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Final training ahead of the Clasico

October 24, 2014 – 12:00 | Comments Off

Luis Suárez trained with the rest of the players on Friday / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
All Barça’s avaialble players trained on Friday ahead of Saturday’s trip to the Bernabeue

Sergio trained normally, whilst Adriano, Douglas and Vermaelen worked apart

The squad put in a final training session on the Camp Tito Vilanova at the Ciutat Esportiva this morning, ahead of Saturday’s big game in Madrid with Luis Enrique having the chance to work with all of his available players plus Barça B youngsters Sandro and Munir. Sergio Busquets continues to recover from the injury that kept him out on Tuesday , whilst Adriano,Douglas and Vermaelen all worked apart.

The squad will fly to Madrid on Saturday morning for the six o’clock kick off at the Bernabeu. Luis Enrique will also announce the squad for the game on Saturday morning.

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Final training ahead of the Clasico

October 24, 2014 – 12:00 | Comments Off

 Final training ahead of the Clasico
All Barça’s avaialble players trained on Friday ahead of Saturday’s trip to the Bernabeue

Sergio trained normally, whilst Adriano, Douglas and Vermaelen worked apart

The squad put in a final training session on the Camp Tito Vilanova at the Ciutat Esportiva this morning, ahead of Saturday’s big game in Madrid with Luis Enrique having the chance to work with all of his available players plus Barça B youngsters Sandro and Munir. Sergio Busquets continues to recover from the injury that kept him out on Tuesday , whilst Adriano,Douglas and Vermaelen all worked apart.

The squad will fly to Madrid on Saturday morning for the six o’clock kick off at the Bernabeu. Luis Enrique will also announce the squad for the game on Saturday morning.

 Final training ahead of the Clasico

LIVE – Luis Enrique press conference

October 24, 2014 – 10:32 | Comments Off

Luis Enrique press conference, after training session.

LIVE – Luis Enrique press conference

October 24, 2014 – 10:32 | Comments Off

Luis Enrique press conference, after training session.

The Clasico: Real Madrid-FC Barcelona through the eyes of international journalists

October 24, 2014 – 10:00 | Comments Off

Clasico's press round-up
These are some of the key thoughts of a few of the thousands of sports journalists who follow day to day events in the world of football

“An interesting challenge to our marriage”

“My wife, Bipasha, is a hardcore Madridista, and I am a culé through ­and ­through”, says Bobby Ghosh, Former Deputy International Editor of Time Magazine and currently Managing Editor Quartz, qz.com. “This makes for an interesting challenge to our marriage every time a Clasico comes around. It is the one football game we can’t watch at home, because neither of us can control our emotions. So we go out, to watch the game at a bar. And we always bring at least one friend, a neutral party, to watch with us. “But football’s greatest rivalry is also an indirect testament to our marriage, fast approaching its 25th anniversary: it has survived more than 100 Clasicos, so we must really love each other!”, confirms Ghosh.

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The international press confirm the global reach of a match such as Real Madrid-Barça. Journalists from well respected media outlets analyse the international impact of the Clasico. This Saturday’s game will surely be one of the global sporting events of the year. For that reason, we sought the opinions of journalists from around the world on the subject of the weekend’s clash in the Santiago Bernabéu.These are some of the key thoughts of a few of the thousands of sports journalists who follow day to day events in the world of football.

To start, Sam Tighe (The Bleacher Report): “Barca’s new­found defensive strength and solidarity under Luis Enrique will be tested, as will Real Madrid’s progress in moving on from the losses of Xabi Alonso and Angel Di María Neither side are close to 100 percent as yet, and this early clash represents a true litmus test of progress for both teams”. “We’ve seen epic Clasicos in the past, but the feeling leading up to this one is that we’ll see two three ­pronged attacks unlike any we’ve seen before. In the blaugrana corner, Lionel Messi, Neymar and Suárez linger; in the blanco corner Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema flex their muscles”, says Tighe.

[[CITA_1]]

An awesome world event

For his part, Sam Laird (Mashable.com) believes that “I can’t think of a single rivalry that approaches the Clasico status. Most teams in most sports have their rivalries and they are fun. From Cal­-Stanford in American College Football, to Lakers-­Celtics in the NBA, to Giants-­Dodgers in Major League Baseball, the list goes on forever. But the Clasico is the grandaddy of them all”. “I don’t think anything else is as heated on a consistent basis, features two teams that are always good and has the larger political and cultural symbolism of Real Madrid vs. FC Barcelona. It’s amazing, and awesome. I only hope I can see one in person someday”, says Laird.

