18 January 2012

Barça is already in Madrid

The expedition of FC Barcelona landed in Madrid at around midnight tonight to face the Real on the occasion of the first leg of the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey.

The airplane that transferred FC Barcelona went out late with something of the Airport El Prat. Note the presence in the journey of Tito Vilanova. The Barca coach is part of the expedition finally Blaugrana and not miss the game or the birthday of Pep Guardiola, who turns 41st today.

It is increasingly common to see Tito on the move, after overcoming a difficult operation makes about two months now.

Upon arriving at Barajas, a member of the crew fired the team with a "good luck and remember: you are the best". (via SPORT)

Revalidation for Muñiz Fernández

In his two previous clásicos was very permissive with Madrid.

César Muñiz Fernández will return to the Bernabéu to beep the third Madrid-Barça in his career. The first was in 2002-2003 and the other in the past year. Both ended with the same result (1-1) and the Spaniard was always very lenient with whites.

Last season, in the clásico league Chamartin (1-1), Muñiz did not cut the rough play of the meringues. He did not see a clear shot down Casillas to Villa, but wanted to see one of Marcelo Alves and let Pepe after the match card without seeing despite its 'sticks' to Leo Messi . Indeed, Barca punished with more yellow: five by two whites.

It is true that the Spaniard drew a penalty for Barca, but because she had no choice, since Raul Albiol Villa grabbed his neck in the area, which cost him expulsion the Valencian and the maximum penalty, the first Barca pitaban him in their league visits to the Bernabeu in 20 years.

In his clásico 2002-03, the college was not lucky Spaniard. Zidane slapped Puyol in a play of the game and Makekele hairs yanked Motta earned red. Even more shocking was that the committees do not punish the aggression of 'Zizou' and Makelele after considering the illustrious Alfredo Florez , chairman of Competition, "throw the game."

Muñiz has spent nearly 12 years in the First Division, which has blown for 203 games, with 93 local wins, 58 draws and 52 victories visitors. At Madrid he has managed 29 games (19 wins, 6 draws and 4 defeats) and Barcelona , 21 (15 wins, 5 draws and 1 loss). (via MD)

Five Barça players named to UEFA.com's team

Alves, Piqué, Xavi, Iniesta and Messi are the five FC Barcelona players that have been named to UEFA.com’s ideal team. Josep Guardiola was voted best manager. Barça is the club with the most representatives in the team, more than 4.5 million votes were cast by the website’s users.

FC Barcelona racks up yet another success. Five men from the team led by Josep Guardiola were named to UEFA.com’s ideal team by users of the site. Alves, Piqué, Xavi, Iniesta and Messi were named to the team along with Casillas, Thiago Silva, Marcelo, Robben, Bale, and Cristiano Ronaldo. Guardiola was named the best manager of the year, an award he also won in 2009. More than 4.5 million votes were cast.

It’s worth mentioning that eight Barça players, and Guardiola, were nominated to be part of the squad - only Valdés, Mascherano and Abidal didn’t make the team. The nominees were selected by the UEFA.com editors.

This is the fourth consecutive time that Xavi and Messi have been named to the team, while it’s Iniesta’s third and Piqué’s second. This is Alves’ second appearance in the UEFA.com squad, however, his first time was when he was a Seville player. (via FCBarcelona.cat)

[Barça players in UEFA.com's team]
2010: Gerard Piqué, Carles Puyol, Xavi Hernández, Andrés Iniesta and Leo Messi
2009: Dani Alves, Carles Puyol, Xavi Hernández, Andrés Iniesta, Leo Messi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the manager Josep Guardiola
2008: Carles Puyol, Xavi Hernández and Leo Messi
2007: Éric Abidal
2006: Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto'o and the manager Frank Rijkaard
2005: Carles Puyol, Ronaldinho and Samuel Eto'o
2004: Ronaldinho
2003: /
2002: Carles Puyol
2001: Patrik Andersson

To Madrid

Guardiola's team, tonight contest the first leg of the quarterfinals of Copa at the Bernabeu, Madrid on land at 12 hours.

