Published February 05, 2015
Barcelona, Spain (SportsNetwork.com) - Ten years after making his Barcelona debut, Lionel Messi will lead the club into its eighth La Liga fixture of the 2014-15 season when it welcomes Eibar to Camp Nou on Saturday.
Messi helped usher in one of the most successful stints in Barcelona's history, guiding the club to three Champions League titles, six La Liga crowns and the Copa del Rey twice while notching 361 goals in 434 official matches.
"I want to say thanks to all my family, friends, teammates and FC Barcelona staff for their support in these 10 incredible years," Messi said in a statement via his official Facebook page. "I've always enjoyed being on the pitch, wearing these colors, living amazing moments, and I'm constantly trying to improve and win more titles with my team. A hug for everyone."
The Argentine is on the brink of breaking Telmo Zarra's 60-year-old La Liga goals record, needing just two more tallies to go level with the former Athletic Bilbao striker's total of 251.
While Messi has been a major contributor in Barcelona's tremendous start to the new campaign, the club's defense has been astonishing. The Catalans have yet to concede a goal in league play, helping them take 19 points from their first seven games.
Another clean sheet may be in the cards on Saturday as the club hosts an Eibar side that has managed to score just eight goals over its first seven contests back in the top flight.
Barcelona may stand atop the table, but Real Madrid is arguably the country's most in-form team entering the eighth week of the season.
The Galacticos come into the weekend on a four-game winning streak in league play that has seen the reigning European champions demolish opponents by a combined score of 20-3. They will attempt to keep that roll going on the opposite side of the international break as they head to the Cuitat de Valencia to face Levante on Saturday.
Athletic Bilbao has made a horrendous start to the new season. A run of four defeats in its last five outings has kept the club third from bottom on just four points, but it will hope rebound on Saturday when it hosts Celta Vigo.
Rounding out Saturday's slate, Malaga will head to the Nuevo Arcangel to face Cordoba.
Atletico Madrid suffered its first league defeat of the season last time out when it conceded three early goals en route to a 3-1 loss to Valencia. The reigning league champions will attempt bounce back on Sunday when they welcome Espanyol to the Vicente Calderon.
Valencia, meanwhile, enters the weekend in second place on 17 points, two points shy of first-place Barcelona. Los Che will hope to keep pace by matching Barcelona's result on Sunday when they head to the Riazor to face last-place Deportivo.
Also on Sunday, Elche plays host to Sevilla while Almeria travels to El Madrigal to take on Villarreal.
Monday's lone contest will see Real Sociedad welcome Getafe to the Anoeta, and Friday's match saw Manucho net the lone goal in the 90th minute to lift Rayo Vallecano to a 1-0 victory over Granada.