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Spanish Football News Blog

The latest football news from Spain covering La Liga, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Valencia, Sevilla, Atlético Madrid, Malaga etc.

Real Madrid unveil Jose Mourinho as their new coach
31 May 2010

Jose Mourinho has been unveiled as the new manager of Real Madrid after signing a four-year deal at the club.

The 47-year-old replaced Chilean Manuel Pellegrini, who was sacked on Wednesday after Real ended the 2009-10 season without a trophy.

Mourinho, once on the coaching staff at Barcelona, has moved to Spain after Real and former club Inter Milan of Italy agreed a compensation package.

The Portuguese boss won the Champions League in his final game at Inter.

The Italian side defeated Bayern Munich as the Nerazzuri completed a historic Treble, having already retained the Serie A title and defeated Roma to lift the Italian Cup.

More to follow.

Source: BBC Sport



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World Cup 2010: Vicente Del Bosque bans Spain players from Twitter and Facebook
26 May 2010

Vicente Del Bosque, the Spain coach, has banned his players from using social network sites like Facebook and Twitter during the World Cup in an effort to prevent any outside distractions.

Del Bosque implemented the move before the Spanish squad left their training camp in Las Rozas, outside Madrid, and the national coach has said that the ban would remain in South Africa.

An official for the Spanish FA said that Del Bosque wanted “no distractions” as the European champions look to win the biggest prize in football.

Meanwhile Spain's uncapped Pedro and Javi Martinez drew lots to decide which of them has to wear the unwanted number two shirt at the World Cup - and Pedro lost.

"Javi and I were the only ones left to choose a number as we were the last to arrive and the truth is that neither of us were particularly excited about wearing the number two," Barcelona forward Pedro said.

"So we drew lots and I got it," he added. "In any case, it doesn't matter and it won't be a problem."

Pedro, who was not keen to wear the number two usually sported by a defender, said the 17 he has at Barca had already been snapped up by Real Madrid fullback Alvaro Arbeloa.

"Arbeloa already chose his number and it doesn't bother me," said Pedro, who like Martinez has been called up for the first time. "In the end I got that number (two) and have to wear it."

Athletic Bilbao midfielder Martinez, a surprise inclusion in Vicente del Bosque's 23-man World Cup squad, wears the number 24 for his club and will have 20 on his back for Spain.

Source: The Telegraph



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Torres targeting Spain opener
25 May 2010

Fernando Torres is hoping to be fully fit for Spain's World Cup opener against Switzerland next month.

The Liverpool striker underwent surgery in April after suffering torn cartilage in his right knee and was subsequently ruled out of the end of the Premier League season, leaving him in doubt for the finals in South Africa this summer.

But the 26-year-old, who also underwent a knee operation in January, insists his recovery is on track and is optimistic about his chances of playing in Spain's opening match on 16th June.

"I'm very well, happy with the progress of the injury," Torres told Marca. "Since January I've had two operations, and that isn't easy.

"Everything went very well with the first and in the second the objective was to be ready between six and seven weeks, and I'm at the start of the sixth.

"I will do a few more days of specific work and, God willing, I'll be 100% for the first game of the World Cup for sure."

If Torres returns to fitness in time for South Africa, he could be among the contenders to finish as top goalscorer in the tournament, with European champions Spain marked as potential winners.

But the forward is adamant he feels no added strain from being tipped as a possible leading scorer.

"No, but I know that, along with (David) Villa, I'm lucky enough to be one of the strikers in a team that are among the favourites, and that brings certain privileges," he added.

Torres admits that Spain adding the world title to their European success would allow him to end what has been a frustrating season at club level with Liverpool on a high note.

In addition to his injury problems, the Reds have failed to make an impact this term, finishing a disappointing seventh in the table.

"It's been a very difficult season. When you start a campaign you hope you will be able to fulfil your dreams, winning titles, not having injuries, enjoying yourselves, and it has been just the opposite," said Torres.

"But there is always a tomorrow in football and this summer, the World Cup.

"I've put aside the club, the bad season, and I want to finish in the best way possible way by making history with my country."

 



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World Cup 2010: Spain Squad
20 May 2010

MADRID — Spain coach Vicente del Bosque Thursday named injured players Cesc Fabregas and Fernando Torres in his final squad for the World Cup, along with Barcelona's uncapped keeper Victor Valdes.

Most of the players who won Euro 2008 are in the 23-man squad for South Africa, including star striker David Villa, who is set to leave cash-strapped Valencia for Barcelona in a 40-million-euro deal.

Spain, among the favourites for the World Cup, which runs from June 11-July 11, face Switzerland, Honduras and Chile in Group H of the opening round.

The Spanish national team holds the distinction of being the only side to ever be ranked number one in the FIFA standings without winning a World Cup. Their best result remains fourth place in 1950.

In addition to Valdes, other uncapped players are Barcelona winger Pedro Rodriguez and Athletic Bilbao's 21-year-old midfielder Javier Martinez.

"They have had a good season, they are coming to strengthen a squad as substitutes for other players," del Bosque said of the newcomers.

The coach had hinted recently that he would call up Valdes, after the 28-year-old's strong form for the European and Spanish champions over the past two seasons.