Barça is already in route to Madrid, where this Wednesday it will dispute the party of going of the rooms of final of the Copa del Rey. The 19 summoned players met with the technical body this morning, at the 9:45 hours, in Ciudat Esportiva and, half hour later, they have gone toward the airport of Barcelona. Tito Vilanova accompanies to the team and it will be in Santiago's stool Bernabéu, next to Pep Guardiola. It is foreseen that the azulgranas lands in the Spanish capital around 12 in the noon.

With the team they have traveled the director of the sport area, Andoni Zubizarreta, the vice-president of the institutional area, Carles Vilarrubí, and, with them, directive Jordi Mestres, Javier Bordas and Jordi Moix. The president, Sandro Rosell, the first vice-president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, and directive Susana Monje, Joan Bladé, Manel Arroyo and Dídac Lee will incorporate to the expedition in Madrid.

Once there, the team will lodge in the hotel Eurostars, where it will be concentrated until little before the hour of the game. (via FCBarcelona.cat)

Guardiola celebrated his 41st birthday on Wednesday

It is the first time in four years that his anniversary coincides with a game.

Accidents of fate and timing, Pep Guardiola held on Wednesday January 18 his 41st birthday, the day the Barca played the first leg of the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey at the Madrid and in the very Santiago Bernabeu . It will celebrate the fourth anniversary and still Barca coach to be confirmed if they also celebrate the next, because it still has not reported to the board of Sandro Rosell whether or not renew his contract.

In previous seasons, the birthday of Guardiola also roamed a game. On January 17, 2009, Barca thrashed Deportivo (5-0) in the Camp Nou in La Liga. A year later, in 2010, the meeting fell on 16 and Barca team dispatched his confrontation with the other four goals Sevilla (4-0). Last year was different. Barcelona traveled to Seville against Betis ventilate the Cup quarterfinals after a 'little hand' at the Camp Nou. In the previous one, Guardiola celebrated his birthday but Barça fell (3-1) after two goals in the first ten minutes. This time, the shock has fallen on the appointed day. We'll see if there is a gift. (via MD)

Barca goes for goals in Madrid

Barca goes to the Bernabeu for a win or a good haul that entrains Cup quarterfinals,
He has not lost in their last six visits, which has scored 16 goals (2.6 per game).

Pep Guardiola 41 years old today and his players have been proposed to give him an assortment of goals tonight at the Santiago Bernabeu in the first leg of quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey (22.00/Canal +1). A win or a good haul scorer, as happened in the Champions League 2010-2011, the other direct tie this stage, defuse tension gamble everything on one card in the Camp Nou . The Barça coach has publicly communicated its slogan: "We have to win and score goals."

The Real Madrid is a bone in their stadium. Of the 13 opponents who have visited him, only Barcelona has made ​​with the win. The rest have succumbed to his undeniable offensive power. However, despite their good health, the team Mourinho hurts the defense. In 10 of those 13 home games conceding a goal at least. Equipment such as Granada, Ponferradina, Dinamo Zagreb, Osasuna or Rayo, who received between 5 and 7 goals, managed to score a minimum. Dysfunction that Barca should take in a round in which the double value of the goals can be critical.

Scanning the statistics, the Barça of Pep is going down when playing at the Bernabeu. It has never been defeated in six games (4 wins and 2 draws) and also have always seen door. No fewer than 16 goals has scored (2.6 per game) for only 6 against (1). Some jokes with the 'Nou Bernabeu'. " Messi , who has endorsed 13 Casillas, will not break the appointment. Nor do the other six scorers recent clásicos (Puyol, Piqué, Xavi, Alexis, Cesc and Iniesta). Yes you will lose Villa and Pedro injury, to the relief of Mou. Madrid is the third club that has beaten (28 goals), after Athletic (31) and Almería (29).

The Barca hint always the goal. Can not play any other way except with the ball at his feet and compass pointing north. Except for last minute touch-ups, Pep aligned at the same eleven that won in the Coliseum League blank for 1-3, with corporate change Pinto Victor Valdes. They travel the other five first-team available Cuenca counting more Montoya, Sergi Roberto and Jonathan dos Santos, the subsidiary.

