Messi and Alves, four unbeaten years at the Bernabéu

Leo Messi and Dani Alves / PHOTO: ARXIU FCB
They are the only two players that have appeared in every one of the seven matches played away to Madrid since the 6-2 win in 2008/09

With five wins and two draws, it’s a remarkable record

Xavi, Puyol, Piqué and Valdés have played in six of the games; Iniesta and Busquets in five

The FC Barcelona first team has been to the Santiago Bernabéu seven times in the last four seasons and had not lost once. The best Real Madrid have managed are a couple of draws. Dani Alves and Leo Messi are the only players that have appeared in all of these games at the Bernabéu.

6-2 to begin

Both of the South Americans played the full ninety minutes of the 6-2 win that stunned Madrid on May 2, 2009, one of the most spectacular wins in Barça history, and the first of this remarkable period in which the Catalans have constantly outplayed their rivals on their home turf.

Xavi, Piqué, Puyol and Valdés

With six appearances at the Bernabéu in this period, Xavi, Piqué, Puyol and Valdés have also played an important role in the achievement. They are followed by Andrés Iniesta and Sergio Busquets with five.

Five wins and two draws

The 6-2 win was followed by two more victories, both 2-0, in La Liga in 2009/10 and the Champions League in 2010/11. That was followed by the first of the two draws, 1-1 in La Liga.

In the 2011/12 season there were more meetings at the Santiago Bernabéu than ever. The first was another draw in the Supercup, 2-2, then came the Copa del Rey quarter final, with Barça winning 2-1 and then there was a 3-1 win in the league. Not one defeat in four seasons, and hopefully the record can be continued on Wednesday night.

 

Catalan derby at the Mini ahead of Barça-Valencia

Gerard Deulofeu / PHOTO: ÀLEX CAPARRÓS - FCB.
Fans that purchase tickets to the Barça-Valencia match can attend the Barça B-Sabadell match for free

Barça B’s match against Sabadell will kick off at 18.00, just hours before Tito Vilanova’s men take to the pitch to fave Valencia (21.30)

Club members and fans will have it easy next Sunday if they want to watch the Catalan derby between Barça B and Sabadell at the Miniestadi. Seeing that Eusebio Sacristán’s team will play before the first team, fans will be able to catch both matches in the same night. Barça B-Sabadell is scheduled to kick off at 18.00, and the first team will do the same against Valencia at 21.30.

Affordable ticket prices

FC Barcelona have kicked off a series of initiatives to make it easier for fans to attend matches at the Miniestadi. As usual, FC Barcelona fans and children under the age of 12 can access the stadium for free. In addition, fans that purchase tickets to the Barça-Valencia match can also watch Barça B for free.

Club members can bring up to three people at 3 euros per person. Ticket prices for non-members start at 9 euros.

. @_Pedro17_ has the knack against Real Madrid

Pedro Rodríguez / FOTO: ARXIU FCB
The Barça striker has scored five times in twelve matches against Real Madrid

He came on as substitute in five of those games

Pedro Rodríguez has a happy habit of scoring goals against Real Madrid. From the 2009-10 season to the present he has appeared in 12 matches against them, five as a substitute, and has found the net on five occasions. The latest, last Thursday at the Camp Nou in the Spanish Supercup, was important in the way the team neutralised Cristiano Ronaldo’s opener.

Title winning goal

Pedro’s first goal against Real Madrid came at the Bernabéu in the 2009-10 Liga. Messi had made it 1-0 after 32 minutes, and then in the 56th, the Canary Islander made it two. That wonderful performance away from home put Barça back on top of the league table, and they stayed there for the rest of the season.

Glory in Champions League semi

In 2010-11, Pedro was there on that magnificent night at the Camp Nou when FC Barcelona put five past their biggest rival. Xavi, Villa (twice) and Jeffren got the others. Pedro played in four other clásicos that season, the other Liga match, the Copa del Rey final and the two Champions League semi finals.

