I wish the festive break would end already...
The UK newspaper "The Guardian" features 3 Barça players in its top 4 of "The 100 Best Footballers in the World", published this week. Messi acclaimed World’s best, with Xavi and Iniesta at three and four. Overall there were twelve Barça players – more than any other club – in the Top 100. Twelve Barça players – more than any other club – in Top 100
Italian World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi has downplayed speculation linking him with Real Madrid and insists he is happy at Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande. "Nothing has happened, if they called me I would tell them the same, that I'm still under contract." Lippi, 64, took charge at Guangzhou on a two-and-a-half-year deal in the summer having previously coached the likes of Juventus, Inter Milan and Napoli.
Spanish sports daily El Mundo Deportivo reports that the club agreed to pay more than double the world record transfer fee, and offered the Argentine a €30m (£24.6m) annual pay packet after tax. However, the 25-year-old rejected the move and signed a two-year extension with Barça that ties him to the Camp Nou until 2018.
The European giants are set to go head-to-head in knockout stages of the tournament, and the former Blaugrana striker is under no illusions as to which team should be considered favorites. "Barca are on another level," the Netherlands assistant coach told Mundo Deportivo. "They are the absolute favorites for the Champions League and bad things would have to happen to Barca for Milan to eliminate them.
Real Madrid defender Pepe has been named 'Person of the Year' by Portugal's Record newspaper. Previous winners of this prize include the Real Madrid player Cristiano Ronaldo and coach José Mourinho.