14 February 2012

[Barça B] Muniesa and Bartra, pleased with the decision to play for the first team next season

“This has been a dream ever since I was a child,” said Marc Bartra. Jonathan dos Santos and Martín Montoya will also join FC Barcelona’s first team in July.

Once the game against Cartagena was over (4-0), Marc Muniesa and Marc Bartra both said that they were pleased with the news offered up by football director Andoni Zubizarreta last week. The director said that both the defenders plus Dos Santos and Montoya would officially be part of the first team next season. “I’m very happy. It’s a dream that coming true little by little,” said Muniesa. Bartra shares his teammate’s enthusiasm: “to play for the first team has been a dream of mine since I was a child.”

Muniesa: more mature, more calm

Marc Muniesa made his debut with the first team on May 23rd, 2009. He came on as a substitute in the Barça-Osasuna match and was shown a red card before the game was over. A lot of time has gone by since then, and the defender said that he’s better prepared for his next challenge: “I’m stronger psychologically. I’m more calm on the ball and I have less pressure. I’ve also matured physically.” The Barça B player knows that he’ll be in the reserve side until this summer: “I know that, for now, my role is to be here in the reserve side. It’s time to keep on working, whatever is coming my way, will come.” He also had words of praise for Josep Guardiola, “he had confidence in me, I hope I can return the gesture.”

Bartra: living in the moment, preparing for the future

Marc Bartra also preferred to focus on the present: “I always try to live in the moment and acquire experience now in order to be ready when I get to the first team ... FC Barcelona has given me everything and to be part of the best team in the world is something that every player wants.” (via FCBarcelona.cat)

[Selection Under-17] Call for international matches against Bulgaria

The National Team have released the list of players who are called upon to play the next sendes international meetings on 21 and 23 February 2012 in the Bulgarian town Blaogoevgrad. (via RFEF)

A proposal for the National Team, the Royal Spanish Football Federation has called for the parties of the reference to the following players:

ARSENAL FC: Héctor Bellerín Moruno
ATHLETIC CLUB: Oscar Gil Oses y Aitor Seguin Cid
CLUB ATLÉTICO DE MADRID SAD: Borja Martínez Sánchez e Iván Calero Ruiz
C ATLÉTICO OSASUNA: Ander Cantero Armendáriz
FC BARCELONA: Alejandro Grimaldo García, Rodrigo Tarín Higon y Sergi Samper Montaña
CÁDIZ CF SAD: Jaime Sánchez Muñoz
RC CELTA DE VIGO SAD: Rubén Blanco Veiga
RCD ESPANYOL DE BARCELONA SAD: Rubén Duarte Sánchez
REAL MADRID CF: Marcos J. Legaz Paleo
MÁLAGA CF SAD: Víctor J. Ruiz Ramos y Samuel Castillejo Azuaga
REAL SPORTING DE GIJÓN SAD: Alejandro Serrano García y Álvaro Bustos Sandoval
SEVILLA FC SAD: Juan Jesús Arguez Ruíz y Antonio Jesús Cotan Pérez
VILLARREAL CF SAD: Ramón Bueno Gozalbo

[Youth] The cantera azulgrana stays unbeaten and leader

This week all the teams of the football base they have been imposed their rivals with authority and they stay unbeaten, with 15 victories in the 15 games that have disputed The formative football of Barça continues occupying the main positions in the different categories in that participates.


The Cadete A and B occupies the 1st and the 2nd position respectively, the Infantil A and B the oh the 3rd, and Alevines and the Benjamines lead 4 of the 5 competitions.

LIGA JUVENIL NACIONAL
FC BARCELONA B 2 - MOLLET A 0
Juvenil B was able to break a gust of more than 200 minutes without marking in the encounter against Mollet. Nando was the can opener of a game controlled by García Pimienta y Marc Guitart's boys, since a minute 22 made go up the first goal azulgrana to the marker with a lack shot from very far that entered for the whole squad. Eight minutes later, Joel Huertas gardens scored the second thanks to a great play of Adama that played for second time with Juvenil B and for the first time as regular of the team.

