20 February 2012

Xavi: “We won’t throw in the towel on La Liga”

The midfielder knows that the La Liga title “is a very difficult challenge because Madrid is very strong, but you never know in football”. The Azulgrana player believes that the match against Valencia was good because it allowed Barça to recuperate “an excellent feeling”.

“We’ll keep on pushing to reduce [Madrid’s] lead until the end.” This is Barça’s objective in La Liga said Xavi Hernández during La Caixa’s Obra Social ceremony (where the player was named the organization’s ambassador). The midfielder is clear that his team “won’t throw in the towel” in the national competition. “We’re convinced that we can do great things,” said Xavi, despite the fact that “it’s a very difficult [challenge] and Madrid is very strong, but in football you never know. You can’t give up on La Liga. We’ll keep going until the end.”

The 5-1 thrashing of Valencia has allowed the Barça team to recuperate the “excellent feeling” the team has enjoyed in the past, said Xavi. The vice-captain explained that “the team played at a fantastic level, one of the best games we’ve played.” He also made special mention of the team’s trajectory so far this season, “we’re having a great year” after already winning three titles and qualifying for the King’s Cup final.

Xavi believes that Guardiola’s stance of taking time to think about possibly renewing with FC Barcelona should be respected. “He’s very motivated and he plans out the games like he always does. He’s still a winner, a leader in the dressing room. I think he’s doing great but it’s his call and we’ll have to wait for his decision.” However, when pressed on the issue, Xavi said that “I think he’ll end up renewing [his contract].”

The midfielder added that his manager has “given us a spectacular level of self-confidence. The boss is a key part of this machinery.” He finished by saying that “we would all like him to renew and for him to stay. We feel good about this manager. He’s a fundamental piece for Barça but we’ll have to wait for his decision.”

After missing out on the Champions League match against Bayer 04 Leverkusen due to injury, Xavi was able to play the final minutes of the game against Valencia. “I feel a lot better and I have a good feeling about it. I’m practically recuperated and I hope to be 100% ready this Sunday,” when Barça will take on Atlético Madrid at the Calderón. The midfielder also pointed out that it’s a good thing for the team to have a lighter game schedule: “it’ll be good for us to regain strength.”

Ambassador of La Caixa's Obra Social

Xavi Hernández was named ambassador of the La Caixa’s Obra Social program in a ceremony that was attended by the La Caixa President, Isidre Fainé. The midfielder recongnised that this “is a special day because I’m joining a fantastic project.” He added that “I’ve had an urge to help people, to feel useful on a social level.” (via FCBarcelona.com)

Martin Ferguson, again in the box at the Camp Nou

Martin Ferguson, brother of the veteran Manchester United manager and scout the English club, was present last night, once again, in the noble Camp Nou. The 'scouter' ManU usually follows the Spanish market and especially to all that surrounds the Barça. Yesterday did not lose detail promising young Barça, which continues for some time, or the songs of the tier of "Guardiola Guardiola". The British press insists that the Barça coach is favored by Sir Alex Ferguson to become his successor at Old Trafford club. (via MD)

[Ex-player] Romario: "I wish my son played in Barça"

Romarinho inherits his father's gene scorer.

Romario de Souza Faria, a member of the great attack of Barça's Dream Team who ran Johan Cruyff, confessed in El Pais that "if I had to play professionally would not hesitate a moment: in Barcelona," adding that "I will try to take my son to play for Barça. This week I'll talk to the president (Sandro Rosell) and Pep (Guardiola). "

Romario, now Socialist deputy in Brazil, is being emulated by his son, Romarinho young crack of youth of Vasco da Gama. The stem of 'Baixinho' is the result of the relationship between Romario and model Mónica Santoro. Born September 20, 1993 in Dexeus Clinic of Barcelona, ​​a day after his father blew jubilation at Maracanã stadium with two goals in Uruguay, a win that qualified for the 'canarinhá for the World Cup in U.S. '94. (via MD)

Vettel: “Xavi is the brains of this team”

The double Formula 1 champion watched the win over Valencia from the Camp Nou Box, and in his mind, Xavi is the real engine of the team. Vettel was amazed “to be able to enjoy this game between such good teams in such a venue”.

Sebastian Vettel, winner of the Formula One Drivers Championship in both 2010 and 2011, was there to watch Barça's stunning victory against Valencia on Sunday. Speaking to Barça TV, the German said "it was marvellous to be able to enjoy this game between such good teams in such a venue. It was fantastic".

