A big day for Xavi | FC Barcelona
Friday is a massive day for Xavi Hernández. The FC Barcelona midfielder is due onstage at 18.30 in the Teatro Campoamor, Oviedo, to collect the 2012 Príncipe de Asturias Award for Sport along with Iker Casillas, the Real Madrid and Spain goalkeeper. The duo won the final vote over the other candidate, the International Paralympic Committee.
Barça unbeaten when Iniesta scores | FC Barcelona
Andrés Iniesta’s goals are worth their weight in gold. Not only was there his priceless finish in 2008/09 at Stamford Bridge that sent Barça into the Champions League final. There have been many others, and in fact, in not one of the 42 games in which he has scored have Barça been beaten. There have been a spectacular 37 wins and five draws.
Saturday team news: Defensive issues for Barca - Yahoo! Eurosport UK
Mascherano was sent off in last weekend's 5-4 win at Deportivo Coruna and although the club have appealed the Argentine's dismissal, the Spanish federation is unlikely to exonerate him. Mascherano would join injured Spain pair Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique on the sidelines, while Brazil right-back Dani Alves has not played since being forced off in this month's 2-2 'Clasico' draw at home to Real Madrid.
How Messi & Ronaldo went from crying kids to the two best players in the world - Goal.com
Leo Messi is 5ft 6½in. He wasn’t always so tall. When he arrived in Barcelona as a 13-year-old from Argentina, he was 4ft 6in, nearly one foot shorter than the average height for a boy of that age. As a child, Messi was diagnosed with a rare growth hormone deficiency. The condition affects one in 20 million people. It is not a family affliction. His younger sister, Maria Sol, for instance, is a tall young lady.
Natural predator Villa still finding his place | Pitchside Europe - Yahoo! Eurosport UK
But another striker cost 40m euros in Spain, his transfer taking place a year before Falcao's. The striker is the usual suspect missing from the Pichichi, in which he was an ever present for the last decade. David Villa would like to see his name back on that chart. He feels he is good enough, but that he is not getting anywhere near enough starts to truly compete.
'Barcelona create art' - Thuram lauds former club - Goal.com
"The Barca game appeals to everyone because when you look at it, it is art," the Juventus legend told Sport.es. "For me, football is an art, like those artists who do contemporary shows. In addition to this, the club gives a good image of football and that's important.
Khedira injury leaves Real short of cover - Yahoo! Eurosport UK
Khedira was forced off in the 20th minute of Wednesday's 2-1 Champions League defeat at Borussia Dortmund when he aggravated a leg muscle problem and his replacement, Luka Modric, is not as accomplished in the central holding role alongside Xabi Alonso.
Atletico's winning run continues | Sky Sports Football
Atletico Madrid extended their winning run in UEFA competitions to 16 games with a comfortable 2-1 win over Academica thanks to goals from Diego Costa and Emre Belozoglu. Adrian Lopez had spurned the best chance of a largely uneventful first half but the holders went in front just two minutes after the restart when Costa hooked in Tiago's flick-on from Gabi's corner.
Briand the last-action hero | Sky Sports Football
Lisandro Lopez had headed the French side ahead against the run of play eight minutes into the second half but Athletic deservedly equalised with 11 minutes remaining as substitutes Fernando Llorente and Ibai Gomez combined for the latter to smack home a glorious volley.
Rios brace helps down Twente | Sky Sports Football
Levante took a giant stride towards making the Europa League knockout stages as a Michel penalty and two goals from Pedro Rios guided them victory over FC Twente. The Eredivisie leaders enjoyed the better of the first period and were controversially denied the opening goal when Dusan Tadic's strike was ruled out because Luc Castaignos was in an offside position and adjudged to have been active.
Four former FCB youth players now at Rayo Vallecano | FC Barcelona
No fewer than four former Barça youth players could be in the Rayo team that faces their former club on Saturday. Rubén Martínez, José Manuel Casado, Sergio Rodríguez, ‘Rodri’, and Roberto Trashorras all played for Barça youth teams, and are now at Rayo Vallecano under Paco Jémez. Three of them are regular starters in the Vallecas based side.