FC Barcelona News: 14 March 2012; Barça Lead Major Leagues in Shots to the Woodwork, Eric Abidal Remains Out

Messi could've been celebrating a goal seven times more had it not been for the frame of the goal.

Yes, Eric Abidal remains on the sidelines because of a groin injury he picked up on international duty with France and will miss at least the next two La Liga games against Sevilla and Granada. However, Alexis Sanchez and Thiago have rejoined the team in training in an attempt to prepare themselves for the game on Saturday. Neither of them have been given the medical all-clear yet, but this is a positive step toward their return.

Lionel Messi's magic season -- Graham Hunter -- ESPN
He has scored in all six competitions in which Barcelona has played this season, he is en route to winning the Champions League top-scorer crown for the fourth consecutive season. And what I think makes this current tally so remarkable is that the injuries and form loss from Pedro and David Villa have meant that Barca now often plays without the width which gives Messi more space and time to create or score.

Barça hit woodwork 21 times in the league | FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona and Liverpool are the two teams that have been most unfortunate with shots hitting the woodwork in major leagues this season. It’s happened to FCB 21 times in 26 games. Messi, with seven, and Cesc, with five, are the Barça players that have come so near but so far on the most occasions.

Xavi: Barcelona is underappreciated in Spain because of Real Madrid rivalry - World Soccer - Yahoo! Sports
Xavi believes that Barcelona do not get the recognition it deserves in Spain due to its intense rivalry with Real Madrid. "Barca's victories are more valued outside of Spain than in Spain, but it's because of the Barca-Madrid war that we have here," the midfielder told reporters at a pres conference."

Cristiano Ronaldo 'happy' for history maker Messi - Goal.com
"I’m happy for Messi; I’m happy for football," Ronaldo told reporters in Madrid ahead of his side's last 16 second-leg clash with CSKA Moscow on Wednesday night. When asked if he thought he might equal Messi's achievement, the former Manchester United player humbly replied: "I’m not sure if I’m capable of one day scoring five goals [in one game]. I hope I can."

Cristiano Ronaldo: Jose Mourinho will be at Real next season - ESPN Soccernet
Cristiano Ronaldo says he is convinced Jose Mourinho will still be Real Madrid coach next season despite speculation linking him to a return to Chelsea. Ronaldo is confident that his coach is going nowhere. "Mourinho will stay with Real Madrid next season," he told reporters. "But it is the club that is the most important thing and not Mourinho, or me."club

Jose does not fear the axe | Sky Sports
The Spanish leaders take on CSKA Moscow on Wednesday with the tie delicately poised following a 1-1 first leg draw in Russia. The pressure is on Mourinho to deliver European success having won the prestigious trophy with Inter Milan in 2010 following a 2-0 success over Bayern Munich at the Santiago Bernabeu.

There's no way of stopping Real Madrid from scoring goals, says CSKA Moscow coach Slutsky - Goal.com
"Real Madrid are very dangerous. There's no way of stopping them from scoring goals. They are very fast in attack," Slutsky said at the pre-match press conference. "Real will play at home and they are an aggressive side. The aggregate score currently favours them. We believe they will be very active and that they will not settle for a 0-0 score, which would also benefit them.

Athletic Bilbao's Llorente doubtful for Manchester United clash - report - Goal.com
The Spain international missed Tuesday's training session because of some minor fitness problems, and while Athletic have not yet commented on the matter, it is believed that the 27-year-old's availability for the continental match is at risk. The news could come as a major blow to Athletic, who have in Llorente their top striker, with 21 goals in all competitions this season.

Espanyol hoping to keep Inter Milan midfielder Philippe Coutinho - ESPN Soccernet
Espanyol director Ramon Planes has now revealed the club are planning to make a bid to keep Coutinho at the club on a permanent basis. "Nothing is impossible," Planes told COM Radio. "We appreciate the fact that he came here when he had other options. If both he and the club are happy, you never know what can happen in football."

Glazer’s United lack Rayo heart | Andy Mitten - Yahoo! Sport UK
He chose a good time, for Rayo were promoted to the top flight, despite boasting a team of young players, several of whom had never played at that level before. Players like midfielders Javi Arribas and Michel, forward Piti and full-back Tito in two seasons with Rayo went from the third division and away games in front of 1,000 to playing Barca and Real Madrid in front of 80,000.

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