Brief news from La Liga
ahead of this weekend's matches:
Sevilla must fight as if it were "the end of the world" in
order to win at city rivals Real Betis on Saturday, club
president Jose Maria del Nido has urged his players.
Sevilla, who are out of Europe and the King's Cup, have
slipped down to seventh in La Liga and are without a win in four
outings. They lie three points ahead of their neighbours in
"I'd like you all to be aware on Saturday you have to give
your all on the field of play, as if it were the end of the
world. The same as if your life were to end after the final
whistle," Del Nido told reporters.
He also stood by unpopular coach Marcelino. "I respect the
fans but it is my responsibility and I say he is under no risk
for this game, the next or any other."
Leaders Real Madrid returned to training on Friday with a
media blackout apart from a Zinedine Zidane interview in a daily
The controversy over Pepe's stamp on Lionel Messi's hand in
Wednesday's 2-1 home King's Cup quarter-final first leg defeat
continued to dominate headlines, and the club website failed to
offer any of their usual details on the day's session.
Real receive Athletic Bilbao on Sunday with Alvaro
Arbeloa available again after suspension.
Bilbao have lost 5-1 on their last two league trips to the
Bernabeu, but under new coach Marcelo Bielsa have started to
impress with their brand of possession-based football and have
climbed to fifth in the standings.
"Apart from the obvious difference in quality, we are more
Barca than Real," midfielder Ander Herrera said. "It will be
more difficult than playing Barca because Real are fantastic on
Second-placed Barcelona trail Real by five points ahead of
their last game of the first half of the season at Malaga on
David Villa, Ibrahim Afellay and Pedro are all injured while
B team striker Jonathan Soriano has been sold to Austrian side
FC Salzburg, the club said. Soriano top scored in the second
division with 32 goals in the 2010/11 season.
Malaga could give Cameroon goalkeeper Carlos Kameni his
debut on Sunday after he completed his move from Barca's city
rivals Espanyol during the week.
The Qatari-owned club have slipped down to eighth in the
standings and are without a win in six outings in all
Villarreal have promoted Argentine midfielder Gonzalo
Castellani to their first team in time for Monday's visit of
Sporting Gijon, in a battle between the teams 18th and
19th in the standings respectively.
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