LIGA DIVISIÓN DE HONOR CADETE
FC BARCELONA A 5 - VILASSAR DE MAR 2
Barça that is in first position in the classification, faced Vilassar, the thirteenth. The beginning of the game was complicated for the azulgranas, because the rival dominated more and he had the first occasion. Lauren opened the marker of the visiting group and from that moment Quique Álvarez's team entered in the game and they got the domain and possession. The players Josimar and Canós of the Cadete B debuted in this game with the team and they had an outstanding performance, since they made good attendances, like one of goal Josimar. The goals of the day ran in charge of Juanan (2), Toni (2) and Albert. Adama didn't play because it was summoned with Juvenil B.

LIGA PREFERENTE CADETE
ASCÓ A 0 - FC BARCELONA B 5
Barça won Ascó without difficulties. The local team came out to defend with a lot of force, but the team azulgrana had the possession and the domain of the ball from the beginning of the party and knew how to find the spaces among the local defense. The first goal cost because definition missed Barça, but Marc opened the can finally a minute 17 of the first time. Roger and Anas had just rounded more the first part with two points a minutes 25 and 30. In the renewal the tonic continued equally, and Alexis had just sentenced the party with two more goals.

LIGA 1a DIVISIÓN INFANTIL
FC BARCELONA A 3 - CORNELLÀ 2
Partidazo among the two teams that leaders of the First Division Infantil, together with Espanyol. As much Barça as Cornellà went out from the beginning with a lot of intensity until the end of the encounter, but they were the visitors those that were ahead in the marker with a goal of Javi Puado the minute 2 of the first time. Gibert surprised Fran Sánchezy Xavi Franquesa's boys with a very distant shot and made ascend the second to the marker. In spite of the result, the azulgranas didn't lower the arms before combatant and effective Cornellà of the first time and Braima he/she opened the marker azulgrana to the first 25 seconds of the second time, thanks to a play of merit of Jang. Lee marked the second in the minute 7, with the help of Jang again, and same Lee advanced to the Infantil A a minute 23. With this victory, Barça is located in first position of the chart, besides being the only team that is imposed Cornellà this season.

LIGA 1a DIVISIÓN INFANTIL
CORNELLÀ 1 - FC BARCELONA B 2
Very serious encounter of Denis Silva and Carles Lopez's team in the field Municipal Via Ferrea. To the azulgranas they were put the party very quickly of face, and in the minute 4 of the first time marked the first goal. Valery made ascend the second to the marker with a good shot from the band. The domain and the occasions continued being for Infantil B, although Cornellà signed the goal of the honor in the last minute of game taking advantage of a lack from half field, but the party was already sentenced in favor of Barça.

LIGA 1a DIVISIÓN ALEVÍN
FC BARCELONA 8 - ESCOLA GAVÀ 0
Alevín A solved with authority the game against Escola Gavà. The azulgranas dominated from the first moment, and in the minute 4, Sergio made go up the first goal azulgrana in the marker. Mamadou signed the second and the third a minutes 19 and 22, and Sergio scored in the last minutes of the first time again, leaving the result enough sentenced to the rest with the 4-0. In the renewal the dynamics continued equally, and Daniel's goal in the minute 39, two of Mamadou at the 43 and the 55 and one of Pau in the twilights of the game rounded the result and they gave the three points to the group of Marcel Sans and Isaac Garcia.

LIGA 1a DIVISIÓN ALEVÍN
FC BARCELONA B 3 - VILASSAR DE MAR A 0
Jordi Font y Jordi Puig's group was ahead very soon in the marker, in one of the first arrivals that had to the goal of Vilassar. This goal gave tranquility to Alevín B that knew how to find, with patience and looking for the combination, the holes in the defense of the team visitor that went out with a very closed position. In the third room the azulgranas wrote down the second goal of the game, and in the last room they had just sentenced the encounter with the 3-0. Albert Portas (2) and Labinot was the annotators of the day.

