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FC Barcelona News: 8 January 2012; Andres Iniesta Declared Fit, Lionel Messi Favorite for Ballon d'Or

Andres Iniesta will be in the squad for the Catalan Derby
Andres Iniesta will be in the squad for the Catalan Derby

Espanyol-FC Barcelona: No sales at Espanyol’s Cornellà stadium | FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona restart their league campaign a month after their stunning exhibition in the Bernabeu. And what better way to start than with a Barcelona derby. During the month-long league break, Barça have won four (two in the World Club Cup and two in the Kings Cup), scoring 21 goals along the way and conceding none.

Messi deserves Ballon d'Or, says Pique - Yahoo! Sports
"It is clear, Messi, he has been playing at a high level for years. And Leo is the best in the world," Pique said in an interview published in Catalan daily La Vanguarida on Sunday when asked who deserved to win the prize. "He is driving this team to be one of the best in history. Thanks to him we have won many of the titles that we have in our windows.

'A world of talent separates Lionel Messi & Cristiano Ronaldo' - Readers back the Argentine to win the 2011 Fifa Ballon d'Or -
In a poll conducted over the past three days, over 49 per cent of the readers voted in favour of the Argentina international picking up the accolade in Zurich on Monday evening ahead of his Barca team-mate Xavi and Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo, the two other candidates in the shortlist.

Cordiality ahead of the Catalan derby | FC Barcelona
Guardiola and Pochettino met at Cornellà - El Prat this afternoon before tomorrow’s derby. The Argentinean and the Catalan met on the Perico pitch for the traditional handshake between managers and to wish each other good luck in front of the press. The managers showed their mutual respect for each other hours ahead of the Catalan derby.

Iniesta delcared fit for the Catalan derby | FC Barcelona
The players returned to training on Saturday morning after enjoying a day's break between Cup and league commitments. Andrés Iniesta, who picked up a leg injury in an earlier Cup game against Hospitalet, completed training without incident and was later handed the medical all clear.

Guardiola: "Espanyol can play a bit" | FC Barcelona
And he is convinced that every match between the Barcelona rivals reveals one common denominator – both teams exercise intense pressure. "We're playing in a difficult stadium. It's one of our most difficult games of the year and this year won't be an exception. We've up against a very tough test – let's see if we're good enough to pass."

Eric Abidal close to signing new deal with Barcelona - report -
The French defender is out of contract in the summer and negotiations over an extension have dragged on for months now – in spite of the fact that Abidal stated in November that an agreement had been reached. However, there are now reportedly just a few more details to be sorted out before the new deal is finally made official inside the next week.

Villa coincides with his team-mates at the Sports City | FC Barcelona
After the training session, he published a photo featuring himself and team-mates Xavi and Puyol. "I'm very happy to be back in the routine. Here I am back in the Sports City with all my team-mates. My recovery is going well." As Villa's words clearly show, he's optimistic and delighted to be back among the other players.

Lionel Messi: I never want to leave Barcelona - ESPN Soccernet
Lionel Messi says that he never wants to leave Barcelona and praised the impact that coach Pep Guardiola has had on his career. "I'm at the best club in the world, no other team could fulfil me as much as Barcelona does; I hope to stay here until they get tired of me, which is hopefully never," he told Marca. "I grew up at La Masia and I am a man made at Barca.

Benzema brace leads Real Madrid rout - ESPN Soccernet
Real looked in for a testing evening when Mikel Rico (22) cancelled out Karim Benzema's 19th-minute opener to reward the visitors for an encouraging performance. But Sergio Ramos headed Jose Mourinho's side back in front on 34 minutes and the game was over as a contest when Gonzalo Higuain and Benzema scored within five minutes of the start of the second period.

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