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FC Barcelona News: 20 January 2015; Xavi Joins Atletico Madrid Preparations, Two La Liga Kickoff Times Confirmed

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Ten key points from first half of La Liga | FC Barcelona
Luis Enrique has used 22 different players. The injured Vermaelen is the only outfield player not to have featured, while goalkeepers Ter Stegen and Masip have played in other competitions but not the league. Munir and Sandro of Barça B have also been used.

Wonderful half-season for Claudio Bravo | FC Barcelona
Bravo has recorded an astonishing 12 shutouts in the first 19 games of the current Liga season. That means only seven teams have been able to put a goal past him, and only one, Real Madrid can claim to have scored two or more. Celta, Almeria, Sevilla, Espanyol, Real Sociedad and Atlético all scored just once in their meetings with FC Barcelona.

Getting ready for Atlético Madrid | FC Barcelona
FC Barcelona have continued their preparations for Wednesday’s cup showdown against Atlético Madrid (10.00pm CET). On Tuesday morning the full first team squad was joined by Munir of Barça B. Xavi Hernández, despite not having received medical clearance, was able to train normally, as was Dani Alves, who did specific exercises on Monday.

Thoughts turn to Atlético cup tie | FC Barcelona
Back in Barcelona after Sunday night’s healthy 4-0 win away to Deportivo, the first team are now concentrating on the first leg of their cup quarter final with Atlético Madrid at 10.00pm (CET) on Wednesday. A cold, damp training session on Monday morning did not feature Douglas, who is out for three to four weeks with a thigh injury.

FC Barcelona 5-4 Atlético Madrid: What a night! | FC Barcelona
Barça host Atlético Madrid in the first leg of the Spanish Cup quarter final on Wednesday night. The game is sure to bring back memories of a quarter final between the same two sides back in 1997 – one so incredible that people in Barcelona still remember where they were the night that Barça beat Atlético 5-4.

Levante and Málaga kick-off times confirmed | FC Barcelona
Two new kick-off times have been confirmed – the back-to-back matches at the Camp Nou that Barça will play directly after taking on Athletic Bilbao at San Mamés. The Catalans entertain Malaga and Levante, with a Spanish Cup semi-final in between, should they get past Atlético in the quarters.

Ten facts about Messi's 30 hat-tricks | FC Barcelona
1) All over the place. There are no exceptions where Leo Messi is concerned. He has scored hat-tricks in La Liga (22), the Champions League (5), the Cup (2) and the Spanish Super Cup (1). He got 19 at the Camp Nou and 11 on the road.

Selling Lionel Messi not option Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu - ESPN FC
"He is ambitious and wants to win. He is having a magnificent season. He is the leader and acts that way. We have Messi for many years, and I do not see any option to sell him, or any of his teammates. They should give Messi every Ballon d'Or, for how he is, and how he plays football."

Barcelona - Ivan Rakitic shows his worth in Luis Enrique side - ESPN FC
The success or failure of the Croatian at the Camp Nou is inextricably intertwined with that of Enrique himself. When the manager initially conceived his project at the club, he specifically requested Rakitic over Toni Kroos, who better fits the mould of a traditional Barça midfielder. A bold move, sure, but one that initially looked sound, given two goals and an assist from the new Blaugrana signing's in the first six rounds of La Liga in 2014-15.

Ferrer: Suarez struggling | Revista de la Liga | Sky Sports
"Luiz Suarez is a bit nervous of his situation," he said. "I think he has realised that he’s come from a team where he was the star and he’s not anymore, so he has to cope with that. You can see from the pictures that he’s still a little bit nervous.

Jaume Descals, FC Barcelona's number 1 member, passes away | FC Barcelona
Jaume Descals Sanmartí, FC Barcelona club member number one since 2010, passed away this weekend at the age of 91 years. He was born on March 13, 1923 and three years later, on March 31, 1926, his father signed him up as a Barça member. He spent an astonishing 88 years as an associate of the club and became member number one in January 2010.

Real Madrid suffering as Carlo Ancelotti refuses to rotate - ESPN FC
Kroos has racked up 1,561 minutes of a possible 1,620 in La Liga this season. In all competitions he has played 2,555 minutes, more than any other squad member including even Cristiano Ronaldo, albeit by a little over half an hour. Rodriguez's injury gave the Colombian a brief respite but Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale have still played more than any member of the defence or even Iker Casillas.

Arsenal interested in Villarreal defender Gabriel Paulista, say Sky sources | Sky Sports
Arsenal are interested in signing the Villarreal defender Gabriel Paulista – but the Spaniards will only sell in this transfer window if a club meets his buy-out clause of around £15m, according to Sky sources. Other sources say no deal between the two clubs is imminent.

Valencia confirm Otamendi bid but will not name club | Sky Sports
Spanish football expert Guillem Ballague has been told that Manchester United made the bid. But this is being strongly denied by sources inside Old Trafford, and Valencia also say Otamendi will stay at the club in this window. The 26-year-old, who has won 18 Argentina caps, started his career in his homeland Velez Sarsfield before moving to Porto in 2010.

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