Mou admitted yesterday that it has yet to turn the key to this Barca . Pep, no doubt, have you taken so far with 4 wins, 3 draws and one defeat in the final copera Mestalla. Perhaps that is why you are trying to hide some letters that everybody knows. Down by penalty will force you to move Arbeloa cups. Coentrao if Lass and lateral or, if trivote, if Pepe is not right, that if now call the 'touched' Di Maria ... Ploys to mislead the previous one. Nothing to Pep and his aides do not know. Barça is still in the place, fleeing the favoritism that give the numbers. To their favor, the extra pressure that weighs on the Portuguese for their ineffectiveness when confronted with Barca and depression through CR7 , football fled since 10 December. We'll see if you plug again. (via MD)

Messi, to a so much of the 'pichichi' culé in the clásicos

César (14) only overcomes the 13 reveilles from Messi to Real.

Bernabéu trembles again. Leo Messi takes six serial visits sowing the panic there and tonight he wants tie it in a game that can lead to enter again even more in the history of the clásicos. The '10' that served Alexis Sánchez the attendance of the first goal of Barça in the last one 1-3 in Madrid, it is to a so much of reaching César Rodríguez like maximum gunner azulgrana in official games against Real Madrid. The 'Pelucas' put 14 reveilles for the 13 (eight in the League, two in Champions and three in Spanish Supercopa) that Leo adds that, with 213 goals, it is also at 22 of the 235 that he sang the 'pichichi' historical of the club.

The last clásico taken place in terrestrial madridista put an end to an astonishing gust of five games as visitor of Messi marking before the eternal rival's liking. It began the series with two goals in the 2-6 of the League 2008-09, it put the first one in the 0-2 of the following campaign, it achieved the only goal azulgrana in the 1-1 of the League 2010-11, it signed a bends you in the 0-2 of the going of semifinals of Champions 2010-11 and it achieved a more golazo in the going of Supercopa-2011.

Messi who has Iker Casillas his favorite (13) victim, will beat today another record of precocity after being the youngest with three Ballon d'Ors from last week. With 24 years and 6 months to their backs, Leo will arrive to the 300 official encounters with Barça with an inferior age to that of Xavi Hernández (25 years and 8 months) and Andrés Iniesta (25 years and 9 months) to his step for the tricentenario. (via MD)

The evolution of the injury to David Villa is "better than expected"

'El Brujo' presented their foundation and bet on the forward of Barça whose father also gave for fact that he will be able to begin to train in March.

The name of David Villa was very present in the setting of long official of the Foundation 'Quini-Hermanos Castro' that yesterday he took place in the City council of Gijón. The Barcelona forward is still recovering from the broken tibia suffered in the Club World Cup in Japan and could not move to the presentation, but sent a video Quini support and those who accompany him on this adventure of solidarity.

His father, Mel Villa, was commissioned to represent him. Villa's family maintains an excellent relationship with Quini since Guaje `Did you start out on the football school of dizziness. The former Barca, now Sporting delegate, said that Villa is evolving in a positive way of his injury. "In February or March will begin to run and play ball," said Quini, "I'm sure it will be in Euro and will be the top scorer."

The player's father also pointed to the most optimistic. "Everything is going much better than expected," he said, "and is able to support the foot and working hard, both clinically and in the ciudad deportiva." Mel Villa also said the Barca '7' "takes things too early, and exercising at the gym and we hope that all goes well in order to run in March. David will be on top, that's for sure. "

Presided over by the exárbitro Manuel Enrique Mejuto González, the foundation of the former footballer of Barça he/she is born with the objective of helping through the sport to the children more desfavorecidos and also to start a personal museum with all the objects, documents and "treasures" that the 'Brujo' accumulated throughout his sport career. The museum is installed in the Town of Asturias, a facility located in front of the stage of The Molinón.

The spirit of the foundation responds to the memory of Jesus Castro, Sporting Gijon goalkeeper and Quini brother, who died in 1993 in Cantabria beach while trying to save two children who were about to drown.