In the European clash, Pedro scored a 53rd minute goal in the home leg, which ended 1-1, a result that was good enough to ensure that FC Barcelona were off to Wembley, where they would beat Manchester United.

He also scored in one of the five games between Barça and Real Madrid last season. After failing to score in the Supercup and Liga matches, he got the opener after 43 minutes in the Copa del Rey quarter final, a match that ended 2-2 and certified the Catalans’ passage into the final four.

Most recent in Supercup

His most recent goal against the all-whites came last Thursday in the Spanish Supercup first leg. Messi and Xavi also scored for Barça, while Cristiano Ronaldo and Di María did likewise for the visitors. If Tito Vilanova names Pedro in his side on Wednesday night, Pedro will have the chance to further extend his spectacular record.

 

Spanish League Round Up Week 2

Puyol in the match against Osasuna / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB
Valladolid and Rayo are the two teams up at the top with Barça after the second week, with Osasuna, Celta, Espanyol and Bilbao still pointless. Real Madrid sit five points adrift of the leaders after defeat in Getafe

Valladolid eased past Levante 2-0 on Monday night to give them two wins, three goals scored and none conceded in their first two games on returning to the top flight and leave them as the only team in the league not to have let in a goal so far. Boss Miroslav Djukic is clear though just where his team’s priorities lie: “we are 39 points off our objective”- staying in La Liga. Rayo beat Betis 1-2 in Seville on Saturday night thanks to an assist and a goal from their 19-year-old Brazilian debutant Leo and after last week’s win against Granada are also on six points.

Falcao hits season’s first hat trick

Falcao scored the first hat trick of the league this season on Monday night as he helped Atlético Madrid demolish a troubled Bilbao 4-0 to take fourth spot. The Basques – again without the want away Llorente and Javier Martinez – have conceded 9 goals in their opening two games and after their latest defeat, Bielsa admitted: “it was a fair result and it could even have been more”. Atlético have four points, alongside Mallorca and Malaga, who drew 1-1 on Saturday night and Deportivo and Sevilla. Deportivo shared the points with Valencia in a six-goal thriller at Mestalla, coming back from 3-1 down at half time. Soldado scored twice for the hosts, with Feghouili getting the third, whilst Aguillar got a brace for the visitors before a Pizzi penalty won them a point.

Poor start for Madrid

Real Madrid’s slow start to the season continued at Getafe where they went down 2-1, despite going ahead through a first half effort from Higuain. Mourinho’s outfit have just one league point and have lost two of their opening games of this season and the Portuguese boss will no doubt be hoping that new signing Luka Modric, who joined on Monday, will help get the team back to its winning ways as soon as possible. Espanyol are also struggling at the start of the season, with Saturday night seeing them go down 1-2 at home to Zaragoza after a catalogue of defensive errors, including a Juan Albin penalty that led to his sending off which boss Pochettino reckoned: “was the turning point in the game, it left us a man down and we started to tire”.

In the weekend’s two other games, Agirretxe scored twice to give Real Sociedad their first points, beating Celta 2-1, and Granada drew 1-1. Seville boss Michel saw his team play with 10 men for nearly an hour after Diego Lopez was sent off and after the game concluded: “it’s one of those days when you don’t know whether to be happy or angry!”.

 

Barça Regal en route to Encamp

Navarro and Sada with their silver medals/  PHOTO: ÀLEX CAPARRÓS / FCB
After Monday’s session, Xavi Pascual’s men left for Encamp and will remain there until Saturday

Jasikevicius trained for the first time with his new team-mates after he was presented as a FC Barcelona Regal player

Navarro and Sada showed their Olympic silver medals to their Club team-mates

Barça Regal are in Encamp to complete the team’s traditional pre-season stage in Andorra. The team will remain in Andorra until Saturday, September 1, as they prepare for their Liga Endesa opener on September 30 against Valladolid.

