09 January 2012

15 Barça representatives in line for FIFA Awards

There are Barça players fighting for the Ballon D’Or, the Puskas Prize and a place in the FIFPro World XI today. In addition, Guardiola is in the running for the Manager of the Year Award.

FC Barcelona could well come away with the lion's share of the prizes at the FIFA gala in the Kongresshaus in Zurich. Messi and Xavi are in the running for the Ballon D'Or alongside Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, but the two will not be on their own at the awards, with the Club providing candidates for all the other main prizes at the event, which begins at 19.00.

Manager of the Year

Pep Guardiola is one of three candidates, alongside Jose Mourinho and Sir Alex Fergusson, for the Manager of the Year Award, just a week after been named the IFFHS Coach of 2011.

Goal against Arsenal set for Puskas prize

Leo Messi is up for not just the Player of the Year Award, but also for the best goal of the year for his strike against Arsenal in the Champions League game at the Camp Nou. In that competition he is up against goals from Santos star Neymar and Manchester United's Wayne Rooney.

11 Barça players up for World XI

There are also 11 Barça players in line for a place in the 2011 FIFPro World XI -Valdés, Alves, Puyol, Piqué, Abidal, Sergio Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Cesc Fàbregas, Messi and Villa – with the Club providing more players than any other for the award. (via FCBarcelona.cat)

Zubizarreta: “I’m fine just so long as a Barça player wins”

Just ahead of leaving for Zurich for the Ballon D’Or awards this evening, the Club’s Sporting Director made it clear that he would be happy if either of the two Barça representatives – Messi or Xavi- took the prize.

Zubizarreta also insisted he was certain that the five point gap between Barça and Real Madrid could be closed.

The plane taking the Barça party out to Switzerland took off at 11.00 this morning and just before getting on board, Andoni Zubizarreta spoke to the media about Xavi and Messi's chances against Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, as well as the team's situation in the league following Sunday's draw at Espanyol.

Zubizarreta expressed his hopes that either Messi or Xavi win the Ballon D'Or this evening and Guardiola takes the Manager of the Year Award: "I don't know if there will be any surprises or not. We are just going along to give our support and I just want one of our players to win the award and Pep to take the manager's prize. I don't know what their chances are really, but I would just like to see a Barça representative take it".

Should Messi win, he will join an elite club of players who've taken the award three times and Zubi commented: "so much has been said about Leo and when we look back on his career in the future we'll realise just what he's achieved. Players make the stories while we are watching and enjoying them and it's when they have finished that they become legends. If you look at his stats right now, when he's still only 24, he already has a full career".

After the one all draw against Espanyol, Barça are now five points behind Real Madrid, but Zubizarreta reckons that the distance can be made up: "of course it can. It will depend on if we are able to do things right – as we have done so far and shown that we can do. Then there are things which don't depend on us –apart from the game against Real Madrid. It's a long season and it's clear that it's going to be a tough job".

Finally, Zubizarreta explained that he wasn't worried about the team's results on the road – just three wins in eight league games: "I would worry if the squad didn't have the chance to win, didn't go out looking for a win, didn't create opportunities..... The game against Espanyol was very tight and close right up until the end and whilst we the players keep on playing like that we will be a team that you can depend on and who are competitive". (via FCBarcelona.cat)

[Ex-player&coach] Cruyff: "It is late for reconciliarme with Van Gaal"

The ex-coach azulgrana has clear that its dispute with the also Dutch Louis van Gaal is not solucionable.

The Dutch football ex-star Johan Cruyff is quite clear in his dispute with his archenemy open Louis van Gaal: "It's too late to reconcile with him," said the former number 14 to web portal Dutch "Voetbal International." Cruyff has declared a "open war" against the direction of Ajax for authorizing, without consulting the signing of ex-coach as future general director of the Dutch club starting from July. It has even taken to Ajax before the tribunals to refute that decision that considers "illegal." Cruyff, who holds the post of sports consultant at Ajax, has zero personal chemistry with Van Gaal. "Our characters are at odds, we have a completely opposite view of football.