David Villa will see the first clásico of 2012 for television, while continues recovering of the lesion with the help of a version 'mini' of the magnetoterapia, the machine that stimulates a bigger assimilation of the calcium and that allows to help to weld the affected bone before. Since the beginning of the year, the player uses a similar device, but smaller, to sleep every night. (via SPORT)

[Selection] Rafinha is 'home' with Brazil and will not play again with Spain

In spite of the many convocations in those that has been included, the blaugrana has hidden never that his desire is to dress the shirt of the 'canarinha'.

Gerard Deulofeu and Sergio Ayala yesterday joined the U 19 from Spain, which makes training a conference yesterday and tomorrow in Las Rozas. Rafa Alcantara had to accompany their partners to Madrid, but finally some discomfort in the groin after the meeting of Barca B in the Canary Islands off the UD Las Palmas have left him in Barcelona.

It is not the first time nor is casual. In fact, Rafinha has very few options to play with the lower state selection. And the reason is that the Federation does not have it, but quite the opposite. Thiago's brother is one of the Barca players who follow more closely directing the lower echelons of the Spanish team. The last time I participated in a training was in October last year, when the under-19 is exercised in Las Rozas. On that occasion, tried to convince the RFEF, in these moments, it is necessary to choose, because not play until an official meeting with the absolute will not be tied forever to the Red. Although it appeared that he understood the situation Rafinha, a new 'lesion' has avoided having to go to the convening of the under-19.

And the child thinks only of Alcantara in Brazil. He has never hidden his desire to end wearing the shirt of 'canarinha' and know it's not an impossible dream. CBF has made it possible to get it so you Rafinha and eyes opened wide. Even the fact that his brother is forever linked with the Spanish team will change their minds.

The facts show that Rafa Alcantara always thought much alike and should change things so they agreed to join the project RFEF. The Federation has granted blaugrana bad injury, especially because it is not the first time it happens. Ginés Meléndez was without it for the European Under 19 played last summer in Romania even though the player had made prior to selection. The reason was a physical discomfort. Neither had played before because of an injury in May of last year the tournament before the European category. In fact, even Rafinha did not play under-17 European Championship despite being preselected. Brazil is the Blaugrana dream and fight for it. (via SPORT)

Barça will bet on the eleven of the 1-3 with Pinto in the goal

The fact that these clásicos are included in a qualifying condition, in part, the approach of both coaches.

RReal Madrid and Barça confront the fourth clásico of this season with several incognito in the possible one eleven of the team madridista. But if Angel di Maria is the main doubt Jose Mourinho Josep Guardiola absences to leave you less likely to make changes. The fact that it is a two-legged match also the first game condition.

Barca trained yesterday afternoon with fifteen players available to the first team who joined Martin Montoya, Sergi Roberto, Jonathan and Isaac Dos Santos Basin. Given the absence through injury, all indications are that Barca coach could present a similar team that won in December 1-3 with the only variation of Jose Manuel Pinto goalkeeper Victor Valdes as the starter in this competition is Cadiz. Pep himself yesterday reaffirmed Barcelona second goalkeeper in the starting lineup.

In front, a line of four with Alves, Pique, Puyol and Abidal, a midfield pivot with Sergio Busquets and Xavi and Iniesta in the interior, and a front made up of Cesc, Messi and Alexis.

The drawing, with Alves on the right side, you can easily vary from 3-4-3 to 4-3-3 without major problems. That is, a scheme very similar to that presented at the last visit to the Santiago Bernabeu for the game of the season.

Therefore, Guardiola believes his best eleven turn to face the first clásico of the Copa del Rey. Barcelona coach does not show any kind of confidence and therefore aligned to the best, which is in perfect condition, with Pinto and Messi, two with the fixed right now.

