FC Barcelona travel to El Madrigal on Sunday, where winning was also an obligation in in 2010

Xavi Hernández / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
It is four years since FC Barcelona went to El Madrigal knowing that they needed a win to stay top of the league

That was also the 35th game of the season with Barça out of the cup and Champions League

There are lot of coincidences between the Villarreal v Barça game on Sunday (9.00 PM CET) and the one at El Madrigal on May 1, 2010. Then, like now, only a win would suffice for Barça in what was also the 35th game of the Liga season.

Goals from Messi, Xavi and Bojan

Under Josep Guardiola, FCB were league leaders when they travelled to face the ‘Yellow Submarine’. They were out of the cup and had just that week gone out of the Champions League to Inter Milan. Everything now hung on the remaining four league matches, with FCB just one point ahead of Real Madrid in the table. The Catalans ended up winning 4-1 with goals from Messi (2), Xavi and Bojan.

Barça went on to win their other three remaining matches to claim the 2009/10 league title.

Things are a bit more complicated this time. Matters are not in Barça’s hands, for they needed to win and hope both the two Madrid clubs drop points somewhere along the way. It all starts with Villarreal. Alves, Xavi, Busquets, Pedro and Messi, who all played on May 1, 2010, know what they have to do.

.@OficialGio Dos Santos and @Joan_Roman7, two Villarreal players with an FC Barcelona past

Gio dos Santos and Joan Roman both have Barça pasts
The Mexican is having a great season and has scored eleven goals

Román is on loan from Barça B and has made three first division appearances this season

FC Barcelona are returning to El Madrigal for the first time in two years, after Villarreal spent last season in the second division. The Catalans haven’t lost there since 2007, and this year will be meeting up with two old friends: Giovani dos Santos and Joan Román.  

Back from foreign travels

Giovani dos Santos is having a great season at Villarreal. The Mexican made his FC Barcelona first team debut in 2007, but despite a promising start under Frank Rijkaard, the youngster left for Tottenham Hotspur. From there, he was farmed out on loan to Ipswich Town, Galatasaray and Racing Santander before ending up playing last season for Mallorca, where he scored six goals. The 24-year-old is now at Villarreal, where he’s having his finest season yet.

The younger brother of FCB’s Jonathan dos Santos has scored eleven goals this season and is the seventh most used of his team’s squad. On Sunday, he’ll be returning to action after being sidelined with a leg injury.

From Barça B to La Liga

Joan Román also spent some time in the Barça reserves, but more recently. He arrived in 2012 from the Manchester City academy and played 22 games last season. He was once again a favourite choice of Eusebio early this season, making 16 appearances, but he went on loan to Villarreal during the winter transfer window, the idea being for him to get some first division experience under his belt.

Under Marcelino Garcia, the winger has gradually been working his way into the team, and has already played at both the Santiago Bernabéu and the Vicente Calderón.

MATCH REPORT: Araz – FC Barcelona Alusport:Through to the final on penalties! (4-4)

Saad and his teammates celebrate the win. PHOTO: GERMÁN PARGA - FCB
Two saves from Sedano and a decisive score from Torreas in the penalty shoot out took Barça into the final

Barça had taken a 1-3 lead only for Azaz to equalise with 15 seconds on the clock

The final will be played on Saturday evening against Dynamo Moscow – the team Barça beat in the final in Lleida in 2012

STATS

Araz, 4
FCB, 4

Araz: Popov, Rafael, Augusto, Foglia i Davi -starting five-: Peric, Fabiano, Felipe, Cujec, Amadeu

FC Barcelona: Sedano, Aicardo, Torras, Lin i Wilde -starting five-; Gabriel, Fernandao, Dyego, Igor, Saad

Goals: 1-0 Rafael (2’), 1-1 Igor (11’),1-2 Aicardo (21’), 1-3 Aicardo (26’), 2-3 Fabiano (27’), 3-3 Foglia (40’), 3-4 Dyego (46’), 4-4 Amadeu (49’)

Penalties: Wilde (goal), Fabiano (miss), Lin (goal), Amadeu (goal), Saad (goal), Rafael (goal), Lozano (miss), Torras (goal)

Two Paco Sedano saves and a Jordi Torres goal in the penalty shoot out saw Barça through to the final of the UEFA Futsal Cup after Araz and Barça had ended regulation time 3-3 and then taken it to 4-4 in extra time.  

Hosts start the quicker

Araz started the stronger and Rafael put them one up after just two minutes, which they decided to look after by defending en masse and keeping hold of the ball. Barça responded bravely though and a lovely individual effort from Igor brought them level on 11 minutes, though despite theoir attacking efforts they were unable to add to that before half time.

Aicardo puts Barça ahead

Aicardo was the star of the shpw after the break, taking charge of the team and finally getting the second goal on 21 minutes and then adding another to give Barça a clear 1-3 lead. Fabiano reduced the deficit soon after, but Barça appeared to have done enough until Foglia made it 3-3 with just 15 seconds left on the clock.

Extra time drama

With two five minute halves for extra time, Araz again looked to close down spaces and keep possession, but it was Barça who went ahead when Dyego scored with four minutes left to play, only to be frustrated again when their hosts scored another late equaliser to take the game to penalties.

Sedano saves the day

Paco Sedano proved the key tpo the penalty shoot out, with two saves – one from Fabiano and another from David, whilst captain  Jordi Torras made no mistake with the decisive penalty to put Barça through to Saturday’s final.

 

Marc Bartra: “I’ve learnt more than ever this season”

Bartra at today's press conference. PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
“I’ve matured a lot thanks to my teammates and the coaches”, explained Bartra, who’s made 27 appearances this season

Bartra also stressed: “the remaining four games are finals. We still hope to win this league”.

