31 December 2011

Osasuna prepares Cup match against Barcelona

The Club Atlético Osasuna has fired 2011 with a morning workout in Tajonar facilities, which has prepared the Copa del Rey match next Wednesday, January 4, against FC Barcelona at Camp Nou.

For an hour and a half, the team has made technical pinko collective possession drills, actions auction and game, the club said on its website.

Like yesterday, the medical report is completed by six players: Echaide, Marc Bertrán, Masoud, Rubén, Raúl García and Kike Sola. Sunday morning, the Osasuna squad will rest day and back at work on Monday, January 2nd, from 10:00 hours. (via AS)

Thiago: “The challenge is to progress”

The midfielder believes that 2011 has been a “gratifying” year and he hopes to “continue learning from his teammates” in 2012.

Thiago is a nonconformist. “On a personal level, my challenge for 2012 is to continue progressing and to keep on learning from my teammates. On a collective level, we want to continue along the same lines that we’ve set for ourselves in recent times, which have been fabulous.” The midfielder didn’t rule out the possibility of winning another treble, although he did say that “it would be a difficult feat.” In the last press conference of the year, Thiago said he was satisfied with the team’s performance in 2011: “It has been a gratifying year, on a personal and familial level. In my wildest dreams I could not have imagined finishing the year like this.”

One of the first events of 2012 is the FIFA Ballon d’Or gala on January 9th. For Thiago, the favourite to win top prize is Leo Messi: “The whole world believes that he’s the favourite. He’s number one in this sport and after the year he’s put in, I believe that he deserves it. He doesn’t stop surprising us. He’s able to do just about anything with the ball. His qualities are unique, it’s a pleasure to play alongside him.”

Before the FIFA Ballon d’Or gala, Barça must play in the last-16 round of the King’s Cup and then in the League derby against Espanyol. On the Osasuna clash, Thiago doesn’t believe Barça will repeat their 8-0 League thrashing of the Northerners: “Every game is different from the previous one. They can design a completely different game plan this time around, both teams know each other a little better now. I don’t know what the game will be like.” FC Barcelona’s number 11 is positive that the team will be in peak physical condition for the year’s first game: “It’s always difficult to get over the turrón (traditional Iberian holiday treat), but I believe that we’ve all returned without any problems and in perfect physical condition.” (via FCBarcelona.cat)

Thiago, Cesc and Fontàs attend Barcelona's Children's Festival

The first team players visited FC Barcelona’s ‘Somos lo que respetamos’ (We are what we respect) stand. Cesc, Thiago and Fontàs played football with the children and signed autographs.

Barça’s first team players are committed to FC Barcelona Foundation’s social campaigns. This Monday afternoon, a small contingent from Guardiola’s team – Cesc, Thiago and Fontàs – attended the Foundation’s stand at the Barcelona Children’s Festival, located in the second pavilion at Montjuïc’s fairgrounds.

The Foundation has been promoting the ‘Somos lo que respetamos’ (We are what we respect) campaign – which aims to teach children the social value of respect, tolerance and sociability through recreational and educational activities – at Children’s Festival since December 27th. The Festival concludes on the 4th of January.

Cesc, Thiago and Fontàs drew a lot of excitement to the FC Barcelona Foundation stand. The three footballers played a football match on a small field with 10 children, afterward the players attended the long line of children waiting to get their posters and photos signed. Surely, many of the children's dreams to play alongside a professional FC Barcelona player became reality today. (via FCBarcelona.cat)

Barça hoping to dominate UEFA.com Team of the Year

Less than a week before the vote closes, eight Barça players plus manager Pep Guardiola are in the running for a place in the UEFA.com Team of the Year 2011.

