By beating Real Betis on Sunday, Barcelona went some way to getting over the Champions League disappointment against Bayern Munich. The win also put them on the brink of clinching the Spanish Primera Liga title for the 22nd time and the fourth time in five years. In fact, Barca could win it this week without playing, if Real Madrid fail to beat Malaga at the Bernabeu tomorrow.
Barcelona gave their coach, Tito Vilanova, the perfect tonic to aid his recovery yesterdayn with an easy 3-1 victory away against Valladolid. Vilanova underwent surgery to remove a cancerous tumour last week and so Jordi Roura was stand in coach for the game, and until Vilanova can take charge again. The operation went well and he is already out of hospital, but his players were obviously keen on giving him a further boost before the short winter break.
If Andreu Fontas was going to get a chance to play in the Barcelona first team this year then he would have already made his debut for the season. With the two main central defenders, Carlos Puyola nd Gerard Pique, on the treatment table, Barca had to play the two midfielders Mascherano and Song at the back.
22-year old Fontas has made 16 appearances for the Barca first team since his debut back in 2009, but he missed most of last season with injury. The central defender can also play at left back and has impressed in his 72 games for the Barcelona B team.
When Eric Abidal was released from hospital on May 21st, the Barcelona and France defender was told that he might be able to play football again but not many really thought it was possible.
Abidal had undergone a liver transplant and was not allowed to do such things as petting dogs or touching flowers because his immune system was so weak. Add to that the fact he is now 33-years old and had lost all his strength and fitness and the chances of him ever pulling on a Barcelona shirt in anger were remote in the extreme.
Can Pepe really believe what he says? Is he so delusional that he thinks that he thinks that Iniesta, Messi and the other Barcelona players are what he calls “theatre people” and that him and his Real Madrid team mates are hard done to.
He was referring to the clash during Sunday’s Clasico where it looked like Pepe stood on the foot of Iniesta for a penalty which was not given. Replays showed it was just inches outside the box, but it was still a foul. It is not the first time that Pepe has got away with fouls, some of them bordering on assault, against Barcelona.
During the second half, every time he was on the ball he was greeted with chants of “Messi, Messi.” It seemed to get under the skin of the Real Madrid striker and he became more erratic and frustrated. He did not even look happy when Varela scored the winner for Portugal in the last few minutes.
25-year old Portuguese international winger Nani might be on his way out os Manchester United. He has 18 months left to run on his current deal with United but has declined an extension that would have seen his weekly wage rise from £90,000 per week to around £130,000, Talksport reports. He is casting his eyes towards Barcelona and Madrid.
“My agent is waiting for news about United. We have presented a counter offer and now it depends what the club thinks.” Nani also stated that he would be willing to seek his fortune elsewhere after five years at Old Trafford. He has won a lot since joining the club, including the Premier league and the Champion’s league.
Branislav Ivanovic admitted at the weekend that Real Madrid had contacted him about a move to the Spanish capital. Jose Mourinho is a big fan of tough tackling Ivanovic but new Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova is ready to instigate the first clash between the coaches since Mourinho put his finger in the eye of Vilanova during a derby match.
Barcelona need some cover and extra steel in their defense and Vilanova has identified Ivanovic as the man to supply it. AC Milan are determined to hold on to their star Brazilian defender Thiago Silva, so Barca may be ready to offer Chelsea close to the £23 million that they want for Ivanovic.