Lionel Messi chases scoring record amid stir over Barcelona exit; Moyes debuts for Sociedad

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BARCELONA, Spain — Lionel Messi will chase the Spanish league scoring record on Saturday amid a state of near panic at Camp Nou caused by his comments that his future at Barcelona may not be secure.

Barcelona hosts a strong Sevilla side on Saturday while trailing leader Real Madrid by two points. Madrid visits promoted club Eibar on the same day.

Messi has been stuck on 250 league goals for the past three games, leaving him one shy of matching Telmo Zarra's all-time record.

But many will surely be wondering about Messi's future after he hinted that he may be rethinking his once steadfast commitment to the club he has played for since he was 13.

"While I always said that I would like to stay there (Barcelona) forever, sometimes not everything happens the way you want," Messi said.

Messi's father and agent downplayed the stir by saying that people "exaggerated" his son's comment, insisting that the four-time player of the year was "happy" at Barcelona.

Here are some other things to know about this weekend's games:


MOYES DEBUTS

David Moyes said he had come to Spain to test his coaching talents against the best teams in the world, no doubt referring to European champion Real Madrid, league champion Atletico Madrid and, of course, Barcelona.

Moyes will get an easier first taste of the Spanish league, however, with a trip to Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday.

The former Manchester United and Everton manager takes over a Sociedad side that has underperformed and finds itself level on points with Deportivo in a pack of five teams only three points out of last place.

Sociedad forward Chory Castro said Moyes is looking to gradually mold the team to his liking.

"What he has most emphasized is that we pressure every time we lose the ball," Castro said. "He doesn't want to change everything at once. He has told us that he will introduce new concepts little by little."


MADRID'S A MACHINE

Madrid has erased its bumpy start to the season and coach Carlo Ancelotti has his players scoring more consistently than at any time in the last 15 years.

Madrid is the only team to score in all 11 matches, the first time it has done so since the start of the 1999-2000 campaign.

Cristiano Ronaldo has powered Madrid's scoring burst with a league-leading 18 goals and has scored in all 10 league matches he has played.

Madrid will miss Luka Modric, out with a leg injury. Either Francisco "Isco" Alarcon or Sami Khedira will likely take his place in the starting lineup.


EXPORTING EIBAR

Eibar will welcome Madrid to its Ipurua Stadium, which has a capacity of only 6,000 spectators, for the first time.

And Eibar is not letting the international exposure go to waste. The small Basque club has sold advertising to a Chinese car parts manufacturer that will appear on the back of its player's shorts just for the Madrid game.

Through 10 matches, Eibar had established the best start to a season by a debutante in the league. It arrives from a 2-1 loss at Malaga last match.


KEEPING PACE

Valencia, Atletico and Sevilla all need to bounce back after dropping points last time out.

Valencia is in third place, three points behind Madrid, before its city derby at Levante on Sunday. Atletico and Sevilla are another point back in fourth and fifth place.

Atletico hosts a surging Malaga side on a five-game winning streak on Sunday.

Sevilla will head to Barcelona led by two of Barcelona's promising talents in Gerard Deulofeu and Denis Suarez, who are playing on loan this season.

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