It's too late for any reconciliation with Van Gaal," said Cruyff Dutch sports publication. To try to reconcile positions, the direction of club Venice of the North announced it is preparing a meeting between the two. However, Cruyff does not seem very inclined to shake hands with his rival.

Club president, Henny Henrichs, has made several "snapshots of contact" between Cruyff and Van Gaal with the aim of closing the dispute and that both can stay in the Dutch club, currently low hours in the local league and greening their past laurels for sport in Holland and Cruyff Europa.La opinion is clear: "In short ... it would be a castástrofe" he said in reference to a possible cooperation between the two. (via SPORT)

Five Barcelona players will be in the best eleven of the year

In addition, Messi and Xavi with Cristiano Ronaldo opt for the Ballon d'Or. In the category of Best coach Pep Guardiola is that the award is disputed with Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho.

Messi, Alves, Iniesta, Xavi and Piqué they put heading for Zurich to attend the Elegance of the Ballon d'Or. The five players from Barcelona will be in the best eleven of the season, what supposes an entire success for the club azulgrana.

In addition, Messi and Xavi with Cristiano Ronaldo opt for the Ballon d'Or in the category of Best coach Pep Guardiola is that the award is disputed with Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho. Sandro Rosell, president of Barça, led the expedition from Barcelona on a journey that left at 11.00 am in the city. Josep Maria Bartomeu and Andoni Zubizarreta also traveled to Switzerland.

The morbid will put Neymar
Neymar is one of the protagonists of the Gala. The Brazilian player will also be attended to be one of its goals to the best of the season. Messi and Rooney complete the list. Thus, the Brazilian star will next be seen near the expedition Barca. Shakira will also attend the Gala accompanying Gerard Piqué.

The act of ceremony will be held at the Palacio de Congresos in Zurich. (via Marca.com)

[Ex-player] Sonny Anderson: Would so strong Messi be without Xavi and Iniesta?

The Brazilian ex-forward of Barça analyzed the beginnings of Xavi Hernández in the club, when they met in the first team, and showed his face prefrencias Ballon d'Or.

Sonny Anderson was pronounced for the popular French magazine France Football, responsible for the Ballon d'Or award with FIFA, before the conclusion of the gala, scheduled for Monday January 9.

The Brazilian ex-footballer played for FC Barcelona between 1997 and 1999 and shared the team with Xavi Hernandez during their stay at Barça, just as the egarense barely started playing with the first team.

On the de Terrassa, Anderson gave a precise and shared by many: "He is the Barça's brain."

The exblaugrana dedicated a few words to analyze Xavi Hernandez in the first stage, since he "came from time to time to train with the first team in 1997" until "in my second season became one of the group."

Obviously, at that time, Xavi was learning alongside the "big" and disputed minutes occasionally, but Sonny remembers that "everybody was talking about that Guardiola would substitute."

"Of course it was not the leader it is today, but his game he had the key to Barcelona and always wanted the ball and the game passed him. Showed a strong personality in the field and had no problems in taking responsibility, despite their age. Xavi was very important to touch the ball often, "said Sonny Anderson on the candidate to win the Ballon d'Or.

In contrast to the strong personality as Anderson showed in the field, Brazil noted that "whereas in the locker room was very discreet. He came on tiptoe, and always showed great respect throughout the world. You could tell they listened especially Guardiola and other major players like Figo. "

The ex-forward of Barça wanted to tinge what believes that Guardiola supposed for Xavi: "Guardiola learned a lot by watching, but not copied, always tried to do things their own way and stand out from Pep. This has led him, today, has acquired a new dimension to the experience he has acquired. " Without doubt, wanted to make clear that Guardiola extract Xavi knew what he needed and adapt to their conditions and qualities.

