Messi, Suarez and Neymar get early Christmas break

Barcelona have allowed four star players, including Lionel Messi, an early start to the mid-season break.

Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Neymar and Gerard Pique will not feature in Barcelona's Copa del Rey game against Hercules after being granted an early Christmas break. 

The Catalans were held to a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the round-of-32 tie, but head coach Luis Enrique is confident they will progress without their star men.

"The front three have never played the first round of the cup and I believe it is necessary that they begin their vacations," Luis Enrique told reporters.

"The rest of the squad is available for selection on Wednesday, before enjoying seven or eight days off to be with their families."

Messi, Suarez, Neymar and Pique ended 2016 on a high as they saw off Espanyol 4-1 in the Catalan derby.

The Argentine forward scored once and had a hand in two more, while Suarez ended the game with two goals and an assist.

The duo sit joint top of the LaLiga goalscoring charts with 12 strikes following Sunday's match.