Vettel is a supporter of Eintracht Frankfurt, and said "I'm no expert, but compared with German football, the Spanish game is faster and much more skilful. And the atmosphere is also incredible". Asked who he admires the most in the FCB squad, the Red Bull driver was quick with an answer. "My favourite player is Xavi because he's the brains behind the team, he's the conductor of the orchestra", he said, adding that "Lionel Messi is a great striker and scores a lot of goals, but he couldn't score so many without the ball getting to him and that's what Xavi is in charge of doing".

That doesn't mean to say that Vettel doesn't appreciate what a brilliant player Messi is. "He's incredible, a humble player who plays marvellously. It looks like the ball is stuck to his feet ... It is hard to say whether Messi is the best player ever, it's the same with Formula 1. Times change and nowadays people need different qualities. It is hard to compare him with Pele and other footballers because the contexts are so different". (via FCBarcelona.cat)

Piqué: “The way we played against Valencia is the way forward”

The defender believes that “the team reacted well” after Piatti’s initial goal. Piqué also believes that if Barça manages to earn three points each weekend that the team could have a “chance” of winning La Liga.

Barça returned to their best form this Sunday in the game against Valencia. For Gerard Piqué, this is the “path to follow ... the team responded very well after Valencia’s initial goal and Leo Messi showed, once again, that he’s the number one. We played a great match.”

For the Barça defender it’s imperative for the team to keep on winning three points each week if the Club wants to have a chance of lifting their fourth consecutive Liga title. “If we continue winning we could have a chance [of winning] at the end of the season. It’s time to wait and do our work,” said Piqué. Despite the loss to Osasuna (3-2), the defender believes that games like the one against Valencia gives the team “added confidence.”

When asked about the where the Cup final should be played, the Catalan said that he prefers to focus on the game itself and not necessarily the venue: “I’m going to enjoy playing the final. It doesn’t matter where we play. The best thing for us is having as many people come with us as possible. This is true for Barça and Athletic Club.”

On Barça’s line-up against Bayer 04 Leverkusen, which led some news sources to speculate about a possible eroding relationship between the defender and Josep Guardiola, Piqué rubbished the claims by saying, “it was a technical decision. He decides and that must be respected. He has given me the chance to play over the years I’ll never question his decisions.”

Piqué added that he and the manager have a very communicative relationship: “he’s a very communicative manager. He talks with everyone about the problems and hesitancies that he might have, including me. Our relationship is magnificent. Whenever anyone needs to share an opinion, he talks. We don’t have any problems.”

On the hypothetical contract renewal of the Barça boss, the defender was clear: “he has the last word on whether or not he’ll stay. We’re very pleased with him. I don’t believe his doubts stem from the players. He has told us that he’s very happy with his. But he dedicates all of his time to the Club and he probably has other things to consider.” (via FCBarcelona.com)

Piqué, the first on the scene

Guardiola raises the veto of publicity events.

Agreeing that this week Barça has no party intersemanal and the Champions will not return until next March 7, Pep Guardiola has decided to lift the ban on his players publicity events and interviews. The first to appear on stage again this morning will be Gerard Piqué. The present center back from 11 hours Mango campaign ahead of the primareva / Summer 2012 men, of which he is the image. The event will take place at the Casa Capell, in the street Benet Mercadé, 33 in Barcelona.

Xavi also be another major claims. This afternoon (13:30 hours) at the headquarters of La Caixa, the Terrassa is the new ambassador presented as driven programs Obra Social "la Caixa". On Wednesday, Xavi presented an agreement with GPS Garmin company, at the Petit Palace Museum. (via MD)

Falcao will face Barça

The Colombian, Godín and Filipe did not see cardboard and may be in the Calderón.

Diego Pablo Simeone came in the weeks before launching his philosophy about whether he had warned the players must force the fifth yellow to ensure their presence in the clash against Barcelona next Sunday at the Calderon. One possibility that long ruled the Argentinean considering that in each collision is put into play the same three points. Thus, the Cholo did not ask for any forzase warning, urging the club to appeal to even the cardboard he had seen Filipe Luis to Racing for alleged simulation of a penalty. The Committee withdrew and the side, like Godín and Falcao, played yesterday with the threat of having four cards in his locker. However, Atletico was only yesterday two yellow fell on Gabi and Mario. The match against the Asturian thus became, along with the match against Valencia at the least Atletico players were reprimanded since coming to office Simeone.

