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FC Barcelona News: 17 November 2012; Carles Puyol Declared Fit, Real Betis Kickoff Time Confirmed

David Ramos

Carles Puyol fit again after 45 days | FC Barcelona
Carles Puyol was declared fully fit on Friday after injuring his elbow on October 2 in Barça’s 2-0 win away to Benfica-Barça. Forty-five days after suffering an injury that he was expected to take eight weeks to recover from, he is available once again for selection by Tito Vilanova.

Vilanova: "You can’t relax in such a high-level league" | FC Barcelona
He admits that "we are aware of the importance of Moscow on Tuesday, but there’s a game at home on Saturday too. You can’t relax in such a high-level league. Zaragoza is more important because it’s the next game … Most teams want to play well against Barça and Real Madrid. If we always won it wouldn’t be very exciting. You have to play every game, and none of them are easy."

Xavi Hernández, the man of a thousand passes | FC Barcelona
Xavi is the leading pass maker in Europe’s top five leagues so far this season, having completed more than a thousand, with an astonishing 95.45% success rate. Arsenal’s Basque midfielder Mikel Arteta is second in the list, with 994 successful passes so far, followed by Manchester United’s Michael Carrick (936).

Zaragoza, familiar foe that has never beaten David Villa | FC Barcelona
Saturday’s Liga match (20.00, GolT and Canal +) between Barça and Zaragoza will be a special one for striker David Villa, for it was at the visiting club that he made his top flight debut in 2003/04. He was only there for one year before he moved on Valencia.

Betis v Barça on Sunday December 9 at 21.00 | FC Barcelona
The 15th match of the Liga season will kick off on Sunday December 9 at 21.00, four days after Barça host Benfica in the final match of the Champions League group stage. Barça B will play Elche in game 17 of the Division 2B season the day before, Saturday 8, kicking off at 18.00.

Transfer news: Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo wants to keep Oriol Romeu | Sky Sports
Di Matteo has confirmed there is interest in the 21-year-old but, with John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses set for African Cup of Nations duty in early 2013, Chelsea need a large squad. "Romeu is a very young talent with good prospects for the future," said manager Di Matteo. "He has offers from other clubs and especially from Spain but I have had calls from Italy as well.

Real Madrid coach Aitor Karanka insists Cristiano Ronaldo is happy - ESPN FC
"Some questions do not even deserve an answer," Karanka said. "Anyone who knows Cristiano knows (the injury) must have been very bad for him to leave the pitch. (On Saturday) he will again show how he gives everything for this team."

Where has it all gone wrong for Athletic Bilbao in 2012-13? - Goal.com
It was a team that captivated a continent. Athletic Bilbao's breathtaking runs to the final of the Europa League and the Copa del Rey last season seemed to signal the start of something special under Marcelo Bielsa, but less than six months on, the Basques' brilliant dream is dying.

European match of the weekend: Hostilities resume in Seville | Pitchside Europe - Yahoo! Eurosport UK
Current form hints at a continuation of that pattern, with Betis lying fourth in La Liga and Sevilla in mid-table. But the stats point to a Sevilla side who are, in conventional terms, playing the better football. So far this season, Sevilla have made more passes, with a greater completion ratio and considerably more shots on goal in La Liga. They have also conceded fewer goals.

Bravo extends Real Sociedad deal to 2017 - Yahoo! Eurosport UK
They have a project for the future which I want to be a part of and I'm very grateful," Bravo said. "It would be a dream to be able to stay here until I retire." Bravo, 29, joined the San Sebastian-based side from Colo Colo in 2006 and has captained his country while winning more than 60 international caps.