Following on from a near monopoly of the teams of the year announced by the prestigious sports papers L'Équipe and La Gazzetta dello Sport, Barça is hoping to extend the Club's dominance to the UEFA.com Team of the Year. Eight Barça players are among the contenders: Víctor Valdés (goalkeeper), Alves (right-back), Piqué and Mascherano (central defenders), Abidal (left-back), Xavi (central midfield), Iniesta (attacking midfield) and Messi (forward). Pep Guardiola has also been nominated for coach of the year.

Voting will close on 6th January at noon. Last year the website registered more than five million votes. The candidates are chosen by the editors of UEFA.com on the basis of their performances with their club and national teams. Barça has had a fantastic 2011 winning the Spanish league, the Champions League, the Spanish Super Cup, the European Super Cup and the World Club Cup. (via FCBarcelona.cat)

The best phrases of Guardiola in 2011

Remember the best technical phrases Santpedor this 2011?

The press conference after the Cup final against Real Madrid, the Madrid-Barcelona prior to the first leg of Champions League semifinal, the statements after winning the Champions League final at Wembley, the speech in the Parliament of Catalunya and the words Once lifted the Club World Cup in Japan have some of the best quotes of the year of Josep Guardiola. (via FCBarcelona.cat)

Alexis trains with the team, Puyol and Keita continue recovery work

Barça closed out 2011 with a morning training session at the Ciutat Esportiva, Alexis Sánchez trained at the same rate as his teammates. Abidal, who has the flu, was absent.

The first team completed their final training session of the year this afternoon at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper. Alexis Sánchez, who has been training apart from the group this week, trained with the rest of his teammates. The FC Barcelona players that played in the Catalonia-Tunisia game were also present.

Carles Puyol, however, continued to work apart from the group as he’s recovering from a minor muscle injury and Keita worked out in the gym.

Pep Guardiola was without Éric Abidal this afternoon, as the Frenchman came down with the flu, and the injured players Iniesta (who continued his recovery work), Villa and Afellay. Messi and Alves, both of whom are on holiday, were also absent. The Brazilian is due back in Barcelona this Saturday.

The Barça B players Cuenca, Montoya, Muniesa and Sergi Roberto also trained with the first team. Pep Guardiola is preparing the team for the King’s Cup clash with Osasuna, which is scheduled for the 4th of January. (via FCBarcelona.cat)

Five of Barça in the eleven of 'La Gazzetta'

Up to five players from FC Barcelona Dream Team are part of 'La Gazzetta dello Sport'.

Alves, Pique, Xavi, Iniesta and Messi are part of the 2011 Dream Team became official yesterday the Italian newspaper 'La Gazzetta dello Sport'. "The Spanish rule," is how Italian newspaper headlines in yesterday's edition to explain the development of this ideal team consists of Neuer (Bayern), Alves (Barcelona), Pique (Barcelona), Thiago Silva (Milan) Lahm (Bayern), Schweinsteiger (Bayern), Xavi (Barcelona), Iniesta (Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (Madrid), Messi (Barcelona) and Bale (Tottenham). The training would be a 4-3-3.

Apart from the five chosen Blaugrana are also others who have been on the podium in their respective positions. This is the case of Carles Puyol. Barcelona captain has fallen behind Thiago Silva in the left central position, while Sergio Busquets has occupied the third position as a medium. In the same position has also finished Cesc Fabregas, Arsenal signed this season behind Iniesta and Silva, Manchester City.

For his part, Josep Guardiola has been chosen as the best coach in the year ahead of Alex Ferguson and Tabarez.

Thiago Alcantara, Oriol Romeu and Neymar would be included in the starting team of the ideal of the young promises of world football. The coach of this team would be Luis Enrique, now in Roma. (via SPORT)

Xavi picked the outfit for the Ballon d'Or gala in Claret Serra

Xavi went on Thursday to Manresa to become the suit in which the gala will go to 'FIFA Ballon d'Or' scheduled for Jan. 9 in the Swiss city of Zurich.

It turns out that the midfielder chose the prestigious Serra Claret clothing store for them to take action and draw up the suit. So far so normal, but what is more curious is that the facility is owned by Pep Guardiola's wife, Cristina.

