FC Barcelona News: 31 March 2012; David Villa's Recovery Going Well, Messi To Be Honored Before Athletic Bilbao Game

David Villa is entering the final stage of the recovery process.

Villa steps up recovery - Yahoo! Eurosport
Barcelona and Spain striker David Villa said he is nearing the end of his recovery after breaking a leg at the Club World Cup in December. "I am very positive, going through the final phase now, thank God, working very hard every day since it happened," Villa said at a Spanish FA event.

First up, Athletic Club Bilbao | FC Barcelona
Three days after the tough match at the San Siro, FC Barcelona will receive Athletic Bilbao at the Camp Nou with the objective of maintaining the form of recent weeks that has allowed Guardiola’s side to close the gap with Real Madrid from 10 points to 6. With the return of the quarter-finals of the Champions League against Milan in the background, the players should focus exclusively on the crucial game against the Basques if they want to continue their League title aspirations.

Barcelona's new all-time top goalscorer Messi to be honoured ahead of Athletic Bilbao clash - Goal.com
Lionel Messi's feat of becoming Barcelona's all-time top goalscorer is set to be honoured in the build-up to the Catalan club's clash with Athletic Bilbao at Camp Nou on Saturday. The Argentina international broke the longstanding record of 232 strikes for the Blaugrana by scoring a hat-trick against Granada earlier this month.

Guardiola: "Against Athletic it’ll be a demanding game but good to watch" | FC Barcelona
Josep Guardiola believes that his team will do well not to think that Athletic Club are coming to the Camp Nou with the 'handicap' of having played 48 hours before in their Europa League match. The manager, who watched Bilbao’s win against Schalke, said that the Basque outfit "is used to working at maximum effort. They are educated to believe that they can do more".

10 days that will decide La Liga - build-up to the Clasico crucial for both Real Madrid & Barcelona's title aspirations - Goal.com
But within a space of four days in mid-March, that advantage, once thought unassailable, had been slashed by nearly half. It was expected to be insurmountable not because Barca were incapable of catching their arch nemesis, but because, as so many in the Blaugrana camp had pointed out including Pep Guardiola and Johan Cruyff, of Los Blancos' unwavering consistency in La Liga.

Bielsa on Guardiola: He is the teacher and I am the pupil - Goal.com
"The teacher and the student are defined by achievements," the Bilbao coach stated in a press conference. "Look at Guardiola's work and mine and you will see who is the student and who is the teacher. No, I'm not the teacher, because the things that I have done in football are not comparable with what Guardiola has done.

Spotlight on Athletic Club Bilbao | FC Barcelona
Athletic Club are, together with Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, one of just three teams who have never dropped out of the Spanish first division since it was founded in 1928. During that time they have won the league title eight times and on five of those occasions they won a league and Cup double, indeed only FC Barcelona have won more Spanish Cup titles.

Athletic Bilbao boss Marcelo Bielsa plays down Inter Milan talk - ESPN Soccernet
Athletic Bilbao boss Marcelo Bielsa has played down talk he could take charge of Inter Milan.Bielsa has long been linked with Inter and this week Nerazzurri president Massimo Moratti suggested he remained a fan of the Argentine. ''I have always spoken well of Bielsa just as I have always said good things about Mourinho and about the Barcelona coach,'' Moratti said.

Pitch battle: Why teams will continue to use their groundsman as the 12th man against Barcelona - Goal.com
Although largely unchallenged in recent times, Barcelona have, however, found an unexpected rival that can jeopardise their great game. It is not a new tactic or a different way of stifling their shape or system - it is the pitch itself, one of the sport's most basic elements, that is giving this team such a headache.

Mourinho denies City contact - Yahoo! Eurosport
The former Chelsea manager denied any contact with City in his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday's trip to Osasuna in La Liga. Asked about stories in the Spanish press linking him with the Etihad Stadium, Mourinho said simply: "I can reject (them)."

Real Madrid make small but deliberate change to their crest for UAE resort island partnership | Dirty Tackle - Yahoo! Sports
In the initial response to the announcement that work would soon begin on a ridiculous $1 billion Real Madrid-themed resort island in the United Arab Emirates, the focus was obviously on talk of brand growth and jokes about Pepe. But now that the plan has progressed and the foundation stone has been laid, Marca has noticed a tiny but interesting change Real Madrid made for this project.

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