Remember that with the low de Villa, Font, Afellay and Peter, Guardiola does not have much choice. So this morning will be the fifteenth Madrid players available who has the first team, plus four of the subsidiary. They will leave this morning (11.00 hours) to Madrid and will be concentrated in the Hotel Eurostars. (via SPORT)

[Youth] How to confront the defeat

The categories inferior azulgranas highlight for their good game and results, but cannot always win. Barça TV shows us how they live the defeat the boys off Alevín A.

Alevín A visited Espanyol last Saturday with the possibility of being located leader for before the team blanquiazul. But, in spite of the advantage of 1-4 that they got the azulgranas, Espanyol finished going back and being taken the victory (5-4). The cameras of Barça TV accompanied the boys after the game and they show us how they learn how to confront a defeat. (via FCBarcelona.cat)

1996/97, uns clàssics de Copa

Hleb now discover the reasons for his failure to Barcelona

The Belarusian Alexander Hleb regrets his attitude during its passage through the club azulgrana and believes that it has lost the best years of his career.

Speaking to German newspaper "Stuttgarter Zeitung", Alexander Hleb, now training with the modest Augsburg reflected on his way through Barça and the future of his career since he left the Camp Nou.

"I am sad to have lost the best years in my career, something of what I only accuse me", declared. "Over time I understood that the force of Barça was the ability of players to leave their ego aside and work for the good of the group," said Hleb, who spent one season to the orders of Pep Guardiola. That year he played only 19 games (only eight of them starts). Since then he has played on loan at Stuttgart, Birmingham and Wolfsburg settling without achieving any of the three teams. (via SPORT)

The boots Messi will use for the first time against Madrid

Leo Messi released a new Adidas boots in the game on Wednesday at the Santiago Bernabeu.

If the last two games Leo Messi has used golden boots against Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey, released a new version of the Adidas miCoach Adizero F50. The peculiarity is that these boots replaced by a gold colored blue and red, reminiscent of those of FC Barcelona.

The golden boots were not marketed by Adidas, although fans can get an exact replica of the customization program for the brand. By contrast, the blue and red if they are available in sports shops from February 14.

The Adidas F50 Adizero was filed last November and incorporates a chip that provides data on speed, maximum speed, number of sprints, distance and distance to high intensity levels and time. (via SPORT)

[Barça B] Bologna president travels to Barcelona to sign Riverola

Italian President Alabano Guaraldi, came to Barcelona to close the signing of midfielder.

Marti Riverola contract ends June 30 and has total freedom to negotiate with anyone. The Blaugrana midfielder, who already played on loan for six months in the Netherlands, now has a chance to leave, permanently, from the discipline of Barca, after wearing life at the club. The Bologna has officially interested in football and want to take the 'calcio'.

A few days ago, the Italian club officially went to Barcelona to let you know the Blaugrana entity was interested in signing the player. The last step was the president of Bologna, when it went to Barcelona to close definitively the signing. Alabano Guaraldi, told RAC1, said, "come to Barcelona because we want to sign Martí Riverola." In fact, these words were softer than left the Italian club, as Bologna coach Stefano Pioli, after playing against Naples on Monday, led to the addition made Barcelona B midfielder for his team: "He is a young man who has a lot of projection, a garn quality player and is very technical. It fits perfectly to our project. I congratulate the club for winning the signing. "

From Barça, as often happens in these cases, do not say anything. They would not have why to make it if the possible incorporation of Riverola for Bologna was carried out after June 30, since the player finishes contract this season, although yes they should be to the current if he took place during the winter market.

By the player, ensuring its representative, Màgic Díaz, is that there has been no contact between them and Bologna, that at no time has led them to start negotiating a way out or signing of midfielder future . Barca player, however, they have talked about the future of football, it has even begun to discuss a possible renewal.

As everything becomes clear, Marti Riverola remains focused on the good feelings back with Barça B, who has five straight games without a win, which have only added two points.

[Magic Díaz: "Neither Riverola neither I have spoken with anybody of Bologna"]
The representative denies that the canterano already registers for the Italian group.
The trainer Stefano Pioli has given this morning almost had made its recruiting.

"Neither Martí (Riverola) nor I have spoken to anyone of Bologna ever. " This has been shown to blunt the Barca squad representative, Magic Diaz , when Mundo Deportivo has consulted the possible signing of midfielder for the Italian, something that his coach has given this morning almost as fact.

