red hot barca toast of spain

MADRID - The Catalan media moved into overdrive yesterday in their praise for record-breaking Barcelona.

MADRID - The Catalan media moved into overdrive yesterday in their praise for record-breaking Barcelona.

Barca's 2-1 win away to Villarreal on Sunday, which has broken several records, was front-page news in every Catalan paper yesterday morning.

The new records established by Josep Guardiola's slick side are as follows: l Seven consecutive away wins in La Liga (11 including Champions League and King's Cup);

l Forty-one points amassed in 16 games, the highest ever total in Spain by the Christmas break;

l A lead of 10 points over second-placed Sevilla, the biggest ever gap at this stage of the season; and

lThe lowest ever quantity of goals conceded by a team after 16 games: just 10.

"Winter Champions" is the headline in Mundo Deportivo. The Catalan daily points out that Guardiola's team are bound to be top at the halfway stage.

Mundo Deportivo praises the "tremendous spirit" of Guardiola's team in coming from behind "against a team of the quality of Villarreal". An online poll in Mundo Deportivo reveals that 68 percent of readers believe that the "Pep Team", as Guardiola's side is known, will end up beating Real Madrid's 1990 record of 107 league goals in a season (Samuel Eto'o and company have so far scored 48).

The euphoria among Barca fans is also demonstrated by another online poll in Mundo Deportivo, in which 85 percent of readers express their belief that Barca will eliminate Olympique Lyon in the round of 16 in the Champions League.

In fact, the "Pep Team" is one of the favourites to win the Champions League this season, according to bookmakers in Europe. - Sapa-DPA

X