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FC Barcelona News: 7 February 2012; Barça Named Laureus Team of the Year, Iniesta and Pedro Start Training

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Barcelona named Laureus Team of the Year -
The Catalans, who won La Liga, the Champions League, the Spanish Supercup and the Fifa Club World Cup over the course of last year, beat off competition for the prize from NBA champions Dallas Mavericks, Formula 1 outfit Red Bull, Rugby World Cup winners New Zealand, England’s cricket team and the Japanese women’s national football side.

Pedro and Iniesta do part of training with squad | FC Barcelona
The first team was back training today as they prepare for the Copa del Rey semi final on Wednesday at the Camp Nou versus Valencia. This was a full session despite being the first since taking on and beating Real Sociedad on Saturday. The good news was that both Pedro and Iniesta were on the pitch. Both are recovering from their respective injuries, but were able to participate in some of the group exercises.

The FC Barcelona reserve side continues to supply the first team | FC Barcelona
The injuries to Afellay, Villa, Fontas, Iniesta and Pedro, plus Keita, on international duty with Mali, means that FC Barcelona only has 15 first-team game-ready players. However, there is a silver lining to Barça’s depleted numbers: Guardiola has had the opportunity (and taken it on a regular basis) to give Barça B players a chance with the first team. Most recently, it was Tello and Dos Santos that donned the the Barça colours in the Spanish top flight.

Mario Kempes says Lionel Messi's level 'has dropped' in recent matches for Barcelona -
Former Argentina international Mario Kempes says compatriot Lionel Messi has not been performing to the best of his abilities of late for Barcelona. "There are players who have dropped their level, especially Messi," Kempes told COM Radio. "Perhaps he needs a holiday, not now, but when it is time for that.

We can close the gap on Real Madrid, says Javier Mascherano - ESPN Soccernet
Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano believes Real Madrid cannot afford to slip up if they do not want to allow the Catalans to win La Liga. Mascherano, 27, recognises that Barca's seven-point deficit is substantial with just 17 league fixtures remaining but says his side will capitalise as soon as Real fail to win.

Off-road drivers for a day | FC Barcelona
Once the team completed their first training session of the week, six FC Barcelona first-team players tested their driving skills behind the wheel of the new Audi Q3 on an off-road course at the Ciutat Esportiva. The six Azulgrana players were Piqué, Cesc, Puyol, Cuenca, Thiago and Adriano.

Iker Casillas set to equal Manuel Sanchis' record of 437 full La Liga matches for Real Madrid -
Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas is set to equal club legend Manuel Sanchis as the player with the most completed La Liga appearances for the Spanish giants, AS reports. Sanchis featured in 437 league matches for the full 90 minutes during his spell at the club from 1983 until 2001.

Marcelino Garcia Toral sacked by Sevilla after poor run of form - ESPN Soccernet
Sevilla have parted company with coach Marcelino Garcia Toral following a disappointing run of results, the La Liga club have announced. Marcelino, who took charge last summer following the departure of Gregorio Manzano, leaves with Sevilla 11th in the standings and just four points above the relegation zone.

Sevilla set to appoint Michel - Yahoo! Eurosport
Sevilla are set to finalise the appointment of Jose Miguel Gonzalez, known as Michel, as their new coach on Tuesday. "Everything practically has been agreed and just needs the signature on the contract," Sevilla said in a statement.

Malaga project still awaiting take-off | Pitchside Europe - Yahoo!
Huge Middle Eastern investment may have turned Manchester City into the leading contenders for this season's Premier League title and propelled Paris Saint-Germain to the summit of Ligue 1, but the billions of Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani have yet to reap similar rewards for big-spending Málaga.

Muscle tear blow for Cendrós | LFP
Mallorca defender Pau Cendrós will spend the next four to six weeks on the sidelines after tests conducted on Monday revealed a Gradoe II tear to his right hamstring. Cendrós fell injured in Saturday's Liga BBVA clash with Betis, he will miss the upcoming league clashes with Málaga, Villarreal, Real Sociedad and Osasuna.

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