When asked about the current version of Xavi, Anderson could not help but surrender to the feet of egarense: "It can be at the beginning and in the Conclusions of the action as it has been able to project forward and score goals."

"Almost always the right decision, sees everything before everyone else, allowing you to anticipate your game. When action happens, he already has in mind the following two that are coming," namely Sonny Anderson.

However, in conclusion, Anderson was uncovered and said his favorite for the Ballon d'Or is Xavi, but Messi: "For me, the artist of Messi deserves the Ballon d'Or. He who controls the game and what develops is Xavi, but the difference is marking Messi. That leaves a player like him, is very rare in football. "

And he left a doubt in the air: "Would it be so hard without Xavi Messi and Iniesta? This is the question." (via SPORT)

Bartomeu: "We are confident this team and the league is not lost"

Barca vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu was interviewed by ONA FM, the program 'Fora de Joc', shortly before flying to Zurich, where we celebrate the Ballon d'Or Gala.

Bartomeu said that yesterday's draw is not enough for anything the League to Real Madrid and said that there are many points in league play and is not lost, without denying that whites are the favorites, "because they are within five points."

The vice president would not go to appreciate the referee for a penalty not marked and Barça said yesterday "did not play as usual and we must strive to improve."

Bartholomew, speaking minutes before boarding the plane to move some players and officials of Barcelona to Zurich, where the gala evening will take place the Ballon d'Or stated that if he could win out Messi and Xavi at a time and next year it hopes that history will repeat itself.


The vice president said that "Guardiola renewed when he wants" and noted that the policy is delighted with his work and that much remains to be done.


According to Bartomeu, with Abidal there is nothing to negotiate. The ball is in the roof of the Gallic player, who already has sent him an offer the club and now he has to decide. "We will give you time to think, is a key player and I hope you say yes," he said.


Alexander Hleb will not return to first team after completion of contract in Wolfsburg. In fact, according to Bartomeu, to the Belarusian he is already looking for team. (via SPORT)

Alves, a victim of racist chanting in Cornellà

From the Curve Jove made him the 'monkey' in a lamentable performance.

The sensitivity of Turienzo Álvarez should suffice for the higher echelons of Spanish sport punishing serious racist abuse he received Alves , especially in the first half.

The sound "Uh, uuuuh!" sadly recognizable heard each time the Brazilian touched the ball and unfortunately were not occasional or repressed after a first pulse, demonstrating a clear willingness to try to provoke the Barca Dani Alves.

The reaction of the Curva Jove of the stands, from where the shy and monkey cries, was reproached in some sectors of the field and some live on radio commentators themselves-white team, stunned by an attack that can sound just as annoying and unpresentable for black players from Espanyol.

The ultimate eradication of this type of action happens, of course, by the loud and clear reporting of the facts and action. Shakira also received, the couple Piqué , and to the country in a Barca shirt sponsor on a banner that read: "Qatar is not Catalonia".

The Barça board secretary Toni Freixa, issued a twitter from the stadium spreading what happened in the derby, an intolerable situation that can only lead to a unanimous conviction that bilateral relations between the two clubs remain cordial and that institutionally social and citizen nor a front leading to conflict and controversy.

At least once happened, that is available for hereinafter or may not play against Barcelona or to any other rival a situation of this caliber. Football must serve precisely to encourage integrationist behavior. (via MD)

The expedition of Barça leaves today at the 11 hours to Zúrich

And has foreseen to return to 22.15 h.

The expedition's official FC Barcelona will depart this morning from 11 am bound for Zurich. The president Sandro Rosell lead a group which will also be the coach, Pep Guardiola , the nominees for the Ballon d'Or Messi and Xavi , and the rest of players who enter the World Eleven FIFA / FIFPro.

The club azulgrana would not reveal who these players who will be recognized for being the best team of the year. Applicants from Barca to be there are eleven but travel is to see if everybody. Iniesta , Piqué and Alves have secured tickets, as previously reported MD.

