Will Messi have a better game against a different Madrid team?
Barcelona aims to rebound against La Liga rival Rayo Vallecano - La Liga News | FOX Sports on MSN
Barcelona looks to close the gap to Spanish leader Real Madrid and rebound from its first loss of the season when it hosts Rayo Vallecano on Tuesday. The defending champion will be bolstered by the return of Spain midfielders Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas.
Missing in action - Barcelona captain Carles Puyol has been absent in all of the Catalans' last six defeats - Goal.com
It is surely no coincidence. All of Barcelona's last six defeats share one common factor: they have each arrived in the absence of Carles Puyol. Barca's courageous captain was missing for all five of the Catalans' losses in an injury-ravaged 2010-11, and even though he is now back from the knee problem which kept him sidelined for much of last season, the centre-back is still short of full fitness.
Tito Vilanova on the road to recovery | FC Barcelona
Tito Vilanova was operated on for a problem with his parotid gland last Tuesday by surgeons at the Hospital de la Vall d'Hebron in Barcelona. The operation was a success and Vilanova is expected to be back to full health within three or four weeks.
Liga - Guardiola gives Barca Pep talk - Yahoo! Eurosport
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has told his players they need to lift their game if they hope to catch La Liga leaders Real Madrid and secure a fourth straight Spanish title. Barca slipped to a shock 1-0 loss at Getafe on Saturday, confirming their poor form away from home, and are six points adrift of Jose Mourinho's Real after 13 matches.
Johan Cruyff unperturbed by Real Madrid's six-point lead over Barcelona & believes Xavi deserves the Fifa Ballon d'Or - Goal.com
"It seems that most people do not see the games and do not know of the quality of Barcelona," he is quoted as saying by Sport. "One thing I can assure is that the league championship does not finish on December 30 but late May. There are [still] five titles that the club [Barca] can win."
Johan Cryuff's side fought back to win the title on the last day of the 1991/92 season | FC Barcelona
As Josep Guardiola made clear after the Getafe defeat, "we're only in November and there's a long way to go in this league." The boss has himself experienced how a lead can be whittled away, as he was a player in the Barça team of the early 90s who won four titles on the run, the second of which came after pulling back an eight point deficit.
There was never an option to join Real Madrid, claims Barcelona's Rafinha - Goal.com
"We knew that Barca is the best team for me," Rafinha told Ona FM. "I do not know about any offer, but I am very happy here and never had the option of going to another team. Real Madrid? I have not heard anything.
Barcelona join Manchester United in race for Benfica's Nicolas Gaitan - report - Goal.com
Barcelona are the latest team to be found keeping tabs on talented Benfica winger Nicolas Gaitan, Sport claims. An emissary from the Catalan club was at the Estadio da Luz on Saturday to observe the 23-year-old in Benfica's 1-0 victory against Sporting CP in the Portuguese Liga.
Sociedad star joins exclusive club - Yahoo! Eurosport UK
Few are the players to have tried it and succeeded. Fewer still are those who have pulled it off twice, but as of Sunday afternoon and a glorious injury-time winner at Real Betis, Real Sociedad's Inigo Martínez is a member of that exclusive band. Pitchside Europe looks at some of the players who, like Martínez, have bettered Pele - twice.