Barcelona boss Tito Vilanova will have a full strength squad to choose from for Saturday’s trip to Madrid to play Getafe in La Liga. Captain Carlos Puyol has not joined up with the Spanish national team, but has been training in a specially designed mask. Medical experts believe he will have recovered from his the broken cheekbone he picked up against Osasuna two weeks ago.
Thiago Alcontara has recovered from his cracked Tibia but is short of match fitness, not having appeared since May. He could be used as a substitute if Barca are comfortable in the match. Vilanova will not be taking anything for granted, especially as Getafe have already beaten Real Madrid.
Dani Alves will be fit, as he played the full 90 minutes of Brazil’s friendly against South Africa last Friday, despite his manager urging him not to risk aggravating the thigh strain that kept him out of the Supercopa against Madrid.
Cesc Fabregas has restated his devotion to the Barcelona cause after his statements led to wild speculation in the world’s media that he was set to leave. The midfielder clearly wants more playing time, but has admitted that he just needs to keep positive and keep working. In a team like Barcelona, there are superstars everywhere you look and he must earn his place.
Fans of Peru gave Leo Messi a hostile reception as the Argentinean team emerged from the aeroplane at Lima airport. After an organised internet campaign, he was greeted with shouts of “Christiano, Christiano.” The idea is obviously to get under his skin as has happened with Ronaldo in certain matches, but I doubt that it will affect Messi much. He might just score a few more to punish them.