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FC Barcelona News: 7 January 2012; Guardiola Named World's Best Club Coach, Keita Called up for Mali National Team

Seydou Keita will soon leave for the African Cup of Nations.
Seydou Keita will soon leave for the African Cup of Nations.

Pep Guardiola named best club coach in the world | FC Barcelona
The FC Barcelona manager is still collecting accolades. This time it was the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS) that once again made him the best manager on the world. Guardiola was given 201 points in votes by the experts in 81 countries in all continents that took part in this annual election.

On verge of 3rd Ballon d’Or, Lionel Messi’s remarkable Barcelona career started with a napkin - The Washington Post
It happened more than a decade ago, when Messi, then just a scrawny 13-year-old with plenty of talent, was hoping to earn a contract with Barcelona. "It’s a napkin that myself and many colleagues believe has changed the history of Barcelona," Horacio Gaggioli, who helped broker the deal, told The Associated Press. "If it didn’t exist, Leo would have played for another team."

Messi's desire: score at Cornellà | FC Barcelona
In Catalonia and Spain the Three Kings Day is a day of dreams and hopes, when aspirations are met and desires fulfilled. For Leo Messi, surely he’s hoping, amongst other things, to score at Cornella-El Prat, where he has yet to score a goal in his two visits to the Perico stadium. In total, the Argentinean has scored against Espanyol three times, but never whilst away from the Camp Nou.

European Match of the Weekend | Pitchside Europe - Yahoo!
While Barca are unbeaten at home, where they have won eight and drawn one and scored 39 goals without reply, they have won only three of their seven away games, netting 11 and conceding eight, and suffered a surprise 1-0 reverse at Getafe in November, their only defeat of the campaign.

Keita back in Mali fold - Yahoo! Eurosport
Barcelona midfielder Seydou Keita's much-anticipated rehabilitation in Mali's national team has been completed with his inclusion in the preliminary squad for the African Nations Cup finals. Keita's clashes with officials over conditions around the side, plus his desire to concentrate on his club career, threatened his international career and led to a 20-month hiatus from the international game after the 2010 Nations Cup finals in Angola.

Three former Barça youth players practice their trade at Espanyol | FC Barcelona
Despite the rivalry between Espanyol and Barça, the two team are not adverse to swapping players. In fact, up to three Perico footballers have a Clué background. Raúl Baena, Joan Verdú and Sergio García, all of whom figure in Mauricio Pochettino’s lineups on a regular basis, spent time learning their trade in Can Barça.

Eusebio: "The second half of the season will be exciting" | FC Barcelona
Matchday 19 of the Liga Adelante will see Barça B host Numancia this Saturday at 16.00. The first game of the year at the Miniestadi will pit two teams in the middle of the table against each other. A victory for Eusebio’s men, who currently lie in 14th place, would allow Barça B to climb above Numancia in the table.

Ramos returns, Pepe, Di Maria out for Real - Yahoo! Eurosport
Spain defender Sergio Ramos returned from injury for Real Madrid's home game against promoted Granada on Saturday (1900), but Pepe and Angel Di Maria failed to make the squad. The Portugal defender has bruised ribs and is suspended while the Argentina winger is recovering from a thigh strain. Alvaro Arbeloa and Fabio Coentrao were left out.

Malaga offer €10m for Borussia Dortmiund striker Lucas Barrios - report -
Malaga have made a €10 million bid for out-of-favour Borussia Dortmund striker Lucas Barrios, according to Bild.The Paraguay international has found first-team opportunities at Signal Iduna Park something of a rare commodity this season, as Robert Lewandowski has made the starting role in Jurgen Klopp's side his own.

Welcome to Barcelona’s other club | Andy Mitten - Yahoo!
Let's take a trip to the Catalan derby between Espanyol and Barcelona, a journey you won't be aware of if you watch the televised game. The two teams meet on Sunday night in one of the most pernicious games in Spain. The fans hate each other and the relationship between the two clubs is far from diplomatic.

Spanish cuts demand fairer TV cash split - Yahoo! Eurosport
The sale of audiovisual rights for La Liga, which unlike in rival European leagues is negotiated by each club individually, nets around 600 million euros ($768 million) and Real and Barca scoop up about half the total between them, helping make them the world's richest soccer clubs by income.Their dominance means they can afford to buy the best players, and pay lavish wages, while many of their rivals have been forced into administration following a futile struggle to remain competitive.

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