Saturday, January 7, 2012

Captain Barcelona and The Beauty of Espanyol

Striker David Villa is out with a broken leg, while Ibrahima Affelay is still recovering from his knee operation, but Andres Iniesta has shaken off a muscle problem that he suffered before Christmas and will be able to play, as will Alexis Sanchez, who played for 20 minutes in Wednesday's Copa del Rey win at home to Osasuna. Guardiola has already warned his players that facing their neighbours will be as tough as playing away to sides like Valencia or Real Madrid.

Villa posted a photo of himself on Facebook alongside teammates Carles Puyol and Xavi Hernandez at the club's training center, and indicated he was progressing toward returning at the close of the season — in time to help world champion Spain defend its European crown in June. Iniesta's return means long-term injury victims David Villa and Ibrahim Afellay are the only players unavailable to Guardiola.

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