Thus, the coach can count mattress for the match against the Blaugrana box with three basic pillars on his computer. And it will do after slide after shock to the Clemente had not given any orders about it. Still, Filipe himself had admitted a few days ago in the pages of MD his desire to play this game. None of them got in tessitura of being reprimanded or forced to commit any fault which was the target of it. (via MD)

[Barça B] BARÇA TV -- Dilluns, 20 de febrer: partit Barça B

[Barça B] Sergi Gómez returns to the scene

The centre-back the regular again after seven games of absence. His role should rise before the rise of defense to the first team.

The Barça B player came back with a bitter taste of defeat in Riazor, although the game left positive news for the future of the team as was the return to the ownership of Sergi Gómez. The centre-back had fallen from the starting lineup in the last seven games on Saturday and again had the opportunity to complete 90 minutes.

Sergi started the season coming to a good start in six of the top eight companies. However, the consolidation of the couple Bartra-Muniesa and then the commitment Armando experience prompted the team to fall squad. Despite the substitution, the international U-19 continued to show a good attitude in training and got his chance on Saturday.

This is the first season Sergi with tab of Barça B after participating in the previous two as a juvenil. In summer extended contract until 2013 and is one of the great values ​​of the cantera. All indications are that, to the promotion of players like Bartra, Muniesa or Montoya, his role will increase. (via SPORT)

The best and the worst of the Barca-Valencia

BEST: Great Leo, great Barça. Pep Guardiola's team was again the usual. As if losing to Osasuna had been a temporary flu, the Catalans treated to a performance worthy of his best nights. It had a lot to see Leo Messi. Argentinean regained the smile, and again the unstoppable scorer and insatiable to whom nothing can make defenses. His four goals knocked to Valencia who paid the thud duck suffered at the Reyno de Navarra.

WORST: Occasions failed. Messi scored a ’poker' goal and Barça reached the' little hand '. But if they had been twice, nobody would have missed. Barça spared countless times very clear. A bad campaign virtually endemic. Cesc, Pedro, Alexis and company may have put the boots. But it was not. Guardiola has already said, jokingly, after the game: "We seem determined to help the porters rivals to renew their contracts." Diego Alves did more than enough to merit it. (via SPORT)

Lionel Messi: "I have the confidence of those that matter, that makes me happy"

The Argentine striker, who scored four goals tonight against Valencia, called on his manager, Pep Guardiola, to stay at the Barça helm next season. The players highlighted the group’s unity and they hope to continue on form in the future.

After putting in a majestic performance against Valencia, scoring four of Barça’s five goals (5-1), Lionel Messi said, “the truth is that I’ve been very calm. My teammates, manager and the people that are important to me have confidence in me, and that makes me happy,” said the Azulgrana player.

Despite his personal goal tally, the Argentine talked about the team’s effort tonight: “it was a bit difficult for us at the start, we started losing. But what’s really important is that we had a good game and we played well.”

Messi said that the team needs to keep on form for the rest of the season: “it’s important that the team has found its form again, like we did in Germany. We have to keep on playing like this, important games are coming up.”

The Barça squad asks their manager to stay

The Argentine start also talked about Guardiola’s possible contract renewal: “the manager knows what we think, but he will make his decision at the appropriate time. Obviously, we all want him to stay at Barça because, to us, he’s very important.”

Here are the statements made by Barça players after the match against Valencia:

Cristian Tello:

“Messi doesn’t stop. He is and will continue to be the best player in the world.

“I’m happy for the confidence the manager gives me.

“It was a very good game. This team won’t stop and we’ll keep on fighting until the end.

“It was a spectacular game, we created a lot of goalscoring chances, but Valencia’s keeper had a great game.”

Andrés Iniesta:

“We always try to offer up a good performance. The truth is that we have to keep on winning three points each game and hope that Madrid falters.

“The team needs to play like this to aspire to the three titles.

“It’s not easy making a comeback, but the team reacted well.

“We have to keep on enjoying Messi, and he needs to keep on enjoying the team.

“It’s difficult to maintain this level of play in all of our matches, but we feel similar to how we felt in past seasons. Despite everything, it’s true that we’ve lost points.

“The team is eager to do a good job.

“[Real Madrid] has an important advantage over us and we cannot allow ourselves to make any more mistakes.”

