MADRID, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- Even though he is far away in Argentina recovering from his thigh injury, there is little doubt that Leo Messi will be the main topic of conversation as FC Barcelona visit Getafe on Sunday evening.
Messi' s declarations on Catalan radio that the club' s economic Vice-President, Javier Faus "had no idea about football," has added further fuel for those who are looking to fan any flames of discontent in the club.
Messi' s words come at the end of a week which has seen the EU open an investigation over Barca' s (as well as that of Athletic Club, Real Madrid and Osasuna), social structure, which allows them to pay a lower rate of tax than the majority of clubs.
The week also saw a judge ask to see the contract which took Neymar to the Camp Nou in the wake of accusations of irregularities, rumors that Messi' s father was being investigated (since denied) over money laundering activities involving drug trafficking and rumors that Messi wanted a new contract so he could be the best paid player in the world ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Meanwhile stories emerged from Argentina that coach, Tata Martino was unhappy in Barcelona and would leave the club at the end of the season.
It has seemed at times as if the club itself was the football to be kicked about by the pro-Madrid press and many Catalans view the flurry of rumors with suspicion in the wake of the announcement of the Catalan independence referendum next year.
"It does seem as if the machinery has been put into operation against Barca," commented injured goalkeeper, Victor Valdes on Friday and the fact is that a week has passed with nobody taking about Sunday' s game.
Atletico Madrid play at home to Levante on Saturday night and Barca will need to match their rivals result in order to remain on the top of the table. With Atletico in fine form of late that could see the Catalans needing a wide margin of victory to retain top spot on goal difference.
They will have to score those goals without Messi and Neymar who is suspended after picking up his fifth booking of the campaign in last week' s 2-1 win at home to Villarreal.
Neymar was booked for taking a short corner before the referee had given permission and such is the atmosphere at the moment that some even used that harsh decision to attack Barca, claiming Neymar had acted deliberately in order to secure three days extra holiday.
If that was his plan then it worked as Martino allowed Neymar home to recover from what has been a long year for the Brazilian and Pedro Rodriguez, Alexis Sanchez and Cesc will lead the Barca attack in a ground where they have struggled of late.
Meanwhile Xavi Hernandez is also doubtful with a calf problem, but as Getafe coach, Luis Garcia points out: "everyone talks about the players who are out for Barcelona and not those who we have out."
This week people have talked about much more than that and the best way for that to end is for Barca to end 2013 with a win.