MADRID - Brief news from La Liga ahead
of this weekend's matches:
Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo urged his team-mates
to enjoy the four "Clasicos" in three competitions they will
play against arch-rivals Barcelona between Saturday and May 3.
"We have to be positive and trust in ourselves," the
Portugal international, who has not scored against Barca in six
matches for Real and his previous club Manchester United, said
on the club's website.
"I don't think this has ever happened before in football,
playing so many games against one team," he added. "We have to
enjoy it. It's nice and good for football."
Leaders Barca have an eight-point advantage with seven games
left ahead of Saturday's match at the Bernabeu.
The world's two richest clubs meet in the final of the
domestic King's Cup on Wednesday before playing home and away in
the Champions League semi-finals.
Real director general Jorge Valdano is already thinking
ahead to next season and said the club are monitoring the
transfer market with a view to adding to the hundreds of
millions of euros they have spent on players in recent seasons.
"We are looking to bolster the squad in the positions where
we believe there is some weakness," Valdano said in an interview
with the club's television channel.
Former Real midfielder Steve McManaman, who never lost
against Barca in seven "Clasicos" between 1999 and 2003, said
the Real-Barca match-up is unlike any other fixture in football.
"El Clasico is like nothing else because of the history and
the tradition," he said on UEFA's website.
"I must admit I loved those games," he added. "If you get
the right result, you enjoy everything about it. If you lose,
though, it's an absolute disaster."
Valencia coach Unai Emery warned his players ahead of
Saturday's match at bottom club Almeria that they are a
long way from securing third spot and an automatic qualification
berth in next season's Champions League.
Valencia are six points ahead of fourth-placed local rivals
Villarreal, who they thrashed 5-0 last weekend.
"There are 21 points still to play for and defeat in
tomorrow's game would cancel out the victory over Villarreal,"
Emery told a news conference on Friday. "We know that it's going
to be more difficult than against Villarreal."
Villarreal coach Juan Carlos Garrido praised his team for
securing an 8-2 aggregate victory in their Europa League
quarter-final against Twente Enschede on Thursday and noted that
eight of their players had come through the club's youth system.
"These young players are giving more each day and they are
coming on in leaps and bounds," Garrido told a news conference
ahead of Villarreal's game at Real Zaragoza on Monday.
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