LIGA 2a DIVISIÓN ALEVÍN
GAVÀ B 1 - FC BARCELONA C 5
Alex Gomez y Alexis Pintó's group was the dominant clearing physically against a very strong Gavà. Alevín C knew how to take advantage of its rival's spaces, and thanks to the good rhythm and to the numerous occasions the azulgranas left to the rest winning for the minimum one, with a 1-2. In the renewal, Barça continued with the domain of the encounter, but to the last room they could not finish off the party with four more goals. Take, Guille, Adrià, Sergi and Marc Carmona was the scorers of the day.

LIGA 2a DIVISIÓN ALEVÍN
CASTELLDEFELS A 0 - FC BARCELONA D 3
Alevín D was imposed against Castelldefels in a quite even game in the first time, but with more domain azulgrana in the second part. During the first two rooms the boys of Xavi Bravo and Oscar Hernandez were very pressed by the local team and they could not find the holes to open the marker. In the renewal, Castelldefels went down defensive level and Barça it carried out a tactical change that allowed them to be taken the victory with goals of Roger Vegas (2) and José David Álvarez.

LIGA 1a DIVISIÓN BENJAMÍN
FC BARCELONA A 1 - CORNELLÀ 0
Very complicated game against Cornellà that before the encounter leader of the classification went, although with a party more than the azulgranas. Marc Serra y David Sánchez's boys faced a competitive team, with much potential physical, but they knew how to take the control of the encounter and to create the occasions. Benjamin A opened the can in the first room with a goal of Raül, a reveille that allowed Barça to be taken the victory by the minimum one and to be placed leader of the chart.

LIGA 1a DIVISIÓN BENJAMÍN
BADALONA 1 - FC BARCELONA B 9
In spite of the result, Benjamin B's encounter against Badalona was very disputed, since both teams enjoyed occasions to be taken the game. The azulgranas was ahead quickly in the marker with a goal in the first play of the encounter, and starting from there they could go increasing the distances thanks to a great team work, so much in the offensive aspect as in the defensive one. Sergi Milá y Òscar Jorquera's boys were very guessed right of face to goal and for that reason they could sign the goleada with the reveilles of Iker González (4), Oscar Romero (4) and Eric Iglesias.

LIGA 2a DIVISIÓN BENJAMÍN
ESCOLA PRAT BLAUGRANA 0 - FC BARCELONA C 13
Unanswerable Goleada of the team of Cristian Catena and Albert Puig. Benjamin C had the party very controlled from the beginning and was ahead quickly in the marker with two goals of Arnau Farnós. The azulgranas left to the rest with the completely sentenced encounter, with a 0-6. In the second part, Barça continued with good rhythm and made a system change, although continued dominating thanks to its game combinativo. The goals azulgrana were in charge of Álvaro (3), Arnau Farnós (2), Johnny (2), Xavi Pleguezuelo (2), Alejandro Balde (2), Toni and Xavi Simons.

LIGA 3a DIVISIÓN BENJAMÍN
FC BARCELONA D 6 - SAN MARTÍN-CONDAL A 2
The azulgranas came out very intense in the game land against Sant Count Martí, the third classified of League and a team a bigger year. Jordi Perez and David Sanchez's boys began very well the second turn and they enjoyed numerous occasions that they could have increased even more the differences, but they didn't have face success to goal, although they were imposed on his rival with authority. Nadir (3), Gabi and David were the annotators of the game.

LIGA 3a DIVISIÓN BENJAMÍN
SARRIÀ B 4 - FC BARCELONA E 6
Very marked encounter for the cold between Sarrià and Prebenjamín azulgrana in the field municipal Can Caralleu. The two groups had difficulties to enter in the game due to the drops temperatures, since was disputed to the tomorrow's 9:30 h. In spite of it, the team of Rafa Rodríguez and Juan Antonio Gil was able to be taken the three valuable points that leaders maintain them with advantage in the 3rd Division Benjamin, thanks to the goals of Ilias (2), Sergi (2), Pablo and Diego. (via FCBarcelona.cat)

Leverkusen-Barça: ¡Viva la Champions!

