Brief news from La Liga
ahead of this weekend's matches:
Barcelona have promoted youth team winger Isaac Cuenca to
the first team with an improved contract which will tie him
until 2015, the European champions said on Friday.
Cuenca, 21, made his debut in the Champions League last
October and has made 15 first-team appearances since.
He is likely to get further opportunities starting at
Villarreal on Saturday as Pep Guardiola has David Villa,
Ibrahim Afellay, Andreu Fontas, Andres Iniesta and Alexis
Sanchez out injured.
Villarreal, who started the season playing in the
Champions League, secured their first win under new coach Jose
Molina last weekend but are only kept out of the bottom three by
"We have had a tough season so far," defender Gonzalo
Rodriguez said. "We need a special performance to help us to
believe in ourselves again."
Villarreal have a doubt over first-choice keeper Diego Lopez
who has a fever.
Leaders Real Madrid, who hold a five-point advantage over
second-placed Barca, host La Liga's bottom club Real Zaragoza on
Jose Mourinho's team are likely to be without the injured
Angel di Maria and Sami Khedira, who missed Thursday's training
Promoted Rayo Vallecano host King's Cup semi-finalists
Athletic Bilbao, who are seventh, on Saturday having
bolstered their squad with two new loan signings.
Brazilian striker Diego Costa has arrived from Atletico
Madrid while last season's top scorer when they were in the
second division with 20 goals, Argentine Emiliano Armenteros,
returns for another spell from Sevilla.
Sevilla, ninth, visit Malaga, 10th, on Sunday for
an Andalucian derby with both teams seeking to end poor runs
which have seen them drop out of the European places. Malaga
last won in November, Sevilla in early December.
Malaga are still missing injured Brazil forward Julio
Baptista and winger Joaquin, two of the high-profile signings
brought in by owner Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Al-Thani, a
member of the Qatar royal family.
New Granada coach Abel Resino debuts in another Andalucian
derby at Real Betis on Sunday, with both clubs battling
to avoid a swift return to the second division. Granada are
18th, four points behind Betis in 12th.
"I am convinced we can maintain our top-flight status,"
Resino said at his presentation. "There are four or five teams
above us in the league who are worse then Granada."
Barcelona's golden boy grabs the headlines again
It's Larsson Jr stealing the show these days
England striker puts pen to paper on permanent deal
The new season is but six weeks away (in the Football League)
Who would you rather have playing for your club?
12 months out, the stars look to the World Cup
Your questions answered by an A to Z of legends
75% of all TV is Bale
On the road to ruin
Adidas Nitrocharge for you
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010