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FC Barcelona News: 15 March 2012; Guardiola Expected to Renew, Eric Abidal to Undergo Liver Transplant Surgery

You can send messages of support to Abidal via twitter using the #animsabidal hashtag.
You can send messages of support to Abidal via twitter using the #animsabidal hashtag.

Reports from Spain, the newspaper Sport to be precise, are saying that Pep Guardiola has decided to stay in Barcelona for one more season. The club has yet to make an official announcement, but that should be taken care of at the latest in the next week. The report also explains that two months ago Pep was very far away from extending as he was physically and mentally exhausted. Tito Vilanova's illness added uncertainty to the already difficult decision, but now, thankfully, it appears Pep will continue with the Blaugrana. We still have to wait for an official confirmation to be certain, though.

In very sad news it has been confirmed that Eric Abidal will have to undergo liver transplant surgery in the coming weeks. The details right now are sketchy, but we will keep you updated as soon as more becomes available.

Is Spanish soccer best in the world? Recent results indicate yes - Sid Lowe -
The assumption that the other Spanish sides are not good enough is an arrogant one, an easy excuse into which some English commentators take comfort. It allows them to continue to sell English soccer as the best in the world, despite the achievements of Barça and Madrid. It prevents them from facing reality.

Liga - Mascherano defends refs, backs Guardiola - Yahoo! Eurosport
"We only talk about referees because journalists ask us – you will find the answers help sell newspapers, sell football analysis," he was quoted as saying by Reuters in Spain. "That is how business is conducted, we should expect this. Throughout my career I have had referee decisions benefit or hurt my teams – in the same way that players make decisions that benefit or hurt their teams.

Dani Alves: I intend to retire at Barcelona -
Barcelona right-back Dani Alves has revealed that he intends to stay at Camp Nou until the end of his playing career. The 28-year-old has developed into a key figure at Barcelona since joining the club from Sevilla in the summer of 2008, and has made well over 100 official appearances for the Blaugrana.

Alexis and Thiago train with the group | FC Barcelona
The novelty of the session was seeing Alexis and Thiago training alongside their teammates. Remember that the Chilean suffered a small tear in the in his right thigh which prevented him from being present in the matches against Bayer Leverkusen and Racing Santander. Thiago, meanwhile, is continuing his recovery from the periostitis of the third distal of his right tibia that didn't allow him him to play in the last three matches.

The eight teams who have qualified for the Champions League quarter-finals -
Apart from a 2-2 stumble in the opening Group H clash at home to AC Milan, Pep Guardiola's side have never looked troubled in this season's competition. They scored nine goals in total against BATE Borisov in the two group matches, and six in total against Viktoria Plzen without conceding to either opponent. A 3-2 win in San Siro over the Rossoneri essentially handed the Blaugrana top spot in their section.

Real Madrid coast past CSKA into last eight - Yahoo! Eurosport
Real Madrid cantered into the quarter-finals of the Champions League when thoroughbred forward Cristiano Ronaldo netted twice in a 4-1 win at home to CSKA Moscow on Wednesday that put the La Liga leaders through 5-2 on aggregate. Gonzalo Higuain and substitute Karim Benzema also found the net as Jose Mourinho's side, chasing Real's first continental crown since 2002 and 10th European Cup, secured their place in Friday's draw for the last eight.

Jose would 'love' to face Chelsea in UCL final - ESPN Soccernet
Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho would relish a Champions League final meeting with his former club Chelsea. Real and Chelsea secured their places in the quarter-finals of the Champions League on Wednesday night, with the former cruising to a 5-2 aggregate win over CSKA Moscow.

Real Madrid keeping tabs on Benfica midfielder Witsel - report -
Belgium international Axel Witsel could be on the move in the summer transfer window, as the midfielder has caught the attention of Real Madrid with his superb performances for Benfica in 2011-12, Record reports. Los Blancos are in the market for a new player in the centre of the park due to the ongoing uncertainty over the future of Nuri Sahin.

Roberto Carlos: Anzhi want to sign Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo - ESPN Soccernet
Carlos, who acts as an assistant to the president Suleiman Kerimov in addition to his playing duties, has revealed the club are now setting their sights a little higher. "Today, Messi is the best player in the world," he told Radio Marca. "He continues to show that. Cristiano is the key star for Real Madrid. "I have no preference for either, but certainly Anzhi will try to sign both when their contracts expire."

Athletic Bilbao's Llorente passed fit for Manchester United clash -
Athletic Bilbao coach Marcelo Bielsa has announced that Fernando Llorente has been passed fit for Thursday's Europa League match against Manchester United. The Spain international striker had been in doubt for the match after missing Tuesday's training session because of some minor fitness problems.

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