The champion began the final stretch of their title defense with the need to forget Pamplona.
The eleven of Pep never won the first leg of eighth, but this team goes as a rocket in Europe.


Nothing better than the Champions to leave behind the unpleasantness of Pamplona, ​​where more than half escaped League. Nothing better than the European competition, in which the Barca defending champion to regain feelings and self esteem. The second round first leg against Bayer Leverkusen is the first of the six games leading to the final in Munich, also in Germany . The set of Pep Guardiola arrived yesterday in Germanic lands with the five senses in a game that already was key but after Saturday's loss is crucial. Players need to give yourself a boost and are advised of how difficult it can be: Barca of Guardiola has never won the first leg of the Champions League knockout.

One can break losing streak tonight. The European Barca , as the Cup, remains intact. Prove it is the challenge Barca in the BayArena Leverkusen , where low temperatures will not affect the team as much as the grass marmoleum Pamplona or arbitral torture each league match. In the Champions League, Messi leads the filmmakers table with 6 goals, the same as Mario Gomez, Bayern Munich, and one over the other gunner in the lead, Seydou Doumbia, CSKA Moscow, while Cristiano Ronaldo is not listed among the Top.

Highlight the position of Peter, who now has four goals in the great competition, where best use has been made ​​the few moments of fullness that injuries have allowed. As expected to be a spring azugrana in Leverkusen , five below zero, the canary promises end up that role for all but especially for "plugging everything that comes," as it says Guardiola once.

Neither Ronaldo is well placed in the ranking of finishers, where Leo sum ​​17 ahead of the 16 Hulk (Porto), in another example of the current difference between the debauchery of the League and the parties still serious Champions . Another good sign of European health of this team is the role of Isaac Basin among the first participants of the tournament, with 3 assists, just two less than the first pin today, Gaitan, the surprising and dangerous Basel, and one of Leo and Benzema, with four assists. No sign of Ronaldo, also invisible fouls, while Messi have made ​​17, surpassed only by Ribéry (23) and another pillar of Basel, Shaqiri (21). Ronaldo has received 7 faults, the same as Puyol and Alves.

No recession, because in Champions . The champion needs to keep the winning streak to build self-confidence and ward off ghosts. (via MD)

They return the players to Barça

Guardiola returns to Xavi, Iniesta, Cesc and Busquets, against Leverkusen, the best recipe to forget the defeat of Pamplona.

After several games with some doubt, Barca need to sign a complete game, the one to ninety minutes, recover their best feelings and take possession of the ball and in their best nights. And to rescue the best version of the team, Guardiola aligned gamers today, the team's most creative players.

So, back to the starting lineup Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas, absent in Pamplona (in the case of 'Busi', the court drew on his right knee). In the case of La Mancha, leaving a lesion (although it reappeared against Valencia in the Cup semi-final), no medical impediment to play and in fact, the player has communicated to the medical and technical arrangement that is in perfect to hold today at the Bay Arena.

Nothing like the team back to nature to forget as soon as the stumbling block of Pamplona and take the path to the quarterfinals of the Champions from tonight. The stage, the Bay Arena, cold but in good condition to play football, game invites to make a round with the club that most closely matches the best club.

Xavi's return is one of the best news for the club: the Terrassa had not participated either in the semifinal round of the Cup in Mestalla and at home against Real Sociedad, two absences over a player used to be one of fixed. He returned to Valencia but again ran out of play in Pamplona, ​​where many Barca fans will miss him.

Iniesta also around the team can provide key details on this stretch of the season: the manchego ensures imbalance overflow in one on one and a special ability to overcome the pressure lines of the opposing team, one aspect of the game that the team had in the Reyno de Navarra.