Arsenal midfielder Fabregas and Liverpool striker Torres have both missed the latter part of the season through injury.

Liverpool's medical chief said earlier this month that Torres, who scored the winning goal when Spain won Euro 2008 against Germany, may not be fit in time for start of the World Cup.

Fabregas, who has 48 caps for Spain, has been out of action since cracking a bone in his fibula during a Champions League quarter-final first-leg game against Barcelona on March 31.

Del Bosque admitted that he had a "slight concern" over the fitness of the two players, but said doctors "are fully confident they will be there at the start of the finals."

Also named is midfielder Andres Iniesta, who tore a muscle in his right calf muscle during training last month but returned for the last few minutes in Barcelona's defeat of Valladolid at the weekend, which brought the club a second consecutive league title.

The final squad was drawn from a list of 30 players announced last week.

Among those cut were Villareal's Marcos Senna and striker Dani Guiza of Turkish club Fenerbahce.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Jose Manuel Reina (Liverpool/ENG), Victor Valdes (Barcelona).

Defenders: Raul Albiol, Sergio Ramos, Alvaro Arbeloa (all Real Madrid), Joan Capdevila (Villarreal), Gerard Pique, Carles Puyol (both Barcelona), Carlos Marchena (Valencia).

Midfielders: Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal/ENG), Sergio Busquets, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta (all Barcelona), Javier Martinez (Athletic Bilbao).

Forwards: Juan Manuel Mata, David Silva (both Valencia), David Villa (Valencia/Barcelona), Jesus Navas (Sevilla), Fernando Torres (Liverpool/ENG), Pedro Rodriguez (Barcelona), Fernando Llorente (Athletic de Bilbao).

Source: AFP/Google



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Atletico Madrid 2 - 1 Fulham
13 May 2010

Fulham's brave bid to lift the Europa League ended in heartbreak as Diego Forlan's winner deep into extra time gave Atletico Madrid victory at Hamburg's Nordbank Arena.

The final looked destined for a penalty shoot-out until former Manchester United striker Forlan took advantage of strike partner Sergio Aguero's persistence to send a deflected finish beyond Mark Schwarzer with only four minutes left.

Forlan poached another close range finish to put Atletico ahead in the first half, but Simon Davies responded swiftly with a volleyed equaliser for Fulham to spark hopes of a first European trophy heading to Craven Cottage.

But Forlan, tormentor of Liverpool in the semi-final, seems intent on making up for his unfulfilling spell at Old Trafford by inflicting pain on Premier League teams every time they cross his path - and how Fulham felt the agony as their players lay on the turf as Atletico celebrated wildly celebrated the decisive goal.

Atletico created the better opportunities in a final short on serious excitement, with Forlan striking a post and Aguero somehow poking wide from almost on the goalline in the first period of extra time.

Fulham will feel nothing but despair at their failure to close out a season that has captured the imagination of the nation with silverware, but they have delivered pride to themselves, their fans and the Premier League as they took on some of Europe's elite and only fell at the final hurdle.

Hodgson's side could not quite touch previous heights in Hamburg, unquestionably hindered by the fitness problems suffered by striker Bobby Zamora, their European talisman who battled gallantly without reward despite the handicap of an Achilles tendon injury that is now expected to require surgery.

The successes enjoyed in the Europa League have enhanced Fulham's reputation - especially that of their manager Hodgson. They must now hope they can ward off interest from other clubs understandably impressed by his remarkable rejuvenation of a club on course for the Championship when he was appointed.

Fulham, as expected, were able to call on Zamora and Duff - but it was Atletico's dangerous strike duo of Forlan and Aguero who emerged as central figures in the Spanish side's domination of the first half.

Danny Murphy carelessly, and almost fatally, presented Aguero with possession in dangerous territory and would have been the most relieved man in the Nordbank Arena to see Forlan's shot glance away off the post after he was played in by the Argentine.

And Fulham keeper Schwarzer needed to be alert to hold on to Jose Antonio Reyes' angled free-kick at the second attempt as it headed for the top corner.

Davies finally gave Atletico keeper David de Gea work to do with a snap shot that he clutched above his head, but Atletico made the breakthrough their supremacy merited after 32 minutes.

There was an element of good fortune for Atletico as Aguero's miscued shot was transformed into the perfect pass for the lurking Forlan to steer past Schwarzer from close range.

Forlan had another shot saved by Schwarzer as Atletico looked to press home their advantage -but as so often this season, just when they looked in serious trouble, Fulham found a way of fighting back eight minutes before half-time.

Zoltan Gera's cross took a deflection and fell at the far post for Davies, who accepted the invitation to flash the sweetest of half volleys beyond De Gea before he had any hope of reacting.

Zamora, who has been fighting a losing battle with an Achilles tendon injury, was replaced by Clint Dempsey early in the second half as Fulham finally showed signs of gaining a measure of control on the game.

And it was Davies who almost completed the turnaround on the hour when he delivered an instant strike from a poor Atletico clearance, but this time De Gea was able to make the block.

