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FC Barcelona News: 21 December 2011; Barça Pay Initial Bid for Neymar, Pinto Close to Extending Contract

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If you can't beat them, join them?
If you can't beat them, join them?

Barcelona pay initial instalment to seal Neymar deal | Guillem Balague Football Website
FC Barcelona have paid an initial instalment on Neymar`s planned transfer from Santos. The European champions have paid the South American club – who they defeated in the final of the Club World Cup on Sunday - €10million (£8.4m) in return for an unilateral option to sign the forward at any point until 2014. Barcelona are expected to pay around €60m (£50.4m) should they complete the transfer.

Dani Alves: "Guardiola is the heart of this team" | FC Barcelona
Dani Alves, at the event sponsored by Global Humanitaria to introduce the NGO’s wristband, praised Josep Guardiola and the key role the manager plays in the team’s success: "He is the heart of this team, of the Club. We all know that without Guardiola we wouldn’t be the great team that we are now, without him we wouldn’t have won so many titles."

Pinto: "Contract negotiations are advanced" | FC Barcelona
Even though there are a few loose ends still to be tied up, José Manuel Pinto said during his press conference that negotiations with FC Barcelona are going well and that he is close to signing his contract renewal. "The renewal talks are advanced, it’s coming along. I’m very happy," the keeper confirmed.

Víctor Valdés: "We want to win more" | FC Barcelona
It was an Azulgrana party a the Palau of the Catalonia Congress, which hosted the Festa de l'Esport Català gala (Catalan Sporing Awards) organized by the UFEC (Athletic Cataln Federations Organization) and the newspaper SPORT. Víctor Valdés and Navarro were FC Barcelona’s award winners.

First training session in Barcelona after the Club World Cup and the match against Real Madrid | FC Barcelona
It has been many days since the Ciutat Esportiva hosted the FC Barcelona players. This Tuesday, after the win at the Bernabéu (1-3) and the Club World Cup, Josep Guardiola directed a training session at Sant Joan Despí. Eight Barça B players participated in the session: Oier, Montoya, Dos Santos, Cuenca, Sergi Roberto, Muniesa, Tello and Rafinha.

Three draws after intercontinental championship | FC Barcelona
The new world champion has a new challenge to overcome, both against L'Hospitalet in the cup on Thursday and at Espanyol in the first league game of 2012. They have never lost their first game after the Intercontinental or Club World Cups, but have never won either.

The best year in Barça B's history | FC Barcelona
2011 saw best Barça B side in Club history. Luis Enrique led his squad to an impressive top three finish in Second Division, beating the previous all-time Barça B record for season finishes. Despite the team’s unquestionable quality, Barça B was not allowed to dispute the promotion play-offs because the first team was already in Spain’s top flight.

Copa del Rey round-up | Sky Sports
Real Madrid eased into the last 16 of the Copa del Rey with a 5-1 win over lowly Ponferradina to progress 7-1 on aggregate. Also through are Real Mallorca, who turned around a 1-0 deficit from the first leg to beat Sporting Gijon 2-1. Espanyol did find things somewhat easier against Celta Vigo, winning 4-2 after a goalless first leg.Elsewhere, Sevilla did what was required of them, beating San Roque 2-1 for an aggregate 3-1 victory.

Khedira rejects move rumours | | Sky Sports
Reports have suggested Manchester United and Chelsea are weighing up moves for the Germany international when the transfer window reopens next month. The 24-year-old has struggled to establish himself as a regular in Jose Mourinho's star-studded XI this season, fuelling rumours of a move away from Santiago Bernabeu.

Sevilla coach Marcelino Garcia Toral throws his support behind sentenced president del Nido and insists team will not be affected - Goal.com
Sevilla coach Marcelino Garcia Toral has offered his 'total and wholehearted' support to president Jose Maria del Nido, who was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison on Monday.

Simeone quits Racing - Yahoo! Eurosport
Former Argentina captain Diego Simeone has quit as Racing Club coach amid media speculation that he might be in line to take charge of Atletico Madrid where he shone as a midfielder. Simeone shocked the Racing board and new president Gaston Cogorno, elected at the weekend, by notifying the club late on Monday through his sister and agent Natalia that he was leaving.

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