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FC Barcelona News: 18 July 2012; Eric Abidal Visits Teammates, Supercopa de España Dates Announced

Mascherano is expected to sign a contract extension very soon.
Mascherano is expected to sign a contract extension very soon.

Abidal greets his teammates | FC Barcelona
Éric Abidal took center stage during FC Barcelona’s first training session of the season. The Frenchman stopped by the Sant Joan Despí training facilities this morning to greet his teammates before he continued his recovery work in the Ciutat Esportiva gym. The French defender hugged and chatted with his friends and colleagues after the first team’s training session.

Tito Vilanova: "I'm very aware of how difficult this will be" | FC Barcelona
Like Josep Guardiola, Vilanova prefers to have a shorter roster for the upcoming season. "This forces everyone to be on form and feel important." With that said, he reminded the press room that "until the 31st of August there is time to bring in more players and let players go" and that at this point in the preseason that he’s "counting on all of his players."

Third session with 21 players | FC Barcelona
Tito Vilanova and his players worked out for the first of two sessions today, with the same 21 players as on Tuesday (13 from the first team and eight from Eusebio Sacristán’s Barça B (Oier, Sergi Gómez, Planas, Sergi Roberto, Ilie, Rafinha, Kiko Femenía and Lobato). Also present were Fontàs, Alves and Villa, who trained with fitness coaches.

Lionel Messi: It's all about the Barcelona team - ESPN Soccernet
Lionel Messi has said the Barcelona team will always be more important than any individual after his best-ever personal season saw him score an astonishing 73 goals - but the big prizes elude his club.

Spanish Super Cup: 23rd & 29th of August, at 22.30 | FC Barcelona
The two Spanish Super Cup fixtures between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid have been set. Both the away leg at the Camp Nou, which will be played on the 23rd, and the return leg at the Santiago Bernabéu, which will be played on the 29th, will kick off at 22.30.

Zubizarreta: "Contract negotiations with Javier Mascherano are very advanced" | FC Barcelona
During Tito Vilanova’s first press conference of the preseason as FC Barcelona’s head manager, Andoni Zubizarreta confirmed that contract extension talks with Javier Mascherano "are very advanced." The football director also talked about the ongoing negotiations with Carles Puyol and Adriano.

Eight Barça B players with the first team | FC Barcelona
With the eight reserve players training with the first team this week, Barça B have been reduced to a 13-man squad - it’s worth noting that Gerard Deulofeu and Alejandro Grimaldo are still on vacation after the U19 Euro championship in Estonia. Eusebio Sacristán, moreover, cannot call up any Juvenil A players (U18), seeing that the youth team won’t start its preseason until next week.

Luis Campos to join Jose Mourinho's technical team at Real Madrid -
Luis Campos has announced that he will make his return to football as part of Jose Mourinho's technical staff at Real Madrid. The 47-year-old coach, who quit the game in 2005, will serve as a scout and is charged with the responsibility of analysing rival teams and players.

Glenn Loovens, strengthens Zaragoza
Glenn Loovens has become a new player for Real Zaragoza. The Dutch centre back comes to reinforce the defence of Manolo Jimenez´s team, having passed his medical tests at the Hospital Quiron in Zaragoza and having signed a two year contract with the club with the option for a third.

Arsenal's Carlos Vela agrees Real Sociedad switch - ESPN Soccernet
Carlos Vela has agreed to join Spanish side Real Sociedad on a permanent deal, bringing an end to his seven-year stay with Arsenal. Mexico striker Vela was on loan at Sociedad last season, making 35 appearances and scoring 12 goals to finish the campaign as top scorer for the Spanish side.

Spanish football’s cult heroes | Andy Mitten - Yahoo! Eurosport UK
The stock of the Spanish footballer has never been higher. Spain's Euro2012 winners are currently enjoying their holidays. They're feted for their brilliance globally, yet when it comes to cult heroes, the people who have given the most enjoyment to fans, some of the most prominent ones in Spain have not been Spanish.

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