The game then drifted listlessly towards extra time, although Atletico finished the stronger. Several Fulham players needed massages before the action got under way again to combat the effects of their exertions.

Fulham survived an anxious moment 10 minutes into the extra period when Schwarzer could only palm away Forlan's low driven cross, but it escaped Aguero as he waited to pounce inside the six-yard box.

Hodgson's men then had an even bigger escape when Forlan left Chris Baird behind as he surged into the box, but in the ensuing scramble Aguero somehow poked wide from a yard out with the goal gaping.

As penalties beckoned, Atletico struck so late that it was impossible for even Fulham to mount a response. Aguero got the better of Chris Baird, and his cross was touched in by Forlan to provide a bitter conclusion to this wonderful European journey.

Source: BBC Sport



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Spain's 30-man Provisional World Cup Squad
12 May 2010

The Injured Cesc Fabregas, Fernando Torres and Andres Iniesta have all made Spain's 30 man provisional World Cup squad.

Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), David De Gea (Atletico de Madrid), Diego Lopez (Villareal), Jose Manuel 'Pepe' Reina (Liverpool), Victor Valdes (Barcelona).

Defenders: Raul Albiol (Real Madrid), Alvaro Arbeloa (Real Madrid), Cesar Azpilicueta (Osasuna), Joan Capdevila (Villarreal), Carlos Marchena (Valencia), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Carles Puyol (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid).

Midfielders: Xabier Alonso (Real Madrid), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Javier Martinez (Athletic Bilbao), Marcos Senna (Villarreal), David Silva (Valencia), Xavi Hernandez (Barcelona).

Forwards: Santiago Cazorla (Villarreal), Jesus Navas (Sevilla), Juan Manuel Mata (Valencia), Pedro Rodriguez (Barcelona), Daniel Guiza (Fenerbache), Fernando Llorente (Athletic Bilbao), Alvaro Negredo (Sevilla), Fernando Torres (Liverpool), David Villa (Valencia).



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Cesc Fábregas says he is 'looking good' to play in the World Cup
09 May 2010

The Arsenal captain Cesc Fábregas feels he is "looking good" to be fully fit for Spain at the World Cup.

The 22-year-old midfielder has been out of action since cracking his fibula during the Champions League quarter-final first leg against Barcelona on 31 March, and missed the end of the season.

Fábregas has been in Spain stepping up his rehabilitation work, as he aims to be ready for their opening match in South Africa, against Switzerland at Durban on 16 June.

Writing his captain's notes in the Arsenal match programme for the final Premier League game against Fulham, Fabregas revealed: "I am pleased to say that my recovery from a cracked fibula is on schedule.

"I have started jogging for the first time, and it looks as if I will begin running again properly tomorrow.

"I am happy with how things are going and now I just have to be patient, making sure I come back as strongly as I can."

Fabregas continued: "On May 24, I will join up with the Spanish national team and should be able to join in a bit when we play Saudi Arabia five days later.

"The timing is looking good for the World Cup, but I am sad not to have played a part in the end of Arsenal's season."

Source: The Guardian



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Torres 'uncertain' for Spain opener
05 May 2010

Fernando Torres has emerged as a doubt for Spain's opening game against Switzerland on 16 June. The Liverpool striker underwent knee surgery after suffering a torn meniscus in his right knee during his club side's Europa League match against Benfica last month.

Liverpool's head of sports medicine Peter Brukner said: "You can't be absolutely certain of anything but at this stage, if he continues to progress the way he is, he should be fit to play at some stage during the World Cup."

Vincente del Bosque, Spain's manager, also has concerns over midfielders Cesc Fabregas and Andres Iniesta.

Rene Adler, who would have been Germany's first-choice keeper, has been ruled out of the finals with a broken rib. Coach Joachim Low said: "We are very sorry that Rene will now be operated on, but it's necessary and therefore he's out of the World Cup."

Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk has handed Ruud van Nistelrooy a lifeline by insisting the Hamburg striker can still make his squad for the finals. "I'm leaving him until 11th May to convince me that he is sufficiently in shape to take part," said Van Marwijk.

England's group opponents USA will be without striker Charlie Davies. The 23 year-old has failed to overcome injuries sustained in a car accident.

Source: The Independent



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Spain's Xavi may miss World Cup
02 May 2010

Spain midfielder Xavi could miss the World Cup with a muscle injury.

The Barcelona star, 30, scored one goal and set up two in Saturday's 4-1 win at Villarreal but admitted afterwards that he has a 3cm tear above his calf.

"Xavi's playing with an injury that could see him miss the World Cup," said Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola.

Xavi, whose side are battling with Real Madrid for the Spanish title, added: "I'm carrying a number of aches but the team has a lot on the line."

Barca are four points clear at the top of La Liga but Real have four games remaining to the Catalans' three.

Xavi has contributed three goals and 13 assists in 32 league appearances for Barca, with whom he won the La Liga, Spanish Cup, Spanish Supercup, Champions League, Uefa Super Cup and Fifa Club World Cup titles last season.

He was also named player of the tournament after helping Spain win the 2008 European Championship.

Spain open their World Cup campaign against Switzerland on 16 June before also facing Honduras and Chile in Group H.



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