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FC Barcelona News: 3 January 2013; Tito Vilanova Attends Training, Johan Cruyff Coaches His Final Game

David Ramos

Tito Vilanova leads this afternoon's training session | FC Barcelona
Tito Vilanova was was the focus of attention during this afternoon’s training session. The manager, who underwent surgery on December 20 and was released from hospital on the 22nd, led the team’s second training session of the year. This morning, Vilanova stopped by the Ciutat Esportiva to meet with the Catalan players ahead of this afternoon’s Catalonia vs Nigeria match.

Happy New Years at FC Barcelona | FC Barcelona
With Josep Guardiola on the bench, Barça almost always got off to a winning start. Last year against Osasuna, they cruised home in the cup, 4-0. A year before that, Levante were the victims, 2-1, on the day that Xavi equalled Migueli’s all-time clubn record for appearances Three years ago, the squad was able to present the fans with the six trophies won in 2009, but could only celebrate with a draw against Villarreal (1-1).

Catalonia, with 9 FC Barcelona players, tie Nigeria (1-1) | FC Barcelona
The Cornellà-El Prat stadium hosted the Catalan national team’s traditional holiday match this year. The match against Nigeria, Johan Cruyff’s final match at the helm of the Catalan national team, ended in a one-all draw. Nine Blaugrana featured for Catalonia in the Dutchman’s farewell game. 27,234 spectators attended the match.

Barcelona legend Johan Cruyff to call time on coaching career - ESPN FC
"I do not think I will coach again," Cruyff said. "I do not see myself on another bench. Although I always do too many things and I am not going to be bored." "I was very happy to do it. The players always wanted to be here. I am proud to have coached Catalonia."

End of a Dream: Cruyff's coaching career remembered -
It is often noted that players with extraordinary technical ability do not go on to become good coaches. The game comes so naturally to these type of footballers that they struggle to convey their message when they make the transition from pitch to bench. But there is an exception to every rule and, in this case, it is Johan Cruyff.

Spain stars spend holiday doing ‘national’ service | Pitchside Europe - Yahoo! Eurosport UK
The breaks vary. Germany has a month, but Spain just two weeks and even that’s too much for many fans who miss matches and can’t wait for the season to restart. Even those two weeks are trimmed down for the players who represent their 'country' in a friendly match.

Cristiano Ronaldo coy over Real Madrid future | Sky Sports
He said: "I feel great and I'm convinced that this year will be better than last year. I'm feeling good and ready to do my best, as always, and to be better than last year." When asked about his contract, Ronaldo stood firm, adding: "That subject has already been spoken about. I won't talk about my contract renewal anymore, it's not important.

Playmaker Sofiane Feghouli is keen sort out his contract extension at Valencia | Sky Sports
Sofiane Feghouli has delayed meeting up with the Algerian national squad ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations in order to sort out his contract extension at Valencia. The playmaker has scored six goals in all competitions for the Spanish club in 20 appearances this season, but is determined to sign a new long-term deal, with his current contract running out in the summer of 2013.

Boca Juniors reveal Gago bid -
"We made a proposal to Fernando that we have not had answered yet," Martucci said. "Gago expressed his willingness to return and now we must pass this [to the] leaders of Valencia." The Argentina international made 69 appearances for Boca from 2004-07 before he moved to Santiago Bernabeu for an estimated €20 million fee.

Juventus close in on Llorente - Yahoo! Eurosport UK
The La Liga club underscored their refusal to sell the highly-rated 27-year-old in the January transfer window, but admitted via their official website that Juventus had given them formal notice that negotiations for next season had begun.

Sevilla seal signing of Bosnian Stevanovic - Yahoo! Eurosport UK
"Miroslav Stevanovic has signed his contract with Sevilla FC," the La Liga club said in a statement. The 22-year-old had passed a series of medical tests and would be presented at the Sanchez Pizjuan stadium on Thursday, the statement added. Sevilla did not give financial details but Stevanovic is said to be valued at 1.75 million euros

Osasuna re-sign Ricardo | Football Espana
Veteran goalkeeper Ricardo Lopez Felipe has rejoined Osasuna until the end of the season, at the age of 41. The former Manchester United shot-stopper was thought to have ended his playing career after leaving the Pamplona outfit at the end of last season, after seven years at the club.

Rueda's two match ban | Football Espana
Real Valladolid defender Jesus Rueda has been given a two match ban for insulting referee Carlos Clos Gomez. The RFEF Competition Committee today announced its sanctions for players involved in incidents of indiscipline on matchday 17.

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