Apart from those mentioned above, will also travel to Zurich sports vice president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, the sporting director, Andoni Zubizarreta , the director of football, Raul Sanllehí , and External Relations, Manel Estiarte. Parents will also fly Messi (Jorge and Celia) and Xavi (Joaquim and Maria Mercè), and Alex, his brother. (via MD)

Golden Day of Barça

Zurich will pay Barca and Messi will sign today the hat trick earlier on Golden Balls.
Xavi, on the podium will be the best coach Pep and there will be at least five Catalans in the eleven years.

Wembley in May, August Monaco, San Siro in November, Yokohama in December and the Santiago Bernabeu four times last year. The world has already surrendered to Barcelona in 2011 and today, in Zurich, Barcelona football recognition of all Pep Guardiola will be unanimous in the Kongresshaus during the FIFA Golden Ball Gala. The organization can leverage the same envelope as Pep Guardiola opened the last edition before announcing the name of Leo Messi as the winner in a historic podium color Barca completed by Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez . Never before had left the first three from the same quarry.

This time only Terrassa accompany him in the top three in an evening that will begin at 19.00 and Argentina's crown as the best footballer on the planet for the third consecutive year. Iniesta has many numbers end in the fourth or fifth place in the developed by coaches vote (33%), selection captains (33%) and the correspondents of the magazine France Football around the world (33%).

No one has won the coveted award more times and only Johan Cruyff , Michel Platini (the only one in three consecutive editions) and Marco van Basten has signed a hat trick. However, Messi will be the earliest with the third of his career was younger (24 years 6 months), when Cruyff (24 years 8 months) and Platini (28 years 6 months) achieved first. At his age, he was not sighted Leo roof.

It will be a fiesta for Messi , fixed annual event in Zurich since 2007 (he was second in the FIFA World Player of the year after the next after Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo ) but always uncomfortable with the evening dress. It plans a scripted speech, as reported by MD, but his is dribbling with the ball, smashing records and collecting titles scorers. A contemporary of Leo, which will lie at his home today with so many Balonesde Castelledefels Golden Cups of Europe, is a great opportunity for Xavi and Iniesta but the downside is that just being spectators except stand around that price.

Who will deliver the trophy?

The big question today is the identity of the manager to hand the Ballon d'Or Last year was Guardiola . One possible candidate is Platini , whose triplet Messi emulated serial. Its status as French magazine France Football being co-organizer could help but the rivalry with Joseph Blatter .

The FIFA president, a great host of the Gala, have many more options to repeat the picture in 2009, when Messi delivered his first and last FIFA World Player, merged from last year with the Ballon d'Or is not disposable, by the desire to instruct the cheats, so be Stefano Farina, defender of Gubbio (Italian Serie B) who discovered the plot of match-fixing in the 'calcium'.

Guardiola will be the other big winner of the day. Finalist with the absent Mourinho and his admired and admirer Sir Alex Ferguson , will rise to receive the prize for Best Coach of the Year in the presence of many of his pupils. In addition to Messi and Xavi, Iniesta, Alves and Pique have a guaranteed place in the World Eleven FIFA / FIFPro chosen by fans on the website of the FIFA. Also there will Barca rout Real Madrid.

Barca is now the club with more balls (9)
FC Barcelona will be today at the club with more Ballon d'Ors, specifically nine. They are: one of Suarez (1960), two of Cruyff (1973 and 1974), one of Stoichkov (1994), one of Rivaldo (1999), one of Ronaldinho (2005) and the three of Messi (2009, 2010 and 2011). They could be if there were even eleven that won Ronaldo (1997) and Figo (2000) a few months after leaving the club to treason. Milan and Juve added 8 each.

