A month of competition confirmed: Champions League, League and Spanish Cup

Barça players at Camp Nou / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
The football first team now knows the kick off times for the next four Liga matches as well as the cup tie against Cordoba

Champions League Draw, December 20

Next week the club announced on rival knockout stages of the Champions League draw will take place on December 20. The tie will be played between February 12/13 and 19/20 and March 5/6 and 12/13 . Barca will face the first leg at home and return to Camp Nou.

Possible Champions League rivals:

FC PORTO

GALATASARAY

ARSENAL FC

MILAN AC

SHAKHTAR DONETSK

From December 12 to January 13, Barça have no fewer than six matches, and now know when they will all be played, which will help plan for a busy schedule. Before the Christmas break, they have three fixtures. The first is this Wednesday in the Spanish Cup away to Cordoba. Four days later, the Camp Nou is the venue for one of the most enticing games of the season when the Blaugrana meet high flying Atlético Madrid. The year’s competitive action ends on December 22 away to Valladolid.

Derby to start the year

There will be a 15-day break before competition resumes in 2013 with a King’s Day derby against Espanyol. The Camp Nou will also be the venue for the return leg of the Copa del Rey encounter on January 10. The Sunday after, the Liga season reaches the halfway stage with Barcelona facing a tricky away trip to Malaga.

Cordoba v FCB
Wednesday, December 12 at 20.00
Copa del Rey. First leg round of 16

FCB v Atlético Madrid
Sunday, December 16 at 21.00
Liga. Round 16

Valladolid v FCB
Saturday, December 22 at 18.00
Liga. Round 17

FCB v Espanyol
Sunday, January 6 at 19.00
Liga. Round 18

FCB v Cordoba
Thursday, January 10 at 21.30
Copa del Rey. Second leg round of 16

Màlaga – FCB
Sunday, January 13 at 21.00
Liga. Round 19

 

Possible Champions League opponents (V): Shakhtar Donetsk

El Xakhtar, un dels possibles rivals. FOTO: ARXIU - FCB
The side managed by Mircea Lusescu is dominating the Ukrainian Premier League and has finished second in its Champions League group, a competition in which it has featured every year since 2000

Brazilian Willian is the team’s most in-form player in Europe, with four goals in the last six outings. But it is Henrikh Mkhitaryan who leads the scoring in the domestic championship with 15 goals

Barça and Shakhtar have played 8 times before, with FCB winning 5 times, drawing twice and losing once. They last met in 2010/11, when Josep Guardiola’s side came out tops in the quarter final

The clubs also crossed paths in 2008/09 and 2010/11, both seasons in which the Catalans went on to win the title

FC Barcelona and Shakhtar Donetsk have met eight times, with FCB winning five, drawing twice and losing just once
Managed by Mircea Lusescu, they have at least made the preliminary phase every year since 2000

In our final article on Barça’s possible opponents in the Champions League, our attention switches to Shakhtar Donetsk, a team that has been improving gradually over the years on the basis of typical Eastern European strength coupled with imported Brazilian flair. Managed by Mircea Lusescu, they have at least made the preliminary phase every year since 2000.

Reigning champs knocked out

The side from the Donbass Arena came second in a tough group to qualify for the last sixteen for the second time in three years with 3 wins, 1 draw and 2 defeats to end on 10 points and condemn defending champions Chelsea to the Europa League.

They have plenty of firepower up front, backed up by some attack-minded midfielders that also supply their fair share of goals and assists. The 12 goals in the first stage were mainly inspired by Willian, with 4 and Luiz Adriano, with 3. Axel Teixeira, Fernandinho and Henrikh Mkhitaryan got the rest, the latter being the side’s top scorer in the national league with 15. Not forgetting a former Barcelona man in Dmytro Chygrynskiy, whose chances outside of the domestic championship have been limited.

Like FC Barcelona, Shakhtar are runaway leaders of the Premier League with just one defeat in the first 18 matches. The orange and blacks are chasing a fourth consecutive Ukrainian title.

Title winning years

In both 2010/11 and 2008/09, Shakhtar met Barça. In the latter season, Barça, managed by Josep Guardiola, put an end to the Ukrainians’ best ever run in Europe with a 5-1 win at the Camp Nou and a 0-1 win at the Donbass Arena, and months later would be lifting the trophy for the fourth time at Wembley.

Two years earlier, in 2008/09, they had met in the groups. Barça won 1-2 on the road but crashed at home, 2-3. That year the Catalans also marched on to collect the trophy, this time in Rome as part of the treble winning season.

Overall, FC Barcelona and Shakhtar Donetsk have met eight times, with FCB winning five, drawing twice and losing just once. The first meeting was in 1978/79 in the old Cup Winners Cup, when Shakhtar were representing the former Soviet Union. Barça won 3-0 at home and drew 1-1 away, on yet another occasion when they went on to win the trophy.

 

Leo Messi sets sights on four new goalscoring records

Leo Messi / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.
Messi’s next challenge is to become the all-time highest scorer for Barça and Argentina, and become the player with the most goals in La Liga and the Champions League

He’s only 25 years old but Leo Messi has already shredded the majority of the goalscoring records in professional football. He’s broken so many in his career that it seems he’s running out of records to break. However, here’s a detailed overview of the four goalscoring records the Argentine has yet to reach:

All-time highest goalscorer for FC Barcelona

Messi is already FC Barcelona’s all-time highest goalscorer in official matches, ahead of César Rodríguez. However, he’s third among the highest Club goalscorers when you take friendly matches into account. Paulino Alcántara (369) and Josep Samitier (333) are first and second, respectively, while Messi has scored 305 total career goals for the Club.

Argentina

Gabriel Batistuta is Argentina’s highest goalscorer. He netted 56 times for the Albiceleste between 1991 and 2002. Batistuta is followed by other legendary players like Hernán Crespo (35) and Diego Maradona (34). Currently, Leo Messi is fourth on the all-time goalscoring list, with 31 goals. Of the four, he’s the only active footballer that still plays for his national team.

La Liga

The legendary Telmo Zarra is the all-time highest goalscorer in La Liga with 251 goals. Barça’s forward sits ninth on the all-time list with 192. Messi still has to break the marks set by Hugo Sánchez (234), Raúl (228), Di Stéfano (227), César (226), Quini (219), Pahiño (210) and Edmundo Suárez (195).

Champions League

Raúl González holds the record for the most goals scored in the Champions League. He netted 71 times. Leo Messi is hot on the heels of the former Real Madrid player, with 56 goals; level with Ruud van Nistelrooy. This goal tally does not include preliminary rounds and qualification matches.