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FC Barcelona News: 24 January 2012; La Liga Season Reaches Halfway Point, Players Prepare for Copa El Clasico

Is Jose Mourinho really as close to leaving Real Madrid as reports are suggesting?
Is Jose Mourinho really as close to leaving Real Madrid as reports are suggesting?

Halfway through the season | FC Barcelona
This weekend's games marked the halfway point in the 2011-12 La Liga season and Barça sit second, with 44 out of a possible 57 points (five behind the leaders Real Madrid). The team have won 13, drawn 5 and lost just a single game, with 59 goals scored and 12 conceded. At the Camp Nou, the team have won 9 of their games and drawn the other with 43 goals scored and just 2 conceded.

League on hold as focus switches to Cup | FC Barcelona
The players had to switch their focus from the league after Sunday's win against Malaga and concentrate on Wednesday's Spanish Cup quarter final second leg against Madrid when they turned up for training at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper this morning.

Xavi a Clásico away from Segarra’s record | FC Barcelona
Last week's 1-2 win was Xavi's 30th appearance in a Clásico - the same number as Migueli during his career at the Club- and if the midfield maestro figures this week in the second leg of the Cup quarter final at the Camp Nou, he will equal Joan Segarra's 31 games played between 1949 and 1964.

Iniesta: "Madrid will demand a perfect game" | FC Barcelona
Despite the result in Bernabéu (1-2), Andrés Iniesta made it clear that the team will have to give their all on Wednesday if they want to make it through to the semi final and that Madrid will force Barça to put in "a perfect game - we can't afford any relaxation.

Barcelona's Sandro Rosell calls on RFEF to follow FA's example and punish Real Madrid's Pepe -
"It would be good if we could follow the example of countries like England," Rosell told Punto Pelota. "When someone goes through a red light, they must be punished, even if the pedestrian who could have been run over does not denounce them."

Cancer survivor Abidal gives Rolex to sick boy - Yahoo! Sports
Abidal, who recovered from a cancerous tumor in his liver last year, stunned 15-year-old Juan Garcia after ending a team visit to a local hospital by presenting him with a Rolex watch. Garcia’s father, J. Garcia Serra, relayed the tale in an open letter to Catalan newspaper Herald, revealing how Abidal’s fight against cancer had inspired his own son’s fight against the disease.

Mourinho meltdown and hints of civil war at Real Madrid | Sid Lowe | Football |
Had Mourinho given in? Or was he sticking them on the pitch knowing that it was almost a no-lose situation for him: if Madrid won, they won; if they lost, he could say: "see, that's what you get when we play your way." Had he also prevented the players from "making the bed" for him? They couldn't very well effectively down tools and turn him over precisely on the day that he did what they wanted.

Mourinho 'to quit in June' - Yahoo! Eurosport
The claim that Mourinho will quit came from highly-respected Spanish football journalist Siro Lopez, who said after Real Madrid's 4-1 win against Athletic Bilbao at the weekend that the former Chelsea boss will walk away from his £11.5 million-a-year job at the end of the season. Lopez, who writes about football for newspaper AS, claimed that his source was one of Mourinho's closest allies.

Pepe cautioned for hand stomp : The World Game
Spain's football authority has cautioned Real Madrid defender Pepe after he stomped on the hand of Barcelona's striker Lionel Messi in a cup clash last week. The Royal Spanish Football Federation named Pepe on its list of players sanctioned for dangerous play in the King's Cup quarter-finals, along with three other Real players and Gerard Pique of Barcelona.

Villarreal win to move out of drop zone - Yahoo! Eurosport
Villarreal recorded their first win in seven games and climbed out of the relegation zone with a 3-0 La Liga win at home to fellow strugglers Sporting Gijon. Marco Ruben and Borja Valero netted two goals in two minutes and Bruno Soriano struck in added time for the 2006 Champions League semi-finalists.

Sao Paulo close in on Villarreal's Nilmar - report -
Brazilian sources suggest that Villarreal vice-president Jose Manuel Llaneza is currently in Sao Paulo locked in talks with the Morumbi club to discuss the striker's transfer. Nilmar has been heavily linked with a new challenge in recent times after a disappointing start to his third season at the club.

Abel Resino takes Granada post | LFP
Granada announced on Monday that Abel Resino will take over as first team coach for the Rojiblancos until the end of the season. The Andalucian club said that they value Abel’s trajectory as a manager, since he entered coaching at Ciudad de Murcia. Abel will oversee his first training session in charge on Tuesday and will later be officially presented in the press room at the Nuevo Estadio de Los Cármenes.

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