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FC Barcelona News: 10 December 2011; El Clasico Saturday, Thiago Second in Golden Boy Award

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It's that time of the year again.
It's that time of the year again.

Real Madrid vs. Barcelona -- Clasico Preview -- Graham Hunter - ESPN
If Jose Mourinho has had a more toxic, infuriating and damaging series of results in his entire career than those against Barcelona since managing Real Madrid, I can't recall them. Since the Portuguese took over at the Santiago Bernabeu, there have been seven Clasicos -- which is the noun Spain uses to describe the tribal football war between Madrid and FC Barcelona.

Barcelona-Real clash to be decisive in this year's title race - Sid Lowe -
The first cut is the deepest. In the last seven years, the team that has won the first match between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona -- and there has yet to be a draw -- has gone on to win the Spanish league. Barcelona won five of them, Real Madrid two. This season, the cut could prove even deeper still. Exaggerated though it may sound, it's hard to avoid the feeling that Saturday's clásico is decisive. Certainly if it goes Real Madrid's way.

Guardiola asks for "boldness" | FC Barcelona
Pep Guardiola attended the pre-match press conference at the Camp Nou and explained how Barça plans to face Madrid. "I haven’t told the players anything new from past years. I haven’t asked for anything special. I’ve only asked them to be bold and to interpret the game.

Real Madrid v FC Barcelona: Head to head between the highest scoring teams in Liga and UCL | FC Barcelona
The league table makes it patently clear that Barça and Madrid are the strongest sides in the competition. They've scored 96 goals between them, 49 for Madrid and 47 for Barça, 15 more than the next four teams, Valencia, Levante, Sevilla and Malaga, have managed between them in total.

El Clasico: Head-to-Head - Yahoo! Eurosport UK
Ahead of Saturday's Liga match between Real Madrid and Barcelona, we check out some vital statistics. With stats gurus Opta, we look at the two teams' records this season, and compare their star players - Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Former Barcelona president Joan Gaspart: I'd rather watch the Clasico at home than be insulted by Real Madrid 'fanatics' -
"I will watch the game at home," he told COM Radio. "I have nothing to gain by going to the Santiago Bernabeu, where they insult me. It is a very much a madridista box." And Gaspart added that the atmosphere in the crowd has now spilled over into the executive boxes. "Now the fanatics, the passion and the rudeness has moved to the boxes," he said.

Thiago Alcántara earns second place in Golden Boy 2011 award | FC Barcelona
Thiago’s talent and development with Barça and the Spanish national side earned him second position in this year's Golden Boy award, only bested by the 19 year-old Mario Goetze, who is part of the Borussia Dortmund squad, champions of the Bundesliga.

José Mourinho prepares Real Madrid for pivotal Clásico with Barcelona | Football | The Guardian
He questioned their relationship with Unicef and Uefa, running his way through a catalogue of referees, greeting each name – Stark, Ovrebo, Busacca, De Bleeckere, Frisk – with a simple: ¿por qué? He provoked their manager into an astonishing, asterisk-splattered rant and inspired their pointed end-of-season celebrations, watching them sing: "Why? Because we're the best, so fuck you!"

Real Madrid assistant coach Aitor Karanka reveals they will play 4-3-3 against Barcelona -
Real Madrid assistant coach Aitor Karanka has confirmed that Los Blancos will play a 4-3-3 formation in Saturday’s Clasico against Barcelona. Despite the fine goal-scoring form of both Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema, there will only be room for one of the two strikers, with Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo set to retain their places in attack.

Mourinho stays silent ahead of Clasico - Yahoo! Eurosport
Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho did not speak at Friday's regular pre-match news conference and his assistant, Aitor Karanka, instead took questions on Saturday's opening league Clasico of the campaign at home to Barcelona. Karanka noted he had given more than 30 news conferences since becoming Mourinho's assistant and refused to offer any explanation for the Portuguese's absence.

Carvalho out of El Clasico | Sky Sports
Real Madrid defender Ricardo Carvalho will miss out on this weekend's El Clasico clash with Barcelona at the Bernabeu due to injury, the capital club has confirmed. Real have confirmed on their official website that Carvalho has pulled a ligament in his right knee and will miss the showpiece encounter, having not featured for two months after being plagued by back problems.

Angolan son shoots father dead in row over El Clásico | Football |
An Angolan teenager allegedly shot and killed his father after a row about this weekend's Clásico between Real Madrid and Barcelona, the Angolan state news agency, Angop, has reported. The 17-year-old and his 48-year-old father had argued about Spanish football and Angolan music on Thursday in the capital Luanda and the discussion ended in violence, the report said.

AVB dismisses double link | Sky Sports
Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas has dismissed reports he is planning January bids for Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira and Barcelona striker David Villa. Villas-Boas brought the likes of Juan Mata and Raul Meireles to Stamford Bridge in the summer and is tipped to continue his squad overhaul in the New Year.

Schedule for FIFA Clubs World Cup in Japan | FC Barcelona
Real Madrid and FC Barcelona will play on Saturday night at 22.00. The Barça squad will fly to the capital on the day of the match and won't be back home until December 19, nine days later. That's because they'll be flying direct from Madrid to Japan for the FIFA Clubs World Cup.

Fergie sees himself in Jose | Sky Sports
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson admits Real Madrid counterpart Jose Mourinho reminds him of his younger self. The two managers are close friends, with former Chelsea boss Mourinho tipped as a contender to take over at Old Trafford when Ferguson eventually steps down.

For more on El Clasico, check out the SBNation coverage of Real Madrid vs Barcelona

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