try and keep him here." More here.

Alcacer: Barcelona relaxed in the second half | Marca

"In the second half we relaxed," Alcacer confessed. "I try to help the team as I have always said. You have to help with hard work and, if you can, with goals. We knew that Athletic would defend well but we managed to score twice early on."

"I think the mentality of the team when we go onto the pitch is one of winning, not looking at the league table," he explained. More here.

Messi magic means treble-treble no longer just a dream for brilliant Barcelona | Goal

Barca are, of course, the only club to have won two trebles. The first of those arrived in 2008-09 under Pep Guardiola, with the second coming in 2014-15 with Luis Enrique in charge. And Lionel Messi, naturally, was at the forefront both times.

Current coach Ernesto Valverde was taken aback by questions of a possible treble triumph in this, his debut season at Camp Nou. And it is hardly surprising because he has won just six titles in his career as a manager, five of those in Greece. More here.


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