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FC Barcelona News: 29 July 2013: Internationals Join Training, Gareth Bale Edges Closer To Real Madrid Transfer

The ten internationals who featured at the 2013 Confederations Cup have today returned to training, while Gareth Bale is said to be edging closer to a world-record transfer to Barca's rivals, Real Madrid

Neymar could even make his debut tomorrow...
Neymar could even make his debut tomorrow...
David Ramos

The ten players who played in the Confederations Cup began their pre-season with medical tests this morning. The Brazilians Alves and Neymar and the Spanish internationals Valdés, Jordi Alba, Piqué, Sergio Busquets, Cesc, Iniesta, Xavi and Pedro were put through various tests, including an echocardiogram, strength test, muscle and bone echo graphs and a bone densitometer examination.

Tata Martino took his first training session as Barça coach this morninig. The Argentinean began the morning with a team talk with the whole squad in the middle of Training Pitch Number 1 Ciutat Esportiva. Martino was able to count on all the players in his squad with the return this morning of the internationals who took part in the Confederations Cup.

Chelsea could face a fight to keep David Luiz after Barcelona made the Brazilian their number one priority. The Spanish champions' long-term interest in Thiago Silva was ended after Paris Saint-Germain tied the centre-back down to a new deal, and with Roma defender Marquinhos also rejecting Barcelona's overtures to sign on at the Parc des Princes, the capture of 26-year-old Luiz has become more important than ever.

It seems that the signing of Gareth Bale by Real Madrid is just around the corner. The Welsh star returned to London on Sunday from Hong Kong, where he has been with Tottenham Hotspur, although he has not played for one single minute nor appeared in any of the club's promotional events. There is, as he told MARCA last week, just one single thought in his head - to play for Real Madrid - now.

Tottenham Hotspur are working on a deal to sign 28-year-old Valencia striker Roberto Soldado. Negotiations between the clubs are progressing well and although some details still have to be agreed, Spurs are confident of completing a deal for the Spain international. He scored 30 goals in 46 appearances for the La Liga club last season.

Gareth Bale has been left distraught by the refusal of Daniel Levy, the Tottenham Hotspur chairman, to consider a world record €100m – £86.3m – offer from Real Madrid. Real have made their move for their long-time target and Bale is determined to complete the transfer. He wants to play Champions League football, which Tottenham cannot offer after they finished fifth in the Premier League last season, but the allure of Real runs some way deeper.

Leo Messi continues to win awards and trophies at a frenetic pace and today Barça’s World Number One has been awarded the Goal 50 Prize, heading the list of 50 players chosen by 500 journalists from the website. Franck Ribery came second, with Cristiano Ronaldo third.

Cardiff are ready to beat rival neighbours Swansea yet again with a bid for Espanyol defender Hector Moreno. The Bluebirds, who have also expressed interest in Bakari Kone of Lyon, have offered around £4million but the Spanish club value the Mexico defender at £8m.

Spanish side Espanyol are ready to hand Mubarak Wakaso an improved contract in an attempt to retain the sought-after midfielder. He is one of the least paid players in the club's set up but one of the most effective. English Premier League side Swansea are reported to have tabled a bid which did not meet the asking price of the player.

Raul is confident that Julian Draxler has a bright future ahead of him and thinks the Schalke star will be ready to join the likes of Real Madrid within two years. "Julian has a bright future ahead of him. I expect him to make the step to an English or Spanish top club within one to two years," the Spaniard was quoted as saying by Bild. "And I would obviously prefer it if he were to join Real Madrid rather than Barcelona. I would like to continue giving him tips and advice."

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