Special match for Luis Suárez

The famous journalist and writer Jimmy Burns feels that “the inclusion of Luis Suárez in the Barca team alongside the likes of Messi, Neymar, and Iniesta is a mouth- watering prospect. Suárez is a great player, who scores goals. It will be fascinating to watch how he works with the team, and the team with him. I am trusting that he has learnt to channel his energy into more creative activity than biting his opponent”. “Ancelotti’s Real Madrid are not Ajax as we know. They were last season’s deserving European champion and currently looks to me the strongest team in La Liga, if not in Europe. The likes of Ronaldo, Benzema, Modric, Sergio Ramos, Isco, Kross, and James Rodríguez deserve respect”, confirms Burns.

“A global question”

Roberto Martínez, ESPN’s Argentine columnist who follows Spanish Football closely, feels that “the rivalry between Messi and ­Ronaldo has gone beyond national borders and is now a global question.” “Saturday’s game is a red hot topic that has generated enormous expectation due to Luis Suárez’s probable debut following his FIFA ban, the strong possibility that Lionel Messi surpasses the legendary Zarra’s goalscoring record; Cristiano Ronaldo’s outstanding current form and other details such as Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti’s provocation of Luis Enrique, the Barça coach, following his team’s performance against Liverpool”, says Martínez who considers the Clasico to be “a game that you can`t take your eyes off on TV”.

[[CITA_2]]

Julio Gomes Filho, the BBC’s Brazilian Editor-in-chief in São Paulo, suggests that “talking about favourites in the Clásico is always difficult. Perhaps Real Madrid, overall, have a stronger side but you cannot underestimate a team that attacks like FC Barcelona.”

Finally, Raffaele Riverso, Barcelona correspondent for Tuttosport is of the opinion that “Madrid will look to score in the opening ten minutes, whilst Barça will want to avoid a repeat of what happened in the Parc des Princes.” “Ancelotti’s objective is to get to half time with a one or two goal lead because he knows the blaugranes perform better in the second half”, says Riverso who also considers that “the new position for Messi is the most important contribution by Luis Enrique”. “If Madrid lose their balance in between the lines and the confidence they have built up, Barça could cause them lots of problems”, assures Riverso.

I can’t think of a single rivalry that approaches the Clasico status
Talking about favourites in the Clasico is always difficult

Weloba: a new look at Barça

October 24, 2014 – 08:13 | Comments Off

www.weloba.es
These are busy days for the website which covers all the day to day activity at FC Barcelona in English, Spanish and Catalan

There is no shortage of work at the moment for the staff at Weloba.cat, a recently founded website that covers the day to day goings on at FC Barcelona in English, Spanish and Catalan. Created in the first few months of 2014, this new site consists of a team of young, ambitious journalists whose aim is to provide an in-depth look at daily events within the blaugrana first team and to create a global community of Barça fans all around the world.

The website includes a brief daily video news programme and also hosts the contents of famous Catalan journalist Joaquim Maria Puyal’s match day programme and commentary for the radio station Catalunya Ràdio.

With the Clasico just around the corner, we accompanied some of the young journalists from Weloba (the name comes from ‘We Love Barça’) as they explain just whats goes on at this new 100% web based media outlet.

Messi and Neymar at their deadliest

October 23, 2014 – 18:25 | Comments Off

Messi and Neymar have their sights set on Real Madrid. PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.
The superstar duo head into El Clasico after having both scored at least one goal in each of the last five games

Leo Messi and Neymar Jr get ready to face archrivals Real Madrid in El Clasico with both players at the top of their game. They’ve each scored at least once in Barça’s last five matches, including La Liga clashes versus Eibar, Rayo Vallecano, and Granada, and UEFA Champions League duels with Ajax and Paris Saint-Germain. Over that stretch, this two-headed monster has summed 13 goals. Frighteningly, it doesn’t even tell the whole story, as they have both scored with their respective national sides as well.

Overall this season, Neymar leads Barça with 10 goals, while Messi has nine to go along with seven assists.