It is less relevant than Sergio Busquets is able to start. Nobody like Badia player to serve as anchor in the midfield, stop the opponent's thrust and contributing to an output of the ball as clean as possible. Busi `are you able to come back and Guardiola will not miss the opportunity to rank you back in the starting line to stabilize the team.

At Pep's plans to advance again the position of Cesc Fabregas, second top scorer of Barca in the overall season. The Arenys accompany today's attack on Messi and Alexis. Cesc depth and ability to break into the area may be decisive as a block against Leverkusen, very physical and rather static when defending. In the defensive line, is likely to recover Mascherano central position in detriment of Gerard Pique, who does not cross its best. At the risk of losing a certain fluidity in the output of the ball, Guardiola could sacrifice the central Catalan for input `Masche ¿faster on the court and in the coverage. In favor of the ownership of Pique, however, plays a potent passing game, a factor that can be decisive as a block against Bayer Leverkusen, which has as its two central specialists (Friedrich and Schwaab) and striker Kiessling.

Does anyone pay the piper?

Many supporters of Barça are now particularly attentive to the alignment of the Bay Arena Guardiola after his controversial decision to leave the bench Xavi, Iniesta and Cesc in the game against Osasuna. Check if Pep takes a toll on some players by the bitter defeat of the Reyno de Navarra or reward certain behavior will be one of the attractions of the lineup. (via SPORT)

Small fire in the house of Keita


The House of Barça player Seydou Keita in Gava has suffered a small fire this afternoon but have not had that unfortunate injury.

Apparently the fire could be produced in a massage chair that was on the terrace.

Keita, who until Saturday was playing in the African Nations Cup on Thursday he will return to training with the team. (via MD)

[Barça B] Travel with Barça B to A Coruña

FCBViatges offers the possibility to associate and travel enthusiast for Barça B to A Coruña and visit one of the historical stages of Spanish football.

Members and fans of FC Barcelona may accompany future cracks Barca La Coruna this weekend. FCBViatges first posting, organizes a subsidiary Barca where players can travel and sleep in the same hotel.

Eusebio's team needs encouragement from the fans to face a tough match against league leaders, Deportivo La Coruna. Riazor will be the mythical setting for this game on Saturday, February 18, at 18 hours.

The exit to La Coruna, in the charter of the team, will be this Friday at 17.30 and will be back after finishing the game. Upon arrival to the Galician city coach travel to fans Carris Marineda Hotel, where he will stay the same Barça B.

On Saturday morning we will visit the city and in the afternoon to attend the exciting game against Depor. After the meeting a bus will transfer to the airport to return to Barcelona.

Prices for this trip are from 275 euros for club members and from 350 euros for the fans who are not members. (via FCBarcelona.cao)

For more information Do click here (document in Catalan).

[Former B player] Triumphant return of Gai Assulin

The exazulgrana Gai Assulin again played a game with the reserves of Manchester City after a long period of inactivity.

The Israeli midfielder played at a high level in his return to the pitch after four months without being able to participate. Assulin entered the second half of the match that measured with the Manchester City Manchester United and won the 'skyblues' by 2-4, with goals including the player made in La Masia.

The good impressions left by the player exazulgrana have raised the club 'citizen' the possibility of transferring it to a top club in the Championship, where he could have the continuity that has been lacking so far in his journey English. Gai Assulin arrived at City last season and ended his contract with the club in Manchester next June. (via SPORT)

See the six goals from Manchester United 2 - Manchester City, 4:

[Former B player] Jonathan Soriano, three goals in four games at the Red Bull Salzburg

The beginnings of Jonathan Soriano at Red Bull Salzburg are still very positive after the striker exazulgrana has scored three goals in four games he has played with his new team.

There are four friendly matches, but no longer newsworthy forward the great start of Catalan in the Austrian champions.

In his debut, Soriano scored one of the goals of his team against a subsidiary of Wolfsburg, in a match that ended in a draw to two. Later also saw the door to TSV Munich 1860, scoring the only goal of the game.