In fact, it made a big splash at the output of the player's store since spread like wildfire the news that Xavi was testing the suit in that store, also located in the heart of the town. Hundreds of young people took the opportunity to ask for a picture or an autograph egarense. Xavi was armed with patience and complied with all requests without wrinkling at any time.

In any event it is not the first time that Xavi visits Serra Claret since also in a regular of the establishment that has in Barcelona.

What is clear is that the Blaugrana want to go as a true 'brush' to its fourth consecutive appearance in this gala. (via SPORT)

[Youth] Ayala, another life has prepared

Like Marti Riverola has played on all computers in the cantera.

The big news in the morning session yesterday was the presence of Sergio Ayala, a centre-back born on March 19, 1993 living in Sant Feliu, a few minutes walk from the Ciutat Esportiva. In the afternoon, he was joined by two colleagues in the Youth A: Jordi Quintillà and Pol Calvet.

Its history parallels that of guard Riverola Martí, the squad who became famous for his response when heated in the Camp Nou in the Champions League against BATE Borisov: "I have prepared a lifetime," said the Barca player B. Well, something's going to Ayala, who arrived in Barca's youth system at the hands of Fran Sanchez, current coach of Infantil A.

Sergio Ayala played in the Penya Blanc i Blava de Sant Feliu,, although he and his immediate family are deeply Barca. Since then he has gone through all the teams in the ranks of FC Barcelona until he arrived last season as the Juvenil A under the command of Oscar Garcia.

Ayala is a lefty and started at left, although his physical progress made central start playing from old cadet. The youth player's head is well furnished, is a player very regular and has no gaps in any facet of the game. So to speak, out from behind the ball better than Puyol and Pique is more blunt. When comparing, one could say that seems to Marc Bartra, while not as offensive as the central branch.

Alongside Alejandro Grimaldo, is the great reference in the rear of the Juvenil A and could make the jump to affiliate next season. Good student, is one of those players who do not stand out too much, but they throw much at fault when they are not. It has a wide stride, is cold and its great virtues is his perseverance and his selfless work capacity. (via SPORT)

[Former B player] Oriol Romeu, Mata's neighbor that has made London his home

The Chelsea midfielder has struggled to assimilate the change, because it has very clear ideas in his head and there is only the ball.

London is kind to the brave and Oriol Romeu is, as in his day also was Cesc Fabregas is. The Ulldecona takes a few months living in the capital of England, but it's practically a citizen `Need more. It has not cost too much to adapt, because the only thing I think is in football, to seize a unique opportunity to become what, little by little, it begins to be: a player from head to toe.

For him, are secondary issues such as language, traffic, weather or food. To him what matters is the ball. In fact, the more impact it had upon arrival in London was not related either to the driving on the left or the English, but the fact of playing every three days, something that had not ever lived. "It's crazy, but at the same time enjoyable. I came here to play football, to do what I like, so ...", defines the midfielder.

Romeu lived until a month ago in a hotel, but now does so in an apartment block in which also lies Juan Mata, who spends most of the time. Both are raised about nine o'clock and head in the same vehicle to the sports city of Chelsea, which is half an hour.

"Now I drive on the right cost," says the exblaugrana, although the first day I got behind the wheel thought it would be impossible to adapt. After lunch in the clubhouse before training have to learn English. Romeu and Mata attend class in the same city Ulldecona sports and better every day. Eat before you leave the club and have all afternoon free until the next day.

The problem is that "the four and there is no sun and it seems that the day is over," and perhaps is the only thing that has not been accustomed finish. Do not care if it's cold or heat, if it rains or is cloudy, but the feeling that the day is shorter is something that still weighs on him. Try to make it longer at home, watching a movie, playing the Play, or, occasionally, "making a tourist" by Mata central London. There will not overwhelms people: "They are very respectful. I thought it was because nobody knows me, but same thing happens Mata and world champion. "

From time to time, receives a visit from her parents, her brother and his girlfriend, who have already seen him play several times. Every time they do return to Catalunya quiet because they feel happy. It also take care of the team veterans like Terry, Lampard or Essien Drogba, who admired long before wear the shirt of Chelsea, "Everyone asks me if I need something, how I am, if all goes well ... are very concerned, "he explains.

