Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Record-breaking Barcelona can be happy

Barcelona caretaker coach Jordi Roura was pleased his side continued with business as usual in La Liga on Saturday.
Goals from Xavi Hernandez, Lionel Messi and Cristian Tello helped the Catalan giants to a 3-1 win over Real Valladolid as they continued their best ever start to a La Liga season.

The match was overshadowed by the ill health of Barcelona's head coach Tito Vilanova.

Vilanova had a cancerous tumour removed from his saliva gland during his time as Pep Guardiola's assistant last season, and it was announced this week he required further surgery after a reoccurrence of the issue was diagnosed.

The 44-year-old was operated on and discharged from hospital hours before the match, and will spend the next six weeks undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments.

Barcelona could easily have been distracted by Vilanova's situation, but they put in a professional performance at Estadio Municipal Jose Zorilla.

"It is true that today the game was a bit special because of the situation surrounding us," Vilanova's assistant Roura said.

"But if we just talk about sport, it was just another match and three more points. The game was a bit difficult but we managed to finally win it. I think that in the first part, we dominated the game and we had our chances.

"They had some as well, they could have scored as well, but they didn't. We were lucky when we scored the first goal. That fact gave us confidence and in the second part I think we could even scored more."

The result meant Barcelona entered the winter break having won 16 of a possible 17 league encounters this season, with the other result a 2-2 draw against Real Madrid.

And Roura was delighted the club's terrific momentum continued right up until their last match of 2012.

"As I said before it can't be more grateful for our record this season," he said.

"We've played 17 games and we've won 16 of them. We have just drawn one. I think this is a really positive thing. We have ended the year very well so we can take the winter break with a good feeling. I think we can be very happy."

Messi's strike against Real Valladolid meant he finished the calendar year with an incredible 91 goals, 79 of which came for Barcelona.

Of those 79, 59 were scored in La Liga and 13 in the UEFA Champions League. He also scored five in the Copa del Rey and two in the Spanish Super Cup. His other 12 goals were scored for Argentina.

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