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FC Barcelona News: 4 January 2012; Football Returns to Barcelona, Xavi Named Best Playmaker

Xavi Hernandez was named world's best playmaker for the fourth consecutive time.
Xavi Hernandez was named world's best playmaker for the fourth consecutive time.

FC Barcelona - Osasuna: First game of the new year | FC Barcelona
The Christmas break is over and football is back at the Camp Nou, and with all the magic and unpredictability of the cup against a side that is riding high in fifth place. You can never take anything for granted in a knockout competition, and all the more so against a team coached by Mendilíbar, who always likes to throw caution to the wind when he faces Barça.

Xavi named world's best playmaker | FC Barcelona
Yet another accolade for Josep Guardiola's team at the start of 2012. Three FCB players, Xavi, Messi and Iniesta, top the list of the best playmakers in the world according to the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS). Xavi is number one for the fourth consecutive edition. Members of the media and football experts from 81 countries voted for the impeccable performances of the Barcelona number 6, making him the runaway winner with 232 points, while Messi got 147, and Iniesta 110.

Barcelona's Xavi: 'Talent is the decisive factor in football, much more than physical presence' -
Barcelona midfielder Xavi has stressed that an impressive physique is not a requirement to become a successful player as he feels talent is the decisive factor. "Talent is the decisive factor in football, much more than physical presence. I'm convinced that it's technical quality that makes the difference," Xavi was quoted as saying by Sport.

Guardiola: "Osasuna is a demanding team, they come at you" | FC Barcelona
Josep Guardiola does not think it will be easy to beat Osasuna in the Copa del Rey round of 16, saying that they "are a demanding side. They come at you. We have to play well and quick or the tie will be a difficult one." Neither does he think that the game at the Camp Nou will have anything to do with the 8-0 drubbing Barça dished out earlier this season in the league.

Osasuna hit by injuries | LFP
Injury problems has left Osasuna coach José Luis Mendilibar without seven first team players for this week’s Copa del Rey meeting with Barcelona. Echaide, Rubén, Marc Bertrán, Masoud, Raúl García, Kike Sola and Roversio are all unavailable to face last year’s runners-up. Roversio was the latest casualty, suffering a micro tear to his right calf muscle in Tuesday morning’s training session.

Juan Carlos Unzué, Osasuna's last hero | FC Barcelona
Destiny can be like this at times. The current goalkeeper trainer for FC Barcelona, Juan Carlos Unzué, was Osasuna’s hero in the only time the Northerners eliminated Barça from the King’s Cup. In the 1986/87 season, the last-16 playoff between FCB and Osasuna came down to a penalty shootout, after Osasuna won at the Camp Nou (0-1) and Barça won at El Sadar (0-1).

Uefa president Michel Platini salutes ownership structure of both Barcelona and Real Madrid -
Uefa president Michel Platini has hailed the ownership model employed by both Barcelona and Real Madrid. The two Primera Division giants belong to and are effectively answerable to their fans, those who are fully enlisted members of the club.

TITI’S FINAL FAREWELL – Re-evaluating Thierry Henry at Barcelona |
As a result, many Barcelona fans, in a display of short-sightedness patent amongst culés, have reduced Henry to the status of a failure, someone who should have done better at the club but never did. This is simply not true. I want to remind Barcelona supporters that Henry was a vital part of the most succesful FC Barcelona team of all time, equal in importance to Xavi Hernandez, Samuel Eto’o or, dare I say it, Lionel Messi.

Mourinho rocket sparks Real comeback - Yahoo! Eurosport
Holders Real Madrid scored three times in 10 minutes at the Bernabeu to beat Malaga 3-2 in their Copa del Rey last 16 first leg, sparked by a furious dressing down from Jose Mourinho. Real coach Mourinho threw caution to the wind with a triple substitution after delivering a withering half-time team talk with his side trailing 2-0, calling them "rubbish."

Copa Del Rey round-up | Sky Sports
Elsewhere, it was a good night for the lower league clubs as Albacete, Mirandes and Alcorcon all gave a good account of themselves in their home legs against La Liga opposition. Albacete, now languishing in the third tier for the first time in more than 20 years, followed up their defeat of Atletico Madrid in the previous round by holding a strong Athletic Bilbao side to a goalless draw.

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