So does Villas-Boas, a coach for a big bet Romeu who still has much to learn, but every day is better player. "You have to look at how they react peers who have long been in this for every situation, how to train ...". Oriol Romeu enjoys football and the Premier: "It's very nice to play here, is the host. Feel the warmth of your love and see how they animate the rival is a spectacle, "he says.

Is the food? "I am scrupulous and better than what I had said" ... Only interested in football. That is the way. (via SPORT)

[Youth] Calvet, Quintillà and Ayala, Guardiola orders

The inexhaustible 'factory' of La Masia continues to bring new talent into the first team of FC Barcelona. Pep Guardiola was on Friday with three new faces in the evening training.

There are three players in the Juvenil A: defender Sergio Ayala (18) and midfielders Jordi Quintillà (18) and Pol Calvet (17). The first has already acted on occasion with Barça B, and also participated in the morning session on Friday. Ayala is a defender who can act as central and left side. Used know bluntly, while releasing the ball well played from behind. Calvet is an 'made in Masia', creative and organized, which after a campaign marked by injuries has settled into the team. And Quintillà is an offensive-minded midfielder, whose younger brother Xavier defense of juvenile B, 15, has already attracted interest from clubs like Arsenal.

In the afternoon did not practice any of those organized by the Catalan team to play against Tunisia this Friday: Valdés, Font, Pique, Busquets, Xavi, Cesc, Cuenca, Muniesa, Sergi Roberto Montoya.

Carles Puyol was low late in the notice of Johan Cruyff because of some discomfort in the adductor of the left leg, and was brought outside the group, as Alexis. Iniesta, meanwhile, continued his recovery process. (via SPORT)

Raiola wants to be taken to Maxwell now to Milan

The Brazilian full-back can have the days counted in FC Barcelona, because his representative is moving him to be taken to Milan

Mino Raiola, representing Maxwell, is moving to take the full-back azulgrana to Milan this winter, when the market is open from January 2. The manager has an excellent relationship with the directors of all Rossoneri having been directly involved in the operations of Ibrahimovic and Robinho, all contract with Barcelona with whom it had its ups and downs in the wake of the transfer of Ibrahimovic and controversial statements against Pep Guardiola.

The player never has been a mainstay of the team last season but scratched at a good level when Pep Guardiola gave continuity. Today it remains the last piece of the Barcelona defense and, if an offer comes finalmene Italy, would have no problem letting him go because their absence would not alter plans too sporting. His hole could be completely covered by a youth player as is the case Muniesa also left handed.

For now, the offices of FC Barcelona has not yet reached a firm offer from the Italian side but the conviction that there is a strong possibility. What is the club will not seek a solution to the player or make any move to bring about its progress. Basically, do not care to continue or leave.

Mino Raiola is awaiting the opening of the winter market to start making moves in firm but not in a hurry because the operation can be done until late January. It so happens that Mino Raiola is now in Dubai where coincided with Sandro Rosell, Laporta. The representative stated that "Maxwell is a player in many operations. Now, I think it will be difficult to come to Milan because the team already has two sides and do not want overstate Galiani staff. Moreover, from the financial point of view is not a player who can move easily. " The form of the player and the price paid to FC Barcelona in the form of transfer are the two obstacles that must save Raiola to get Maxwell to end up in Milan.

