Madrid: The league leader host mid-table Zaragoza, looking to extend their best ever start to a season. And Messi has only Gerd Mueller ahead of him on the list of all-time leading goalscorers in a calendar year, after passing Pele last weekend. Messi, the league scoring leader, has 76 goals this year, nine shy of matching Mueller's mark 40 years ago. Even though Messi didn't, his clubmates enjoyed good form in the international friendlies.
Midfielder Andres Iniesta combined sublimely with forwards David Villa and and Pedro Rodriguez, who shared three goals, as Spain trounced Panama 5-1. League rival Real Madrid are also in action on Saturday, visited by Athletic Bilbao. Madrid, while eight points behind in the standings, are unbeaten at home and have conceded only eight goals in 11 matches despite setbacks in the defense from injuries to Brazil's Marcelo, Alvaro Arbeloa and Portugal's Fabio Coentrao.
Coach Jose Mourinho will be able to call on recovered midfielder Sami Khedira, forward Karim Benzema and possibly Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portugal star injured his left eye against Levante after David Navarro raised an elbow while challenging for a ball. Madrid has won their last five matches against Athletic, on three occasions by three goals. Also, Sevilla host cross-town rival Real Betis on Sunday. "If we play our game, we will win for sure," Sevilla midfielder Ivan Rakitic said.
"In Germany (with Schalke), I used to do really well in derby matches. Against Borussia Dortmund I scored well and we won four out of six matches. Derbies are good for me and that's the way I want it to continue." Also on Saturday, it's Osasuna vs. Malaga and Valencia vs Espanyol. On Sunday, there's Deportivo La Coruna vs. Levante, Celta Vigo vs. Mallorca, Getafe vs. Valladolid, and Granada vs. Atletico Madrid. Real Sociedad welcomes. Rayo Vallecano on Monday.