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May 18, 2014

Soccer-Barca preparing for ‘profound changes’ after poor season

MADRID, May 18 (Reuters) – Barcelona are focusing on a sweeping rebuilding effort after the Catalan giants ended the season without major silverware for the first time in six years and coach Gerardo Martino quit.

Barca needed to beat leaders Atletico at home in their final game on Saturday to secure a fifth La Liga title in six years but could only manage a 1-1 draw at the Nou Camp and finished three points adrift of the Madrid club.

May 18, 2014

Atletico success built on grit, unity and belief

MADRID (Reuters) – If anyone had suggested before the start of the La Liga season that Atletico Madrid could pip vastly wealthier rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid to the title they would have been dismissed as hopelessly naive.

Predicting that Diego Simeone’s side, who wrapped up their 10th domestic league title and their first since 1996 thanks to Sunday’s 1-1 comeback draw at Barca, would also be through to the final of Europe’s elite club competition would have seen them laughed out of town.

May 17, 2014

Analysis – Atletico success built on grit, unity and belief

MADRID (Reuters) – If anyone had suggested before the start of the La Liga season that Atletico Madrid could pip vastly wealthier rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid to the title they would have been dismissed as hopelessly naive.

Predicting that Diego Simeone’s side, who wrapped up their 10th domestic league title and their first since 1996 thanks to Sunday’s 1-1 comeback draw at Barca, would also be through to the final of Europe’s elite club competition would have seen them laughed out of town.

May 17, 2014

Soccer-Atletico success built on grit, unity and belief

MADRID, May 17 (Reuters) – If anyone had suggested before the start of the La Liga season that Atletico Madrid could pip vastly wealthier rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid to the title they would have been dismissed as hopelessly naive.

Predicting that Diego Simeone’s side, who wrapped up their 10th domestic league title and their first since 1996 thanks to Sunday’s 1-1 comeback draw at Barca, would also be through to the final of Europe’s elite club competition would have seen them laughed out of town.

May 15, 2014

Barca, Atletico set for thrilling La Liga showdown

MADRID (Reuters) – La Liga is set for one of its most thrilling finishes when Barcelona host leaders Atletico Madrid in a winner-takes-all showdown at the Nou Camp on the final day of the campaign on Saturday.

Only twice in the history of Spain’s top flight has the title been decided with a direct head-to-head clash on the last day and when the calendar was set last year few would have expected Atletico to be competing with vastly wealthier rivals Barca for the championship at this stage.

May 15, 2014

Preview – Barca, Atletico set for thrilling La Liga showdown

MADRID (Reuters) – La Liga is set for one of its most thrilling finishes when Barcelona host leaders Atletico Madrid in a winner-takes-all showdown at the Nou Camp on the final day of the campaign on Saturday.

Only twice in the history of Spain’s top flight has the title been decided with a direct head-to-head clash on the last day and when the calendar was set last year few would have expected Atletico to be competing with vastly wealthier rivals Barca for the championship at this stage.

May 15, 2014

Soccer-Barca, Atletico set for thrilling La Liga showdown

MADRID, May 15 (Reuters) – La Liga is set for one of its most thrilling finishes when Barcelona host leaders Atletico Madrid in a winner-takes-all showdown at the Nou Camp on the final day of the campaign on Saturday.

Only twice in the history of Spain’s top flight has the title been decided with a direct head-to-head clash on the last day and when the calendar was set last year few would have expected Atletico to be competing with vastly wealthier rivals Barca for the championship at this stage.

May 11, 2014

Soccer-La Liga goes down to the wire after leaders held

MADRID, May 11 (Reuters) – Atletico Madrid and Barcelona will play a La Liga title decider at the Nou Camp stadium next weekend after the front runners drew on Sunday to set up one of the most dramatic finishes in Spain’s top flight for more than 60 years.

On a day of nerve-jangling tension, when leaders Atletico came desperately close to a late goal that would have clinched the championship, the Madrid club had to come from behind to rescue a 1-1 draw at home to Malaga while second-placed Barca were held to a 0-0 stalemate at Elche.

May 11, 2014

Tennis-Sharapova rallies past Halep to win Madrid title

MADRID, May 11 (Reuters) – Maria Sharapova recovered from a woeful start and fought back to overwhelm rising talent Simona Halep 1-6 6-2 6-3 in the Madrid Open final and claim her 31st career title on Sunday.

Russian Sharapova, a former world number one, needed to draw on all her experience on clay in the Spanish capital to see off the 22-year-old Romanian fourth seed, who was appearing in the final of a premier event for the first time.

May 9, 2014

Nadal coasts past Berdych to reach Madrid semis

MADRID (Reuters) – World number one Rafa Nadal thumped Tomas Berdych 6-4 6-2 on Friday to set up a semi-final against the Madrid Open’s surprise package, unseeded fellow Spaniard Roberto Bautista.

Defending champion Nadal has not been at his dominant best on his favored clay this year, losing in the quarter-finals in Monte Carlo and Barcelona.