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FC Barcelona News: 5 December 2013; 17 Make Squad for Cartagena Trip, Three Barça Defenders Nominated for Award

Denis Doyle

Tata Martino has announced his squad for the first leg of the Round of 32 tie with FC Cartagena. Missing from the list are Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta both of whom were left out as a precaution after slight injuries they picked up recently. Also excluded from the list is Gerard Pique, but returning to the squad are Carles Puyol and Jordi Alba.

Full squad list: Jose Manuel Pinto, Oier Olazabal, Martin Montoya, Carles Puyol, Marc Bartra, Javier Mascherano, Adriano Correia, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Alex Song, Sergi Roberto, Cesc Fabregas, Adama Traore, Pedro, Alexis Sanchez, Jean Marie Dongou, Neymar

Neymar happy with life at Barcelona - UEFA Champions League - News -
"In Brazil, if you have a ball, you are already happy. If you are happy, then everything will be alright." It seems a remarkably simple philosophy for such a famous player, but one that perfectly encapsulates the FC Barcelona forward's joy in – and affection for – the beautiful game.

Xavi defends under-fire Barcelona boss Gerardo Martino - ESPN FC
"We know that these are two consecutive defeats, and that the level of demands is very high. The fans pressure us a lot to return to playing the same as we did before, and that is difficult. But from inside we are relaxed, we know we are doing things well.

Six Barça players have already faced Cartagena | FC Barcelona
Six of Barça's first team squad have experience of playing FC Cartagena, who face Barça in the Cup on Friday night -Oier Olazabal, Martín Montoya, Marc Bartra, Sergi Roberto, Cristian Tello and Isaac Cuenca - who played for Barça B between 2010 and 2012 against Cartegena in the second division.

First team prepare for Cartagena with FC Barcelona B | FC Barcelona
The first team has continued its preparations for the Copa del Rey match with Cartagena. On Friday Tata Martino arranged a joint session with Barça B on pitch 2 at the Ciutat Esportiva. All of the available players were involved, as was Jordi Alba, who has been training with the squad since yesterday.

Jordi Alba, Alves and Piqué nominated defenders for FIFA FIFPro World XI | FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona’s Jordi Alba, Dani Alves and Gerard Piqué are among the candidates to be in the back four of the FIFA FIFPro World XI. The 20 candidates for this position were announced today Wednesday following votes from their colleagues around the world.

Barcelona have made no move for Manchester City's Sergio Aguero | Football News | Sky Sports
Speculation in Spain has the Argentina international as a top target for Barca heading into the winter transfer window. Were no deal to be done in the New Year, the Catalan giants would then be expected to reignite their interest next summer. Aguero has prior experience of life in La Liga from his time at Atletico Madrid and is a close friend of Barca talisman Lionel Messi.

Barca scouts watch Ramsey | Football Espana
Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey’s spectacular form this season has alerted Barcelona, reports the Daily Mail. The Spanish giants have allegedly dispatched scouts to run the rule over Ramsey in Arsenal’s last four games and his country’s matches with Belgium and Macedonia, but Gunners’ boss Arsene Wenger is in no mood to let the 22-year-old depart the Emirates Stadium.

Striker 'excited' by Arsenal's interest, with Chelsea hovering - Spanish report | Soccerlens
The saga of Barca striker Tonny Sanabria is one that has refused to relent this week; with the latest report from ‘’ claiming that the 17-year-old is ‘excited’ to join Arsenal. The Spanish newspaper has also reported that Arsene Wenger has asked the club to up their offer for the attacker, in light of Serie A side Roma’s reported €2m bid.

Ronaldo threatens to boycott Ballon d'Or -
Cristiano Ronaldo has suggested he may boycott the Ballon d'Or following Uefa president Michel Platini comments on Tuesday. The European football chief joked that the award's voting deadline was extended for the sake of the Real Madrid forward, but some Spanish outlets claimed that the Frenchman was being serious with his remarks.

Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas launches anti-cyber bullying campaign - ESPN FC
"I have received all kinds of insults," Casillas said. "Just imagine, being 32 years old and with all of the experience I have. I don’t like it because some people are very cowardly, but you have to live with it and not give it much importance. "I can respect criticism, but if it is done with respect because you can even learn from it."

Athletic Bilbao defender Andoni Iraola signs new deal to summer 2015 | Football News | Sky Sports
Athletic Bilbao defender Andoni Iraola has signed a one-year contract extension with the Primera Division outfit. The 31-year-old right-back came through the youth system with Los Leones and is currently playing in his 11th professional season at the club.

Sevilla striker Vitolo sidelined with sprained ankle | Sky Sports
The 24-year-old suffered the injury in the Europa League draw against Estoril at the end of November and subsequently sat out the Primera Division win against Granada at the weekend. It has now been confirmed that the Spaniard will be out for three to four weeks, meaning he will not return until after the winter break.

Iago Aspas set for La Liga return? | Football Espana
Liverpool striker Iago Aspas could be set for a return to Spanish football after struggling to make an impact at Anfield. According to the Mirror, the 26-year-old is wanted by Valencia and is set to join Los Che on loan during the January transfer window after not featuring for Brendan Rodgers’ side since early October.

Liga - Malaga turn to Jordi Cruyff - Yahoo Eurosport UK
Los Blanquaizules released Mario Husillos from the position last summer and in recent weeks the Argentine has been strongly linked with a return to his old job, which has been left vacant ever since. However, chief executive Vicente Casado is keen to bring in someone with experience of both Spanish and international football, and former Barcelona and Manchester United midfielder Cruyff has emerged as a firm favourite for a return to La Liga.

Absurd new law could destroy Spain’s tiki-taka | Pitchside - Yahoo Eurosport UK
But another law stands out in particular, one that is set to provoke widespread anger among the young and the old. For anyone breaking an absurd regulation regarding ‘the practice of games or sporting activities in spaces not designed for this’ will be fined between €100 and €1000. That’s right, the country whose street football culture has spawned the back-to-back European champions and defending World Cup winners is set to ban kickabouts.

Luis Aragones confirms retirement | Football Espana
In an interview with Vozpopuli, former Spain boss Luis Aragones has confirmed he will not sit on the bench again. The 75-year-old, known as the ‘Wise Man of Hortaleza’ after his birthplace, steered La Roja to their 2008 European Championship triumph and is widely recognised as having initiated the best era in the history of the Spanish national team.

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