The Camp Nou prepares for the penultimate home game of the season, in which Barça entertain fourth placed Malaga in a fixture that will provide perfect preparation for the Copa del Rey Final on the 23rd against Athletic Bilbao. All three games between now and that trip to the Vicente Calderón are against top level sides: Malaga, Espanyol and Betis. Although FCB’s hopes of winning the Liga title are extremely slim, they would still love to see out the season with nine points out of nine in order to go to the cup final with their morale on a high, and at the same time break their record for goals in a single season, which is currently the 105 scored in the 2008/09 season.
After last week’s announcement that Tito Vilanova will take over the Barça helm next season, Guardiola said: "my relationship with him hasn’t changed at all. We’re following our usual process and I’m by his side. I want Tito to know that I’ll be close to him." At the same time, the manager said he’s worn down because of "the day to day [work] with the team, winning so many titles." On his farewell at the Camp Nou - Barça’s next two games will be at home- Guardiola said: "I’ve always believed that things should be done naturally, that’s how we’ll do it."
When asked whether he agreed with the 41-year-old's choice to leave, Cruyff a former Barca boss said: "I think it's good because it is a consuming task. Work has been done extremely well and it takes strength to continue, especially in a very difficult time because there are changes. Everyone lives as he likes and Guardiola has taken this decision after a lengthy period and now takes a rest and I think it's well deserved," added the Dutchman.
"It's his, he is the one who knows, he is the one who knows why, he is one who has to comment on it, he is the one who has to do what makes him happiest at any given time. "I have been a coach for 12 years and for me I will be annoyed in June when I don't have any matches as I will miss training and playing, playing and training. But everyone is the way they are and you have to respect and accept that and hope that they really do find enjoyment because the most important thing in life is to enjoy it. If for him enjoying life means withdrawing from football for a while then so be it and I send him a hug."
"We expect a tough match. Barca are the best footballing team around. We have to play a great game if we are to score and we have the example of what happened at the Santiago Bernabeu [1-1 draw] where we stood up to a big side," Cazorla told reporters at a press conference.
The paper claims that Barca sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta has already given the bid to bring Llorente to Camp Nou the green light, with the Catalans attempting to exercise as much discretion as possible in the hope of beating several Premier League clubs, as well as Liga rivals Real Madrid to the punch.
Villarreal took a huge step to securing their position in La Liga on Tuesday with a 3-2 away victory over relegation rivals Sporting Gijon. Full-back Mario Gaspar put the away team ahead on 19 minutes only for Alberto Lora to level 20 minutes later. The all important third goal came from the penalty spot when Marcos Senna put Villarreal ahead just before half-time after Sporting defender Gregory Arnolin had inexplicably brought down Marco Ruben. Hernan Perez added a third on 56 minutes and although Alejandro Galvez gave the home team some hope with five minutes remaining, it was Villarreal who deservedly took the crucial three points.
"If such a story comes into circulation, there is usually some truth in it," the 30-year-old told Syke. "There is contact between Real and my agent." Wiese hinted that while nothing has been finalised, he is likely to end up rejecting the advances of Hoffenheim in favour of a move abroad. "The international option appeals to me, of course, as those [La Liga and Serie A] are great leagues," he confessed.
Newcastle and Fulham are pondering a summer swoop for legendary striker Raul, according to reports in Spain. The former Real Madrid star wants a fresh challenge after a successful career in Spain and Germany.
Toshack led Los Blancos to the La Liga title 12 years ago and compared his team to Jose Mourinho's table-topping XI, who will break the league's points record if they win all their remaining games this season. "Although there would be seven players from that side 22 years ago and only four from this current side, that is just a personal opinion and I think the side that I had were a lot more experienced than the one that Mourinho has now."
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