MADRID - Brief news from La Liga ahead of
this weekend's matches:
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola may be absent for the
leaders' match at home to Real Zaragoza on Saturday after
he was admitted to a clinic on Thursday for treatment on a
painful spinal disc hernia.
Guardiola was improving on Friday but remained under
treatment and observation, Barca said in a statement on their
"His development over the coming hours will decide his
availability to oversee the league match against Zaragoza at the
Nou Camp," the statement said.
The champions can stretch their lead over second-placed
Real Madrid to 10 points with a win ahead of Real's trip to
Racing Santander on Sunday. Barca have 71 points from 26
matches, with Real on 64 and Valencia in third on 51.
Real have also been affected by injury. Joint La Liga top
scorer Cristiano Ronaldo has been ruled out for 10-15 days after
he damaged a leg muscle in Thursday's 7-0 thrashing of Malaga.
The Portuguese forward was forced off after he injured
himself when scoring his third goal of the night to draw level
on 27 goals with Barca's Lionel Messi.
Real's Argentina midfielder Fernando Gago is out for
around three weeks after tearing a muscle in his right leg
during training, the club said on their website
Valencia winger Joaquin sustained a muscle injury in last
weekend's 1-0 defeat at home to Barca and is doubtful for
Saturday's game at Real Mallorca.
Atletico Madrid, who are eighth on 35 points, need a win
at home to fourth-placed Villarreal on Saturday to get
their bid for a European berth next season back on track.
Defender Diego Godin, a former Villarreal player, said the
Europa League champions were suffering because of the relatively
poor form of forwards Diego Forlan and Sergio Aguero.
"They are not scoring as many as last year and we are
noticing their lack of goals," Godin told a news conference.
"They are the ones who make the difference and who give the team
Villarreal occupy Spain's fourth Champions League
qualification spot, a point behind Valencia on 50 and 10 ahead
of fifth-placed Espanyol.
Midfielder Borja Valero, who made his La Liga debut at
Atletico's Calderon stadium, said the club were looking to pull
away from the chasing pack and take third place from Valencia.
"Finishing third would be the best prize we could get in the
league," he said on the club's website.
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