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FC Barcelona News: 11 March 2015; Xavi on Verge of Milestone, Mateu Lahoz to Officiate El Clasico

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Squad return in good spirits | FC Barcelona
The first team squad were back in training on Wednesday morning after a two-day break. B team players Munir and Sandro joined in the session at Pitch Number 2 at the Ciutat Esportiva, which saw Ivan Rakitic congratulated for his birthday and Marc Bartra for his recently announced upcoming fatherhood.

Interview with Xavi Hernández to mark 750 games | FC Barcelona
Xavi Hernández could continue making history next Saturday. If he plays against Eibar it’ll be game number 750 for the Catalan midfielder in a Barça shirt after 17 years with the first team. To mark the occasion, we interviewed the Club’s leading appearance maker about his time at the Club.

Find out more about Eibar, FC Barcelona's next opponents | FC Barcelona
Barça face their first ever visit to Ipurua to take on Eibar this Saturday at 6.00pm CET. The Basque club are currently enjoying their first ever season in the Spanish top flight after two consecutive promotion campaigns that have seen them rise up from the Second Division B to the First Division in just two years. Under coach Gaizka Garitano they are currently out of the relegation zone with 12 games of the season remaining.

Ivan Rakitic celebrates birthday in fine form | FC Barcelona
Ivan Rakitic celebrates his 27th birthday on 10 March and he does so in possibly the best form of his Barça career. Now firmly established as a key member of the blaugrana midfield, the Croatian has shown his vision, fitness and eye for goal in recent matches, helping Barça to the Cup Final, improve their league position and to an excellent position in their last 16 Champions League tie.

Luis Enrique has overseen Barcelona's turnaround but must be wary of history - ESPN FC
When you've just gone top of the league for the first time since October, when your team is scoring goals like they're going out of fashion, and when you have successfully "reinvented" Lionel Messi as a right winger, vastly increasing his scoring and assist numbers at the same time, it might look like a present from an approving god of football that your next opponent is a team that have just registered their seventh straight defeat.

Mateu Lahoz to officiate Clasico | Football Espana
Miguel Mateu Lahoz will take charge of the Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid in La Liga on March 22. Los Blancos have pipped the Catalans to two trophies under the referee’s watch, namely the 2013 Supercopa and the Copa del Rey final a year later, both of which finished 2-1 in their favour.

Barcelona star Luis Suarez clear to play for Liverpool in charity game after not being selected in Uruguay squad - ESPN FC
Luis Suarez is clear to return to Liverpool to play in a charity match at the end of March after being left out of Uruguay's next squad. Suarez, who left Anfield for Barcelona in a 75 million pounds move last July, was one of several players who had agreed to take part in a charity match organised by Liverpool.

Neymar transfer to Barcelona was not usual says former tax chief - ESPN FC
A former chief of Spain's tax system has said the controversial deal that took Neymar to Barcelona was done in an unusual way. Spanish judge Pablo Ruz is investigating whether a fraud took place in the transfer, with current Blaugrana president Josep Maria Bartomeu and former club chief Sandro Rosell facing charges of hiding the full transfer cost paid to Santos in summer 2013 and thereby not paying the full taxes due.

Barcelona sending rep to Germany tonight on transfer mission - Sport Witness
It would be a very difficult task, Reus appears to be genuinely happy and Dortmund have brought an abrupt end to their free-fall. Therefore, Barcelona have been looking at alternatives, according to Mundo Deportivo, chief among those right now is Douglas Costa. The Shakhtar Donetsk player made no secret during the January transfer window of his will to leave the club but didn't get a move, he'll be looking for one soon.

Barcelona fans want Joan Laporta to return as club president - poll - ESPN FC
A majority of Barcelona fans would like to see ex-club chief Joan Laporta return to the Camp Nou by winning the forthcoming presidential election, according to a local radio poll. No date has yet been set for the election, which was called by current president Josep Maria Bartomeu in early January, in a bid to try and provide "stability" at the Catalan club which has been rocked by much institutional chaos over recent years.

11 March 1998: First trophy of the Van Gaal era | FC Barcelona
It was the European Super Cup claimed against German side Borussia Dortmund. In the first leg played at Camp Nou on 8 January 1998, Barça had won 2-0 thanks to goals from current coach Luis Enrique and Rivaldo. That win put them on the road to claiming the trophy and two months later in the Westfalen Stadion the blaugranes picked a 1-1 draw that was enough to give them the title.

A man from China hitch hikes from Asia to see a game at Camp Nou | FC Barcelona
The road from China to Catalonia was long and arduous. The route began in his home province, the remote province of Hubei; he made it to Beijing and then on to Manchuria. From there he made his way westward across Russia before arriving at the Baltic states of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia. His journey continued as he continued through Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Italy and France before finally landing in Barcelona.

Ronaldo and Huntelaar score twice as hosts progress | Sky Sports Football
Christian Fuchs opened the scoring for the visitors before Cristiano Ronaldo levelled things four minutes later, then he equalised for a second time before the break after Klaas-Jan Huntelaar had prodded Schalke back in front. Karim Benzema scored an excellent individual goal to put the hosts in front on the night, but they were soon pegged back as Leroy Sane fired in from outside the box and Schalke went back in front with a superb second from Huntelaar.

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo frustrated and avoiding the press | Sky Sports
Ronaldo equalised twice for Madrid in the first half but appeared frustrated by their display at times during the match and TV cameras captured him apparently mouthing "disgrace" to team mate Karim Benzema towards the end. And the prolific Portuguese international also had to be called back by captain Iker Casillas in order to applaud the fans after the final whistle. Ronaldo then appeared in the mixed zone briefly but only to say: "I'm not going to talk.

Danilo-Madrid confirmed in Portugal? | Football Espana
Leading Portuguese daily A Bola is reporting that Real Madrid have agreed a deal to sign Porto right-back Danilo in the summer. According to the newspaper, Los Blancos will pay €30m for the Brazil international, which includes an initial instalment of €10m – a sharp increase on the €20m first thought.

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