Messi back with team he scores for


MADRID (AP) -Lionel Messi's mood should be better by now. Barcelona has a game on Saturday.

He's a proud Argentine, but his scoring disconnect with the national team sharply contrasts with his record-setting feats for the Spanish club. Criticism at home of his inability to score more for Argentina wasn't dampened after a 0-0 draw with Saudi Arabia midweek.

Messi expressed his discontent with how the friendly went down in Riyadh, but he has Barcelona to fall back on.

The league leader hosts mid-table Zaragoza, looking to extend its 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 is also in action on Saturday, visited by Athletic Bilbao.

Madrid, while eight points behind in the standings, is unbeaten at home and has 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 its last five matches against Athletic, on three occasions by three goals.

Also, Sevilla hosts 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.

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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