Barca, for now, waiting does not want to give to the player whose contract expires on June 30, 2013. Now the club should charge between one and a half to two million euros. (via SPORT)

[Former player] Henry returns for two months to Arsenal

It is not yet closed, but almost. Wenger confirmed yesterday, the coach of Arsenal: "This is a transfer agreement for two months, but you have to arrange the details, which are not closed. We have to respect the agreements with the American League and the Red Bulls. So We have not announced as safe. " Henry played for Arsenal and between 1999 and 2007, when he joined Barça, and remains the top scorer for the Gunners. (via AS)

[Selection; Catalunya] Cruyff: "Catalunya has everything to win any game"

The Catalan coach, Johan Cruyff believes that the game displayed on the pitch Catalunya "can win any game".

"Winning a championship sounds great, but to me what interests me is the quality football. If you see the first and the second part, this team has every chance to play anywhere and win any match," said Cruyff press conference.

The Dutchman was pleased by "a fairly good game" of his players against an opponent that he was surprised by its quality and technical level.

In addition, Cruyff has praised the team that has ranked in the second half, "with a mean age of 21 years", but admitted that on the whole lacked accuracy.

"We have not been too thin in the auction. They could have fallen enough, but in football you value how you play first," stated the coach, who has welcomed because no player is injured.

Cruyff has deployed players like Roberto Sergi and Cuenca and has stated that Bojan liked by the desire to show things you have.

"Everyone has gone well, perhaps you've missed a goal, but we have been at a high level," said Cruyff on the public's role in the Lluís Companys stadium.

Trabelsi: "Catalunya could win the World Cup"

For its part, the coach of Tunisia, Sami Trabelsi, said that "there are not many teams in the world can be like the Catalan", and considered to have "great players and great quality, and that" could conceivably win the World Cup. " (via SPORT)

Messi appointed ambassador to his native Rosario in the world

Leo Messi has been named ambassador for his native capacity worldwide.
The crack of Barca he was "proud" and pointed out that there "probably" will live when he retires from football.

Lionel Messi , who plays for Barcelona , was today appointed Ambassador of his native Rosario in the world, a distinction of the city in Argentina where his "family and friends," and where "probably" will live when he retires from football, the player said.

"It's a great pride for me to receive this award, in my city, my country. I want to thank this recognition in Rosario, in my home, my birthplace, where my people, my family," said Messi during the act in which he was honored by the mayor of the district, Monica Fein.

The front figure of the selection Argentina , welcomed the award and said he was "very happy" with the appointment he received in the act developed in Rosario, Santa Fe province of Argentina, attended by his parents, Celia and George, and several friends.

"It's very nice that people come from outside and want to know the city (300 km from Buenos Aires). I'm always here even though it is not, are my friends, my family and my people and will surely be my home when I leave football, "said 'Lio'.

Messi also took the opportunity to praise the coach Gerardo Martino and wish the "best" in Newell's Old Boys, who joined coach this week and where the striker took his first steps in football.

He is "a very dear person for the club, for the fan. Hopefully things will go well, I wish him well, the player said who the next January 1 will travel to Barcelona to be added to the trainings of the team.

"I hope to keep growing and keep getting things for Barcelona," recent Club World Cup champion, wanted the player.

Messi has just closed a brilliant 2011, culminating with five titles with Barcelona and 59 goals in 70 games, four of them in the selection Albiceleste.

On Tuesday, Lionel Messi won the Olimpia de Oro sports highlight of the year in Argentina, an award he received for the first time in his career. (via MD)

Puyol visited La Pobla

Carles Puyol has enjoyed their Christmas holidays in La Pobla de Segur with his family and closest friends . Before returning to work under the orders of Pep Guardiola on Thursday 29, the captain of FC Barcelona was the detail of the football field near the village, seeing different teams to train and chat a while with the young players who will both admire. 'Puyi' photos with all the templates and hung one of these images into his 'facebook'. (via MD)

[Selection; Catalunya] Catalunya 0 - 0 Tunisia

10 FC Barcelona players played in the international friendly between Catalonia and Tunisia. Andreu Fontas was the only Barça player to play the full 90 minutes.

