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Jan 8, 2014

Soccer-Messi strikes twice in Cup on injury return

MADRID, Jan 8 (Reuters) – Lionel Messi came off the bench and scored twice on his return from injury and Cesc Fabregas also netted a double as Barcelona strolled to a 4-0 win at home to Getafe in their King’s Cup last 16, first leg on Wednesday.

Messi was given a rousing ovation by the home fans when he replaced Andres Iniesta in the 64th minute at the Nou Camp, the World Player of the Year’s first appearance since straining a thigh muscle in November.

Jan 7, 2014

Real Madrid probe Di Maria crotch-grabbing incident

MADRID (Reuters) – Real Madrid have launched an internal inquiry after their Argentina winger Angel Di Maria was seen to grab his crotch while he was being substituted in Monday’s 3-0 La Liga win at home to Celta Vigo.

Di Maria, who was replaced by Gareth Bale midway through the second half at the Bernabeu and was whistled by the home fans as he trudged off, insisted it was “a natural gesture” and said he apologized if anyone had found it offensive.

Jan 7, 2014

Soccer-Real Madrid probe Di Maria crotch-grabbing incident

MADRID, Jan 7 (Reuters) – Real Madrid have launched an internal inquiry after their Argentina winger Angel Di Maria was seen to grab his crotch while he was being substituted in Monday’s 3-0 La Liga win at home to Celta Vigo.

Di Maria, who was replaced by Gareth Bale midway through the second half at the Bernabeu and was whistled by the home fans as he trudged off, insisted it was “a natural gesture” and said he apologised if anyone had found it offensive.

Jan 2, 2014

Fabregas bullish on Messi’s return to action

MADRID (Reuters) – Lionel Messi will be “like a bull” when he returns after almost two months out with a thigh injury, his Barcelona team mate Cesc Fabregas predicted ahead of Sunday’s La Liga match at home to Elche.

Messi flew back to the Catalan capital on Wednesday from his native Argentina, where he completed the final phase of his recovery, and will join Fabregas and the rest of Gerardo Martino’s squad for training later on Thursday.

Jan 2, 2014

Soccer-Fabregas bullish on Messi’s return to action

MADRID, Jan 2 (Reuters) – Lionel Messi will be “like a bull” when he returns after almost two months out with a thigh injury, his Barcelona team mate Cesc Fabregas predicted ahead of Sunday’s La Liga match at home to Elche.

Messi flew back to the Catalan capital on Wednesday from his native Argentina, where he completed the final phase of his recovery, and will join Fabregas and the rest of Gerardo Martino’s squad for training later on Thursday.

Dec 20, 2013

EU state aid probe ‘not anti-Spain campaign’

MADRID (Reuters) – A European Commission probe into possible illegal state aid to seven Spanish soccer clubs including Real Madrid and Barcelona is not part of a malicious campaign against Spain, one of the complainants said on Friday.

Loek Jorritsma, a retired senior policy adviser at the Netherlands ministry of sports, made a formal complaint in 2010 highlighting what he believed was illegal aid to clubs in his native Holland as well as to Real.

Dec 20, 2013

Soccer-EU state aid probe ‘not anti-Spain campaign’

MADRID, Dec 20 (Reuters) – A European Commission probe into possible illegal state aid to seven Spanish soccer clubs including Real Madrid and Barcelona is not part of a malicious campaign against Spain, one of the complainants said on Friday.

Loek Jorritsma, a retired senior policy adviser at the Netherlands ministry of sports, made a formal complaint in 2010 highlighting what he believed was illegal aid to clubs in his native Holland as well as to Real.

Dec 19, 2013

Barca vulnerable without Messi, Neymar – Getafe

MADRID (Reuters) – Barcelona are looking to extend their record run at the top of La Liga and sign off for the winter break with a win when they play at eighth-placed Getafe on Sunday but the modest Madrid-based club are eyeing an upset.

Barca will travel to the Spanish capital without injured World Player of the Year Lionel Messi, who is continuing his recovery from a muscle strain in his native Argentina and is not due back until the middle of January.

Dec 19, 2013

Soccer-Barca vulnerable without Messi, Neymar – Getafe

MADRID, Dec 19 (Reuters) – Barcelona are looking to extend their record run at the top of La Liga and sign off for the winter break with a win when they play at eighth-placed Getafe on Sunday but the modest Madrid-based club are eyeing an upset.

Barca will travel to the Spanish capital without injured World Player of the Year Lionel Messi, who is continuing his recovery from a muscle strain in his native Argentina and is not due back until the middle of January.

Dec 18, 2013

Barca stroll past Cartagena into King’s Cup last 16

MADRID (Reuters) – Barcelona eased into the King’s Cup last 16 when goals from Pedro, Cristian Tello and Neymar secured a 3-0 second-leg victory at home to third-tier Cartagena on Tuesday for a 7-1 aggregate success.

Barca had to come from a goal down to win the last 32, first leg at the modest club on the south coast, who compete in a division one below Barca’s B team, 4-1.