Soccer Break Friday – Clasico fever rises

April 15, 2011

SOCCER-SPAIN/CLASICOOnly one day to go now until Real Madrid face Barcelona in La Liga for the first of four ‘clasicos’ between Saturday and May 3. Excited? You will be now…

Barcelona destroyed their fierce domestic rivals 5-0 in November, and although the gap at the top of La Liga remains difficult for Real to peg back, they looked a very difficult team to beat against Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League quarter-finals.

So, Real to narrow the gap, Barcelona to cut through Jose Mourinho’s men, or an edgy draw?

A former Real player David Beckham knows all about the drama of Barcelona meetings, and the England man is in the news in the MLS. Here’s a wrap of other games. Oh and here’s another Beckham story, it appears Fulham aren’t the only ones making statues of famous people.

On Thursday it was Portugal’s night in the Europa League, where three team progressed to the semi-finals. Villarreal took the fourth spot for a truly Iberian domination of Europe’s second tier competition.

This weekend in England there’s the FA Cup semi-finals and Manchester City’s time is surely now. Lose to Man Utd and manager Roberto Mancini could face a nervous wait to see whether he retains his job for next season. Triumph and they will face either Stoke City or Bolton Wanderers in the final, which you would have to fancy them to win.

One fan hoping for a Bolton victory has flown in from Australia, read more here.

If you are thinking about buying a ticket for the final at Wembley, are you also upset by soaring ticket prices?

Finally, about that time of the season to vote for your manager of the year. Read more here.

Discuss all these topics and other stories in world soccer on the Reuters Soccer Facebook page. And please feel free to send us recommendations for your pick of the day’s stories.

Picture: Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos (3rd L) pushes Barcelona’s Carles Puyol (2nd L) during their Spanish first division soccer match at Nou Camp stadium in Barcelona, November 29, 2010. REUTERS/Marti Fradera

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Real to win all four and put the cat among the pigeons

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