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FC Barcelona News: 6 February 2012; Tough Week Awaits Barça, Thiago Reaches Milestone

Thiago has been showcasing his skills more often this season.
Thiago has been showcasing his skills more often this season.

A tough week ahead | FC Barcelona
The players return to training on Monday after Saturday's defeat of Real Sociedad. They will be focussing on Wednesday's clash against Valencia in the Camp Nou. Then, hot on the heels of the Cup semi-final second leg comes a tricky away game in the Reyno de Navarra against Osasuna. Then it's just three days to the Champions League encounter away to Bayer Leverkusen.

Barca dig deep with Cup final in sight - Yahoo! Eurosport
Injury-hit Barcelona will not be complaining if another 'lucky' black cat helps their bid for a third Copa del Rey final appearance in four years on Wednesday. The world and European champions host Valencia in a semi-final second leg match with Carles Puyol's header from the 1-1 draw at the Mestalla last week giving them a slight edge in the tie.

King Leo | FC Barcelona
In the TIME’s cover story, Bobby Ghosh outlines Messi’s coming-of-age career with FC Barcelona and the player’s future ambition with his national side. The journalist also addresses the question of whether or not the Argentine should be considered the best football player of all time.

Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta denies approach for Tottenham star Gareth Bale -
It had been claimed that the former Spain goalkeeper had recently travelled to England to discuss a deal with the Premier League outfit for the Wales international. However, Zubizarreta insists that he has not held talks with Spurs and reiterated his faith in Barca's youth team when it comes to strengthening the senior squad.

Barcelona dismiss claims of Arsenal's Robin van Persie - ESPN Soccernet
It remains to be seen where his future lies beyond the end of the current campaign, though, as his contract expires in the summer of 2013, and reports indicated Barca had already approached the Gunners. However, Bartomeu says there is no foundation to those claims.

Barça – Real Sociedad: Match Stats | FC Barcelona
Thiago Alcántara has now made 50 senior appearances. 31 in La Liga, 5 in the Champions League, 10 in the Cup, 2 in the Spanish Super Cup and 2 in the World Club Cup.

Emilio Butragueno expects Jose Mourinho to stay at Real Madrid - ESPN Soccernet
Mourinho is reportedly planning to leave Madrid in the summer, with a source quoted in last week's Sunday Times as saying the Portuguese is "sick and tired" of the in-fighting and behind-the-scenes politics at the Bernabeu. However, Butragueno insists the club have no knowledge of Mourinho's apparent desire to return to England.

Atletico Madrid hold Valencia in stalemate - Yahoo! Eurosport
Valencia missed the chance to tighten their grip on third place in La Liga as they were held to a goalless draw by Atletico Madrid at the Estadio Vicente Calderon. After a cagey first-half, Radamel Falcao came closest to breaking the deadlock for Atletico - but his shot was cleared off the line by Adil Rami.

Liga - Camunas nets winner as Sevilla slump continues - Yahoo! Eurosport
Villarreal heaped more pressure on Sevilla with a 2-1 win over their struggling La Liga rivals courtesy of Javier Camunas' late winner at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. Coach Marcelino García Toral thanked his board for resisting the urge to sack him before this match, but Sevilla have now failed to win in their past seven games. They are only four points ahead of third-bottom Granada.

Sevilla coach Marcelino refuses to quit after Villarreal defeat -
"I will not quit, although I am the most responsible [for the result]," Marcelino told reporters after the match. "I will work until the people who make decisions know what to do about my future. I feel capable of turning this situation around."

Benfica ponder move for Malaga's Diego Buonanotte - report -
Benfica are considering the possibility of a summer swoop for Malaga attacker Diego Buonanotte, Cadena Ser reports. The 23-year-old midfielder has struggled to impose himself in coach Manuel Pellegrini's squad, making just 12 competitive appearances since the start of the season.

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