Scene of the crime

Messi and Neymar also had their way in the last match between Barça and Madrid, which came in last season’s 29th league game. The Argentinean stole the show by putting up a hat-trick to become the all-time El Clasico goal leader. His Brazilian cohort provoked a red card to Sergio Ramos and the ensuing penalty kick, the key moment of a match that saw Barça escape Madrid with a 4-3 victory.

Luis Enrique set to make Bernabeu debut

October 23, 2014 – 17:30 | Comments Off

Van Gaal, Rijkaard, Guardiola i Martino.
Luis Enrique will make his first visit to the Bernabeu as Barcelona FC coach this Saturday.

Four of the last ten Barça coaches debuted with wins at the Bernabeu

The last ten debuts

Gerardo Martino (2013/14)
League. Madrid 3-4 FCB

Tito Vilanova (2012/13)
Spanish Super Cup. Madrid 2-1 FCB

Josep Guardiola (2008/09)
League. Madrid 2-6 FCB

Frank Rijkaard (2003/04)
League. Madrid 1-2 FCB

Radomir Antic (2002/03)
League. Madrid 1-1 FCB

Carles Rexach (2001/02)
League. Madrid 2-0 FCB

Llorenç Serra Ferrer (2000/01)
League. Madrid 2-2 FCB

Louis van Gaal (1997/98)
League. Madrid 2-3 FCB

Bobby Robson (1996/97)
League. Madrid 2-0 FCB

Johan Cruyff (1988/89)
Spanish Super Cup. Madrid 2-0 FCB

Luis Enrique Martínez makes his debut as Barça coach at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday, but he’s certainly no stranger to the ground, having played for Real Madrid between 1991 and 1996. After joining Barça, he then faced his old team in Madrid on a number of occasions and he was there again earlier this year in charge of Celta de Vigo in January.

This Saturday, though, will be Luis Enrique’s debut as Barça manager at the Bernabeu and he’ll be following in the footsteps of some highly successful predescessors.

Four wins, two draws and four defeats

The last ten Barça managers who’ve made their debuts at the Bernabeu have won on four occasions, drawn two games and lost four other matches.

Gerardo Martino’s first and only league game in charge at the Bernabeu last season ended with a 3-4 win , as  Leo Messi scored a memorable hat trick. Before Martino,  Josep Guardiola made his mark with the historic 2-6 win on May 2, 2009.

Dutch masters  Frank Rijkaard (1-2 in 2003/04) and Louis van Gaal (2-3 in 1997/98) also won their first games in charge at the Bernabeu, with Luis Enrique on the scoresheet in that game for the current Manchester United boss.

Radomir Antic (1-1) and Llorenç Serra Ferrer (2-2)  both took a point away from Madrid on their debuts, but Tito Vilanova (2-1), Carles Rexach (2-0), Bobby Robson (2-0) and Johan Cruyff (3-2) all debuted with defeat.

 

Leo Messi is an assist machine

October 23, 2014 – 16:47 | Comments Off

Leo Messi has shown a knack for playmaking in El Clasico. PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
Leo has 12 assists in 28 career games versus Real Madrid

The FC Barcelona star has shown he’s more than just a great scorer

7 assists in 8 games

This season Leo Messi has continued to be a deft passer, currently leading La Liga in assists with 7 in 8 matches.

There has been plenty of talk this season about Leo Messi‘s passing prowess, but a quick peek at the stats show that it’s nothing new. It seems as if his eye-popping goal scoring numbers have eclipsed his almost-as-impressive role in dishing out assists. The stats don’t lie here, folks. While he is, in fact, the all-time leader in El Clasico goals, he also has 12 assists in 28 career games versus Real Madrid.

12 assists to 8 different scorers

The dozen assists Leo has handed out against Madrid have gone to a virtual who’s who list of superstars including Samuel Eto’o, Thierry Henry, David Villa, Andres Iniesta, Alexis Sanchez, Eric Abidal, Pedro Rodriguez and Cesc Fabregas. The very first went to Eto’o on 19 November, 2005 when Messi was just 18 years old. The most recent was last season, with Iniesta as the beneficiary.

Villa a favourite target

When he played for Barça, Villa was assisted three times versus Real Madrid. Two were at the Camp Nou in a 5-0 victory in 2010/11 and one was at the Bernabeu in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup in 2011.

