FC Barcelona News: 1 July 2012; Messi Nominated for Best International Athlete, Puyol and Villa Travel to Kiev

Villa (and Puyol) traveled to Ukraine to support their La Roja teammates.

Messi nominated for ESPN Best International Athlete award | FC Barcelona
Recognition for Leo Messi’s extraordinary performances continues to pour in. North American media organisation ESPN has included the Barça number 10 on the shortlist for the ESPYS award for best international athlete. The other three candidates are footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, tennis player Novak Djokovic and Taiwanese golfer Yani Tseng.

Euro 2012 glory in Barça players’ grasp | FC Barcelona
The Spanish squad boasts seven Barça players, plus the newly signed Jordi Alba, who seems certain to start alongside his new Club colleagues Gerard Piqué, Sergio Busquets, Iniesta and Xavi, whilst the presence of Cesc in the starting XI is a tactical question Del Bosque will have to resolve, after starting him on the bench in the semi finals and using him as an impact sub together with Pedro.

David Villa and Carles Puyol in Kiev to support Spain - Goal.com
The Barcelona players, both unable to take part in the tournament because of injury woes, headed to Ukraine to show support to their team-mates as they get ready to take on Italy. Victory will ensure an historical treble - winning two Euros consecutively with a World Cup in between.

Guardiola: Jordi Alba is a great signing for Barcelona - Goal.com
Former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has applauded the Catalan club's decision to sign Valencia left-back Jordi Alba."Jordi Alba is a great signing," he told Indonesian television channel RCTI. "I will enjoy seeing him at Barca next season because he is a very good player."

Barcelona players applaud Jordi Alba signing - ESPN Soccernet
David Villa told Mundo Deportivo: "I speak regularly with Jordi. He strikes me as a good guy and he is a spectacular player that had always played as a winger until (Unai) Emery moved him to full-back and he has been incredible.

How Barcelona turned down the chance to sign Balotelli - Goal.com
The seven Barcelona players in the Spain squad, they explained, plus Jordi Alba, who will return to the Catalan club later this summer after signing from Valencia, would be joined by former Barca goalkeeper Pepe Reina, plus Italy's Brazilian-born midfielder Thiago Motta, and Mario Balotelli.

Barcelona midfielder Ibrahim Afellay rejects Lille move - report - Goal.com
The 26-year-old, however, immediately vetoed the decision, preferring to remain at Camp Nou to win trophies and convince new boss Tito Vilanova of his qualities, despite interest from abroad. Afellay only featured five times in an injury-plagued campaign last season, before turning out for the Netherlands at Euro 2012.

Euro 2012: European paper review - Yahoo! Eurosport UK
It is illustrated by Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos and Barcelona's Gerard Pique holding up a scarf - the central defensive pair were involved in a mini-feud in 2010 when the former took exception to the latter answering questions in Catalan - joking that he should start speaking Andaluz.

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