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FC Barcelona News: 20 May 2011; Wembley Final Shirt Presented, De la Pena Retires, Real Madrid Sign Altintop

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Altintop didn't play much in Munich, what can we expect from him at Real Madrid?
Altintop didn't play much in Munich, what can we expect from him at Real Madrid?

The Catalan kings | The Economist
A POPULAR debate among football obsessives concerns whether Barcelona—Barça to its fans—is the best club soccer team the world has ever seen. Is it better than the Santos of the 1960s (which was home to Pelé)? Or the AC Milan of the 1990s? The answer is gloriously unclear.

Wembley shirt presented | FCBarcelona
Barça’s shirt for the Wembley final will bear a commemorative inscription across the chest – "Final London 2011. 28 de maig-Wembley Stadium. FC Barcelona vs Manchester United FC".

Wembley Memories (II): Albert Ferrer | FCBarcelona
Ferrer, who was still not yet 22, was also nervous about the mission he had been handed for the final against Sampdoria : "it was my job to man mark one of their best players –Mancini. I man marked him all over the pitch . It was a continual responsibility and very stressful, which turned out fine in the end.

Two stories fit for champions – Eric Abidal and Darren Fletcher | Soccer Lens
Eric Abidal and Darren Fletcher, although on either side share similar stories, Abidal no doubt will take to the field for Barca if fully fit and Fletcher would almost certainly be involved somehow. But a few weeks ago, neither could of imagined the prospect of playing again this season.

 

Sergio Busquets will be crucial in Champions League final - Barcelona's Andres Iniesta | Goal
Barcelona's Andres Iniesta is delighted that Uefa chose not to suspend Sergio Busquets from the Champions League final against Manchester United, as he feels the midfielder's presence at Wembley could prove to be crucial.

Barcelona monitoring progress of Borussia Dortmund's Mario Gotze - report | Goal
Barca have watched the young attacking midfielder in action in his last six games, and the scouts provided a positive report on his talents. The Spanish champions are not expected to make an offer for the Germany international just yet, but they are closely monitoring the Dortmund star's situation.

Surgery ends Hleb's Birmingham spell | ESPN
Alexander Hleb's unhappy spell with Birmingham has come to a premature end with the on-loan Barcelona midfielder requiring knee surgery. The former Arsenal man has been dogged by injury problems and suffered his latest setback during the closing stages of last weekend's 2-0 home reversal against Fulham.

Arsene Wenger: I will fight very hard to keep Cesc Fabregas at Arsenal & there is no guarantee he would win trophies elsewhere | Goal
"That's a question [regarding Fabregas' future] I've heard already a few times in a press conference and I expect him to be here [next season]," the Frenchman told reporters. "I will fight very hard to keep him here. You have always to fight when you have a player of that quality, you must always fight to keep your players, of course."

Emotional De la Pena calls it a day | ESPN
Veteran Espanyol playmaker Ivan De la Pena has announced his retirement from professional football, having badly struggled with injuries over the past few years. De la Pena, 35, has played just five Primera Division matches in the last two seasons has decided to call time on his career at the end of the current campaign.

Real Madrid sign Hamit Altintop | Eurosport
"The new Whites central midfielder, who can play on both wings too, spent four years at Bayern, where he won Bundesliga titles, German Cups, the German Super Cup and the German League Cup, not to mention individual awards such as FIFA’s Ferenc Puskas award for the 2010 goal of the year," Real announced in a statement.

Where will Hamit Altintop fit in at Real Madrid? | Goal
From the player's perspective, it must firstly be noted that he is unlikely to make more appearances under Jose Mourinho than he was afforded during 2010-11: 24 outings across all competitions was his haul, and given the size and depth of Madrid's squad, it is clear that the Turk is seen as simply another addition to a burgeoning collection of central players.

Philadelphia Union announce summer friendly with Real Madrid | Goal
The Philadelphia Union have announced a summer friendly with Spanish La Liga giants Real Madrid as part of the Herbalife World Football Challenge. Held at Lincoln Financial Field, home of the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles, the match will be played on July 23.

City rubbish Ronaldo talk | Sky Sports
Manchester City have dismissed reports linking them with Cristiano Ronaldo, branding the rumours 'ill-informed' and 'unfounded'. It had been claimed that the Blues were preparing a record-breaking approach for the Real Madrid forward this summer.

Inter closing in on Valencia's Ever Banega - report | Goal

Ever Banega is moving closer to a Valencia exit as Italian powerhouse Inter are ready to make an €8 million offer for the Argentine, La Gazzetta dello Sport reports. The Giuseppe Meazza side are looking to add some fresh blood to their midfield.

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