Mou and CR7 is 'erased' from the Barca party
The party boat today in Zurich will be complete. More than anything because the nominees for Real Madrid will not be there. The white club announced last week that since morning have Cup match in Malaga, and Cristiano Ronaldo (aspiring to win the Ballon d'Or) and Jose Mourinho (nominated for Best Coach of the Year) will come. One excuse given that FIFA takes private jet to the guests and if they will have time to go back to Malaga and prepare the Cup game Maybe if they knew the two winners have traveled. (via MD)

[Player Ratings; Liga BBVA; week18] RCD Espanyol - FC Barcelona (1-1)



Romaric: "We have many penalties whistled against. For a favor ..."

The Espanyol player said "I am very happy with the point made," while adding that "this is the path we must follow."

On the other hand, the African player says he saw the hand of Raúl Rodríguez in the area and downplays the Turienzo Álvarez's error. "They have whistled us many penaltis in counter, for one that don't whistle us it doesn't pass anything." (via AS)

Busquets: "We left two points"

The midfielder said: "Although we deserved more, we faced a tough opponent" and added that: "There is still a lot of league, we have to keep working".

The first team players, who have not passed the draw tonight against Espanyol Cornella-El Prat, expressed their dissatisfaction with the result achieved (1-1). The midfielder Sergio Busquets has stated that: "Rather than take a point, we have made two." Badia The player explained that: "At the end of the first half we suffered, because they have had occasion very clear," but said: "In the second part we have been better than Espanyol, but finally we have a tie. We had chances to win, but ultimately did not happen. " The midfielder had words of praise for the opposing team and stated that: "Although we deserved more, we faced a tough opponent and now we can not do anything."

There is still a lot of league

With this draw Barca team is located at 5 points behind Real Madrid and as Sergio Busquets notes: "It is great league, obviously it's better to be ahead than behind, but hey, see if we cut points. We continue working on. " Gerard Pique has also appeared before the media has stated that: "We must go forward, the league is very long and we should not think about whether we won or lost" and added: "They lose points and we also have to try to lose as few as possible and finish in front. "

Below are the statements of other first team players who have appeared before the media:

Gerard Pique:

"We know that this is a very complicated, the opponent also has. It is difficult to win here. Draw is hard."

"We dominated enough, in the second half we had control, but have been kicking and we have made."


"They have made a great game. We, though we have controlled cost us. It was a very open game."

"It was a blow because we controlled the match to win the three points. We must go forward, there are many games and many points in the game."

Dani Alves:

"The opposition has had much merit, although we have not been encertados".

"When you win, very upset. But that's part of football and the competition. We're sad because we have paid dearly."

"We do not look beyond our work. We must do well to try to achieve the goals."

Cesc scores Barça's 100th goal of the season

FC Barcelona reaches the century mark this season thanks to Cesc’s goal against Espanyol at Cornellà-El Prat. Guardiola's men have scored 51 goals in the Liga, 20 in the Champions League, 14 in the King’s Cup, 8 in the Club World Cup, 5 in the Spanish Super Cup and 2 in the European Super Cup.

FC Barcelona has reached the goal century mark in all six competitions this season. The man that scored the 100th Barça goal was midfielder Cesc Fàbregas, who played in his first Catalan derby tonight. It has only taken Barça 31 games to reach the 100-goal mile stone, averaging 3.23 goals per game.

Barça has racked up 51 goals in 17 La Liga games, with an average of 3 goals per game. In the Champions League, Barça has 20 goals after the 6 group stage games.

In all the competitions so far, Guardiola’s men have been the most effective in the Copa. Out of the three games played so far, their average is 4.66 goals per game. In the round of 32 against L‘Hospitalet, the Azulgranas scored 1 goal in the away leg (0-1) and 9 in the return leg (9-0). In the away leg of the round of 16, Barça steamrolled Osasuna 4-0 at the Camp Nou.

Barça also put its effective attacking style on display in Japan for the Club World Cup. The team scored four goals in the semi-finals against Al-Sadd and four goals in the final against Santos.

