As part of a weekly column, World In Sport will focus on the key story of the weekend’s action of European football and recap the main results in Serie A, the German Bundesliga, La Liga and Ligue 1.
This week it is Barcelona who are on the lips of with many fans, but despite the Blaugrana narrowing Real Madrid’s lead to a single point, it is for off field matters.
Quique Setien will be without two of his key forwards for a significant time as following Luis Suarez being ruled out in January for four months with a knee injury, last week it was confirmed that Ousmane Dembele will miss six months after surgery on a serious hamstring tear.
However, Barcelona have been given permission to apply a rule rarely used in La Liga. It states that if a player is ruled out for more than five months, a replacement can be signed if they are a free agent or already playing in Spain.
They have been linked with Getafe’s Angel Rodriguez, scorer of 13 goals for the third-placed side and despite the proximity in the league standings, Jose Bordalas’ side see his buyout clause of 9m euro as an opportunity to cash in on a player they bought on a free transfer.
Setien’s outfit are understood to be in the market for a striker who will be happy to be a backup to Suarez when the Uruguayan returns.
They include former Arsenal forward Lucas Perez who is currently at Alaves and Willian Jose who was linked to a January move from Real Sociedad to Tottenham Hotspur.
The club have also denied hiring a firm to produce social media comments to undermine players such as Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique.
Catalan radio station SER Cataluyna claim Barcelona wanted to defend the reputation of president Josep Maria Bartomeu .
On the pitch Barcelona edged past Getafe at Camp Nou thanks to Sergi Roberto’s winner to gain ground on Real Madrid who were held 2-2 by lowly Celta Vigo.
Ahead of the visit of Liverpool in the Champions League last 16 tonight, Atletico Madrid sit in fourth place on goal difference following a draw Valencia on Friday night.
At the bottom of the league Mallorca secured an important victory over Alaves which means they are only in the relegation zone on goal difference from Celta Vigo.
All eyes were on the Stadio Olympico on Sunday evening in Italy and Sergei Milinkovic-Savic netted the winner as Lazio came from behind to beat Inter Milan 2-1 as they look to win their first title since 2000.
The hosts are now two points ahead of Inter after handing them only their second league defeat of season, with leaders Juventus (who are one point ahead) also victorious against Antonio Conte’s men.
Fiorentina thrashed poor Sampdoria 5-1 with Federico Chiesa scoring twice to keep the hosts just one point above the relegation zone.
The top of the table is unchanged with all of the top five placed teams victorious over the weekend, scoring 18 goals between this including Bayern netting three in the opening 12 minutes of their 4-1 win at Koln.
Borussia Dortmund kept a welcome clean sheet against Eintracht Frankfurt ahead of their mouthwatering Champions League last 16 match against Paris Saint-Germain.
Paderborn remain bottom after losing to Hertha Berlin while 17th-placed Werder Bremen and Fortuna Dusseldorf, in the relegation play-off place, both lost to high-flying opposition of second-placed Leipzig and Borussia Mönchengladbach in fourth.
PSG were involved in the game of the weekend in France as they were remarkably held 4-4 by Gael Kakuta scoring an injury-time equaliser for Amiens who had seen the league leaders fightback from 3-0 down.
In an important game for the chasing pack, Marseille strengthened their grip on second after coming from a goal down to win at fourth-placed Lille.
Nimes moved out of the relegation zone as they saw off ten-men Angers 1-0.