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May 17, 2015

Debutant Luis Enrique riding high with Barca

MADRID (Reuters) – The enduring image of Luis Enrique for many football fans is the Spain player with blood gushing from his nose after a vicious elbow from Italy defender Mauro Tassotti during the 1994 World Cup quarter-final in Boston.

That could now be replaced by a picture of the beaming Barcelona coach hoisting aloft the La Liga trophy, which they wrapped up with a 1-0 win at Atletico Madrid on Sunday, the first of a possible treble of titles in his first season in charge at the Nou Camp.

May 17, 2015

Soccer-Review of Barcelona’s La Liga title-winning season

MADRID, May 17 (Reuters) – Barcelona made a brisk start to the season with new coach Luis Enrique at the helm in place of Gerardo Martino and a host of additions to the squad, including midfielder Ivan Rakitic and goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.

They dropped two points in the opening eight games, scoring 22 goals and conceding none, to open a three-point lead over second-placed Sevilla at the top, with Real Madrid, who lost two of their first three matches, a further point behind in third.

May 17, 2015

Soccer-Debutant Luis Enrique riding high with Barca

MADRID, May 17 (Reuters) – The enduring image of Luis Enrique for many soccer fans is the Spain player with blood gushing from his nose after a vicious elbow from Italy defender Mauro Tassotti during the 1994 World Cup quarter-final in Boston.

That could now be replaced by a picture of the beaming Barcelona coach hoisting aloft the La Liga trophy, which they wrapped up with a 1-0 win at Atletico Madrid on Sunday, the first of a possible treble of titles in his first season in charge at the Nou Camp.

May 14, 2015

Barca title charge threatened by players’ strike

MADRID (Reuters) – Barcelona find themselves in the bizarre position of knowing they can wrap up a fifth La Liga title in seven years at Atletico Madrid on Sunday but not knowing whether the game will even be played.

The final two matchdays in Spain’s top flight are under threat after the players’ union (AFE) called a strike from May 16 to protest a new law mandating collective bargaining for television rights.

May 14, 2015

Soccer-Barca title charge threatened by players’ strike

MADRID, May 14 (Reuters) – Barcelona find themselves in the bizarre position of knowing they can wrap up a fifth La Liga title in seven years at Atletico Madrid on Sunday but not knowing whether the game will even be played.

The final two matchdays in Spain’s top flight are under threat after the players’ union (AFE) called a strike from May 16 to protest a new law mandating collective bargaining for television rights.

May 14, 2015

Real forwards flop as holders exit Champions League

MADRID (Reuters) – Real Madrid paid more than 200 million euros (145 million pounds) to assemble their forward line of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema but the attacking trio failed them again in Wednesday’s Champions League exit to Juventus.

Ronaldo did manage to score from the penalty spot to give holders Real a 23rd-minute lead in the semi-final, second leg at the Bernabeu but faded out of the match in the second half, while Benzema and especially Bale missed a string of chances.

May 14, 2015

Real Madrid forwards flop as holders exit Champions League

MADRID (Reuters) – Real Madrid paid more than 200 million euros ($227.76 million) to assemble their forward line of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema but the attacking trio failed them again in Wednesday’s Champions League exit to Juventus.

Ronaldo did manage to score from the penalty spot to give holders Real a 23rd-minute lead in the semi-final, second leg at the Bernabeu but faded out of the match in the second half, while Benzema and especially Bale missed a string of chances.

May 14, 2015

Soccer-Real forwards flop as holders exit Champions League

MADRID, May 14 (Reuters) – Real Madrid paid more than 200 million euros ($227.76 million) to assemble their forward line of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema but the attacking trio failed them again in Wednesday’s Champions League exit to Juventus.

Ronaldo did manage to score from the penalty spot to give holders Real a 23rd-minute lead in the semi-final, second leg at the Bernabeu but faded out of the match in the second half, while Benzema and especially Bale missed a string of chances.

May 13, 2015

Ancelotti probed on future after Champions League exit

MADRID (Reuters) – Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti fended off questions about his future after the Champions League holders were dumped out in the semi-finals by Juventus 3-2 on aggregate on Wednesday.

Italian Ancelotti, a former Juve coach, led Real to a record-extending 10th European triumph in his first season in charge last year but they now look highly likely to end the campaign without a major trophy.

May 13, 2015

Soccer-Ancelotti probed on future after Champions League exit

MADRID, May 13 (Reuters) – Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti fended off questions about his future after the Champions League holders were dumped out in the semi-finals by Juventus 3-2 on aggregate on Wednesday.

Italian Ancelotti, a former Juve coach, led Real to a record-extending 10th European triumph in his first season in charge last year but they now look highly likely to end the campaign without a major trophy.