In the Spanish Super Cup against Real Madrid, Barça managed to win the title after scoring two goals at the Bernabéu (2-2) and three goals at the Camp Nou (3-2). Furthermore, Guardiola’s men also netted two goals in the European Super Cup. Barça beat Porto thanks to goals from Messi and Cesc. (via FCBarcelona.cat)

Pochettino: "This draw strengthens our idea of ​​work"

Mauricio Pochettino, Espanyol coach, has been very pleased with the draw (1-1) and stressed that difficulty has been "the best team in the world or history," but has said that there is "no" to say "if we have opened a way to stop the Barça".

The coach has got breast to achieve a good result while maintaining its philosophy of the game: "It's a tie that strengthens our idea of ​​work. A month ago many people doubted our proposal football and now reaffirm the basis for further work in the future."

The Spanish-Argentine stressed that control of the party has been equaled by both teams. "It was a very intense game where there was no aggression in the negative but positive. The situations we have experienced have been matched. We try to combine as usual," he explained. The calendar, with the return of Copa del Rey on Wednesday, is the concern now of Mr., who has said that "the schedule does not let the illusion and know people in this competition. But we have to get positive things this game." (via SPORT)

Guardiola: “I cannot be dissatisfied with this team, I could never be”

After the one-all draw against Espanyol, the Barça manager encouraged his team to focus on themselves to continue the good work they’ve done so far and to correct what isn’t working. Guardiola praised Espanyol’s game plan after Sunday’s game at Cornellà-El Prat.

Josep Guardiola is very aware that tonight’s draw against Espanyol leaves his team five points adrift of Real Madrid and to gain ground against the League leaders “will not be easy because they’ve had an impeccable trajectory” this seasn. With that said, he also issued a reminder, “there is still a lot of Liga still yet to be played and a lot of points up for grabs.” He was also very clear that what his team must do is learn from their mistakes and carry on with the good work they’ve done so far. “That’s what we’ll do,” said the Barça manager.

On the game

The Barcelona manager highlighted Espanyol’s team play and admitted that he anticipated this type of match: “The truth is that we are too well accustomed to how games go, but our rivals are also there to play. Espanyol did a fantastic job. In general, within the context of tonight’s difficult match, we controlled the match a bit better in the second half, even though we were a bit off target. After the equalizing goal, we reacted correctly, but it was too late. I cannot be dissatisfied with this team, I could never be.”

Guardiola preferred to not comment on Raúl Rodríguez’s penalty in the dying moments of the match: “In football you must overcome these types of things. We have to be concerned with what we can control, what he didn’t do right. We’ve always done things this way and we will continue to do so. We cannot control the referees, rather we must focus on improving the things that we didn’t do well.” (via FCBarcelona.cat)

Turienzo Alvarez pita not very clear hands of Raul Rodriguez in the area

A derby is always a game in which the controversy is always served and the Espanyol-Barcelona on Sunday has been no exception. Already in the first minutes of play, the school has a goal from Cesc invalidated by previous hands of Leo Messi who was who had attended the Arenys. In this action the referee Turienzo Alvarez has hit squarely in live action that was very difficult to appreciate.

But in the final minutes of the derby with FC Barcelona both dump looking for the win after a draw in 86 'of Álvaro Vázquez , decisive action has arrived. Gerard Pique fired against the post and the ball falls to the feet of Peter which, after affixed, an effort on goal until an unexpected 'goalie' saves Espanyol .

Is Raul Rodriguez , as shown in the photograph of Pere Puntí clearly prevents the arm from Tenerife brewed shot on goal. Neither Turienzo nor his aides have appreciated penalty over the protests of the players of Barcelona .

An action that has been pointed out, would have allowed Barca the option to launch a penalty that perhaps would have given the three points in Cornella-El Prat. (via MD)

Sandro Rosell: "It's okay, just a draw"

Sandro Rosell has accepted resignation of Barca draw at the home of RCD Espanyol. The president of FCB Barcelona, ​​Barça "always wants to win, but this is very long."