"It's a player of good technical quality, but will need time to adapt," he replied Stefano Pioli in an interview with Sky Sport. In Italy a few days ago and the talk of the possible arrival of Martí Riverola to Italy in the winter market.

Magic Diaz admits that "it is an honor that a club like Bologna may be interested in the player, but no club has approached or Marti or me, so there is nothing at all about this possible move." Riverola is a free agent , out of contract with FC Barcelona on June 30, and can negotiate with any club, but according Magic Diaz still has not spoken to her head no and only in order to move up to the subsidiary.

The president of Bologna, Albano Guaraldi, explained in a statement to Rac1 that on Tuesday it will move to Barcelona to negotiate with the club out of the squad. "We come today to Barcelona, ​​because we want to sign Martí Riverola." (via MD)

[Ex-player] Stoichkov: "Barça has forgotten to protest many things to play football well"

The exazulgrana and current coach of Bulgarian Litex analyzed the previous of the Madrid-Barça of Cup making his presage and eulogizing those of Guardiola qualifying them as "the best team in the world".

Bulgarian Litex coach Hristo Stoichkov and myth Barca on Tuesday discussed the possibility of Barcelona and Madrid in the knockout quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey and highlighted the options in a crash Barca over two legs. "Madrid can win a match Barca, but two games and it is more difficult," he added.

Stoichkov was speaking at 'Esports COPE', where he praised the quality of the crash. "They're the two best teams in the world. It is a clásico of the few left in the world of football," he said.

Hristo said that "Barça have to play as you know" and warned that "we have to compare with Copa del Rey League championship."

The Bulgarian ex-forward wanted to be diplomatic with his exentrenador Jose Mourinho and warned that "I have never spoken ill of a friend." "It was my coach and I have great respect," he said, adding that "it is one of the greatest coaches in the world."

The current Litex coach also praised Barca stay out of controversial arbitration. "Barca is a gentleman club not to protest any fault. He has forgotten many things to complain to play good football and that's the big difference with the Madrid" he said. "Protesting is not achieved anything and that's when Barça proves to be the best team in the world," he said Stoichkov. (via SPORT)

Guardiola: “It's impossible to be favourites against Madrid”

he manager’s balance against Madrid is eight victories, three draws, and one defeat. Guardiola confirmed that Pinto will be the starting keeper and that Tito Vilanova will travel to Madrid.

“Whatever happened before this doesn’t matter.” That’s how clear Josep Guardiola was when he was asked if FC Barcelona is favoured in tomorrow’s Cup match because of Barça’s recent results against Madrid. The Barça boss will direct his team in what will be his 13th showdown against the all-whites since he arrived to the FCB bench, so far he’s won eight of those matches, drawn three and only been defeated once. Guardiola, however, isn’t thinking about past clásicos seeing that this Wednesday “we’re playing a new game.” He also warned that Madrid “is the strongest rival that we could possibly come across” and that against them “no one can feel as though they are favourites.”

Guardiola echoed Xavi’s point of view that Barça cannot afford to go to Madrid hoping to secure a draw even though it’s a two-legged tie. “You’re waisting your time if you go to Madrid to be prudent. The games there are eternal, and they run right over you.” The manager said that “the only way to get a good result and to have a chance in the tie is to go with the idea of winning the match.” He recalled his playing days when Barça would visit Madrid saying, “if we played thinking that we had a return leg to play we’d get burned.”

Guardiola confirmed that José Manuel Pinto, traditionally the starting keeper in the King’s Cup, will also start at the Bernabéu tomorrow night. “I’m planning on playing Pinto because he deserves it, he’s an excellent keeper.” The manager went on to say that “I’d betray myself and him” if he didn’t pick the Spaniard to start. He added, “I don’t doubt him. He doesn’t participate as much but I don’t believe anyone doubts him.”

