Cue the De Gea-Thiago swap rumours in 3...2...1... - Rob Carr
Eric Abidal has been named in the squad for the first time in over a year after fully recovering from a liver transplant, although head coach Tito Vilanova will not travel to Vigo to lead the team. Elsewhere, Mazinho links his son Thiago with an exit from the Camp Nou
Eric Abidal was included in Barcelona's squad to play Celta Vigo in La Liga this weekend only a few days after their coach, Tito Vilanova, returned from two months out receiving cancer treatment. The France international Abidal, 33, has not played since having a liver transplant last April and was passed fit to return to training with his team-mates last month. His return is timely with his fellow defenders Carles Puyol, Adriano Correia and Jordi Alba all out injured for Saturday's trip, and a Champions League quarter-final first leg away to Paris St Germain next Tuesday.
Manchester United will re-ignite their interest in Barcelona midfielder Thiago Alcantara after his father revealed he is ready to quit the club. ‘Thiago has the quality to succeed at Barca. But he’d play a lot more at another club. He’d get into any other team in the world. I don’t know if Barca are buying more players in the summer. They already have a lot of players who can play in the middle. Also, [his brother] Rafinha will be part of the first team squad next season.’
Barcelona Coach Tito Vilanova led his first team practice since returning from a 10-week medical stay in New York to treat a throat tumor. He will not accompany the team to Saturday’s match at Celta Vigo. Eric Abidal is in the squad for that game for the first time since having a liver transplant last year.
Paris St Germain offered a glimpse of what Barcelona can expect in their Champions League clash next week when Kevin Gameiro finished off a lightning quick counter attack to earn the Ligue 1 leaders a 1-0 home win against Montpellier on Friday. Substitute Gameiro tapped in from a Zlatan Ibrahimovic cross 10 minutes from time after David Beckham started a counter attack nine minutes after coming on as a substitute.
Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas is back in training after injury but lacks the necessary sharpness to make the squad for Saturday's La Liga game at Real Zaragoza, according to assistant coach Aitor Karanka. "He is training well and this is good for everyone. When he is 100 percent he will be cleared to play but because he is a goalkeeper it is tougher."
According to French sports magazine Le 10 Sport, the father of Brazilian superstar Neymar has told Santos that his son has chosen to continue his career with Spanish giants FC Barcelona. At the meeting, it is reported that the club were told that Neymar wishes to move to Barcelona and will consider no other club.
Swansea boss Michael Laudrup has admitted that Sevilla defender Alberto Botia is on his summer wishlist. Laudrup denied reports emerging from Spain that Swansea had bid £6million for his services in January but confirmed the 24-year-old was on his radar.
Galatasaray wing-back Albert Riera says his side can upset Real Madrid and move into the semi-finals of the Champions League. The Spaniard realises the Liga champions head into the quarter-final tie as the favourites, but is nonetheless optimistic about his side's chances to progress. "Can we knock out Madrid? Why not? We have enough talent to play against anyone, honestly," he told Marca.
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