Marc Bartra spoke to the media after training today and talked about the league run in and his own personal situation. Bartra, who has been at the Club for ten years now and has a contract through till 2018, explained:  “I’ve matured a lot thanks to my teammates and the coaches. I’ve had some bad moments that I’ve come out of stronger and some good ones that make me even better. Playing with this team makes you strong with all the big games you are involved in”.

Still in the league title race

“We know that we have to play the remaining four games like finals and the best thing we can do is to go into them totally committed, so that we are there if Atletico or Real Madrid slip up. We have to keep the pressure up on them and we still hope to win this league”.

For the young Catalan, the comeback against Bilbao last weekend: “showed that there is no way we are giving up on the league title. It was a win based on our determination to stay in the race  – we’re ambitious and we will be going out to win every game”.

Summer signings?

Asked as to how a possible summer signing of a central defender might affect him, Bartra made it clear that: “ there’s a lot of talk about new defenders, but that’s the Club’s business. The players who are already here have shown what we can do. I think the base of a Barça team has to be the home grown players, as it has been until now, whilst the players we bring in give some added quality, they adapt to our ways and we go forward. We always try and help players coming in to play at their best”.

Finally, Bartra had words of praise for B team keeper Jordi Masip: “he’s a great keeper, he’s improved a lot and he is putting in an excellent season “.

Sergio Busquets and @Mascherano trained with the rest of the squad on Thursday morninig

Busquets in training this morning / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB
Busquets trained apart on Wednesday, whilst Mascherano only took a small part in training.

B team players Masip, Grimaldo, Ilie, Samper and Gómez, as well as Youth A team youngsters Riera, Godswill and Ortega also took part in the session.

Sergio Busquets and Javier Mascherano trained with the rest of the squad this Thursday morning after they both worked apart on Wednesday. Five Barça B players (Masip, Grimaldo, Ilie, Samper and Gómez) and three Youth A youngsters (Riera, Godswill and Ortega) also took part in the session.

Riera, Godswill and Ortega were received with a round of applause in recognition of the Youth A team’s recent victory in the UEFA Youth League. Neymar , Piqué, Jordi Alba and Puyol all worked on specific recovery work, whilst Dos Santos trained apart. The squad have been given a rest day on Friday and will be back in training on Saturday at eleven in the morning.

VIDEO – FC Barcelona’s last 10 goals scored away to Villarreal

Piqué ha estat l'últim blaugrana en marcar a Vila-real / FOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB
Deco, Bojan, Messi and Piqué are some of the players to score at El Madrigal

This Sunday FC Barcelona will take on Villarreal with the hopes of keeping their La Liga title hopes alive. So, in order to wet your appetite ahead of the match, we offer you Barça’s last ten goals scored away to Villarreal. The video picks up in the 2005/06 season with goals from Deco, Bojan, Messi and Piqué (who was the last Barça player to score on the ‘Yellow Submarine’).

It’s worth noting that Barça’s record at El Madrigal is six victories, two draws and five defeats.

Penya Fanatiek drove 1300 km for Jana

The Penya Fanatiek FC Barcelona Limburg at the Camp Nou / PHOTO: FCB
The Penya Fanatiek drove to Barcelona to help a girl with Dravet’s Syndrome

A 1970 VW Beetle painted in the Club colours drove to the Camp Nou

The charity work done by the FC Barcelona penyes movement is well known and the clubs constantly represent the Club beyond simply watching games together.

Jana is a seven year old girl with Dravet Syndrome, a form of epilepsy and affects one in every 20 to forty thousand people. There is currently only experimental treatment available and is very expensive The Penya Fanatiek FC Barcelona Limburg, in Belgium, heard of Jana’s case and got in touch with her parents to offer their help.

Support for Jana

The penya, whose president is Toni Freire, began a series of raffle draws of Barça memorabilia to raise money for Jana’s treatment.

VW Beetle at the Camp Nou

The most recent activity took place on the first weekend in April when the club drove a 1970 VW Beetle they own and which is decorated with Barça themes and the Fanatiek club crest th 13000km to the Camp Nou on a sponsored drive.

Sponsors paid between 0.50€ and 1.50€ per kilometer travelled, so as to help Jana’s family.

Signatures to raise money

There was also a 150 Euro contribution from every person who signed the boot of the car and many of the FC Barcelona board, including President Josep M. Bartomeu, showed their support and met Jana and her father who had also made the journey.

The video story of Czibor and Kocsis, two of FC Barcelona’s Mighty Magyars of the Five Cups era

Zoltan Czibor and Sandor Kocsis
Ladislao Kubala was the most famous of the Hungarians that played for FC Barcelona in the 1950s.

This video tells the story of the two other Magyars of the same era that have also gone down in Barça folklore

Hungary produced its finest generation of footballers in the 1950s, known to the world as the Mighty Magyars, and three key members of that team played a huge role in the legendary FC Barcelona team of the ‘Five Cups’ era.

This fascinating video looks at the story of Zoltan Czibor and Sandor Kocsis, including interviews with the players’ own sons as they explain how they escaped from their homeland following the Soviet invasion, and were brought to Barça by fellow Hungarian Ladislao Kubala.

FC Barcelona’s appraisal of the suspensory effect granted by the FIFA Appeal Committee #fcblive

FC Barcelona
The ban on the Club making transfers during the next two transfer windows has been lifted

FC Barcelona has responded positively to the decision announced today by FIFA’s Appeal Committee to provisionally grant suspensive effect to the appeal made by the Club against the sanction imposed by FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee.

The sanction was announced by the FIFA Disciplinary Commission last April 2 and prevented the Club from signing players during the next two transfer windows. FC Barcelona presented an appeal against the measure within the required period.

FC Barcelona declares its utmost respect for the resolutions pronounced by the bodies responsible for sporting justice.