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FC Barcelona News: 23 August 2014; Thomas Vermaelen and Pedro Train on the Pitch, 2014-2015 La Liga Set to Begin

Jasper Juinen

Vermaelen and Pedro, fitness training apart from the group | FC Barcelona
This Friday, Thomas Vermaelen begun to work on the pitch, though separately from the main group. It’s the first time the Belgian has been able to do this since sustaining a hamstring injury. Pedro was also present, but is still not fully recovered from gastroenteritis and is thus doubtful for the game on Sunday at home to Elche (9 PM CET).

Xavi: "I’m more motivated than on my first day" | FC Barcelona
"I’m more motivated than on my first day because I like what I’m seeing" he said. "The squad are working really well under Luis Enrique. If you could see how the team is training you’d know that things are looking good." Xavi has noted that each training exercise has a specific objective, and these objectives are being fulfilled.

Xavi, a Liga legend at FC Barcelona | FC Barcelona
"This team always wants to win" Xavi said last season, when describing how no Barça team ever assumes that the Liga title is lost. And he is still hungry to continue breaking records in a competition that he has won seven times, more than any other Barça player in the entire history of the club. In sixteen consecutive league seasons he has set a club record of 474 appearances in the competition, and in terms of overall titles he is also the most decorated player in Barça history.

Five winning starts in a row | FC Barcelona
In any league, consistency is always a crucial factor, and that consistency has to last from start to finish of the season. Every team wants to get a win under its belt as soon as possible, and if that can come in the first game, then so much the better. From Pep Guardiola to Tito Vilanova and then Tata Martino, FC Barcelona have done just that for the last five years.

The Barca-Madrid arms race has peaked – and it could damage both clubs | Eurosport
Barcelona felt they had to respond. Not to a goal, however, nor a Real Madrid victory - at least not on the pitch. It was a signing. Back around the turn of the millennium, when the Spanish sports papers would annually proclaim their domestic title "the league of stars" on account of the latest mega-purchases, the Catalans felt they urgently had to make a statement.

Barcelona starts new La Liga season under cloud of uncertainty -
Right now, Barcelona confronts the confusing sensation that the remaining 10 days of 2014's summer transfer window must cover both markets in 2015. The Catalan club learned Wednesday that its ban from recruiting players, imposed by FIFA after it was found to have broken rules on signing youth players, will prevent the club from adding players for 18 months after Sept. 1.

Sergi Samper - Barcelona's modern-day Pep Guardiola? - ESPN FC
Samper is no Busquets, however: he is a very different kind of Barcelona pivot, one much more comparable in terms of his range of passing to the way Pep Guardiola played the role. With a capacity to place a cross-field ball on a sixpence that would make Andrea Pirlo proud, Samper also has the energy required to meet the physical challenges faced by contemporary midfielders.

Atletico Madrid beat Real Madrid 1-0 at home to lift trophy | Sky Sports Football
Atletico Madrid prevailed in the Spanish Super Cup as Mario Mandzukic’s goal sealed a 1-0 victory at the Vicente Calderon. Following a 1-1 draw in the first leg, Atletico shaded a tight game on home soil to ensure there was no repeat of Real’s success in the UEFA Champions League final at the end of last season.

Atletico Madrid: Quinton Fortune thinks Diego Simeone's side can win La Liga again | Football News | Sky Sports
"This result shows to not just Real Madrid and Barcelona but the rest of La Liga that they are not going to give anyone an easy season," Fortune said after Atletico’s victory at the Vicente Calderon. "They have reached the Champions League final and won La Liga and they have definitely proved they are contenders again to win the Spanish title."

Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone sorry for tapping official - ESPN FC
Simeone was sent to the stands midway through the first half by referee David Fernandez Borbalan for angry sideline protests, with the Argentine coach twice tapping (or lightly slapping) the head of fourth official Antonio Santos Pargana with an open hand as he left the technical area.

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