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FC Barcelona News: 8 January 2015; Jeremy Mathieu, Xavi Miss Out on Match Squad with Injuries

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Match Preview: FC Barcelona - Elche | FC Barcelona
Barça face Elche in the first leg of their Last 16 round Spanish Cup tie on Thursday night (10.00pm CET) at the Camp Nou as a busy January schedule starts to kick in. Thursday’s game will be the first of three games between the two teams this month.

18 players named in squad for Elche | FC Barcelona
According to the Club doctors, Jérémy Mathieu has a twinge in his Achilles tendon and he will be under observation to decide on his availability for the next game. Bravo, Busquets, Iniesta, Rafinha and Douglas are all omitted from the squad for the game.

Iniesta in for injured Xavi | FC Barcelona
Xavi Hernández will miss tonight’s game against Elche and is doubtful for Sunday’s league clash with Atletico Madrid after Club Doctors announced he was suffering from a calf strain in his left leg. Andrés Iniesta comes into the squad to face Elche in Xavi’s place.

Luis Enrique confident and motivated | FC Barcelona
"I feel confident and motivated, thinking about where we can improve. Focused on the things I can control. I still have the same faith in the players." Coach Luis Enrique’s words in his appearance before the press the day before his team’s Spanish Cup clash with Elche. Following the defeat at Anoeta and the Club’s recent decisions, the man from Asturias assured that he was in good spirits.

Bartomeu: "Messi is a leader in the squad" | FC Barcelona
During the press conference to announce, Presidential elections at the end of the 2014/15 season, Josep Maria Bartomeu also spoke about the current sporting situation of the first team and defended the figures of Leo Messi and Luis Enrique. Following reports of a rift between the two, President Bartomeu insisted that the "best player in the world" and the coach had a "fine" relationship and made it clear: "we can’t go around rebutting every story that appears in the press".

Barcelona crisis: Messi isolated, Neymar's Suarez spat and players bloated on success | Eurosport
Barca were booed off the field when Atletico last visited to lift the league title in May. After, club president Josep Maria Bartomeu, who took over less than a year ago, promised "profound changes" at the club. While Cesc Fabregas and Alexis Sanchez moved on and Carlos Puyol moved upstairs, Barca have been unable to leave behind the problems which marred 2014. Issues came to a head following Sunday's defeat to Dave Moyes improving and well-organised Real Sociedad.

'Messi or me' - Luis Enrique's ultimatum to the Barcelona board - Goal.com
It is clear that a major power struggle is underway at Barcelona. Coach Luis Enrique has told the board that he and Lionel Messi can no longer work together and the Argentine attacker is also considering his future at the club.

‘Messi made Barca a promise’ claim | Football Espana
"As far as I know these problems started around two years ago. Messi is only at Barcelona because of a promise he made to [former boss] Tito Vilanova on his deathbed," revealed Ten Cate. "However, I think a transfer would be in everyone’s best interests because Leo has been with Barca quite a while and needs a new challenge.

Presidential elections at the end of the season | FC Barcelona
President Jose Maria Bartomeu announced during a press conference this Wednesday and after discussions with his Board members, that he will be calling Presidential elections at the end of this season. Bartomeu explained he’d taken the decision "to lower the tension at the Club right now" – a tension which is "disproportionate and doesn’t reflect the reality of the Club.

Fernando Torres debuts as Atletico Madrid beat Real Madrid in last-16 first leg | Sky Sports Football
Fernando Torres made his second debut for Atletico Madrid as the Spanish champions beat city rivals Real Madrid 2-0 in the first leg of their Copa del Rey last-16 tie. Returning to the club where he established his reputation before moving on to Liverpool, Chelsea and AC Milan, striker Torres had a largely quiet game and was substituted after an hour.

Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti dismisses talk of 'crisis' | Football News | Sky Sports
Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has laughed off suggestions that his team is in crisis after Wednesday's 2-0 defeat at Atletico Madrid in the Copa del Rey. Ancelotti's side will need to overturn the deficit if they are to defend the Copa after second-half goals from Raul Garcia and teenage defender Jose Maria Gimenez handed Atletico the advantage in their round of 16 tie.

Martin Odegaard close to €4m move to Real Madrid, report says - ESPN FC
The asking price for Odegaard has not risen to an excessive level because he would be able to move on from Stromsgodset on a free transfer at the end of his contract in June. The Norwegian outfit decided it would be better for all parties if they cashed in on the player now.

Official: Cani joins Atletico Madrid on loan - Goal.com
Atletico Madrid has completed the loan signing of Villarreal midfielder Cani, who has been a peripheral player at El Madrigal this season. The 33-year-old has started just five games in La Liga this season for the Yellow Submarine, although an ankle sprain did keep him sidelined for four games ahead of the winter break.