Xavi Pascual and his men trained with Barça Regal’s Olympians for the first time this Monday. Navarro, Sada, Ingles, Huertas and Jasikevicius joined their team-mates for the first time after this summer’s Olympic Games.

It was Saras’ first training session as an Azulgrana in nine years.

Navarro and Sada don the silver medal

Captain Juan Carlos Navarro and the guard Víctor Sada, both of whom won silver in London, brought their medals to yesterday’s session. The two Olympians showed their team-mates their newly acquired trophy before Xavi Pascual started the training session.  

Tickets on sale for the Festa del Rugbi Català

USAP - Toulon / FOTO: ARXIU FCB
The video features FC Barcelona’s first team players in the promotional campaign for USAP’s first match in Barcelona

Tickets for the French League’s Top 14 game between USAP Perpiñán and Stade Toulousian at the Lluís Companys stadium in Barcelona are now on sale. All proceeds will be allocated to the victims of the Alt Empordà fires

The Festa del Rugbi Català, which is made possible through the collaboration between FC Barcelona and USAP Perpiñán, is set to take place on September 15 at the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys. All proceeds from the match, which is a French league Top 14 game between USAP Perpiñán and Stade Toulousian, will be allocated to the victims of the Al Empordà fires that ravaged 14,000 hectares of land.

Some of Barça’s first team football players – Abidal, Mascherano and Dani Alves, among others – participated in the USAP – Barcelona promotional video, which took place in April of last year.

Tickets starting at 9 euros

Fans that don’t want to miss out on the chance to watch the match live can purchase tickets (9 to 69 euros). Tickets can be purchased on USAP’s website, on www.datasport.fr, and at the tickets booths of Aimé Giral Stadium.

 

Buy tickets

Captain @carles5puyol will train with the team on Tuesday despite broken cheekbone

Puyol's collision with Lamah / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
The player’s recovery will mark his availability for the return leg of the Spanish Supercup against Real Madrid on Wednesday

Medical tests confirm that Carles Puyol has fractured his right cheekbone, according to the report released by the team’s Medical Services this morning.

The captain will maintain a conservative recovery plan, but he will join his team-mates for tomorrow’s training session. His recovery will mark his availability for the return leg of the Spanish Supercup against Madrid on Wednesday.

Puyol fractured his cheekbone in a collision with Lamah with 15 minutes still on the clock in the match against Osasuna (1-2). The captain played the entire 90 minutes of the game.

Jasikevicius: "I always knew I would return"

Sarunas Jasikevicius  / PHOTO: ÁLEX CAPARRÓS - FCB
Sarunas Jasikevicius, who returns to the Club after a nine-year stint away from the Palau, is eager to start working with Xavi Pascual’s team

Joan Creus: “Few players can boast a second go around at this Club. He’s the chosen one”

Bladé: “It’s an honour”

The director responsible for Barça Regal, Joan Bladé, is proud that a player like Sarunas Jasikevicius wanted to return to the Club. “He returned home. It’s a pleasure and an honour for us to have him. We hope that he’ll bring a lot of glory to the team.”

“I want to thank the Club for bringing me back. I’m very happy to be here again. I hope the Club follows the path it has taken in recent years, and I hope we win a few more titles”

One of the Palau Blaugrana’s heroes is returning to Barça after a nine-year stint away from the Club. Sarunas Jasikevicius was happy to be back in the Camp Nou’s Ricard Marxenchs Press Room and even happier that he’ll don the Blaugrana colours once again. The Lithuanian player, who was accompanied by director Joan Bladé and the team’s technical secretary, Joan Creus, said: “I want to thank the Club for bringing me back. I’m very happy to be here again. I hope the Club follows the path it has taken in recent years, and I hope we win a few more titles.”

The player admitted that he had more than one offer on the table from different clubs but he picked Barça Regal’s offer for sentimental reasons: “since I left Barça I was convinced that I’d return. I didn’t think it would take this long, but now I have to focus on what’s ahead.” When asked if Real Madrid was interested in signing him, the Lithuanian was clear: “both teams called me, I responded to one.”

