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FC Barcelona News: 1 November 2011; Guardiola to Manage His 200th FC Barcelona Game, Ballon d'Or Shortlist Released

Pep Guardiola deserves a "thumbs up" for the job he's done in Barcelona
Pep Guardiola deserves a "thumbs up" for the job he's done in Barcelona

Guardiola reaches 200 games |
Josep Guardiola will manage the team for the 200th time in Prague tonight, only the fifth time a Barça manager has reached that figure. But none have such an extraordinary win rate as he does – in fact, his statistics are quite simply stunning.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi deserves to captain Argentina, says Real Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stefano -
Real Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stefano insists that Barcelona forward Lionel Messi deserves to be Argentina captain based on his qualities as a player. The 24-year-old was given the armband by national team coach Alejandro Sabella after he replaced Sergio Batista earlier this year - and Di Stefano feels Messi is the right man for the job.

Barcelona and Real Madrid dominate Ballon d'Or shortlist - ESPN Soccernet
Lionel Messi, the winner of last year's inaugural award, will be the favourite to take the honour, but he faces competition from team-mates Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, David Villa, Dani Alves, Gerard Pique and Eric Abidal. Messi, Iniesta and Xavi were named first, second and third for 2010.

Barcelona sweat on Xavi - Yahoo! Eurosport
Injured Barcelona captain Xavi faces an anxious wait to see if will be able to take to the field against Viktoria Plzen on Tuesday when the Spanish giants will try to seal their place in the next stage of the Champions League.

Zubizarreta: “The main aim is to qualify” |
Before setting off for Prague, where the team will play its fourth Champions League fixture, Andoni Zubizarreta spoke about the importance of getting a good result at the Eden Stadium: “Before the group stage, the main aim is to qualify. The second is to finish top, but the most important thing is to qualify and go into the hat for the second round."

Arsenal open talks with Real Madrid for £6m midfielder Esteban Granero -
An Arsenal delegation led by transfer negotiator Richard Law was in Madrid last week to begin negotiations with Real chiefs. Granero, a former Madrid youth-team player who returned to the club last year following a three-year spell at Getafe, has been earmarked by Arsene Wenger as a New Year signing.

Jose wants Sahin to miss out | Sky Sports
Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho hopes Nuri Sahin does not play for Turkey in next month's Euro 2012 play-off matches against Croatia. "If he suddenly had to play 90 minutes then that would be a risk, but normally national teams do not worry too much about risking players," said Mourinho.

Levante are finally dethroned as La Liga becomes a more boring place | Sid Lowe |
It's over. Back to life, back to reality. At last Levante lost and so did La Liga. When the full-time whistle went at the Reyno de Navarra on Sunday, hundreds of Levante fans made their way to the Ciutat de Valencia stadium to welcome back their heroes, waiting for them to return from Pamplona – finally defeated but never forgotten.

Sevilla FC v Granada - ESPN Soccernet
High-flying Sevilla suffered their first Primera Division defeat of the season as relegation favourites Granada came from behind to claim a 2-1 victory at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. Sevilla, fifth going into the match against rock-bottom Granada, had led through Manu's opener in the first minute.

Zapata blow for Villarreal - Yahoo! Eurosport
Cristian Zapata has been ruled out of Villarreal's Champions League tie with Manchester City with a sprained knee. The injury is set to leave the defender on the sidelines for five weeks. The Colombian, who sustained the injury at the weekend, has been a regular for Villarreal since his summer move from Serie A side Udinese.

Sandoval rues Tamudo blow | Football News | Sky Sports
Raul Tamudo is set to miss Rayo Vallecano's clash with Real Sociedad after limping out of the defeat at Villarreal and coach Jose Ramon Sandoval admits he will be missed. Despite being sidelined for the encounter with his former club, Tamudo will have a further two weeks to recuperate thanks to the forthcoming international break.

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