Our defensive ranks have really taken a beating this season.
Puyol upbeat: "It’s just like taking your car in for a service" | FC Barcelona
The day after the announcement of his knee operation and the fact that he could be out for up to six weeks, Carles Puyol gave an upbeat press conference at the Club today and assured the assembled media: "it’s just like taking your car in for a service. I was more worried about it last year, but this year I’m more optimistic – soon I’ll be back to full fitness".
Defensive reshuffles from Mestalla to the Calderón | FC Barcelona
With Carles Puyol and Éric Abidal both unavailable for the Cup Final, Guardiola can only call on four defenders-Alves, Piqué, Mascherano and Adriano for the game, though he also has a strong trio of B team youngsters he can bring in -Montoya, Bartra and Muniesa and it’s certainly nothing new for the team to go into a Final with a supposedly weakened back line.
Four years of beating every other league team | FC Barcelona
This season, Barça have had to wait until round 37 to achieve the feet, something they had already wrapped up by round 25 last year, following a run of 17 wins from round 7 to 22. In the 2009/10 season, the 35th game against Villarreal marked the achievement, and in round 31 against Getafe the year before.
Paper Round: Messi caught in 'race row' - Yahoo! Eurosport
The Sun has published quotes from on loan Everton player Royston Drenthe who claims that Messi repeatedly called him a "negro" when the two players were opponents in Spain. Drenthe is still owned by Real Madrid and also appeared against Messi while on loan with Hercules.
Graham Hunter -- The brilliance of Javi Martinez, the pettiness of Mourinho and disgrace of Granada - ESPN
The Catalan's tone is almost always measured and courteous; Guardiola often uses graceful words in defeat, and the fact that he has a boiling vat of anger inside him when things go badly is not a flaw. The fact that he attempts to subjugate his flaws is praiseworthy -- not something for Mourinho to criticize.
Bayern desperate to sign Real Madrid flop Nuri Sahin - report - Goal.com
Bayern Munich are "trying very hard" to sign Nuri Sahin from Real Madrid, according to journalist Raphael Honigstein. The midfielder has played just 127 minutes in his first season in La Liga following his high-profile move to the Spanish capital, and previous rumours have suggested that he might leave Madrid either on loan or a full transfer at season's end.
Atletico Madrid 3-0 Athletic Bilbao: Falcao wins the Europa League again | Zonal Marking
Atletico Madrid lifted the UEFA Cup for the second time in three years. Diego Simeone named his expected line-up – Tiago was suspended, so Mario Suarez and Gabi played in the centre of midfield. None of the starting XI started the 2010 final. Marcelo Bielsa’s line-up was also as expected – Fernando Amorebieta was declared fit to start, although he had a poor game, caught out for all three goals. This was a pretty basic encounter – Athletic dominated possession, but Atletico took an early lead, then were content to sit deep.
Atletico and Europa League find credibility in each other | Yahoo! Sport UK
While Athletic's players were not fully on song, however, a great deal of credit must go to Atletico for what is a rare example of them getting the job done properly. Two years ago they virtually smuggled their way into the final, where they prevailed after being taken to extra time by Fulham. This season, they won the trophy in far more emphatic fashion, winning 17 of their 19 matches in the competition including all of their last 12.
Granada winger Dani Benitez banned for three months - ESPN Soccernet
Granada winger Dani Benitez has been handed a three-month ban by the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) following an incident at the end of Saturday's Primera Division match with Real Madrid. Defender Siqueira and midfielder Moises Hurtado were both given four-match bans after being shown red cards following the late melee.