On Guardiola’s possible contract extension: “I hope that he renews and that he stays with us for a long time. He has to decide and he knows that the team wants him to stay. That’s everyone’s wish.

“Guardiola is eager. We have a lot of beautiful things still yet to see.”

Pedro Rodríguez:

“I would like to highlight the team’s work, it was very good, we created a lot of clear chances and we got a good result.

“Perhaps we didn’t have the luck in front of goal in past matches that we had tonight against Valencia.

“We have to going game by game and not lose anymore points.

“The team is doing very well, we’re happy and excited. We want to do something great.

“We were playing against Valencia, we’re extremely happy for tonight’s victory.

“I honestly don’t know what to say about Lionel Messi [anymore].

“I feel better physically and I’m confident. I need to improve.”

Martín Montoya:

“The boss warned us of the dangers of Valencia’s left wing, I think we managed it pretty well.

“I’m happy, it’s a very positive thing for me to play another Liga match. I hope to have more minutes on the pitch.

“We played like always. The best players of the world play here.” (via FCBarcelona.com)

[youth] Espanyol B 2 - 3 FCB Juvenil B

The guys are on track Javier García Pimienta the game on a very good first half but two goals in the second half Espanyol have subjected to the azulgranas until the last minute of play. The Catalan derby on Sunday is for the match of the 17th round of the season that had to cancel on 15 January.

The Juvenil B has played this event a very special game. The azulgranas faced Espanyol in the Liga Juvenil National, and the meeting could not be more interesting as both teams have enjoyed times, but with more control of Barça. It was the postponed match of the seventeenth round of the season

The first part has been colored Barca. The team Javier García Pimienta has dominated the first half, but struggled to create chances and get to the opponents' goal until Quintillá has been opened the can of Barcelona in 41 minutes. Moussima has chutado-kick, the goalkeeper has rejected but the Barcelona forward took the opportunity to finish and sign the first goal of the day.

Munir has widened the gap in the scoring in injury time thanks to assistance from the right Edwelle. The encounter has left the rest to do justice to the good play of the azulgranas with the result from 0 - 2.

Espanyol has come out with great intensity on the pitch in the second half and Marc has cut the gap with a goal-kick that has entered the top corner on 48 minutes. The azulgranas, little by little, have been taking control of the game, but, however, Jose Manuel has managed to tie the game at minute 60. Jordi has finished after a corner kick, but has rejected Ondoa José Manuel has finished entering the goal by azulgrana.

When it seemed that the Catalan derby end in a draw, Quesada gave the victory to all García Pimienta with a long shot from outside the area.

Next weekend the Juvenil B will face FPEF Calella. (via FCBarcelona.cat)

[Match Data]
Espanyol B: Agus, Marc, Maxi, José Manuel, Adri, Víctor, Jordi, Nico, Cristian, Fonti, Robert.

FC Barcelona B: Ondoa, Godswill, Costa, Riera, Quintillà, Pau, Moussima (Iu, min 90+) Quesada, Joel (Simon, min 89) and Edwelle (Jordi, min 90+).

Goals: 0-1, Quintillà, min 41; 0-2, Munir, min 45+; 1-2, Marc, min 48, i 2-2, José Manuel, min 60.

Referee: Albert Avalos Martos.

Messi scores 4 goals to celebrate his 200th game

Messi scored four of Barça’s five goals against Valencia on the day he played his 200th game for FC Barcelona. It’s the second time the Argentine has scored four goals in a match. The first time was against Arsenal in the Champions League (April 6, 2010).

Lionel Messi gifted the 74,240 Camp Nou spectators with 4 goals on the day played his 200th game for FC Barcelona. When it looked like Messi would close out the match after scoring his 15th hat-trick for Barça, he subtly chipped Diego Alves for his fourth after Sergio Busquets brilliantly assisted the Argentine. It was Barça’s, and his, fourth goal - which keeps him in the running for the Pichichi award. Messi has scored 27 goals in the Liga so far, Cristiano Ronaldo has 28.

This isn’t the first time that Messi has bagged four goals. The first time was also at the Camp Nou, but in the Champions League against Arsenal. The Argentine fired four past the Arsenal keeper in the 2009/10 quarterfinal. The last Barça player to score four goals in the Liga was Samuel Eto’o, on Nov. 8 2008, in the game against Valladolid.

