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FC Barcelona News: 25 January 2012; Another El Clasico Played Today, Pinto Signs Contract, Espanyol Crash Out

Pep is taking nothing for granted.
Pep is taking nothing for granted.

FC Barcelona are one win away from going ahead of Real Madrid all-time in clásicos | FC Barcelona
Last week's win at Real Madrid (1-2) was not only a huge step towards qualification for the last four of the Copa del Rey. It also meant that Barça tied Madrid on 86 wins in the clásico. If they beat the all-whites in the return leg at the Camp Nou, they will move to 87 wins, and will have a better record than their rivals for the first time since the 1930-31 season.

19 picked for clásico | FC Barcelona
Barça have picked the same 19 players that travelled to Malaga for the Copa del Rey quarter final second leg at home to Real Madrid, namely the 16 available first teamers plus Isaac Cuenca, Jonathan Dos Santos and Sergi Roberto from the B squad. The three players out with long-term injuries (Villa, Afellay and Fontàs) and Keita, who is at the African Nations Cup, are the only absentees.

Guardiola: "I just hope the ground is full on Wednesday" | FC Barcelona
Guardiola also stressed that "I hold reverential respect for Real Madrid. They are the worst team we could expect to play on Wednesday. The problem with this game is that we have already qualified and they are already out, and yet we still have to play. I predict a tight match right until the end ... If we try to defend the result from the first leg, they'll beat us. "

Former Barcelona coach Carles Rexach feels Pepe should stay at home to avoid a repeat of Luis Figo's Camp Nou reception -
Former Barcelona coach Carles Rexach believes Real Madrid defender Pepe should sit out Wednesday night's Clasico unless he wants to receive a reception as hostile as that dished out to Luis Figo when he returned to Camp Nou a decade ago.

Javier Mascherano: Barcelona have the measure of Real Madrid -
Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano believes his side have the measure of fierce rivals Real Madrid after the Catalans' dominance in the fixture over the last two seasons, but says they must take nothing for granted in Wednesday night's Copa del Rey quarter-final second leg at Camp Nou.

Pinto: "It’s marvellous to stay" | FC Barcelona
As announced a few days ago, goalkeeper José Manuel Pinto has agreed to stay on at Barça until June 30, 2013. He was joined for the signing of the document by president Sandro Rosell, vice president for sport Josep Maria Bartomeu, director of sport Andoni Zubizarreta and director of football Raül Sanllehí.

Manchester City close in on ground-breaking appointment of Barcelona executive dream team -
Former Barcelona vice-president and general manager Ferran Soriano has emerged as the favourite to become the club's new chief executive, with Txiki Begiristain, the former Nou Camp dealmaker, working alongside him as director of football.

Brazil legend Pele: My Santos team could have dominated the world like Pep Guardiola's Barcelona -
After watching Barca win five titles in 2011, Pele noted that his Santos team could have done the same thing as Guardiola's men and 'dominated' football during the 1960s. "There was a time, 15 or 20 years ago, where the game was more defensive," he told France Football. "But the technique remains the same. "We are talking about Barca's current team, but we do not remember that Santos, during the 60s, had a fantastic team which could have dominated the world under similar circumstances."

José Mourinho on defensive as Real Madrid prepare to meet Barcelona | The Guardian
For once José Mourinho appeared lost for words. On Wednesday night Real Madrid face Barcelona in the Copa del Rey quarter-final second leg at Camp Nou trailing 2-1 from the first match and the pressure builds on the Portuguese coach. Asked if he was happy at the Santiago Bernabéu, during his edgy, tense pre-match press conference, Mourinho merely shrugged and muttered: "Uh-huh".

Attack, defence, brutality, Machiavellian plotting - Jose Mourinho has tried it all but has run out of ideas of how to play against Barcelona -
The Real Madrid coach personifies a fervent zeal to overcome the challenge that will define his tenure in the Santiago Bernabeu hotseat. Granted, the Chamartin team are top of the pile currently in La Liga by virtue of their performances against Spain's also-rans. However, to claim victory over the Catalans, and to sustain supremacy, is now as important to Real Madrid as the attainment of trophies.

Mourinho includes Pepe for Barcelona clash |
Pepe's inclusion for the second leg of the quarterfinals at the Camp Nou was uncertain after the Portugal defender missed Sunday's league win over Athletic Bilbao because of injury. But Mourinho included Pepe, who has apologized to Messi for "involuntarily" stamping on his left hand in Barcelona's 2-1 win last week in the first leg.

Why Madrid fans remain so restless | Andy Mitten - Yahoo!
"Cristiano is only here for the money," says the driver in a monotone which echoes what's being said in animated voices on radio. "He's not Madrid. He only cares about himself or that girl who can't keep her clothes on."

Esteban Granero will not leave Real Madrid for Liverpool, says management -
The former Getafe star has been struggling to secure regular first team action this term, and has attracted the interest of both Malaga and Liverpool. Nevertheless, the 24-year-old is committed to Real Madrid and is determined to fight for his chance at the Blancos.

Mirandes stun Espanyol in Copa - Yahoo! Eurosport
The 4-4 aggregate result, coming after last week's first leg in Barcelona finished 3-2, prompted wild celebrations at the club's 6,000-capacity stadium in Miranda de Ebro and set up a semi-final against Athletic Bilbao or Real Mallorca.

Sevilla's Martin Caceres poised to sign for Juventus - report -
The Spanish paper claims that the two clubs have agreed a fee in the region of €10 million for the defender, who is expected to be in Italy by Thursday to rubberstamp his new contract. Additionally, it is believed that Caceres' arrival at Juventus will make the Serie A leaders pull out of negotiations for Porto midfielder Fredy Guarin.

Levante snap up Serrano | LFP
Levante have announced the signing of Óscar Serrano, who comes on a free after being released by Racing de Santander. The winger has signed for the remainder of the current season and, in the case that the Valencian club manage to ensure Liga BBVA survival, next season as well.

Villarreal to seal Giovani deal - Yahoo! Eurosport
Villarreal expect to sign Tottenham forward Giovani dos Santos before the weekend. Giovani, 22, has never been able to break into the first XI on a regular basis since joining Spurs from Barcelona in the summer of 2008 and has been restricted to only four substitute appearances in the Premier League this season.Barcelona

Nilmar's agent claims Villarreal owe the Brazilian three months' wages and axed him from squad without explanation -
However, the player’s representative, Orlando da Hora, alleges that Nilmar has been left in the dark over his future and was dropped from the squad to face Gijon without warning. "They are willing to sell Nilmar to make money because they are struggling to pay wages," the agent is quoted as saying by Globoesporte. "Nilmar was not aware of any negotiations, but the coach [Jose Francisco Molina] was ordered not to play him.

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