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FC Barcelona News: 19 March 2013; Eric Abidal Plays in Friendly Game with Barça B, International Break Begins

Manuel Queimadelos Alonso

Abidal makes long-awaited Barcelona comeback -
Barcelona have received some encouraging news from the treatment table as Eric Abidal has resumed match action again after a lengthy spell on the sidelines. With the majority of the Blaugrana players away on international duty, the Frenchman took part in a friendly match with Barcelona B against Ligue 2 outfit Istres on Tuesday morning.

18 first team players off on international duty | FC Barcelona
The Barça squad will again be decimated by international commitments over the next ten days or so, with 18 players away with their national sides for World Cup qualifiers and friendlies. Spain boss Vicente del Bosque has called up Valdés, Piqué, Alba, Xavi, Iniesta, Cesc, Sergio, Villa and Pedro for two key qualifiers against Finland in Gijon this Friday and then in Paris against France.

Barcelona urge caution from Spain FA over Xavi - ESPN FC
"We know Xavi's physical situation, and the federation know it too," he said. "The national teams play a lot of games, but April and May are very important for us, decisive for this club. We ask for everyone to understand our schedule. We hope everything goes well for everyone."

Villa, "happy to help with goals and assists" | FC Barcelona
David Villa was one of the stars of the game against Rayo, scoring the first goal and then setting up Leo Messi for the next two. Speaking on the Barça TV programme "El Marcador", he explained: "I’m happy to help the team with goals and assists. I don’t normally set up that many goals and I really feel valuable having done so in these last couple of matches.

Training this week with a minimum of squad players | FC Barcelona
The three first team squad members available - Jonathan Dos Santos, Éric Abidal and José Manuel Pinto, trained at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper this morning, with the keeper working in the gym. The three were joined by B team players Sergi Gómez, Oier Olazábal, Miguel Bañuz, Sergio Araujo, Ivan Balliu, Javier Espinosa, Joan Román and Kiko Femenia.

Facts and figures from the Rayo win | FC Barcelona
Full back Dani Alves, who came on as a first-half sub, was the Barça player who made most passes, 67, beating Piqué (58) and Mascherano (55). Trashorras made 87 for Rayo. Villa started for his fourth straight game – a record for this season- having been in the starting line-up against Madrid (1-2), Deportivo (2-0), AC Milan (4-0) and Rayo (3-1), scoring against the last two.

'Marca’ awards Pichichi and Zamora trophies to Leo Messi and Víctor Valdés | FC Barcelona
The Blaugrana keeper, who now has five Zamora titles, dedicated his most recent trophy to his teammates and the ex-Barça keeper Antoni Ramallets, who also won five Zamoras: "I’m receiving the award, but it belongs to my teammates who helped me win it. This is my fifth, and I want to remember Ramallets. He is more than a legend, and he also won five Zamoras over the course of his career."

Messi and Villa have scored 54,7% of the team’s goals | FC Barcelona
The goals from Messi and Villa in the win over Rayo, mean that Barça can go into the international break with a comfortable cushion at the top of the table. The two have proved to be the team’s main weapon so far this season, with 54.7% of the team’s goals so far this campaign.

UEFA to hear Ibra appeal | Football Espana
Zlatan Ibrahimovic could be available for Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final with Barcelona. The former Barca striker is currently suspended for the first leg in France next month, as he serves the second of a two-game ban for a red card picked up against Valencia in the Last 16 first leg.

Toulouse defender Aymen Abdennour says he is a target for Barcelona | Sky Sports
Toulouse defender Aymen Abdennour has confirmed he is a target for Barcelona and was invited to watch the recent UEFA Champions League against AC Milan. "I know that Barcelona are following me and four other defenders, at least," Abdennour told Radio Montecarlo. "If there is to be an offer from them at the end of the season then I will not say no, but Toulouse's president will decide."

Administrators call for Deportivo chief to stand down - ESPN FC
The administrators currently examining Deportivo La Coruna's accounts have called for the exit of long-serving president Augusto Cesar Lendoiro, saying his financial mismanagement is directly responsible for the shocking state of the club's finances.

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