Messi has played 3,421 minutes so far in all competitions this season, which is about 39 games (almost as many games that are played in the Liga). In this time, Messi has scored 44 goals - 27 in the Liga, 2 in the Cup, 7 in the Champions League, 3 in the Spanish Super Cup, 1 in the European Super Cup and 2 in the Club World Cup. In total, the Argentine scores 1.15 goals per game.

In his 200 Liga games, Messi has 146 goals. An incredible statistic for a player that is only 24. He’s the youngest Barça player to each the bicentennial mark, and the 12th youngest to do it in Spain’s top flight. (via FCBarcelona.com)

[Youth] FCB Juvenil A 5 - 2 Real Zaragoza

The team led by Óscar García took the win against fifth-place Zaragoza in a match completely dominated by the Azulgranas. Dongou (with a hat-trick) was one of the best players of the second half.

On matchday 23, Barça’s Juvenil A team (U18) earned its seventh consecutive victory after beating Real Zaragoza. This win keeps the Barça side in the second position, just two adrift of league leaders, Espanyol. Espanyol, however, has a game in hand.

Draw after the first half

The first half was dominated by FC Barcelona. Edu was the man to score the team’s go-ahead goal. The Azulgrana striker took advantage of a cross from Grimaldo to shoot past the keeper on 26 minutes.

The chances kept on coming for Barça. Zaragoza, however, also went on the attack and came close to scoring a couple times as well. A shot from Pablo was saved by Samper and Suarez’s shot sailed over the crossbar in the 41st minute. The visiting side scored in stoppage time.

Bakoyoc committed a foul in the Barça area and Pablo was quick to net the penalty. The Zaragoza player placed his shot perfectly, Bañuz went the other way.

Barça comes out swinging

The U18 side came out in the second half with a lot of intensity, in the first minute they came close to scoring the 2-1. Dongou connected with a cross from Edu, the ball nearly went in but the keeper was quick to save.

Despite the Barça onslaught, it was Zaragoza that grabbed the go-ahead goal. Suarez knocked in a Zaragoza corner on the 52nd minute. Even though Barça was down, the team never gave up. After a good collective play from the Catalan side, Antonio scored an own goal that brought Barça level.

Only three minutes later, Dongou put his team ahead after dribbling the keeper. Dongou then scored the 4-2 in the last minute of the game. Miguel Ángel crossed the ball from the right wing and Dongou made sure he buried his shot in Zaragoza’s goal.

The game was over for Zaragoza, but Barça wanted more and Dongou wasn’t finished. The Cameroonian completed his hat-trick with a fantastic individual play.

Barça’s Juvenil A team will fight for the top spot in the league next week against Girona. (via FCBarcelona.com)

[Match Stats]
FC Barcelona A: Bañuz, Edu (Pol Calvet, min 51), Bakoyoc (Miguel Ángel, min 45), Bagnack, Ayala, Samper, Babunki (Adama, min 87), Patri, Dongou, Quintillà and Grimaldo.

Zaragoza: Aroca, Roy, Lasure, Antonio, Luis, Antón (Marc, min 86), Moreno (Escuder, min 75), Nacho, Suárez, Joel and Ortí.

Goals: 1-0, Edu, min 26; 1-1, Pablo, min 45+; 1-2, Suárez, min 52; 2-2, own goal, min 67; 3-2, Dongou, min 71; 4-2, Dongou, min 89, and 5-2, Dongou, 90+.

Referee: Xavier Bertomeu Garcia.

Guardiola: "This team dignifies football"

The manager considers that, seeing how his players have performed throughout the season, his team doesn’t deserve to be 10 points behind in the Liga. “But we are and we have to live with it,” added Guardiola.

After putting on a masterclass display against Valencia, Josep Guardiola praised his players. For the manager, it’s a “privilege” to be able to watch Barça play football. “We’re so lucky to be living in a time when these players play. This team dignifies the sport,” said Guardiola when asked about his take on his team’s performance.

“We’re far away”

Focusing on Barça’s level of play, “when one sees how we’ve competed throughout the year, they think we don’t deserve it,” said the manager in reference to the 10 point gap with Real Madrid. “It’s a shame we’re so far away. I sincerely believe that our play isn’t representative of being 10 points down, but we are, and we have to live with it. The distance is what it is, let’s see if we can fulfill our job,” said the manager.