The friendly between Catalonia and Tunisia ended in a goalless draw. At Montjuic, in front of 36,545 supporters, the side managed by Johan Cruyff deserved better against the Tunisian national team, who is in the middle of finalizing preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations that will take place in January. 10 FC Barcelona players played in tonight’s game –six featured in the starting XI, and four came off the bench– only Fontas played the full 90 minutes. It’s worth mentioning that Carles Puyol, who had been named to the Catalan side, didn’t play due to an injury to the adductor in his left leg.

Before the match, the ex-Barça player Roger Garcia received a warm and special homage: he’s the footballer that has played the most games for Catalonia (12).

The Tunisians came out swinging and surprised the Catalan side at the start. The visitors created various goal-scoring chances but Valdés did well to save each one. With six Barça players on the pitch, Johan Cryuff’s side slowing wrestled control of the game away from the Tunisians. However, Catalonia was having trouble creating chances on Mathlouthi’s goal. The best chances for the Catalans in the first half fell to Bojan, who’s shot hit the woodwork on 11 minutes, and for Piqué, who couldn’t connect well with the ball when he was in the six-yard box.

At the other end, Tunisia, who had started strong, was only able to create one more chance before the break. The referee called a hand ball on Valdés outside of the area (the keeper was not booked). The draw at the break was a fair result for both sides.

In the second half, Johan Cryuff subbed in eight new players. The Barça players Piqué, Busquets, Xavi and Cesc left the pitch for Montoya, Muniesa, Sergi Roberto and Cuenca. With the substitutions, Fontas changed his position form full back to central defensive midfielder. On 51 minutes, the keepers were also changed: Valdés for Casilla. With nine new players on the pitch –the only remaining starters were Fontas and Bojan– Catalonia created its best chances and enjoyed 80% of ball possession. Bojan, once again, came close to scoring, and Sergi Roberto and Cuenca were simply brilliant. The winning goal, however, never came. (via FCBarcelona.cat)

[Technical Data]
Catalunya: Valdés (Casilla, min 51), Juste (Montoya, min 45), Piqué (Raúl Rodríguez, min 45), Fontàs, Dídac (Muniesa, min 45), Busquets (Amat, min 45), Xavi (Sergi Roberto ,min 45), Cesc (Verdú, min 45), Coro (Cuenca, min 45), Sergio García (Álvaro Vázquez, min 45) and Bojan (Puigdollers, min 73).

Túnez: Mathlouthi, Benyahia (Boussaidi, min 74), Chammam, Ifa, Abdennoun, Korbi (Baratli, min 73), Traoni, Darrafi (Chikhaoui, min 57), Chermití, Misakui and Dahaouahi.

Goal: -

Referee: Álvarez Izquierdo. He admonished Abdennoun (m.31) a Chickhaoui (m.66), y a Misakui (m.68).

Incidents: Friendly match held at the Olímpico Lluís Companys Stadium before 36,545 people. The president of the Generalitat, Artur Mas, has chaired the Royal Box. It has honored former player Roger Garcia, the player with most appearances for Barcelona.

Training session without Catalan internationals

Barça completed its second training session of the day without the Catalan internationals. Puyol, Keita and Alexis, all of whom are dealing with minor injuries, trained apart from the group.

Today’s second training session was attended by fewer footballers than normal due to the game between Catalonia’s national team and Tunisia at Montjuic. Barça was without Valdés, Fontàs, Piqué, Busquets, Xavi, Cesc, Muniesa, Montoya and Sergi Roberto this evening at the Ciutat Esportiva.

The absentees were replaced by the reserve keeper Masip and the under-17 side players Ayala (who trained this morning with the first team), Calvet and Jordi Quintillà. Puyol, Keita and Alexis, all of whom have niggling injuries, trained apart from the main group.

