Pep Guardiola's Barcelona will move to within a point of La Liga leaders Valencia if they overcome Real Mallorca at the Camp Nou.

The champions, normally so dominant at the Nou Camp, were stunned 2-0 there by promoted Hercules last month and Mallorca, coached by former Barca player Michael Laudrup, became the latest side to check the Catalans' title defence.

The early stages followed the usual script with Barca dominating possession despite the absence of injured playmaker Xavi and suspended striker David Villa.

Messi celebrated picking up his European Golden Shoe trophy before kickoff by scoring the opening goal in the 21st minute, curling a shot into the corner of the net from just outside the penalty area after Pedro's clever lay-off.

After Messi went close to doubling Barca's lead, Mallorca midfielder Gonzalo Castro forced a fine save from Victor Valdes on a rare foray by the visitors into the Barca half in the 42nd minute and they were level from the resulting corner.

Gerard Pique, who turned in an unusually error-strewn performance, and Gabriel Milito failed to clear and Emilio Nsue powered a header into the net.

The goal unsettled the champions and after the break Pierro Webo and Nsue had chances to give the Balearic Islanders a shock lead.

The home side regrouped and poured forward in search of a winner but were guilty at times of over-elaboration.

Bojan Krkic struck a post with just over 10 minutes left and Barca were camped in the Mallorca half in the final stages but failed to find a second goal.

Barca are third on 13 points from six matches, three behind leaders Valencia, who secured their place at the top for another week when Aritz Aduriz and Vicente netted in a 2-1 home win over Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.

Villarreal are second on 15 after they recorded a fifth straight victory by beating Racing Santander 2-0 on Sunday thanks to goals from Nilmar and Giuseppe Rossi.

Real Madrid have 11 points in fourth and can climb above

Sevilla are fifth, also on 11, after Alvaro Negredo scored one goal and set up another to give the Andalusians a 3-1 win over Atletico Madrid in coach Gregorio Manzano's first home match in charge.

Manzano, who led financially-troubled Mallorca to fifth last season before quitting, replaced Antonio Alvarez last week and has two wins out of two following Thursday's 1-0 Europa League victory at Borussia Dortmund.

Team Line-up:

Barcelona: Victor Valdes; Gabriel Milito (Jeffren Suarez '89), Gerard Pique, Eric Abidal, Dani Alves, Javier Mascherano, Seydou Keita (Thiago '66), Andres Iniesta, Bojan Krkic, Lionel Messi, Pedro (Nolito '78).

Mallorca: Dudu Aouate; Marti Crespi, Ivan Ramis, Kevin, Edson, Joao Victor Joao Victor, Jose Luis Marti, Fernando Cavenaghi (Pierre Webo '45), Gonzalo Castro (Pereira '71), Jonathan De Guzman, Emilio Nsue.