Inside view: FC Barcelona in Bilbao

Brazilian duo Alves and Neymar could fly home knowing they'd done their job well / MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB
A ten-minute video diary of the trip to San Mamés, and what the players got up to before, during and after the game

FC Barcelona excelled in their 5-2 victory against Athletic Bilbao. But the TV cameras didn’t show the full story. Our cameras were with the players all the time and here’s a sneak fly-on-the-wall look at what was going on behind the scenes.

Clásico at the Camp Nou, Sunday 22 March at 9.00pm (CET)

Messi and Isco: Barça will be looking to avenge defeat at the Bernabéu / MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.
Eibar v FC Barcelona, the week before the Real Madrid match, will be played on Saturday 14 March at 6.00pm (CET)

The latest batch of kickoff times has been announced by the Liga organising committee, and these include one of the most eagerly awaited fixtures of the global football season, the Barça v Real Madrid Clásico. The game at the Camp Nou will be played on Sunday 22 March, kicking off at 9.00pm (CET).

Madrid are currently one point ahead of Barça in the table and the meeting between the two sides at the Santiago Bernabéu earlier this season ended 3-1 to the home side. Remember that aggregate head-to-head goal difference is what is used in La Liga to split teams that finish with the same number of points.

Debut at Ipurúa

The time has also been announced of the previous weekend’s fixtures, in which Barça have their first ever Liga away fixture away to Eibar. That one kicks off at 6.00pm (CET) on Saturday 14 March.

Suárez, Neymar and Messi forming devastating threesome

Three cheers for Suárez, Neymar and Messi! / FCB
The trio have scored 42 goals and provided 24 assists in a combined total of 54 league matches

Leading contenders

1.2 Suárez, Neymar & Messi
1.2 Ronaldo, Benzema & Bale
0.7 Costa, Hazard & Oscar
0.6 Agüero, Silva & Touré
0.6 Robben, Lewandowski & Götze
0.6 Tévez, Morata & Pogba
0.5 Mandzukic, Griezmann & R. García
0.4 Ibra, Cavani & Moura

*Average goals + assists per game

**Source: Opta Sports

Luis Suárez, Neymar and Leo Messi have only been playing together for just over three months but they are already proving to be one of the most lethal attacking tridents in the world. They have played a combined total of 54 matches and the return has been 42 goals and 24 assists, an average of 0.8 goals and 0.4 assists each a game, for an overall tally of 1.2 each.

[[DES_1]]Leo Messi leads the way with a staggering 23 goals and 12 assists, making him the second highest goalscorer in Europe behind Cristiano Ronaldo, who has 28, and the leader in goal assists. No other player in any of Europe’s major leagues has made it into double figures. Suárez has contributed 3 goals and 8 assists and Neymar has scored 16 and provided four.

Other top trios

Only Real Madrid have an attacking threesome to compete with such excellence. Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale have claimed 49 goals and 22 assists in 58 games (which matches the Barça players’ overall average rating of 1.2).

In a ranking of clubs in Spain, Italy and England, Diego Costa, Hazard and Óscar of Chelsea are third with 32 goals and 14 assists in the Premiership, putting them narrowly ahead of Tévez, Morata and Pogba of Serie A leaders Juventus (25 goals and 11 assists), Agüero, Silva and Touré of Barça’s Champions League rivals Manchester City (28 goals and 7 assists) and Mandzukic, Griezmann and Raúl García of defending Liga champions Atlético Madrid (27 goals and 7 assists).

In other European leagues, there are no teams that can rival the Barça trio either. At Bayern Munich, Robben, Lewandowski and Götze have 26 goals and 7 assists in the Bundesliga, while PSG’s Ibrahimovic, Cavani and Moura have 25 goals and 3 assists so far in Ligue 1.

Player League games
Goals   Left footed goals 
Right footed goals 
Headed goals 
Assists 
FC Barcelona            
Messi 22 23 13 8 2 12
Luis Suárez 13 3 0 3 0 8
Neymar 19 16 2 13 1 4
Atlético
           
Mandzukic 19 11 1 6 4 3
Griezmann 22 12 8 0 4 1
Raúl García 20 4 0 2 1 3
Real Madrid            
Ronaldo 19 28 4 19 4 9
Benzema 20 11 1 8 2 8
Bale 19 10 7 1 2 5
PSG            
Cavani 22 8 2 4 2 0
Lucas Moura 23 7 1 6 0 2
Ibrahimovic 16 10 3 6 1 1
Chelsea            
Diego Costa 19 17 5 10 2 2
Hazard 24 9 3 5 1 5
Oscar 20 6 0 6 0 7
Man City            
Agüero 19 14 4 10 0 4
Silva 18 7 7 0 0 2
Yaya Touré 18 7 2 5 0 1
Bayern M.            
Robben 16 12 9 1 2 3
Lewandowski 18 7 1 5 1 3
Götze 19 7 0 7 0 1
Juventus            
Tévez 21 14 2 12 0 7
Morata 17 5 2 2 1 3
Pogba 19 6 2 4 0 1

HIGHLIGHTS: The rout at San Mamés

Messi and Neymar both scored again / MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB
See all seven goals from the brilliant clash between FC Barcelona and Athletic Club on Sunday evening

FC Barcelona put in one of their best performances of the season so far in San Mamés. In less than two minutes you can see all the goals from the game in the new ‘La Catedral’. Messi, Luis Suárez, Neymar, Pedro and an own goal from De Marcos gave the blaugranes victory.

Luis Suárez staying confident

Luis Suárez celebrates his goal at the San Mamés / MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB
The Uruguayan scored at San Mamés after a three-week dry spell

Neymar tells team to keep going hard, now isn’t the time to let up

Luis Suárez scored in tonight’s win at San Mamés after three weeks without doing it in the league. The Uruguayan, who was one of Sunday’s goalscorers along with Messi, Neymar and Pedro, had not scored since Barça’s 3-1 win at Camp Nou against Atletico Madrid.

On the field after the match, Suárez explained that he “wasn’t nervous” about not scoring. But, “I was very worried because I am very self-critical and I worry when I can’t help the team with everything I have to offer.”

About Athletic Club, the striker said: “We’re aware that in these kinds of matches the intensity should be maximum, because they press really well. So we knew we had to be very focused from the start.

On one of Barça‘s first occasions, Bilbao goalkeeper Iraizoz stopped Suárez from close range. “That stop was amazing and I thought that that ball just didn’t want to go in.” Minutes later, however, he scored.

Asked about what is was like playing alongside Messi and Neymar, Suárez said: “It’s a privilege; I just have to enjoy it and work as hard as I can.”

NEYMAR

“It was a difficult game at a difficult ground. We started the game well and we got the goals for the win.”

“We are getting better and better, and we have to always be like that. That’s great but we have to keep working hard to improve.”

“More than my goals, the most important thing is to help my team mates.”

“We can’t stop, we have to move forward.”

XAVI

“We’re very happy. The feeling out there was very good, we played really well right from the first minute: we played with intensity, with pace with the ball, with daring..we feel good physically, we’re training hard and the feeling is really good.”

“Athletic pressured us high up the field and we took advantage of the space that they left behind their defence.  Although in most matches we don’t have this space, we have to take advantage of the three players we have up front when we have the chance.”

“The goal will help Luis Suárez, more so because he is a striker. Up until today he was playing well but he couldn’t find the net. He needed this goal for his confidence and we’re all happy for him.”

“We can’t make mistakes. We did so in Anoeta, but now the feeling is good and we depend on ourselves. We are in good form and we have to take advantage of that.”