A catalyst in historic routs

Two of Barça’s biggest El Clasico victories in recent memory also bear Messi’s fingerprints. Aside from the aforementioned Villa goals in that 5-0 thrashing, Leo fed a pair of assists to Henry in a 6-2 dismantling at Madrid in 2008/09. The Argentine also scored two himself that memorable evening.

[+] Check out all of Leo Messi’s goals at the Santiago Bernabeu in this exclusive video.

RECAP: FC Barcelona wins 78-63 in Milan

October 23, 2014 – 16:30 | Comments Off

American Brad Oleson chipped in with six points as Barça beat Milan. PHOTO: EUROLEAGUE
Eleven three-pointers elevate Barça once again in the Eurolague

Alex Abrines had 21 points was lights out from long range

GAME STATISTICS

Olimpia Milano, 63
FCB, 78

Milan: Hackett (15), Moss (4), Gentile (11), Samuels (11) and Melli (2) –starting five-; Ragland (0), Brooks (2), Cerella (0), Kleiza (10), James (8).

FC Barcelona: Huertas (3), Oleson (6), Thomas (12), Doellman (7) and Tomic (2) –starting five-; Hezonja (2), Abrines (21), Satoransky (5), Pleiss (16), Nachbar (4).

By quarter: 17-20, 15-25, 18-18, 13-15.

FC Barcelona beat EA7 Emporio Armani Milan 78-63 in a game decided before halftime thanks to a 25-15 second quarter. The result was never really in doubt as Alex Abrines led the way with 21 points, 15 of which came from beyond the arc.

DeShaun Thomas had three three-pointers in the first quarter while Tomas Satoransky‘s debut gave the Club a new look. A 20-5 run in the beginning of the second quarter put the score at 40-22 as Barça showed no mercy in the face of a defensively weak Milan. Barça, on the other hand, was strong on defence. It looked the be their best quarter of basketball so far this season.

Just before the half Milan clawed back slightly but still found themselves down by 13 at 45-32. With any agressiveness sorely lacking for the home team, the fans became restless. A brief surge by Milan brrought them to within eight points at the 25 minute mark, but a cool and calm Barça went back out on the fast break and resumed their dominance. Milan were working harder but progress was impossible with the lights out shooting of Abrines.

The fourth quarter was uneventful with both sides struggling to find any rhythm. When Milan’s Linas Kleiza finally started to heat up, Barça slammed the door shut with yet another opportune three ball.

When and where to watch the Spanish League match between R. Madrid and FCBarcelona

October 23, 2014 – 14:00 | Comments Off

Clásico kick off times / FCB
Don’t know where to watch Saturday’s League game? We have you covered

Saturday’s match at the Santiago Bernabeu will be the first Clasico of the season, a game between two of the best teams in the world. Two teams that come at a great time and the best players. The following is a guide of TV channels showing the game around the world. If the game isn’t being shown in your country or region, remember that you can listen to live commentary in English on Radio Barça and the international web sites. There will also be constant updates here at fcbarcelona.com, on Twitter (@fcbarcelona) and on all of the club’s usual social networks.

 

Saturday, october 25, 2014

Los Angeles – 9:00 AM (WST) / New York – 12:00 PM (EST)
beIN Sports en Español, beIN Sports USA, SiriusXM FC, beIN SPORTS CONNECT

FC Barcelona: @fcbarcelona i www.fcbarcelona.com


Brasil – 2:00 PM (Brasilia)

ESPN Play Latin America, ESPN + Sur, ESPN3 South America, ESPN + Andina
FC Barcelona: @fcbarcelona_br i www.fcbarcelona.pt


South America – Buenos Aires 2:00 PM / Montevideo 1:00 PM / Santiago Chile 12:00 PM / Mexico City 11:00 AM

ESPN3 South America, ESPN Play Argentina, ESPN + Andina, ESPN Play Latin America, ESPN + Sur
FC Barcelona: @fcbarcelona_es i www.fcbarcelona.es


United Kingdom – 5:00 PM
NOW TV, Sky Sports 5/HD, Sky Go Extra, Sky Go
FC Barcelona: @fcbarcelona i www.fcbarcelona.com

*due to broadcasting restrictions live coverage of the clásico in the United Kingdom will begin at 5.15 PM


