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Aug 15, 2013

Soccer-Villarreal return banking on Dos Santos and stability

MADRID, Aug 15 (Reuters) – Exploiting the talents of the nomadic Giovani dos Santos will be the key to Villarreal’s attempts to reclaim their mantle as the model for smaller clubs to aspire to when they return to La Liga this weekend.

The team known as “the Yellow Submarine”, because of their canary-coloured strip, won promotion back from the second division, along with Elche and Almeria, after a year in the wilderness following a dramatic fall from grace.

Aug 15, 2013

Soccer-Villarreal return banking on Dos Santos and stability

MADRID, Aug 15 (Reuters) – Exploiting the talents of the nomadic Giovani dos Santos will be the key to Villarreal’s attempts to reclaim their mantle as the model for smaller clubs to aspire to when they return to La Liga this weekend.

The team known as “the Yellow Submarine”, because of their canary-coloured strip, won promotion back from the second division, along with Elche and Almeria, after a year in the wilderness following a dramatic fall from grace.

Aug 15, 2013

Soccer-Ancelotti’s fine start raises eyebrows over Bale quest

MADRID, Aug 15 (Reuters) – An impressive pre-season for new Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has lifted morale at the Bernabeu in the post-Jose Mourinho era and left many fans scratching their heads.

If everything seems to be going so well, why should the club need to break the world transfer record to sign Tottenham Hotspur’s Gareth Bale, another attacking midfielder?

Aug 15, 2013

Soccer-Barcelona start title defence with questions to answer

MADRID, Aug 15 (Reuters) – Barcelona begin the defence of their La Liga crown on Sunday amid doubts over the strength of their backline, Neymar’s adaptation to European football and how new coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino will perform.

Argentine Martino was a surprise choice to replace Tito Vilanova, after Pep Guardiola’s former assistant suddenly announced he was to step down due to ill health just before the start of the pre-season a litle over three weeks ago.

Aug 15, 2013

Soccer-Player exodus accentuates La Liga divide

MADRID, Aug 15 (Reuters) – A mass exodus of talent from La Liga means the 2013-2014 campaign looks more than ever to be an exclusive battle for the title between wealthy Real Madrid and Barcelona.

For years, the Spanish league has drawn players from all over the world but while Real and Barca, the world’s richest clubs by revenue, continue to attract the biggest names, the trend seems to be swinging the other way for financial reasons.

Aug 9, 2013

Del Bosque offers glimpse of Spain’s future

MADRID (Reuters) – Spain coach Vicente del Bosque rewarded a number of younger players with call ups to an experimental 21-man squad for next Wednesday’s friendly away to Ecuador in Guayaquil.

The world and European champions return to action for the first time since losing the Confederations Cup final 3-0 to Brazil on June 30, but Del Bosque had already given prior notice that he would be checking out some different names.

Aug 9, 2013

Soccer-Del Bosque offers glimpse of Spain’s future

MADRID, Aug 9 (Reuters) – Spain coach Vicente del Bosque rewarded a number of younger players with call ups to an experimental 21-man squad for next Wednesday’s friendly away to Ecuador in Guayaquil.

The world and European champions return to action for the first time since losing the Confederations Cup final 3-0 to Brazil on June 30, but Del Bosque had already given prior notice that he would be checking out some different names.

Jul 8, 2013

Barca agree to sell Spain’s Villa to Atletico

MADRID (Reuters) – Atletico Madrid reached an agreement to sign Spain striker David Villa from Spanish champions Barcelona on Monday, in what could be one of the bargain deals of the closed season.

The 31-year-old, Spain’s all-time leading scorer, will move for a fee of up to 5.1 million euros (4.38 million pounds) with Barca reserving 50 percent of the rights over any future transfer.

Jul 8, 2013

Soccer-Barca agree to sell Spain’s Villa to Atletico

MADRID, July 8 (Reuters) – Atletico Madrid reached an agreement to sign Spain striker David Villa from Spanish champions Barcelona on Monday, in what could be one of the bargain deals of the closed season.

The 31-year-old, Spain’s all-time leading scorer, will move for a fee of up to 5.1 million euros ($6.55 million) with Barca reserving 50 percent of the rights over any future transfer.

Jul 3, 2013

Isco hopes signing for Real will boost World Cup chances

MADRID (Reuters) – Real Madrid’s first signing of the Carlo Ancelotti era, Isco, said he hoped joining the nine-time European champions would boost his chances of making the Spain squad for next year’s World Cup finals.

The Spanish Under-21 playmaker, who was joined from Malaga for some 30 million Euros, completed a medical and signed a five-year contract before being presented in front of around 5000 cheering fans at a sun-soaked Bernabeu on Wednesday.