Barça will hold their final training session of 2011 tomorrow, Saturday, at 10.00 at Sant Joan Despí. (via FCBarcelona.cat)

Messi named ‘World's Top Goal Scorer’ of 2011

The Argentinian, who scored 19 goals in international matches, was recognized by the Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) as the top goal scorer of 2011.

Leo Messi keeps on winning titles and awards. The latest title to be awarded to the Argentinian came this Friday, when the International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) named Barça’s genius striker as the ‘World's Top Goal Scorer’ of 2011. In the past 12 months Messi has scored 19 goals, two more than Falcao, the second place finisher. The award only takes into consideration goals that have been scored in international and Olympic matches and continental tournaments.

David Villa, tenth

FC Barcelona has two top-10 finishers this year. David Villa, who finished tenth, is level with Cristiano Ronaldo, both with 12 goals. (via FCBarcelona.cat)

Here is the complete list of the top goalscorers in 2011:

1- Leo Messi, FC Barcelona (19 goals)
2- Radamel Falcao, Porto/Atlético de Madrid (17 goals)
3- Hasan Mahmoud, Kuwait-City/Al-Wehdat/Jordan (16 goals)
4- Mario Gómez, Bayern Munich (16 goals)
5- Javier Hernández, Manchester United (15 goals)
6- Sunil Chhetri, FC Kolkata (14 goals)
7- Neymar, Santos FC (14 goals)
8- Abdullah Khaled Deeb, Al-Wehdat (13 goals)
9- Eduardo Jesús Vargas, Universidad de Chile (13 goals)
10- David Villa, FC Barcelona; Cristiano Ronaldo, Madrid (12 goals)

Home-grown Masía players in Champions League football

Apart from the many home-grown players who are defending Barça’s European crown this season, there are six other players brought up through the Barça youth system who will be hoping to win the Champions League with their new clubs.

The success of La Masía academy is usually judged by the number of players who make it through the youth system right up to the Barça first team. However, for some years now, many talented young players have had to move away from the Club in order to find regular first team football. Six of these players - Arteta, Motta, Romeu, Miquel, Nolito and Urko – will be taking part in the next stage of the CL.

At the age of 29, Thiago Motta and Mikel Arteta are two of the most well-known players to have come out of the Barça youth system in the last decade. Motta, who played in the first team from 2001 to 2007, has already played twice for Inter in the Champions League this season while Arteta, who has replaced Cesc in Arsene Wenger's Arsenal, has taken part in five of the six matches so far.

Two other former Barça youth stars – twenty-year-old Oriol Romeu (Chelsea) and nineteen-year-old Ignasi Miquel (Arsenal) – have progressed from the group stage with their new clubs. Romeu is fast carving out a regular place in the Chelsea midfield and enjoyed 257 minutes of play during the group stage. Meanwhile, Miquel, a skilful centre back has remained on the fringes of the Arsenal team with just 39 minutes.

Nolito (25) moved from Barça B to Benfica in the summer and enjoyed an exceptional start to the season. A skilful winger, Nolito made his first team debut with Barça last season. Finally, Goalkeeper Urko Pardo (28), who never made it through to the Barça first team, is currently with UCL sensations Apoel Nicosia and played in four of the six group stage matches. (via FCBarcelona.cat)

Villa takes to social media during recovery process

Villa's Twitter account, @guaje7villa already has 210.000 followers.

Villa is going full 2.0. The FC Barcelona striker opened his Twitter account this Wednesday (@guaje7villa), and garnered over 100,000 followers within 24 hours. Through the popular microblogging site, Villa also announced his new blog: http://blog-es.davidvilla7.es/. Both platforms will be updated by a team of web specialists and Villa himself.

Success of the #animsVilla hashtag

David Villa’s decision to open a Twitter account –he already has a Facebook page– is thanks to the massive support the Asturian striker has received from Twitter users after he broke his shinbone in the Club World Cup semifinal. The hashtag #animsvilla was a trending topic that day.

In addition, the striker’s official Facebook page boasts 3.6 million fans. (via FCBarcelona.cat)