On the team’s current situation in the league, the Barça manager urged his players to keep on fighting: “We must compete well, if we don’t this [season] will be very long for us. We have to try to make sure that these three remaining months in the league aren’t drawn out and we must try and compete the best we can ... we have to go to the Calderón and play a good game, let’s see if we can get any closer to [Madrid]. We’ll start preparing for the game on Wednesday, it’ll be a good test to see if we want the title.”

“We won’t play where we aren’t wanted”

When asked about the possibility of playing the King’s Cup final in Mestalla and not the Santiago Bernabeu, Guardiola said, “I’d like to go where we are welcome and I’d rather not go to a place where they don’t want us to dignify a competition like the King’s Cup. In the end there aren’t any problems, we’re thankful to Valencia for receiving us. We never want to make anyone uncomfortable. If they don’t want us, we won’t go. It’s clear that we won’t play in a place where we aren’t welcome.”

Guardiola was also asked about what his team would look like without Xavi: “without Xavi this would be different. Not only because of what that implies on the pitch, but off the pitch as well. He’s a lad that goes out to train 10 minutes before training is scheduled, he guides the players that come in, he likes to work ... he’s a one-of-a-kind player, not repeatable. His parents are a bit delayed in making a copy [of Xavi]. This year we have midfielders that are doing a great job.”

Lastly, Guardiola confessed that he told Cesc Fabregas “you have to score a goal,” when he was substituted. “We had way too many clear chances, it’s not possible. We’re helping the opposing keepers of the Liga make a good case for contract extensions with their teams,” he said jokingly. The manager also said that he’s convinced that Messi will break César’s all-time goalscoring record. The Argentine only needs 12 more goals. (via FCBarcelona.com)

Unai Emery: "Valencia has been at the mercy of Barça"

Displeased with his team and with little desire to answer questions from reporters. Valencia coach was clear that "we have a bad game" and that "defeat is painful, since we have been much lower. We had done previous matches against Barça in which we had been good, but tonight was all otherwise. have been much higher. "

With performances like tonight at the Camp Nou, Emery is clear that the quest for second place "is unattainable." In turn, Unai has made the next exposure of the meeting: "It was a game that we had very little possession. We wanted to rush back from them. In the previous games have always had a balance in possession and the team has been at the mercy of Barça except for the 0 - 1. "

Valencia coach has found a reality and is on the lawn of Camp Nou two teams have been very different, "the best version of Barcelona and one of the worst of Valencia, is what has led to the pitch. ".

In the game tonight, Valencia has missed a Banega, remember that has been run over by her own car while trying to stop it. A Banega, who traveled to Barcelona through injury, Valencia noticed it missing because "it gives us the personality that the team needs. It gives us the possession, against Barcelona have always had in mind to play."

At about the incident that has suffered the Valencia player, the coach regretted the "unfortunate news. We were worried. Now the best part is that the operation goes well and recover. Valencia will wait."

In addition, Emery has lamented that "we were a bit depleted, with some situations, with Jordi Alba, with Mathieu with fever, Miguel has had a muscle proema have to wait ...".

And he ended the press conference Unai Emery, somewhat taciturn, not wanting to have come to appreciate the game of Messi. Earlier he had warned that spoke only of Valencia and when asked about Messi responded: "They have been much higher." (via MD)

Messi: "We all want to stay Guardiola"

Leo Messi released the desire of all players that Pep Guardiola barcelonistas continue next season on the bench for Barça.

Nothing more to conclude the match, and even with the ball under the arms, Leo Messi attended microphones Canal +. And he began by analyzing the match. "It took us over start and had the misfortune of his goal, but then we have been able to trace the game." Once again, the striker evaded protagonist of the game, despite his four goals and that he spoke of the team. "The important thing is that the team regained its level, as it did in Germany. Now is when they get the important things in the season."

Leo also declined to enter the bait when asked about the criticism he had received lately. "You always have things but I am calm and I know I have confidence mister, my colleagues and the people of Barça."

And, of course, the last question had to be on the future of Pep Guardiola. "What is left is what we all want. Let him decide when he wants, but to stay, because it is very important to us." (via SPORT)

Zubizarreta: “We don't mind waiting for Pep to renew his contract”

During the halftime break, the Barça football director said the Club’s position concerning Josep Guardiola’s contract extension is very clear: “Pep knows that he has the complete confidence of the Club, the same when he first started training here. We aren’t giving him any deadlines, he has all of our confidence. If he needs time, he’ll have it. Each year he has signed a new contract and he’s always needed time to feel good about it. His way of working isn’t a problem for us. The Club is at peace [with the process].”(via FCBarcelona.com)

[Liga BBVA; Week24] FC Barcelona 5 - 1 Valencia CF

Barça came back from an early goal by Piatti for the visitors to bury Valencia with four goals from Messi and a fifth from Xavi to round off a fantastic performance that showed the team are still up for the fight for the league titleBarça came back from an early goal by Piatti for the visitors to bury Valencia with four goals from Messi and a fifth from Xavi to round off a fantastic performance that showed the team are still up for the fight for the league title.

