Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Five reserves in squad for Cup debut squad


The Barca Atlètic youngsters Iván Benítez, Andreu Fontàs, Jonathan dos Santos, Jonathan Soriano and Gai Assulin have been called up to the squad to face Cultural Leonesa in Wednesday's Spanish Cup tie.

Barca Atlètic reinforcements
With Messi, Piqué, Iniesta, Xavi, Puyol and Ibrahimovic all being rested for the game,Guardiola has brought in five reserve team players for the cup game: Iván Benítez (shirt number 37), Andreu Fontàs (shirt number 32), Jonathan dos Santos (shirt number 28), Jonathan Soriano (shirt number 36) and Gai Assulin (shirt number 31), who joined up with the rest of the squad for training on Monday.

Only 16 for the game
The Spanish Cup only permits a 16-man squad, so Guardiola will have to leave one of the 17 man squad he's named to watch the game from the stands.

Travel plans

The 17 players will travel to Leon on matchday, flying out from the El Prat airport at 11-30 and arriving in Leon at 13.00. The game kicks off at 22-00 and the squad will stay over in leon, before returning on Thursday.

Messi: “the whole squad deserves this award”

Messi: “the whole squad deserves this award”


Leo Messi, voted 2008-09 Player of the Year and Forward of the Year, thanked his team mates for their support, whilst President Joan Laporta expressed his pride at the awards given to the team at the LFP ceremony in Madrid on Monday.

With 8 awards, Barca were the big winners at the LFP gala and Leo Messi was undoubtedly the star of the show, picking up two awards as Best Player and Best Forward. The recognition certainly didn't go to Messi's head though and after the ceremony he declared: “I was lucky that things went well for us, both on an individual and on a collective level. I'm very happy with everything I've achieved so far, but all the squad deserves this trophy for the great season we put in last year and the titles we won”.

Laid back
The awards came at sweet moment for the players, following the 6-1 win over Zaragoza and Messi commented: “we were lucky enough to be able to play our own game, control it and score six goals. I always need good games to be at my best”, It's been Messi at his best that has caught the football world's attention and made him a firm favourite for this year's Footballer of the Year Award, but Messi is as laid back about that as he is about everything: “I'm relaxed, but obviously it'd be a very special to win both awards”.

Laporta grateful

FC Barcelona President Joan Laporta was also present at the ceremony and was clearly pleased with the evening's proceedings: “I'm very proud and grateful to the league for the recognition and also especially to our players and staff who've made us such an admired club”. Laporta also spoke of Samuel Eto'o: “I've only got words of thanks for everything he did as a Barca player during his five years at the club. I'll always love him, regardless of any questions that are still outstanding between us. I wish him lots of luck at Inter”.

On the right track

Laporta also commented on the great start the team have made to this season: “I think we are on the right track, continuing the good work we did last season with the same spirit of sacrifice and playing with the same intensity. We respect everybody's opinion, but we think that this team has a lot to give still and we believe that we have to continue in the same way we have so far, showing maximum intensity and commitment . We mustn't stop playing the Barca way that has brought ius so much success”.

Finally, Laporta didn't rule out any signings in the winter transfer market: “we want to continue with what we planned, but if the technical staff see the need for new signings, they have the final word”

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

All 18 available players named for Rubin Kazan

All 18 available players named for Rubin Kazan


Josep Guardiola has picked the same players that travelled to Valencia, the 18 that are fit, for Tuesday’s game at the Camp Nou against Rubin Kazan.

New competition, same faces. Three days after the 0-0 draw at Mestalla, in their seventh league outing, FC Barcelona return to the Champions League to face their group rivals Rubin Kazan.

To do so, Pep is using the same set of players that faced Valencia. Milito, who came out for training and joined some of the activities, and also Henry and Chygrynskiy, who worked out in the gym and just came out with a fitness coach for a short while, are still recovering from injuries.

Last session

The squad appeared on the Camp Nou turf on schedule, at 18.00, for the second to last training session before they face Russian League champions Rubin Kazan. The players went through the usual warm up drills, and the atmosphere among the squad was as positive as ever.

Positional play and shots on goal

They then worked on positions, with two players taking pivotal roles in an exercise designed to fine-tune attacking plays. It was only at this point that Josep Guardiola arrived, for he had been busy attending to the media in the Camp Nou pressroom. The session ended with shooting practice.

Staying at Hotel La Florida

Like he did for the game with Dynamo, once training was done, Guardiola led his players off to Hotel La Florida, where they will stay the night together. On Tuesday morning, FC Barcelona will be back at the Camp Nou for a 12.00 session. Then they will return to the hotel until kick off time.

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