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FC Barcelona News: 14 December 2012; Eric Abidal Receives Award, Lionel Messi Nominated for Sportsman of the Year

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Manuel Queimadelos Alonso

Preparations begin for Atletico Madrid duel | FC Barcelona
Just a few hours after their 0-2 Cup win away to Cordoba, the players were back at the Club’s Sant Joan Despí training grounds to begin preparations for Sunday’s key clash with Atletico Madrid. The emphasis was on recovering from last night’s match and Dani Alves and Leo Messi worked out in the gym separately from the main group.

Éric Abidal receives the Aldo Rovira award | FC Barcelona
"I want to say thank you. This is a great satisfaction and I am very grateful to those that picked me for the award. I have experienced difficult times, but I never stopped fighting ... all of my teammates have helped me, as well as my family," said Éric Abidal when he was given the Aldo Rovira award.

I will fight to play football again, says Abidal - Goal.com
Barcelona defender Eric Abidal says he will "fight to play football again" as he continues his recovery from a liver transplant. The France international was diagnosed with a tumour of the liver in late 2011 and underwent major surgery in March this year and has since been working hard to make a comeback.

Premier League is not a patch on Spanish football. Here’s why - Graham Hunter | Paddy Power Betting Blog
What’s more, those who mock La Liga because "any team can beat any other" in England but "Madrid and Barcelona win easy" in Spain are ignoring large flotillas of facts. What about when Sporting Gijon took Jose Mourinho’s nine-year unbeaten home record by winning at the Bernabéu? Or when Numancia, a club small enough to fit in your pocket, beat Pep Guardiola’s Barça at the beginning of their treble-winning season?

Xavi set to stay at Barca until retirement - Yahoo! Eurosport UK
Xavi, who will be 33 at the end of next month, enrolled in Barca's youth academy in 1991 at the age of 11 and made his debut for the first team in a Spanish Super Cup match against Real Mallorca in 1998. Considered one of the finest playmakers of his, or any, generation, he has helped the club win 20 trophies, including three Champions League crowns and six La Liga titles.

Xavi: "My dream of seeing out my career at Barça will come true" | FC Barcelona
Xavi Hernandez spoke to reporters at a press conference on Thursday morning following Wednesday’s Cup win against Cordoba. He had plenty of good things to say about Sunday’s opponents and insisted that Atletico Madrid would challenge for the league title right to the end of the season. "They haven’t slipped up much. They know what they’re doing, the coach does a really good job and they have a player up front like Falcao".

Leo Messi nominated for Laureus Sportsman of the Year award | FC Barcelona
Leo Messi is among the candidates for the Laureus awards for the fourth consecutive year. The Argentine has been nominated for the World Sportsman of the Year award along with Usain Bolt and Mo Farah, the swimmer Michael Phelps, the Formula 1 pilot Sebastian Vettel and the cyclist Badley Wiggins. The winner will be announced on March 11, during the Laureus Gala in Rio de Janeiro.

Messi is a 'killer' on the pitch, says Mascherano - Goal.com
"With regards to football, he is a killer. He takes to the pitch to collect victims. He likes to play football and does not care who is in front of him," the 28-year-old told Mundo Deportivo. "He competes against himself. This is a great virtue and he has reached that level when is now more like a golfer than a footballer - every day he wants to lower the handicap."

Pique to reach 200 | Football Espana
Gerard Pique will celebrate reaching 200 appearances in official competition for Barcelona this weekend against Atletico Madrid. In his fifth season at the club since being bought back from Manchester United, the centre-back will enter into his third century of games for the team after Week 16’s home clash with Atleti.

Barcelona No.1 for producing players for clubs in Europe’s elite leagues " Sporting Intelligence
The Spanish giants have been responsible for the development of 38 players at top-flight clubs in either Spain’s La Liga, England’s Premier League, Italy’s Serie A, Germany’s Bundesliga 1 or France’s Ligue 1. The definition of ‘produced’ for these purposes means that a player spent three or more years within the development programme of the club in question specifically between the ages of 15 and 21, which are considered a footballer’s most important ‘formative’ years.

VIDEO - Legendary goals: Rivaldo | FC Barcelona
And Rivaldo was able to fill the role. A tall, sturdy player, he had the kind of abilities that had rarely been seen before, with tricky dribbling skills, a powerful shot and an amazing talent for converting free kicks and penalties, all off his left foot.

Zaragoza in command after Copa win at Levante - Yahoo! Eurosport UK
Aranda's superb lob from outside the penalty area at the Ciutat de Valencia stadium put Zaragoza in the driving seat as they seek a likely meeting with Sevilla who are virtually assured a quarter-final berth after thrashing Real Mallorca 5-0 on Wednesday. Betis remain on course to meet Atletico Madrid or Getafe in the last eight despite surrendering the lead at the Estadio de Gran Canaria.

Perarnau to restructure Espanyol | Football Espana
"We want to restructure things," he told a Press conference. "Our gameplay, habits, knowledge and style will all be remodelled. "We want to improve the performances of our homegrown players and return to the excellence we had in that department.