“Winning a place in the team”

At 36, Jasikevicius returns to Barça Regal with humility and an eagerness to earn a spot in the team’s starting line-up. “I want to start working and I want to help the team win,” he said while nothing that he hopes he can remain injury free. The player keeps a training regiment which allows him to stay competitive despite his age. Jasikevicius knows that he won’t have as many minutes on the court compared to his first stint with the Club, but he hopes “to win a spot in the team by working hard each day.” On Barça Regal’s current squad, he said: “the team has quality, experience and the players have played together for years. I hope to transition into the team’s dynamic and give what I have to offer.”

“The conditions were right for him to return”

Joan Creus explained that the Club and the player worked together for a long time to make the transfer a reality. “He’s always been very eager to return. He believes that his first three years with the Club were very helpful and he’s always wanted to come back. The right conditions and circumstances fell into place for that to happen. When both sides understand each other and want to work together, the deal goes through.”

“He’s the chosen one”

“Few players can boast a second go around at this Club. He’s the chosen one,” said Creus. The technical secretary highlighted the player’s experience and noted that “Jasikevicius’ talent is still intact.”

@3gerardpique ready to offer his best

Gerard Piqué ha fet balanç dels primers partits oficials de la temporada / FOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
The Barça centre back is happy with his season so far, especially in terms of fitness, and is looking forward to a successful season

Asked about the Supercup, he said “I don’t think it’ll influence the league. And no matter how many points there are between us, the season is very long”

Uncertainty about Puyol

Although the exact extent of Puyol’s injury has yet to be determined, Gerard Piqué has said regarding his captain’s presence at the Bernabéu that “if he can play, he’ll be there”.  

“I’m feeling good. I needed a preseason like that, because last season was very stop-start and it’s harder to find your form that way”

“The season couldn’t have got off to a better start. Six out of six in the league, and a good result in the Supercup. We played better against Madrid than what we got, but it’s always hard to beat them”. Gerard Piqué is pleased with the way things are going under Tito Vilanova, but there is still room for improvement and despite coming back from behind, we didn’t see them at their best in Pamplona. “That was the game where we were least like ourselves, but the season is long and of course there are things that we’ll need to improve” he said.

On the right footing

Last season, Piqué suffered with fitness problems, and admits that “on a personal level, it wasn’t my best year. This year, I’m trying my best to help the team and contribute as much as possible.” He went on to say that, so far this term, “I’m feeling good. I needed a preseason like that, because last season was very stop-start and it’s harder to find your form that way”. He learned an important lesson last season. “It’s like a wheel. When things are going well, you get over problems easily, but if things get off to a bad start, it’s harder to turn things round”.

Supercup a different issue

On Wednesday, the Supercup resumes at the Bernabéu, at a time when Madrid have only got one point our of six in La Liga. But Piqué doesn’t think Mourinho will change things with that in mind. “The Supercup is separate from the league. It’s important to win it, but the title has no influence on the league.” As for the five-point difference so early in the campaign, he feels that “however many points there are between us, the season is very long. The most consistent team wins it in the end, the one who has deserved it over 38 games, not just the two we have played so far”.

 

Barça to appeal Vilanova’s red card

Tito Vilanova leaves the pitch after he's given his marching orders  / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
According to the referee’s post-match report, the manager “angrily” protested a play, but the FC Barcelona coach contends that he was only calling for a foul

FC Barcelona will appeal the red card shown to Tito Vilanova during the match against Osasuna. Barça have until 14.00 on Tuesday to file a written appeal.

According to the referee’s post-match report, the FC Barcelona manager was shown a red card by Muñiz Fernández “for angrily protesting a play during the match after being warned by the assistant referee.” In the post-match press conference Vilanova stated that he had voiced his opinion to the assistant referee in a play involving Busquets. When the assistant referee told the manager to not protest the no call, Vilanova replied: “I’m not protesting, I’m simply saying that it’s a foul.”