Messi put in an extraordinary game to destroy the third placed team in La Liga and reiterate Barça's faith in their chances of fighting for the La Liga title. The team showed immense character and commitment when they came back from a sticky looking situation – 13 points behind the leaders, trailing 0-1 to a Piatti goal on 9 minutes - to blow away Valencia.

Led by the four goal hero Messi and with Xavi putting the icing on the cake with the fifth, Barça could have won by an even wider margin, such was their superiority on the night.

The win leaves Barça 10 points behind Madrid in second place and will be a real boost ahead of a difficult game at the Vicente Calderón next Sunday.

A goal within the first 10 minutes from Piatti, who met a Feghouli cross from the right and took advantage of a mix up between Valdes and his defence, put the visitors one up before Barça really knew what had happened. Their response, however, was devastating with Pedro and Alexis opening up the flanks and Abidal and Montoya pushing forward from the full back positions, Barça were soon creating plenty of danger.

After a somewhat cold start, Barça's stars soon began to fire on all cylinders. Alexis, Cesc, Iniesta and Pedro were all at the top of their game and Messi was playing at his very best. The equaliser came after a Pedro cross from the left which Rami mis-cleared and Messi put away. Five minutes later, a great cross from Abidal allowed Messi to calmly make it 2-1 and as the team began to play some of their best football, Alexis and Cesc, with a spectacular bicycle kick that hit the bar, both came close to making it three before the break.

The second half was all Barça, as the team made chance after chance, with Valencia keeper Diego Alves forced to make some excellent saves to keep Guardiola's men out, but despite two great chances for Alexis and Cesc and a Messi header against the post, the score unbelievably stayed 2-1 as the game entered the last 15 minutes.

Finally though, Valencia's resistance broke, when Messi pounced on a parry from a Tello shot after the youngster had come on for Pedro, to claim his hat trick. Not content with that however, the world number one made it four with a brilliant chip over the keeper following a great through ball by Busquets.

Guardiola brought on Xavi, who has been struggling with a foot injury, and the Catalan midfielder responded with the fifth of the night to make the score a more realistic reflection of Barça's domination on the night. (via FCBarcelona.cat)

[Match Data]
FC Barcelona: Valdés; Montoya, Piqué, Puyol, Abidal, Sergio Busquets, Cesc (Thiago, min.77), Iniesta (Xavi, min.86), Alexis, Messi and Pedro (Tello, min.68).

Valencia: Diego Alves; Miguel (min.26), Rami, Víctor Ruiz, Mathieu, Albelda, Tino Costa (Topal, min.82), Feghouli, Jonas, Piatti (Jordi Alba, min.66) and Soldado.

Goals: 0-1: Piatti, min.8. 1-1: Messi, min.22. 2-1: Messi. min.27. 3-1: Messi, min.76, 4-1: Messi, min.85. 5-1: Xavi, min.90+1.

Referee: (College Castiliano-Leonés). He showed yellow card to Albelda (min.4), Tino Costa (min.35) and Soldado (min.64).

Incidents: Mattch of the twenty-fourth round of First Division match at the Camp Nou before 74,240 spectators.

No surprises in the final training session

This morning, Guardiola worked with the same footballers that trained yesterday. Xavi, who missed the match against Bayer 04 Leverkusen, trained with the group.

The team trained this Sunday morning at the Camp Nou. Pep Guardiola worked with the same footballers that participated in yesterday’s practice. The manager has 21 footballers - 17 from the first team and 4 from Barça B - at his disposal for of the match against Valencia.

Xavi Hernández, who missed the match against Bayer 04 Leverkusen due to injury, trained with the group for the second day in a row.

Tello, Montoya, Muniesa and Bartra are the four youngsters called up from the Barça B team by Guardiola to replace Alves and Mascherano, both suspended, for tonight’s match against Unai Emery’s men. (via FCBarcelona.com)