FC Barcelona News: 21 February 2012; Players Enjoying Days Off, Xavi Receives New Award

Xavi has been battling a calf injury lately, but when on the pitch he has been impressive as ever.

Barca won't pay 'mad' fees for RVP or Bale - ESPN Soccernet
Barcelona vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu has warned that the club will not pay "mad" transfer fees this summer, amid reported interest in the likes of Robin van Persie and Gareth Bale. Barca, though, have no intention of paying over the odds for any player, cooling suggestions of big-money transfers for the likes of the Dutchman or Wales international Bale.

Xavi: "We won’t throw in the towel on La Liga" | FC Barcelona
"We’ll keep on pushing to reduce [Madrid’s] lead until the end." This is Barça’s objective in La Liga said Xavi Hernández during La Caixa’s Obra Social ceremony (where the player was named the organization’s ambassador). The midfielder is clear that his team "won’t throw in the towel" in the national competition.

Italian award for Xavi Hernández | FC Barcelona
Xavi Hernández received a new acknowledgement from the footballing world. Barça’s midfield maestro won the first edition of the Premio Bulgarelli Número 8, sponsored by the Italian Football Players Association with the support of FIFPro. The other finalists were Daniele de Rossi (Roma) and Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich).

Vettel: "Xavi is the brains of this team" | FC Barcelona
Sebastian Vettel, winner of the Formula One Drivers Championship in both 2010 and 2011, was there to watch Barça's stunning victory against Valencia on Sunday. Speaking to Barça TV, the German said "it was marvellous to be able to enjoy this game between such good teams in such a venue. It was fantastic".

Tireless Puyol | FC Barcelona
The best of Puyol is back. Now that his injury is behind him, which sidelined him for a half a year, the centre back is back on top form and once again playing a key role in Guardiola's plans. He has started the last eight games, since the cup return leg against Real Madrid (2-2) through to the 5-1 win over Valencia. Only Messi, with eight starts, has a longer record.

First seven day rest of the season | FC Barcelona
This is the first time that Barcelona have had a full week in which to train for a match. Such a packed fixture list has involved 43 official matches so far, meaning there has not been one instance of the players having a full week to prepare for a league game. Of the last ten times that this had happened, eight of the following games have been won, and two ended in draws.

Pelé: "This Barça is like my Santos" | FC Barcelona
Edson Arantes de Nascimento ‘Pelé’ talked about Guardiola’s Barça in an interview with FIFA. The Brazilian places the Catalan side amongst the best teams in the history of the sport: "I’ve been watching this Barça side a lot lately and they’re like Santos were in my heyday, or the great Benfica, Ajax, AC Milan and Real Madrid sides. They all set the standard in their day."

Roma: No Barca switch for Enrique - Yahoo! Eurosport
Enrique spent three years at Barcelona managing their B team before leaving to take over the top job at Roma. There has been speculation former Barca and Spain midfielder Enrique will return to the Camp Nou if Guardiola fails to agree a new deal with the Spanish and European champions.

Rexach feels Ronald Koeman or Michael Laudrup could replace Guardiola as Barcelona coach - Goal.com
"Guardiola's replacement should be someone who is part of the Barcelona family or someone who knows the club very well," Rexach said in an interview to Com Radio. "Guys like Ronald Koeman, Michael Laudrup and Ernesto Valverde are candidates in my opinion. I believe that they are waiting for the chance to take over at Barcelona.

Real Madrid will equal Barcelona's run of seven straight Champions League wins by beating CSKA Moscow - Goal.com
Real Madrid and Jose Mourinho are on a mission. Club president Florentino Perez's demands to deliver to the Santiago Bernabeu faithful their first Champions League trophy since 2002, and in the process the club's elusive 10th European Cup, has prompted the men in white to go on a ruthless, rampaging run of victories this season.

Moscow cold worries Real's Mourinho - Yahoo! Eurosport
Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho seems more concerned with the cold weather and artificial turf at the Luzhniki stadium than Tuesday's Champions League last 16 first-leg opponents CSKA Moscow. "Minus 10 (degrees Celsius) outside is not the same as a plus 15," Mourinho told reporters in reference to the sub-zero temperatures in the Russian capital.

Valencia's Banega out for six months after undergoing ankle surgery - Goal.com
Banega suffered a broken fibia and tibia and is now facing six months on the sidelines. "Ever Banega will be ready for next season," stated Jordi Candel, one of the doctors who operated on the midfielder on Monday. "The operation was very clean, he has levelled off perfectly and we see no complications. We expect Banega to fully recover and to be able to continue playing high-level sport."

The biggest joke of all is that Málaga may make the Champions League | Sid Lowe | Football | guardian.co.uk
This summer, Málaga's net spend was bigger than anyone in the Spanish First Division, including them. Backed by Qatari owners, they shelled out almost €60m and bought nine players, presenting them amidst fireworks and tickertape and delirious fans, packing out the Rosaleda and the city bullring.

Seven players reach fifth bookings - Yahoo! Eurosport
Seven Liga players reached their fifth bookings of the season last weekend, invoking automatic one-match bans in the process. Athletic Bilbao forwards Oscar de Marcos and Iker Muniain were both cautioned in the 3-0 win over Malaga, an excellent result that puts the Basques in the fourth and final Champions League spot. They will miss the match against Villarreal.

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