Barca grant Messi, Suarez and Mascherano additional Christmas leave
Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Javier Mascherano have been granted an extended rest over Christmas after helping Barcelona to open up a commanding lead at the top of LaLiga.
Barca signed off on 2017 with an emphatic 3-0 Clasico win over fierce rivals Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.
That result, together with defeats for Atletico Madrid and Valencia, means the Blaugrana are nine points clear of Diego Simeone's men going into the mid-season break.
Title holders Madrid, meanwhile, are a distant fourth, 14 points behind Barca, albeit with one game in hand.
"The FC Barcelona squad are now on their Christmas holidays," read a club statement. "The final whistle at the Bernabeu and the 3-0 victory over Real Madrid marked the beginning of the festive break for the players until their return to training on 30 December at 6.00pm CET.
"Luis Surez, Leo Messi and Javier Mascherano all have the club's permission to rejoin the rest of their team-mates on in the New Year on 2 January."
Start the day with a smile— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) December 24, 2017
It’s Christmas tomorrow and top spot in La Liga is our gift to you! pic.twitter.com/B2mqS1yq8u
Barca's next match is against Celta Vigo in the Copa del Rey on January 4, followed by a LaLiga clash at home to Levante three days later.