Barcelona will be without Xavi today as they prepare to take on Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The Spain playmaker had a relapse on a muscle problem when Liga leaders Barca were knocked out of the Copa del Rey 3-1 at home by Real in a semi-final second leg on Tuesday. Xavi had just returned from a similar injury in his right leg two weeks ago in time for the games against AC Milan and Sevilla, and will be a doubt for Barca's Champions League last 16 second leg at home to Milan on March 12.
Bouncing back to form after a painful defeat is never easy. However Francesc Aguilar, who writes for 'Mundo Deportivo', declares: "Barça should not fall in the trap of devaluing tomorrow’s match [due to the existing 16-point difference between the two sides]. On the contrary. Tito Vilanova’s men have a chance to pay Madrid back for Tuesday’s defeat in the Cup." Opening the gap to 19 points would certainly give the Blaugrana the morale boost they need "especially with the match against Milan coming up in a couple of weeks."
Swansea defender Angel Rangel believes Michael Laudrup would find it hard to turn down Real Madrid if the Spanish giant was to make an approach for him. "Laudrup deserves all the plaudits he gets," Rangel said. "He is having an incredible season. Let's not forget that he was once a Real Madrid player, he is a big figure in world football and if the opportunity arose, it would be difficult for Swansea to keep him here."
Malaga forward Julio Baptista has strained a hamstring muscle in his left leg, the club said on Friday, and is likely to miss the visit of second-placed Atletico Madrid in La Liga this weekend. The 31-year-old Brazil international pulled up in training on Tuesday, having just returned after 15 months out with a string of injuries. Spanish media reported he would be laid low for two to three weeks.
Getafe's Pedro León and Real Zaragoza's Glenn Loovens were sent off as Getafe defeated Real Zaragoza 2-0 in La Liga at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez. Adrián Colunga slotted home the opening goal in the 21st minute into the lower right of the net after intercepting José María Movilla's pass and finishing the move with a right-footed shot. Sergio Escudero scored the second as he found the back of the net with a left-footed shot strike that came in the 60th minute.