BARCA TAKE ON REAL


Barcelona will be taking on Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu this weekend in what promises to be the title decider in Spain. Even though Atletico Madrid are also involved in the title race with only a handful of matches remaining, it is seen as a contest between Madrid and Barcelona.

Carlo Ancelotti’s men have taken the upper hand over the Catalan outfit in the last few weeks. Barcelona have been inconsistent against teams like Valencia and this has made them slip four points behind Real Madrid. Midfielder Andres Iniesta has admitted that the club will not be able to retain the title if they do not win the upcoming El Clasico.


SOCIEDAD SHOCK BARCA


Barcelona went through a very surprising 3-1 defeat when they faced off against Real Sociedad and this loss has allowed Real Madrid to step it up and be the new leaders of La Liga, for the 1st time in this entire season.

Andres Iniesta has always been considered as a leader not only inside the pitch but also outside of it as well. Following the conclusion of the match, the Spanish midfielder had a few words of encoragement to say about their recent defeat.

"Real Sociedad played really well. They were better than us; we were always trailing them," Iniesta told the official Barca website. "This defeat shouldn't make us give up. We have to work hard and turn this situation around. There are many points left, and we have games against direct rivals."


INJURIES HIT BARCA


It has been made clear from Barcelona’s side that the injury that Andres Iniesta had suffered on his knees while being on the pitch against Atletico Madrid is not serious and the midfielder would not be missing games because of that.

Iniesta had discovered the injury in the first quarter of that match and his movement seemed to have hindered by that. Eventually, during the half time break, the Barcelona management decided that he wouldn’t take any further part in the match and when the second half action started, it was Lionel Messi who walked out with the team on the place of Iniesta.

Because of the fact that Iniesta wasn’t sent on to the ground in the second half, some people were assuming that his injury might be serious and he might be ruled out for a few days, but, according to Barcelona management, he was taken off just for precaution. He went for the tests later on and it was confirmed that there’s not anything to be concerned about.


NO PANIC


Andres Iniesta has said that his Barcelona teammates shouldn’t panic despite a couple of defeats in the last few days.

Barcelona’s performance in their last couple of games has been disastrous. They have suffered competitive defeats against Ajax Amsterdam and Athletic Bilbao respectively.

One can understand Barcelona’s defeat against Ajax as the Dutch side has got some quality, but, very few people would have expected them to lose against Athletic Bilbao.

However, Iniesta reckons that everything is alright and panic shouldn’t creep in the Barcelona camp.

The Spaniard was talking to the reporters yesterday. When he was asked if the confidence level of his side has gone down because of those two defeats, he said, “No, I don’t think so. It was just a couple of bad days. We don’t need to start panicking because of that. The confidence level of the guys is still the same.”


TOPPING THE TABLE


Barcelona has been nothing short than fantastic in the last few years with Messi breaking records season in and season out and now with their recent signing Neymar, it seems as if there is nothing stopping them from ruling Europe once more.

With a signing fee of €57,000,000, the Brazilian youngster is expected to pair up alongside Lionel Messi and overcome everything that is thrown at them.
The start of this dominant however picked off with rather questionable decisions as Pep Guardiola is the man most people give credit for the astonishing success that the Spanish team went through since the moment he took charge back in 2008.

Ronaldinho, Deco, Zambrotta, Giovani dos Santos and Samuel Eto’o all were offloaded from the team as Guardiola did not have any plans for any of them.
It was a way for the youth products to step in the team and play a more vital role.


SPAIN WIN


Spain defeated Georgia by 2-0 in their final World Cup qualifying game played at Albacete on Tuesday and with that, they made sure that they would be going to Brazil next year to defend their World Cup title.

La Roja ended at top position in their group with 20 points in 8 matches. France which was the other strong side in that group finished at no. 2 with 17 points.

Tuesday’s game was pretty special for Spain’s star midfielder Andres Iniesta as he was playing in his hometown. A huge amount of people had turned up to watch him play and when he walked onto the ground, he was given a standing ovation.

It would certainly have been a very emotional moment for Iniesta, but, he didn’t let the emotions get better of him. He rose to the occasion and with another superb outing, he guided Spain to the finals.


INIESTA HAILS NAVAS


Andres Iniesta has hailed his compatriot Jesus Navas and has said that not many players in the Premier League can match his speed and strength.
Navas has recently signed for the Premier League club Manchester City after leaving Sevilla. The transfer fee paid by City for buying him is rumoured to be around 14.9 million Pounds.

Navas played for Sevilla for 10 years between 2003 and 2013. He proved to be a real match winner for them. He featured for them in a total of 284 games and found the net 23 times.

Apart from club football, Navas has an impressive record in international football too. He has put up quite a few brilliant performances for his national side Spain in his brief international career.

Talking about Navas, Iniesta said, “He is a high quality player. There are not too many players in the world who are quicker than him. He is going to give defenders some headaches in the Premier League.”


Betting on Newcastle United


Following the euphoria of European qualification a couple of years ago, Newcastle United came back down to earth with a bump last season, as they barely avoided crashing out of the Premier League. The clubs fanatical fans will be hoping for much better next season, and many will no doubt already be putting bets on them to qualify for the Champions League – or at least the Europa League – next season. But with the pre-season bookmakers odds already out there, are Newcastle considered a good bet for this, or more likely to be involved in another relegation battle?

Well at the moment you can get odds of around 9/1 on Newcastle to finish in the top six – and secure a return to the Europa League – next season, although most observers will feel that the team needs strengthening if they are to achieve this. The odds will certainly attract some football betting fans, but it would seem likely that securing a striking replacement for Demba Ba will be necessary.


VILANOVA IS BACK


The manager of Barcelona FC, Tito Vilanova, has joined the camp again after successfully going through chemotherapy. This is great news for Barcelona as they have to play a couple of very important matches in the next few days.

Vilanova had gone to USA in the 3rd week of January for Chemotherapy. It was expected that he would be joining the Barcelona camp in a couple of months if everything would go well.

Everything went really well and his chemotherapy was successful. Now, he is back to guide the Catalan club to Champions League and La Liga title victory.

Vilanova earlier had a tumour in his throat and he went through a surgery for the removal of that towards the end of 2011. He remained healthy for about 12 months or so, but, in December last year, that problem started to bother him again and he had to go to USA for treatment.


INIESTA BACKS GUARDIOLA


The Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta has said that he is extremely confident that the former Barcelona manager Guardiola will be a major success Bayern Munich. The 42-year-old was recently announced as the next Bayern Munich manager after the German team managed to pip the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City for one of the highly talented managers in the world.

Guardiola has been also one of the most successful in the last four years, as he has been able to lift 14 different titles with Barcelona in just four seasons. He will be hoping to replicate the same success at the Allianz Arena as well, and Iniesta is confident that he will be able to do the same.


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