FC Barcelona News: 8 February 2012; Final at Stake, Busquets Doubtful, Athletic Bilbao Reach Copa del Rey Final

Which Messi will we see today?

FC Barcelona-Valencia: One step away from final | FC Barcelona
With two Supercups and the Clubs World Cup already in the bag, the Camp Nou is now the venue for this crunch game with Valencia, where the aim is to make it into the final for the second year running, and hopefully repeat the success of 2009 when they won the trophy against Athletic Bilbao, who have eliminated Mirandés, and would once again provide the opposition in the final.

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola: Sergio Busquets is doubtful for Valencia clash - Goal.com
Guardiola admitted during his pre-game press conference on Tuesday evening that Busquets was his "most doubtful" injury concern for the visit of Los Che. However, the Catalan coach added: "Xavi's fine, Alexis [Sanchez] is doing pretty well and we will see tomorrow how Andres [Iniesta] and Pedro are."

Give Messi a break - but why rest may not be the solution for Barcelona's fatigued forward - Goal.com
Pick up a paper in Spain this week or switch on the television and you may see the headline: "What's wrong with Lionel Messi?" Looking at his statistics, you would probably come to the conclusion that, actually, nothing is amiss. But watching Leo live, you realise that right now, the Argentine is not quite firing on all cylinders.

Barcelona 'man up' for semi-final - Yahoo! Eurosport
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has called the Copa del Rey semi-final second leg against Valencia "a game for men" while revealing little about the state of his injured players. The world and European champions have suffered a string of injuries which have contributed to their slight dip in form over recent weeks.

Barça v Valencia: Did you know... | FC Barcelona
Of the times Barça have drawn 1-1 in the away first leg of a semi final, they have eventually qualified five times out of seven. This situation has never arisen in a cup tie where Valencia has been the opposition.

Barcelona striker David Villa optimistic about featuring at Euro 2012 - Goal.com
Barcelona attacker David Villa is optimistic about his chances of returning to match action before the end of the season as his recovery from a fractured leg is going according to schedule. The Spain international sustained the injury during the Club World Cup in December 2011 and has since been working on his recovery.

Zola: "The majority admire Barça" | FC Barcelona
The Juvenil A training session had a very special visitor today, the ex-footballer Gianfranco Zola. The Italian, who is in training to become a manager, praised Barça’s play: "I believe the same thing that everyone else does, they play spectacular football, very pretty to see." According to Zola, "the majority of supporters admire Barcelona because of their fantastic football and for the type of players they have."

Bilbao shatter Mirandes' dreams | Sky Sports
Athletic Bilbao reached the final of the Copa del Rey as Mirandes could not produce another fairytale in a 6-2 semi-final second-leg defeat. An 8-3 aggregate win for Primera Liga top-four contenders Bilbao over their Segunda Division B - Group 2 opponents sets up a final date with either Barcelona or Valencia, who on Wednesday night meet in their second leg.

Real Madrid duo Angel Di Maria & Sami Khedira resumes squad training - Goal.com
Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has received some encouraging news from the treatment table in the build-up toward Sunday's La Liga match against Levante as Angel Di Maria and Sami Khedira have resumed squad training.

Franco Baresi: Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos better in central defence than at right-back - Goal.com
Franco Baresi believes that Real Madrid would be better served by utilising Sergio Ramos at centre-back. The Spain international is primarily a right-back but has been used as a central defender by Madrid coach Jose Mourinho this season, and Baresi, one of the finest defenders ever to play the game, feels that Ramos belongs in the centre.

Christoph Metzelder fears Real Madrid may not wait around for Nuri Sahin - Goal.com
"If you arrive and don't take off immediately, no-one will wait for you at this club," Metzelder told AS. "Real Madrid won nine of their first 10 games, so you need to be successful from the beginning. I think it will be difficult for him.

Atletico get a kick out of Simeone | Andy Mitten - Yahoo!
Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone rose from the bench to urge his team forward in the final minutes of Sunday's league game at home to Valencia. Atleti's Argentinian new chief was hoping to see his side register a fourth successive win to continue their surge up the league table. No winner came, but there was a sixth consecutive clean sheet.

Arsenal's Carlos Vela open to Sociedad stay - ESPN Soccernet
Arsenal forward Carlos Vela has indicated he would like to make his stay at Primera Liga club Real Sociedad a permanent deal. Vela, 22, is currently on loan at Sociedad from Arsenal, and he has impressed since signing at Anoeta, scoring three goals and notching five assists.

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