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FC Barcelona News: 25 October 2011; Nine Barca Players Nominated for Ballon d'Or, Cesc Denies Racial Abuse

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Favorite for the Ballon d'Or?
Favorite for the Ballon d'Or?

The NextGen Series - A new era of football
Which is why, after several months of the Next Generation Series, which has all the feel and style of a Champions League for U19's, I find it impossible to understand why this brilliant but simple concept hasn't existed for years.

Barcelona boast NINE nominees for Ballon d'Or | Spanish Football News | tribalfootball.com
El Mundo Deportivo says Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Cesc Fabregas, Gerard Pique, Carles Puyol, David Villa, Daniel Alves and Eric Abidal will all be nominated. Barca, without any international tournament during the summer, won the Champions League, Liga, European Super Cup and Super Copa in 2011.

Barcelona's Cesc Fabregas denies racially abusing Frederic Kanoute - ESPN Soccernet
Fabregas wrote: "I talked by phone with Kanoute and we've clarified what happened yesterday. We both apologized and closed the matter." Prior to that both players had their say on the spat, Fabregas posting: "I can proudly say that after many years in football, I always maintained the best relationships with my team-mates who came from different backgrounds, races, religions and nationalities.

Barcelona president Rosell holds first round of new contract talks with Guardiola | Spanish Football News | tribalfootball.com
Barcelona president Sandro Rosell has held his first planning session for next season with coach Pep Guardiola. Sport says the pair met on October 20 for the first time to discuss matters going into 2012, including Guardiola's own contract.

Lionel Messi won't be affected by missed penalty because there's no time, says Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola - Goal.com
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola says Lionel Messi will not be affected by his late penalty miss in Saturday night's Primera Division clash at home to Sevilla - because there is simply no time. Messi looked far from happy as he left the pitch, but the Argentine was given support by the home crowd and was also backed by his team-mates after the match.

Javier Mascherano: I didn't expect to be a centre-back - ESPN Soccernet
Mascherano, 27, is seen as one of the world's best defensive midfielders, but has been shifted into defence as Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol have suffered with injury at the start of the La Liga season. Now the Argentine says he is focused on helping his team, even though it does not feel natural to him.

Guardiola: "Granada will be a good test" | FCBarcelona.cat
The Andalucía team have not played Barça in the league for 35 years and are this season struggling in the bottom three, but Guardiola insisted at his press conference at the Ciutat Esportiva this lunchtime that Granada are "brave, willing to take risks and very dynamic – a number of their bad results haven’t been deserved at all".

Yebda to miss Barcelona visit | LFP
Granada will be without midfielder Hassan Yebda for Tuesday’s visit from Barcelona at Los Cármenes. The Frenchman has been unable to shake off muscular problems. Yebda, who reappeared for the Sporting game, suffered a relapse of the injury to his right hamstring and has no chance of meeting the Catalans.

Alexis Sanchez to return for Chile before Barcelona - report - Goal.com
Sport, however, report that Sanchez is due to return in the middle of November, which would make him available for the Roja's two next World Cup qualifiers. Barcelona's Pep Guardiola affirmed at the weekend that he would not have a problem with his man being called up for international duty, as long as Chile "returned him in good health".

Leaders Levante: Aim is to avoid drop - Yahoo! Eurosport
Tiny Levante's bid for La Liga survival has started so well they are surprisingly clear of Real Madrid and Barcelona at the top the standings for the first time in their 102 years. The unbeaten Valencia-based side are looking to continue their remarkable run with a seventh consecutive victory when Real Sociedad visit on Wednesday.

Athletic Bilbao's Carlos Gurpegi set for lengthy spell out - ESPN Soccernet
Athletic Bilbao midfielder Carlos Gurpegi looks set for a lengthy spell in the treatment room after the club confirmed he has torn his anterior cruciate ligament. The Basque club confirmed on Monday that an MRI scan has shown the extent of the damage, and they will schedule surgery in the coming days.