La Liga Review's snippets from all 20 Spanish Primera Liga football clubs.Ruuds up and running, Xisco is dreaming, Vicente isn't injured and Del Nido wants just 25 million for Alves' boots ....
Ruud Van Nistelrooy embarked upon the road to full recovery today as he began running at the club's training ground for the first time since his ankle operation on the 19th March. The Dutch striker had, until today, been restricted to gym work but today appeared outside for the fist time. He is not expected to return to the first team until May but is expected to play some part in Madrid's final four games of the season, including the match against FC Barcelona.
It was a bit like an episode of ER at Villarreal's training ground as almost a third of Pellegrini's squad were affected by either sickness or injury: Guille Franco, Jon Dahl Tomasson, Diego López, Ángel López, Rubén Gracia 'Cani', Bruno Soriano and Sebastián Viera were all missing, or unable to train properly.
A club official, Xavier Sala Martin, the man in the zebra skin jackets, has claimed that there are players at the club who are separate from the rest squad, they don't train or play as often as the rest and that the club does its best to cover it all up. Sala Martin, head of the FC Barcelona economic commission, told Catalunya Radio that these unnamed players: " do whatever in the hell they want. The club disguises this ostracism by saying that the player is “injured.” Odd.
Juan Valera said today that Atleti will travel to Valladolid at the weekend aiming to return with all three points. A win would 'represent a big step forward' as Atleti's bid for Champions League football next season. "There is a good feeling in the dressing room and everyone is committed, knowing full well the importance of the game against Valladolid,' said the full back. Abbiati missed training today with a bout of flu.
The Racing president, Francisco Pernía, claims that the weekend 3-1 defeat to Betis was 'an accident, a bad day at the office and we never really recovered from conceding a goal in the first minute. We will still qualify for the Champions League, I'm sure of it, and when we do I'll shave off my moustache. 'The president also said that, in spite of interest from Sevilla and Valencia in the services of his coach, the possibility of retaining Marcelino for next season 'will be difficult but not impossible.'
Sevilla president, Jose Maria Del Nido, dismissed reports that Barcelona had agreed a 25 million euros deal that would see Dani Alves move to the Camp Nou in the summer, stating : If Barcelona pay me 25 million, they can have a pair of Dani Alves' boots to give to one of their youth team.' The outspoken presi also said that Luis Fabiano wants to remain at Sevilla.
Albert Riera has complained that he feels it unfair that he has been singled out for the club's recent poor form that has seen the Barcelona side lose 9 of their last 12 fixtures. Riera, dropped for the last two games, said:" I'm hurt that I'm made to look as if I'm solely responsible. I'm willing to take responsibility. But it affected me badly when I didn't get picked on Sunday, I wasn't expecting it. Two weeks ago we lost 4-0 and a week later I was the only change to the side, but I didn't play last week and we lost that one as well."
Igor Gabilondo says that eighth placed Athletic, with safety now guaranteed on 43 points, are looking at a UEFA cup spot for next season. With seven games remaining, the midfielder said :" Of curse we are talking about Europe. But we will be taking each game as it comes and if we lose to Betis next week, it's not a disaster."
The club issued a statement this afternoon, following a meeting with their coach and his representative, stating that "we are close to agreeing a new contract with Unai Emery". Elsewhere, in AS, the Almeria coach has been linked with the manager's position at Valencia for next season.
The former Barcelona player, Damia, has said that Betis are fully focused on Sunday's game against Levante and that, if they win, it will give the Galician club 44 points and guaranteed place in the Primera Liga next season. Looking ahead to next season, the full back said: "I'd be delighted if Chaparro decides to stay at the club for next season". The Betis coach replaced Héctor Cúper back in December and is on a rolling contract until the end of the current season.
Pierre Webó has his sights set on beating Sevilla at the weekend so that Mallorca can put aside concerns of La Liga survival "and start to focus on other things." The player is also seething over the refereeing decisions made in last weekends game against Real Madrid and he described the decision not to award a penalty for Cannavaro's handball as 'something scandalous.'
On the eve of his side's historic UEFA cup quarter final 2nd leg tie against Bayern Munich, Michael Laudrup said "we are not designed to defend and we will be going out to win the game.' The Dane, who's side have a vital away goal, added "We can't afford to dream, just to play."
In form striker Xisco refuses to get carried away by the side's recent winning streak and said "our focus must, first and foremost be on survival. We must secure our future in the Primera Liga before we can start talking about things like the Intertoto cup."
Good news on the injury front as Vicente Rodríguez made a return to training today following a three week absence through a toe injury. David Villa also began working with the ball today in a bid to be fit for next weeks Copa del Rey final.
The team returned to training today after a two day break and for once José Luis Mendilibar was able to count on his entire squad, including Alberto Marcos and Vladimir Manchev. The pair were unable to play against Levante at the weekend - the captain with a muscle injury and the Bulgarian with flu.
Javad Nekounam, has been given the all clear to play after eight months out through injury. The Iranian international suffered a serious knee injury in a pre-season friendly with Villarreal on the 14th August.
According to press reports, Sinama-Pongolle is attracting attention from a number of clubs following some impressive performances for Huelva this season. The striker, who has scored nine goals in the league since signing from Liverpool for 4 million euros in the summer, could be the subject of 10 million euros bids from either Atletico Madrid or Valencia.
It seems that nobody has any idea how to stop Zaragoza'a descent in to the second division and Zapater thinks there is something in the air at the club. The midfielder said, scratching his head "You get the feeling that if one of us signed for Villarreal tomorrow, we'd suddenly start playing well." The club are so desperate to change the mood in the dressing room that a specialist sports psychologist has been called in to talk to each of the players.
The club confirmed today that Pablo Garcia will miss the next three weeks of the season through injury. The Uruguayan will spend the next fortnight with his leg in plaster in a bid to end a run of injuries that have dogged him for much of the season. He joins Iván Alonso and Mejía on the treatment table and the trio will miss this weekends match at Real Madrid.
Following the emergency meeting that took place with the Valencia City council today, the president of Levante has announced that the club will prepare a feasibility study for the local government that outlines a plan for the club's financial survival. Julio Romero assured all club employees that "they will be getting paid the money they are owed very soon."