His streak was broken at the Dynamo Budweis, but this past weekend again proved his scoring to the Wacker Innsbruck in a match that should be in the league, but because of poor turf Tyrolean team had to play in Salzburg as friendly. Jonathan Soriano scored the equalizer for his team, who ended up winning 4-3. (via SPORT)

Dutt: "It would be a miracle to eliminate Barca"

Bayer Leverkusen coach Robin Dutt said, "would be a miracle" that his team managed to eliminate Barca in the second round of the Champions League.

"It would be a miracle if we could overcome Barcelona in two games," said Dutt, a day before the first leg to be played in the BayArena. "Barcelona are better than the Spanish team," added the coach.

Dutt also said he could not make the mistake of focusing on the danger posed by Lionel Messi. "We have to deal equally from each of the Barcelona players. Even the second team of Barcelona is an international format," he said.

The defeat of Barcelona against Osasuna in the Spanish league, according to Dutt, does not change things. "In the league now and then one point left the road in the Champions League almost never," said German coach.

Despite this clear awareness of the bias of Barcelona, ​​which also shares the team, it is clear that the German team will be lurking in search of their possibilities. "Barcelona may be a drop in football there are always things that seem impossible," said left-back Michael Kadlec.

The centrak defender Daniel Schwaab, meanwhile, warned that the attempt should be well Leverkusen standing in the field and try to make a game based on the strength in individual duels for the ball. (via SPORT)

Michael Ortega, "Xavi's shirt for me"

The Colombian footballer of Bayer Leverkusen, Michael Ortega, analyzed the Champions League qualifying his team played against Barca and said "it is difficult but we have nothing to lose".

"It is difficult to eliminate Barca but we have nothing to lose. We can make history," declared the midfielder to COM Radio. "Individually they are extraordinary but we will endeavor to not be easy for them," he added.

Ortega, who knew the League, said that "the game against Osasuna not serve as a reference, Xavi and Iniesta did not play, they are the best in the world and make a difference in this team."

And jokingly told his teammate Gonzalo Castro: "Do not think you're going to have that shirt. Xavi's shirt for me. I want to talk with Xavi, ask for advice. It is a very humble human being. Say I look like but it is on another level. have Xavi's shirt would be a great memory for me. "

Finally he said: "If we want to move the tie to win. Although a draw against Barcelona would be a good result." (via SPORT)

Snowy training session at the BayArena

The 22 players named by Pep Guardiola to face Bayer Leverkusen trained this evening at the BayArena. The team was greeted by sub-zero temperatures and snow as they came out onto the pitch. Sergio Busquets, despite not having the medical all-clear, trained alongside his teammates.

FC Barcelona completed a training session at Bayer Leverkusen's BayArena this evening. The 22 players named by Josep Guardiola to face the German side were greeted by sub-zero temperatures and snow as they trotted out onto the pitch.

Sergio Busquets, who travelled to Leverkusen without the medical all-clear, trained alongside his teammates. President Sandro Rosell and football director Andoni Zubizarreta watched the training session from the sideline. The first 15 minutes of the session was open to the press. (via FCBarcelona.com)

Guardiola: “We must score, it's vital”

“We didn’t promise we’d win the Champions League in the first year, and we won’t promise to win the title now,” said Guardiola.



Returning to the Champions League after months of league and Cup commitments is never easy. In fact, since Guardiola took charge of FC Barcelona, the team has never won the away leg of the last-16 round. “It’s always been very difficult to get into this competition [after the break], and it’s always a risk to play against Germans. Against Stuttgart (1-1), two years ago, they deserved much more,” said the Barça manager during today’s press conference. For this reason, Guardiola believes that his team must score a goal in tomorrow’s match at the BayArena, saying, “it’s vital that we score.”

