Goal-Happy Barca Set Sights On Scoring Record
Fresh from propelling Barcelona to their fifth trophy of 2015, their prolific strikes are now seeking to break the Spanish record of goals in a calendar year when they play Real Betis on Wednesday.
Luis Suarez hit five goals in two games as Barca beat River Plate to lift the Club World Cup this month and they now have 176 goals this year, two less than the record set by Real Madrid in 2014.
Incredibly, 134 of those have come from Suarez and strike partners Lionel Messi and Neymar who were instrumental in Barca winning the treble last season with 122 goals.
With the European Super Cup also in the bag, the only trophy to escape them was the domestic Super Cup which they lost to Athletic Bilbao.
Barca take on Betis with Suarez in particularly strong form with 24 goals from as many games and despite playing a match less they are still top of the table, if only on goal difference from Atletico Madrid, due to slip-ups by their rivals.
Barca’s match with Sporting Gijon was postponed due to their involvement in the Club World Cup but Real Madrid’s defeat by Villarreal and Atletico Madrid’s loss at Malaga left the Catalan side in pole position.
“We have Iniesta, Pique, Busquets who are all great players but to have been able to bring together three players like Messi, Neymar and Suarez is something unique,” club president Josep Maria Bartomeu told reporters.
“I have never seen players before of that quality that combine together so well. We have the best trident in the history of football for sure. When you see the players you see success but behind that is a lot of work and effort.”
Real, in third and two points off the pace, take on Real Sociedad after a disappointing year and with continued speculation over the future of coach Rafa Benitez.
Real won the Club World Cup last year but missed out on trophies last season which led to the largely unpopular decision to dismiss coach Carlo Ancelotti.
Benitez has since been unable to win over many fans and the Madrid media, even a 10-2 thrashing of Rayo Vallecano in their last match doing little to ease the pressure on him.