The manager was pleased with the news about Abidal’s contract renewal: “it’s great news. Finding a player like him on the market is difficult. You know what I think about him as a person. He leaves his mark on people, and he’s a fantastic player.” The Barça boss said that having Abidal on the team allows for tactical flexibility and “variance.” (via FCBarcelona.cat)

Guardiola names 19-man squad for Cup tie

Guardiola names the 15 available first-team players and Barça B’s Cuenca, Montoya, Dos Santos, and Sergi Roberto to FC Barcelona’s squad ahead of the quarter-final tie against Real Madrid.

Josep Guardiola has named the 15 first-team players and Barça B’s Cuenca, Montoya, Dos Santos and Sergi Roberto to the Barça squad for tomorrow’s Cup tie against Madrid. The 19 players trained this afternoon at the Ciutat Esportiva in Barça’s final training session before tomorrow’s match.

One of the injured players also made it to Sant Joan Despí this afternoon. Pedro Rodríguez, who was injured in Pamplona, started his recuperation programme at Barça’s training facilities.

The team will leave the Ciutat Esportiva for Madrid this Wednesday at 10.15. Their charter flight will takeoff at 11.00 and arrive an hour later in Barajas, Madrid. Once there, the team will make their way to the Eurostars hotel and stay there until game time (22.00, Canal + and Radio Barça). (via FCBarcelona.cat)

Abidal, ‘Força i esperit blaugrana’

The French international, who will sign a one-year contract extension with an option for two additional seasons, has turned become a reference point of this Barça team.

Éric Abidal will continue wearing the FC Barcelona shirt for at least one more season after the agreement to renew the Frenchman’s contract until June 30, 2012 with an option to extend said contract for two additional seasons, was made public yesterday. The defender started his Barça career in the summer of 2007 and in his four and a half years as a FCB player he’s managed to become a fan favourite and a leader on and off the pitch.

VIDEO: www.fcbarcelona.cat

A brief history of the Spanish Cup clásico

Over the 107-year history of the competition, Barça and Madrid have faced off against each other 17 times, 6 of which were championship matches. Remarkably, both teams maintain a nearly even record against each other: 9 wins and 59 goals scored for Barça, and 8 wins and 56 goals scored for Real Madrid.

Football supporters from around the world are in for a treat as the mouth-watering clash between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona in King’s Cup quarter-final is just a day away. While the last tie between the two teams in the competition happened just nine months ago, when Madrid narrowly edged Barça for the title in overtime (1-0), meetings between the two sides in the Spanish Cup are a relatively rare occurrence. In the competition’s 107-year history, Barça and Madrid have only been pitted against each other 17 times*. Interestingly enough, both teams have a remarkably even record against each other in the competition: nine wins for FC Barcelona, three of which came in championship matches, and eight for Real Madrid, similarly, three of those were title-winning games.

MORE: www.fcbarcelona.cat

Barça-Madrid: looking back at 1957

FC Barcelona beat Real Madrid with a dominant 6-1 in the return leg of the Cup quarter-final tie which led to Barça’s 13th title crown.

The ex-Barça player Ferran Olivella, who played in the 1957 tie, is optimistic about Barça’s chances this season: “I’m convinced we’ll go through”.

The last time FC Barcelon and Real Madrid met each other in a Spanish Cup quarter-final was in 1957, Barça won the tie by an aggregate of 8-3. Stars that will be forever remembered as footballing greats played in the squads of both teams at the time. This was the Real Madrid led by the great Di Stefano and Gento, while the legendary Antoni Remallets and Lázlo Kubala donned the Barça strip.

An extremely young Ferran Olivella played alongside Ramallets and Kubala in what was his first season as a Barça player. The defender recalls the Cup games against Real Madrid with “excitement and tremendous joy.” Olivella explains that “the return leg was magical, the fans were completely euphoric in what was one of the last games at Les Corts.”

The away leg of the Cup, known as the Copa Generalísimo at the time, played at the Santiago Bernabéu, ended in a two-all draw that left qualification up for grabs, albeit Barça had a slight advantage going into the return leg. Kubala and Basora scored Barça’s two goals.

MORE: www.fcbarcelona.cat