FC Barcelona News: 20 December 2012; Jordi Roura Takes Charge In Tito's Absence, Eric Abidal Starts Training

Clive Mason

Roura to lead Barça in Tito Vilanova's absence | FC Barcelona
During President Sandro Rosell and Director of Football Andoni Zubizarreta’s press conference this afternoon on Tito Vilanova’s condition, the two expressed their "absolute confidence in the team and the technical staff." Zubizarreta confirmed that assistant manager Jordi Roura will lead FC Barcelona in the head manager’s stead.

Sandro Rosell: "Tito is strong, very strong" | FC Barcelona
President Sandro Rosell and Director of Football Andoni Zubizarreta held a press conference this Wednesday afternoon to express their "unconditional support to Tito Vilanova and his family," after it was announced that the first team manager had suffered a parotid glad relapse. Vilanova will undergo surgery this Thursday.

Puyol: It was a hard knock | Football Espana
"Today the squad is more animated. Yesterday we had a chat with him and that encouraged us. The message we have heard is that everything went well," began centre-back Puyol today when asked for news of Vilanova’s surgery this morning. "It was a hard knock. As Zubi said it was right in the jaw. We have to get up and keep fighting. The team has always done this and will do now.

Returning Abidal sends Vilanova support - Yahoo! Eurosport UK
"I confirm you that I have started again the collective training with the group," Abidal wrote on his Facebook page on Thursday. "I hope to come back soon on the fields, but I can't stop thinking of our coach, Tito Vilanova: I wish him and his family, a lot of courage!"

Player Focus: Adriano | WhoScored
Behind the World Player of the Year in Barca’s scoring charts there are the familiar names of Villa and Cesc Fabregas, but also a surprising one in the form of Adriano. There are not many who can claim to be more deadly than Messi but the Brazilian may be the closest there is given that his spectacular fifth goal of the campaign against Atleti on Sunday night came via only his 11th shot of the season.

AC Milan, The Next Champions League rival | FC Barcelona
This is not one of the great AC Milan teams maybe, but a side with Milan’s history is always going to be a favourite and this year is no exception. Milan were runners up in Group C, behind Malaga and ahead of Zenith and Anderlecht, after winning two games on the road and taking just two points from two draws at San Siro.

Barcelona Vs. AC Milan, 2013 UEFA Champions League draw: A clash of styles - SBNation.com
AC Milan aren't quite as formidable of a side as they have been over the last two seasons, but they've improved significantly as a team in recent months, and could end up hitting their stride just in time for their UEFA Champions League clash with FC Barcelona.

Champions League: Ronaldo's Real will not relish Manchester United duel | Michael Cox | Football | guardian.co.uk
These two sides know each other well, having met in both the group and the knockout stage of the Champions League last season. Barcelona triumphed over the course of the four matches, winning by a total aggregate score of 8-5 – but made heavy weather of it, with Pep Guardiola's formation experimentations causing them problems.

Pellegrini bids for sweetest revenge - Yahoo! Eurosport UK
The champions have already dropped more points than they did in the whole of last year's record-breaking championship campaign and a deflated Mourinho said after the Espanyol game that the title was "almost impossible now." On Saturday, Real president Florentino Perez, who brought Mourinho to the club in 2010, backed his Portuguese coach to the hilt but on Monday he fired out what sounded like a rebuke.

Liga duopoly is now a monopoly | Pitchside Europe - Yahoo! Eurosport UK
Barcelona had beaten Atletico Madrid on Sunday in a game, which, for the first 30 minutes, was as good as it gets in football. The visitors took the lead through a delightful Falcao finish and for a brief moment people wondered if they had enough to topple the Catalans. Then reality kicked in. They didn’t.

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