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from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Bullfighting banned in Catalonia — So how will David Villa celebrate now?

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SOCCER-WORLD/Now that the Spanish region of Catalonia has banned bullfighting, what will happen to striker David's Villa goal-scoring celebrations?

Villa struck a matador's pose after he scored in Spain's World Cup games in South Africa -- you can see an example on FIFA's official site here -- raising eyebrows by some in Catalonia who viewed it as a gesture of support for the "fiesta nacional".

He's now moving from Valencia to Barcelona but the Catalonian regional parliament this week voted to ban bullfighting, raising an interesting, if not entirely serious question: Will Villa continue his homage to la corrida at the Nou Camp and risk upsetting Catalans?

Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos got into trouble last year for leaving a Real Madrid match to go and watch his matador friend Alejandro Talavante at a bullfight, still wearing his Real suit.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Champions League live blog — Bayern Munich v Olympiqye Lyon

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Bayern Munich take on Olympique Lyon in the first leg of the second Champions League semi-final and we'll be following the match between these two stylish teams live from 1845 GMT, 2045 in central Europe.

Will the game be able to match Inter Milan's crackling 3-1 victory over Barcelona? We'll be here from around an hour before kick-off with on-the-spot detail from our reporter in the stadium, Karolos Grohmann and plenty of other contributors. Please join us for the fun.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Not a classic “Clasico” but a fascinating experience

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SOCCER-SPAIN/Saturday’s game between Real Madrid and Barcelona had been dubbed “the match of the millennium” by sports daily Marca and for anyone living in Spain it was impossible to ignore "El Clasico" in the days leading up to the clash at Real’s Bernabeu stadium.

There was certainly plenty at stake for the protagonists, not least the chance to take a big step toward winning La Liga, but the country seemed in the grip of a fever at least as intense as anything I have seen during a major international tournament.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Champions League quarter-finals: Messi v Arsenal

We're following the Champions League quarter-final second legs live. Join us to see if Barcelona can see off Arsenal to make the last four.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Champions League quarter-finals — live

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We're live blogging the night's two Champions League quarter-final first legs, with expert commentary and analysis, including on-the-spot details from our reporters in the stadiums (or stadia, if you prefer).

Join us here from around 1645 GMT for all the build-up and action from the biggest club competition in town.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Should fans have the right to buy into their clubs?

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SOCCER-SPAIN/BARCELONA-PRESIDENTInteresting story in the Guardian this morning, saying Britain's Labour government, if re-elected, are ready to unleash plans to give fans the right to buy their clubs when they come up for sale, and to insist that current club owners give up a stake as high as 25 percent to their supporters.

If we can leave the politics aside (there is an election on the way, and the opposition Conservatives have said acting now, after 13 years in power, makes it a pre-vote gimmick) do you think this is a good idea?

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Champion League draw: Arsenal v Barcelona – your views

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So there'll be one French side in the semi-finals and Inter Milan will be extremely pleased to have drawn CSKA Moscow in the quarters.

If Manchester United and Arsenal are going to meet it will be in the Champions League final in Madrid in May.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Real Madrid need stability — not another new coach

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SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/REALReal Madrid president Florentino Perez will have two conflicting voices whispering in his ear as he contemplates Wednesday's devastating Champions League exit against Olympique Lyon.

His better angel will be telling him to stay calm, remember that the Primera Liga title is still very much in play, that the team has actually looked pretty good lately and that a bit of stability is long overdue.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Is Guardiola losing his Midas Touch?

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SOCCER-SPAIN/It was always going to be difficult for Pep Guardiola to repeat last year's astonishing achievements when Barcelona swept up six trophies.

Since adding the Club World Cup to their haul in December, they have started to look vulnerable, and, more recently, jaded.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Can Ronaldinho really get back to his best?

Ronaldinho is enjoying his best form in four years but he is still some way off the awesome performances he managed in the middle of the last decade (Noughties? ).

Sunday's hat-trick in AC Milan's 4-0 win over Siena featured a penalty and a close range header, but the third goal where he sent a perfect shot into the top corner from distance was a reminder of the Brazilian at his Barcelona best.

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