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FC Barcelona News: 8 December 2011; Tito Vilanova and Adriano Return, Xavi on the Brink of Milestone

Messi said a Clasico win is vital - I agree.
Messi said a Clasico win is vital - I agree.

Champions League: the seven possible rivals in the last 16 | FC Barcelona
On December 16 the mystery will be solved. That's the day when the UEFA draw will be held, and when FC Barcelona will know who their rivals are in the last 16 of the Champions League, following the group stages that ended on Wednesday. The possible rivals are: Bayer Leverkusen, Olympique Marseille, Zenit, Naples, Basel, CSKA Moscow and Olympique Lyon. They all finished second in their group.

Barcelona's Tito Vilanova will be on the bench for Real Madrid clash - Goal.com
Barcelona have been buoyed by the news that assistant coach Tito Vilanova will be on the bench for Saturday’s La Liga showdown with Real Madrid. Pep Guardiola’s right-hand man returns to the Catalans’ dugout after being forced to undergo surgery to remove a tumour found on his parotid gland just before the Champions League clash with AC Milan at San Siro last month.

Barcelona's Adriano resumes squad training ahead of Real Madrid clash - Goal.com
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has received some positive news in the build-up to Saturday's La Liga match against Real Madrid as Adriano has resumed regular training. The Brazilian defender picked up a thigh injury in his side's 4-0 league win over Rayo Vallecano on November 29 and had been out of action since.

The clásico could be Xavi's 600th game for Barça | FC Barcelona
During the post-training press conference Xavi Hernández said that "going to Madrid and winning is a pleasure." Beyond the "footballing pleasure" that is winning at the Bernabéu, Barça’s master midfielder is about to cross an important threshold in this career: if he plays in what would be his 13th clásico, he will reach 600 official games with FC Barcelona.

Messi: Clasico win is vital - Yahoo! Eurosport
Lionel Messi has described Barcelona's Clasico clash against bitter rivals Real Madrid this weekend as one which could define their season, coming just before an exhausting trip to Japan.The European champions trail Real by three points having played a game more in their bid to win La Liga for a fourth year in a row, giving Saturday's clash added significance.

Alexis Sanchez and Cesc Fabregas made their debuts against Real Madrid | FC Barcelona
Having just returned from the Copa America, Alexis played his first game for Barça. It was at the Santiago Bernabeu, and he was in the starting eleven. He was the big surprise in Barca's line-up, and his performance was more than satisfactory. Alexis played the whole game and although he couldn't show all his attacking qualities, his tireless work wore down the Madrid defence. It was a memorable debut.

Thiago and Rafinha Alcántara: "Football is always present in our lives" | FC Barcelona
Rafinha's joy, who can now say he played a Champions League game for Barça at the tender age of 18, comes as no surprise: "to make your debut in for the team in the Champions League, at the Camp Nou with my brother is something I could never have imagined. The fact that it came true is fantastic, we’re both very happy."

Barca's hidden gem starts to sparkle - Yahoo! Eurosport UK
Cuenca might have pinched himself to check he wasn't dreaming. A year earlier, Barcelona's B team boss and current AS Roma coach Luis Enrique looked through the prospects available and completely bypassed the callow winger from Reus in the south of Catalonia. The youngster who was famous in his barrio for walking to school while playing keepy-uppy with a football.

Disgraceful refereeing in favour of Real Madrid costs Ajax Champions League Round of 16 qualification - Goal.com
Replays showed that the decision was completely incorrect, and the fact that the linesman kept his flag down right until the ball hit the net, several seconds after the initial shot, suggests that he didn't make the call to put up his flag based on what he saw, but rather on what the consequences of the goal would have been.

Mourinho will use one striker | Sky Sports
Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho has declared that he will play with one striker against Barcelona in Saturday's 'El Clasico' clash. The former Chelsea boss stated that when the two European giants face-off he plans to use a lone frontman supported by Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel di Maria.

Cristiano Ronaldo scores and Real Madrid win, except against Barcelona - CR7's incredible goal record that could decide the Clasico - Goal.com
Since moving to the Spanish giants for a record €94 million in the summer of 2009, Ronaldo has netted an incredible 107 goals in 109 games for Madrid in all competitions, with 33 in his first season, 53 last term and already another 21 in the current campaign. In La Liga, the Portuguese has perforated the net in 46 games. Of those, Madrid have won 45, failed to lose any and drawn just once. And that was against Barca at the Santiago Bernabeu last April.

Match Report: Villarreal 0-2 Napoli - Goal.com
Second-half strikes from Gokhan Inler and Marek Hamsik secured a 2-0 victory for Napoli against Villarreal at El Madrigal, putting the Italian club into the Champions League last 16. The Swiss midfielder's unstoppable shot from long range with 25 minutes to play gave Napoli the lead before Hamsik doubled their advantage to give the visitors the win they needed to progress from Group A.

Mallorca grab draw in 'umbrella match' - Yahoo! Eurosport
Tomer Hemed scored from the penalty spot to grab Real Mallorca a 2-2 draw at Granada on Wednesday as the sides played the final 30 minutes of a La Liga match that had been suspended last month. Hemed scored five minutes into the re-started game which was played behind closed doors at promoted Granada's Los Carmenes stadium.

New injury woe for Ricardo | LFP
Sporting de Gijón midfielder Ricardo León has suffered a Grade II tear to his right thigh muscle and medical staff estimate that he will be sidelined for the next six weeks. The Canary islander, who joined over the summer from Tenerife, has only starred in one match since the season began.

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

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