posted at 17:50
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Beating Madrid matters more than Liga record, Messi says
Messi is just one short of Telmo Zarra's 251-goal record which has stood since 1955 and could enter the record books once more on rival territory as Barca look to consolidate their four-point lead over Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu. The Argentine joined coach Luis Enrique in playing down the importance of the match in the title race with just eight games of the season played. "There is still a long way to go, but we will play to win as always." "The record is less important. The important thing is that we play well and win." Controversy ensued when Messi appeared to dismiss Enrique's pleas to come off during Saturday's 3-0 win over Eibar, but Messi insisted it is always Enrique who has the final say on substitutions. "We are desperately awaiting the return of Luis because he will give us a lot of strength as a team," added Messi. "He is a great striker who will score a lot of goals. I am happy for him because he has spent a lot of time without playing." After first-half goals from Neymar and Messi, Ajax briefly threatened a fightback when Anwar El Ghazi reduced the arrears two minutes from time after the South American duo and Iniesta had been withdrawn.

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