Sandro Rosell has said that Barça "has tried to RCD Espanyol has fought hard "and that after the tie did not play other than" return to home. "

"If the referee has not seen him, neither do I."

Turienzo Alvarez has had no decisive role, but Sandro Rosell has refused to enter the cloth. You commented that Barca president to see or not see if there have been death penalty or not "is an arbitrator and that if you have not seen is that there is not." Sandro He added, "I only see what the referee whistles" to acknowledge once again that "we played against Espanyol has fought long and has done an excellent approach . " And he concluded Barca president his words to the microphones Canal +, with a "nothing happens, we just tied the game." (via MD)

[Liga BBVA; Week18] RCD Espanyol 1 - 1 FC Barcelona

The referee did not see very clear hands within the area of ​​Raul Rodriguez shot Peter in the discount.
Fabregas opened the scoring with a goal of the season Barca 100 and Alvaro Vazquez equalized in the closing stages.

Espanyol and FC Barcelona have tied a thrilling derby has been a top collegiate player at the meeting, Turienzo Alvarez , who in injury time with a tie on the scoreboard, has swallowed a very clear penalty in the Espanyol area. Piqué has topped wood, Pedro has collected the rebound and his shot was diverted Raul Rodriguez with the arm from the body, but the referee has not punished the action with the maximum penalty.

The game was spectacular, football and intensity. Guardiola has provided a very offensive 3-4-3 Pochettino has played one on one, with very offensive profile players in the midfield. Espanyol have pursued the goal from the opening whistle and have provided the first major occasion, a double shot of Verdú , one head and another with his left leg, which have saved the sticks first and then Piqué Valdés.

Barça has reacted with a first goal disallowed Cesc by previous hands Messi and then with the 0-1's own Fabregas , who has nodded to the network, coming from second-line center Alves . The Arenys and has scored in four major league fields as Mestalla, San Mamés, Bernabéu and Cornell, also do outside in the finals of the European Super Cup and World Cup.

After the break, Espanyol has slowed and Barça has dominated with more comfort, but in a counter-Whites have achieved the tie in a brilliant action. Raul Rodriguez, who has acted side has got a good center Thievy combed at the near post to Alvaro Vazquez pitching equaled the score sheet at close range.

The match ended with the controversial hands of Raul Rodriguez that have prevented the victory of Barca, which is five points behind leaders Real Madrid. (via MD)

[Technical Data]

Espanyol: Cristian Álvarez (Kiko Casilla, min.81), Raúl Rodríguez, Amat, Héctor Moreno, Dídac, Romaric (Álvaro Vázquez, min.64), Forlín, Weiss (Javi López, min.46), Thievy, Verdú and Sergio García.

Barcelona: Valdés; Alves, Puyol, Piqué, Abidal, Sergio Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Cesc (Keita, min.85) and Alexis (Pedro, min.71).

Goals: 0-1: Cesc, min.15. 1-1: Álvaro Vázquez, min.86.

Referee: Turienzo Alvarez (Colegio Castilian-Leones). Show yellow card to Messi (min.13), Romaric (min.45), Raúl Rodríguez (mi.70), Álvaro Vázquez (min.76), Hamath (min.90) and Forlín (min.90 +1).

Incidents: the eighteenth day match played at the stadium Cornella-El Prat before 35,122 spectators. Before the meeting observed a minute by Dr. Salvador Oliveras, who was Espanyol doctor for over thirty years and has recently died.

And the winner of the FIFA Ballon D’Or 2011 is...

Leo Messi, Xavi Hernández and Cristiano Ronaldo will find out this Monday evening in Zurich which one of them is this year’s FIFA World Footballer of the Year. For the fifth successive year, Barça will have a player on the Ballon D’Or podium.

Leo Messi, who has won the award for the last two seasons, will find out on Monday if he's made it three in a row to equal the totals of such legendary figures as Cruyff, Platini or Van Basten, though only the Frenchman managed to win three on the run. Club team mate Xavi is in the final three for the third consecutive year and the other finalist is Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo.

