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Feb 15, 2015

Soccer-Messi hits record treble, Atletico lose at Celta

MADRID, Feb 15 (Reuters) – Lionel Messi marked his 300th La Liga appearance with a record-equalling hat-trick and an assist for Neymar as Barcelona stayed hard on the heels of leaders Real Madrid with a 5-0 romp at home to Levante on Sunday.

While Messi continued to rewrite the record books with another masterclass, third-placed Atletico Madrid’s hopes of a second straight title were dealt a blow when the champions were beaten 2-0 at mid-table Celta Vigo.

Feb 14, 2015

Soccer-Real fail to dispel doubts despite beating Depor

MADRID, Feb 14 (Reuters) – Real Madrid returned to winning ways after last week’s drubbing at Atletico Madrid but failed to convince and were whistled by their own fans during a 2-0 victory at home to Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday.

La Liga leaders Real were looking for an inspiring performance before Wednesday’s Champions League trip to Schalke 04 and were fortunate not to drop points with another drab display following the humiliating 4-0 defeat at the Calderon.

Feb 10, 2015

Ronaldo slump hurts Real as in-form Messi drives Barca

MADRID (Reuters) – When Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo collected his third FIFA Ballon d’Or award last month he was enjoying a run of form that was spectacular even by his standards and the European champions were riding high.

Four weeks later and the Portugal captain is mired in a rare slump, Real have been dumped out of the King’s Cup by Atletico Madrid and their lead over Barcelona at the top of La Liga has been cut to a point after Saturday’s humiliating 4-0 drubbing at their city neighbours.

Feb 9, 2015

Confident Barca target King’s Cup final berth

MADRID (Reuters) – Barcelona are playing with a swagger that suggests they may be peaking at just the right time and will look to transfer that form into a berth in the King’s Cup final starting on Wednesday.

The record winners with 26 domestic Cup triumphs, Barca go into their semi-final, first leg at home to Villarreal on the back of Sunday’s 5-2 La Liga romp at Athletic Bilbao which lifted them to within a point of leaders Real Madrid.

Feb 9, 2015

Soccer-Confident Barca target King’s Cup final berth

MADRID, Feb 9 (Reuters) – Barcelona are playing with a swagger that suggests they may be peaking at just the right time and will look to transfer that form into a berth in the King’s Cup final starting on Wednesday.

The record winners with 26 domestic Cup triumphs, Barca go into their semi-final, first leg at home to Villarreal on the back of Sunday’s 5-2 La Liga romp at Athletic Bilbao which lifted them to within a point of leaders Real Madrid.

Jan 22, 2015

Soccer-United finances rosier than ever despite on-pitch woes

Jan 22 (Reuters) – A leap in commercial and broadcast revenue lifted Manchester United into second place behind Real Madrid on the list of the world’s richest clubs in 2013-14, according to Deloitte’s latest Football Money League.

Despite a poor season on the pitch, United’s income surged to 518 million euros ($599.4 million), from 424 million the previous year, with commercial revenue rising 24 percent and broadcast income 34 percent, Deloitte said on Thursday.

Jan 19, 2015

China’s Wang to take stake in Atletico – reports

MADRID (Reuters) – Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin has agreed to buy a 20 percent stake in La Liga champions Atletico Madrid, Spanish media reported on Monday.

The deal with Wang, who controls the Dalian Wanda Group conglomerate and is a keen soccer fan, will be announced in Beijing on Wednesday, according to the reports in sports dailies Marca and As.

Jan 19, 2015

Torres finds different Atletico beast on return

MADRID (Reuters) – When Fernando Torres left Atletico Madrid for Liverpool in 2007, the idea of the Spanish capital’s second club being favourites to beat record winners Barcelona in a two-legged King’s Cup tie would have been unthinkable.

Now that the 30-year-old Spain forward is back in his boyhood team on loan, he has seen at first hand how coach Diego Simeone has shaken up the status quo and transformed Atletico into genuine contenders at home and in Europe.

Jan 15, 2015

Lowly Basques Eibar outshining local heavyweights

MADRID (Reuters) – With just under half the La Liga season played, fans of tiny Basque club Eibar must be rubbing their eyes in disbelief to see their team seven points clear of regional heavyweights Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad.

Based in the eponymous industrial town of fewer than 30,000 inhabitants in a mountainous part of northern Spain, Eibar are performing miracles on their debut in the top flight, eighth on 26 points after 18 matches ahead of Friday’s match at Cordoba.

Jan 15, 2015

Soccer-Lowly Basques Eibar outshining local heavyweights

MADRID, Jan 15 (Reuters) – With just under half the La Liga season played, fans of tiny Basque club Eibar must be rubbing their eyes in disbelief to see their team seven points clear of regional heavyweights Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad.

Based in the eponymous industrial town of fewer than 30,000 inhabitants in a mountainous part of northern Spain, Eibar are performing miracles on their debut in the top flight, eighth on 26 points after 18 matches ahead of Friday’s match at Cordoba.