France – 6:00 PM (CET)
beIN Sports 2, beIN SPORTS CONNECT

FC Barcelona: @fcbarcelona_fra i www.fcbarcelona.fr


Madrid – 6:00 PM (CET)
Gol Stadium, Canal+ Yomvi, C+ Liga Multi, Canal+ Liga / HD, GOL T
FCBarcelona: www.fcbarcelona.cat, www.fcbarcelona.es, @fcbarcelona_cat i @fcbarcelona_es


Arab Countries – 7:00 PM (Mecca Time / GMT+3)
beIN Sports Arabia 12 HD, beIN Sports Arabia 2 HD, beIN Sports Arabia 14 HD, beIN Sports Connect Arabia
FC Barcelona: @fcbarcelona_ara i www.fcbarab.com


Russia – 8:00 PM (MSK)
NTV+ Football, NTV+ Sport Online, Setanta Sports Eurasia
FC Barcelona: @fcbarcelona i www.fcbarcelona.com


India – 9:30 PM (IST)
Star Sports 2 Asia, Star Sports HD 2 Asia
FC Barcelona: @fcbarcelona i www.fcbarcelona.com


Indonesia – 11:00 PM (WIB)
Orange TV Indonesia, RCTI – Indonesia, Fox Sports 2 Indonesia, Fox Sports 2 Cambodia
FC Barcelona: @fcbarcelona_id i www.fcbarcelona.co.id


 

Sunday, october 26, 2014

China – 0:00 AM (CST)

CCTV-5, PPLive, Sina Sports, G-Sports Channel, Star Sports China, CCTV 5+ VIP, CNTV Sports, QQ Sports Live
FC Barcelona: Tencent Weibo, Sina Weibo and www.fcbarcelona.cn


Japan –1:00 AM (JST)
WOWOW, SKY PerfecTV LIVE
FC Barcelona: @fcbarcelona_jap i www.fcbarcelona.jp


Australia – 2:00 AM (Sidney)

Fox Sports 3 Australia
FC Barcelona: @fcbarcelona i www.fcbarcelona.com


*Source: Live Soccer TV

Check out our map with kick off times

Andrés Iniesta insists team must go to Bernabeu to win

October 23, 2014 – 13:53 | Comments Off

Iniesta spoke to the media at the Ciutat Esportiva / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
“We’re just thinking about playing well, winning and stretching our lead in the table”

That 2-6 win was special

Iniesta explained that his best memory of a Clasico is the 2-6 win at the Bernabeu under Pep Guardiola: “it’s always good to win, but that was a great victory which virtually ensured we won the league. There have been other games we’ve beaten them in since that were also pretty good”.

Asked about Messi’s best game, Iniesta insisted: “it’s hard to say which is his best game because he’s stamped himself on so many – let’s hope he does it again on Saturday”.

[[DES_1]]Andrés Iniesta will play his thirtieth Clasico on Saturday and he’s well aware that it’s a game in which anything can happen: “it’s hard to predict what we’ll find on Saturday , you don’t know how they’ll be and often it all comes down to little details. There is a lot of quality in both teams and the game could go either way”.

Speaking after training on Thursday, Iniesta insisted that “we will be going there with the intention of winning. It’d be a big mistake to think that we’ve got a four point lead and even if we lose we’ll still be top. We’re just thinking about playing well, winning and stretching our lead in the table, which would be important, but not decisive at this stage of the season”. [[CITA_1]]  On a tactical level, Iniesta reckons: “they will try and have the ball, create danger and hit us quickly on the break and we have to hold on to possession for as long as possible. It’s always a footballing battle and you have to be better than them at everything to win We have to maximise our strong points and minimise theirs”.

After his excellent performance on Tuesday, Iniesta admitted: “it’s always important to be on an upward curve and when you are at the top of your game you have to try and stay up there”.

Messi, Suarez and Neymar

Iniesta could find himself playing behind Messi, Suarez and Neymar on Saturday and he was duly quizzed about all three of them by reportres. Messi could beat Zarra’s goalscoring record on Saturday and Iniesta believes that any kind of homage to the Argentinean is the least of the matter: “I just want to see him get past the record, that’d be a good sign for us and mean we are in with a chance of winning”.

As for Luis Suárez, Iniesta explained: “he’s happy to be available and the rest of us are happy about it too. We hope he performs as well as he has always done”. Finally, Iniesta reflected on Neymar’s excellent current form: “the first year is always difficult, you have to change your ways and habits and it takes a while to settle. He’s more relaxed now and he’s an excellent, unique player”.

It’s always a footballing battle