The winner will be announced at the FIFA Gala in the Zurich Kongresshaus, which begins at 19.00 on Monday evening. At the same event the award for the manager of the year will also be made, with Pep Guardiola, Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson in contention, as well as FIFPro World XI.

The Barça party will fly to Switzerland from El Prat at 11.00 on Monday, arriving at 12.45. The pre-Gala press conferences by the three nominated players and managers will begin at 15.00 and the Gala itself is scheduled to begin at 19.00.

Once the ceremony is concluded, the players will speak to the press at about 20.00 and the Club party will catch a 22.15 flight back to Barcelona, where they are due to arrive at midnight.

Messi and Xavi will be accompanied by their families, as well as the official Club party, headed by President Sandro Rosell and Vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu and including Sporting Director Andoni Zubizarreta and the players nominated for the FIFPro World XI.

All three finalists in 2010

Last year saw Barça matched Sacchi's famous 90s Milan team by providing all three of the finalists, with Leo Messi taking the prize, Andrés Iniesta coming second and Xavi coming third. (via FCBarcelona.cat)

[Ex-player&coach] Cruyff: "Messi will win five, six or seven Ballon d'Ors"

The Catalan coach praises the figure of Leo and recognizes that Xavi and Iniesta are the best allies.

Leo Messi can win tomorrow the Ballon d'Or award for the third consecutive year , thus emulating the legendary Michel Platini , the only player so far has managed to gain the award three consecutive years 1983, 1984 and 1985, when an activist in the Juventus.

Johan Cruyff -1971, 1973 and 1974 - and his compatriot Marco van Basten -1988, 1989 and 1992 - tamibén hold three awards each. A tricky feat to reach a chosen few. Cruyff, Barca game connoisseur, said the figure of Messi in an interview for the newspaper Olé .

" Probably win five, six or seven Ballon d'Or is incomparable, play another league , "said the Dutchman, who also wanted to highlight the figure of Xavi . " Xavi is the soul of everything . It is the player who has really managed to make this team bigger. And he has demonstrated his years at the club head and giving all this, which is not only a club player but is a leader. "

Messi, Xavi and Iniesta in perfect tandem

Few teams can boast of a team as compact as the squad. Xavi and Iniesta are understood well with Messi and that enlarges the football team.

Johan said the game wrought by this trio is not surprising. " Xavi is the player who has led the Spanish team to be champions of Europe and the world. Iniesta is another perfect complement to Xavi and Messi for the Barcelona is today what is the best team in the world. " A team with well-defined reference.

Pep triumph to another computer?

Pep Guardiola is for many the best coach in the world, for others it simply is fortunate to have met face with a group already formed. Cruyff is among those who think it would be very difficult to achieve the current level with any other team.

"There are many things that the players of Barcelona , for bringing so many years in the house, they have to explain. Players who have grown up in La Farm have a perfect idea of football and the only thing they can do, as does Guardiola , is to improve when they reach first, "said the Dutchman.

"The problem of Madrid is the club"

The Real Madrid goes through a bright streak. With a team-based wrought book, but very effective, Mourinho has become the second best team in the world. Ahead, a Barcelona , in the words of Cruyff , is the biggest stumbling block. "It is precisely the problem with this Real Madrid has been coincide with the Barcelona . If there is not this Barcelona 's reign would be entirely of Madrid ".

A different Messi Barca

Leo Messi is the best player in the world, but like everyone else, needs the support of some colleagues can provide the game and make things as he likes.

Johan wanted to conclude the interview with the newspaper argento giving the keys of the differences between Messi with Argentina and the Blaugrana. "With partners such as Argentina is in Barca then Messi is going further back, where he likes to play, and not the complicity of players like Iniesta , and Xavi , as Cesc , who actually are the ones that make Messi more out of this than it already is. " (via MD)