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Five things we learned in La Liga this weekend

1. Messi's mood keeps swinging

On Oct. 18, when Lionel Messi moved to within one goal of the all-time La Liga goal-scoring record held by former Athletic Bilbao striker Telmo Zarra, it seemed the Barcelona talisman soon passing the mark would be a formality.

The six weeks since were filled with Barca defeats against Real Madrid and Celta Vigo, the first real questioning of new coach Luis Enrique and continuing legal and media battles between Barca's current and former presidents. Most worryingly of all for Blaugrana fans were Messi's comments while on international duty last week suggesting there were things about his current situation he did not like and that he could consider a transfer next summer.

However, the 27-year-old looked content enough while celebrating his hat trick in Saturday's 5-1 thumping of Sevilla that saw him surpass Zarra's total of 251, even when getting the bumps for his teammates midgame. After the final whistle he also seemed to be enjoying himself while watching a special tribute video from the pitch.

It was noticeable though that Messi, who has scored 253 goals in 289 Liga games, declined to speak to the media afterward, not even to the club's own TV channel. This silence -- more than the whistles for president Josep Maria Bartomeu when he appeared on the Camp Nou big screens -- will have made the occasion feel like less of a party for the Barca board.

2. Khedira frozen out?

Speaking before Saturday's game at Eibar, Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti suggested he would hand Sami Khedira a first La Liga start of the season, given the injuries to other natural midfielders Luka Modric and Asier Illarramendi.

Instead, Ancelotti started Isco in a deeper than usual role alongside Toni Kroos in the centre of the park, and then kept Khedira sitting down as he sent on full-backs Fabio Coentrao and Alvaro Arbeloa when he stiffened up his side late on in their typically decisive 4-0 win.

Just last week strong reports in Spain claimed that Khedira, who is out of contract in June, had already agreed to join Bayern Munich on a free transfer for next season, something the Bundesliga champions swiftly denied. The 27-year-old has had a very strange campaign so far, playing more minutes for Germany than Madrid, and declining to talk too much about his future.

"[Khedira] didn't have any injury issues," Ancelotti said after the game. "He was a bit tired and I preferred the idea of using Isco because he recovered well after international duty."

The World Cup winner looks likely to get plenty of more time to rest on the bench in the coming months.

3. Moyes keen to get started

David Moyes seemed to take a long time to make up his mind whether to take the Real Sociedad job or not, but having committed to the Basque club he now looks extra keen to show how happy he is and motivated to get going.

Moyes' first match as Txuri-urdin chief brought a goalless draw in a grim enough game late on Saturday night at Deportivo La Coruna, a heated if one-sided touchline row with Depor assistant coach Roberto Cabellud, and even an unexpected diversion to Santiago de Compostela airport after stormy conditions meant the team plane could not land in La Coruna.

Despite all these complications, the Scot beamed his way through his postmatch media duties. There was no sign of the surliness which characterised his dealings with the press during his last months at Manchester United, and he made extra time to speak with the English-language media who had also made it to Riazor, keeping the team bus waiting past 1:00 a.m. as he explained how happy he was to be back at work.

"I am buzzing," he said. "Because of the challenge. I have given myself a big challenge. I could have taken other jobs in England, but I felt I needed to challenge myself and I wanted to go again. I wanted to show I could come here and work. I still have to do that and there is a long way to go before I say I have done well."

Moyes faces a tough task, with just goal difference currently keeping his new team out of the relegation zone. But he sounds very up for the challenge.

4. Valencia safe from Batman, but not the frogs

Valencia's weekend started quite surreally, with the news that DC Comics had officially complained to the EU that the club's new badge design looks a little too much like the Batman logo.

There has been a bat on Valencia's club crest since formation in 1919, and use of the nocturnal flying mammal as a symbol dates back to the coat of arms of Jaime I de Aragon, who conquered the city in the 13th century. Batman only suited up to fight crime in 1939.

On the pitch, even a first start for on-loan from Manchester City centre-forward Alvaro Negredo was not enough for to avoid a 2-1 defeat in the city derby against Levante. This was the third consecutive derby defeat for Los Murcielagos (The Bats) away at Los Granotas (The Frogs) and will keep supporters of the city's less high-profile team happy for another year.

Levante's players celebrate during their 2-1 win over Valencia on Sunday.

Nuno's side remains fourth in the table, but their momentum does seem to have stalled a bit through recent weeks. And next up at Mestalla are Barcelona and a certain Messi on Sunday night.

5. Rayo winning everywhere

On Saturday afternoon Rayo Vallecano announced that the club would help local woman Carmen Martinez Ayudo, who the previous morning had been evicted from her house near the Estadio Vallecas due to her family's financial problems.

Rayo's players, coaches and staff will together pay for Martinez Ayudo, who is 85, to rent another apartment in the area, while further fund-raising activities involving fans are also planned.

"We will lend a hand so that this lady does not find herself alone," said Rayo coach Paco Jemez, to reporters who joined in general acclaim for the move from many -- if not all -- parts of Spanish society.

Then on Sunday lunchtime Rayo's players went about their jobs in impressive fashion, inflicting a first away reverse of the season on high-flying Celta Vigo. Celta had emerged unbeaten from the Vicente Calderon, San Mames and Camp Nou in recent weeks, but they left Vallecas defeated as Alberto Buenos snaffled up the game's only goal.

On and off the pitch, it was a good weekend to be associated with Madrid's more proletarian team.

Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan


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