Guardiola has nothing but respect for German sides. “If we allow Bayer Leverkusen to run ... they are a lot stronger than we are. They have four or five players that are 1.90m tall and they’ve scored a lot of goals off dead balls. They can put you in a bind if you don’t control the game. It’s the biggest virtue German sides have,” said Guardiola. The manager is aware of the importance of Tuesday’s match and he believes that ball possession will be a determining factor in the outcome of the tie. If Barça dominates possession, the result, in all likelihood, will be favourable to Barça. If neither team dominates the match, the game could take a turn for the worse.

The defeat in Pamplona this weekend featured prominently in today’s press conference. With the league title further out of reach than it was before, Guardiola said it would be a mistake to demand a Champions League title from his team: “now that it appears as though the league is difficult [to win], it seems as though we are obligated to win the Champions League. As if that were easy. It’s not. The challenge is to compete and at the end of the season we’ll see where we are.

“We have to take this one step at a time, because winning the Champions League is a serious challenge. I will not promise that we’ll win it. We didn’t promise that in the first year, when we nobodies, and we won’t promise to win the title now,” said Guardiola.

On the game in Pamplona, Guardiola indicated that “we were penalized for not adapting as quickly as possible to game conditions and game circumstances.” However, the team played “a great second half, where we did everything and more to mount a comeback.” For the manager, “we have a problem: we’ve dominated the game for a lot of years. [In the past] the random factor didn’t figure into our play. We didn’t give it any room. We must get to that level [again] and not let randomness feature in our games. We have to control it by playing better.” Ahead of the match against Leverkusen, the manger said that this is the first chance to eliminate the random factor from Barça’s game plan. (via FCBarcelona.com)

Alves: “The Champions League requires a lot of focus”

The Brazilian believes that the situation in the league will not affect Barça’s return to the Champions League. The defender issued a warning ahead of the Bayer Leverkusen match saying “we have to be alert in order to avoid any surprises”.



Dani Alves is convinced that the 10 point gap between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid won’t affect the team in the Champions League: “one of this team’s strengths is that we know where we are and what competition we’re playing in.” The defender said that the Champions League “requires a lot of focus, quality and desire.” Ahead of tomorrow’s match, Alves cautioned that Bayer Leverkusen “is a very strong side at home ... we’ll have to be very altert in order to avoid any surprises.”

FC Barcelona is six games away from reaching the Champions League final in Munich. Alves is knows that the road ahead will not be easy. “We have to play at a high level to get to the final. We have quality to do that. We’ll come up against difficult teams, but it won’t be pleasant to play against us either.”

On the team's current form in the league, Alves said, “we have become accustomed to winning and when we don’t win it’s strange.” The Brazilian knows that “there will be difficult moments where we must be strong. If we are united we are stronger.” He went on to say that, “we’ll fight as long as there isn’t a mathematical champion in the league, we’ll see where we are at the end [of the season].” He urged his teammates to give it their all to try and win the league title: “we have put in a triple effort, because putting in a double [effort] won’t be enough.” He finished by saying “it’s everyone’s dream to beat the best team in the world.”(via FCBarcelona.com)

Xavi, named best Catalan player of the year

The Catalan Football Federation will host the first edition of the Catalan Football Gala on February 21st. The clubs, public and jury, made up of journalists, politicians, footballers and managers, named Josep Guardiola the best Catalan manager of the year.

The winners of the first edition of the Catalan Football Gala, sponsored by the Catalan Football Federation, have been named. Xavi Hernández, FC Barcelona’s midfielder, was named the best Catalan athlete of the year, while Josep Guardiola was named best Catalan manager.

After the nominee list was published, the clubs, the public and the jury (journalists, politicians, footballers and managers) voted to determine the winners of the first Catalan Football Gala. The Award Ceremony will take place on February 21st.

The winners

In football: Xavi Hernández, best player; Marta Torrejón, best female player; Pep Guardiola, best manager; Álvaro Vázquez, most promising player and Ana Zardaín, best referee. In Futsal: Jordi Torras, best player; Claudia Pons, best female player; and Marc Carmona, best manager. (via FCBarcelona.com)