Barcelona hit by in­juries

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

BARCELONA mid­fielder Xavi has said their 6-2 rout of Real Madrid in the last ‘cla­sico’ at the Bern­abeu should be con­fined to the his­tory books, ahead of the visit of their archri­vals to­mor­row.

“It won’t be re­peated. We aren’t think­ing of an­other big win,” the Spain in­ter­na­tional was quoted as say­ing in the me­dia yes­ter­day.

“We are play­ing the leaders and al­though there has been a lot of (neg­a­tive) talk about their play they have been get­ting good re­sults.”

Barcelona stars Lionel Messi and Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic trained yes­ter­day, how­ever Barcelona said there is no guar­an­tee the pair will be ready for the home clash against Real Madrid.

Ar­gen­tinian Messi in­jured his leg in league play on Satur­day, and Swe­den in­ter­na­tional Ibrahi­movic has been strug­gling with a ham­string in­jury.

Both strik­ers missed Barcelona's cru­cial 2-0 Cham­pi­ons League de­feat of In­ter Mi­lan on Tues­day be­cause of their in­juries, how­ever Barcelona fans would be des­per­ate to have one, or both, re­turn in time for to­mor­row.

Barcelona said yes­ter­day the pair are “re­cu­per­at­ing well” but re­fused to say whether ei­ther striker would play a role in the much an­tic­i­pated league derby.

Ahead of a fix­ture known as 'El Cla­sico', be­ing played at Barcelona's Camp Nou, Real have a one-point ad­van­tage over the reign­ing cham­pi­ons fol­low­ing their best league start in 17 years.

Good news for Barça is that mid­fielder Yaya Toure has re­turned to train­ing with the rest of the squad af­ter re­cov­er­ing from H1N1 flu

Real have a one-point ad­van­tage over Barca at the top of the ta­ble and goal­keeper Iker Casil­las said it was a good re­flec­tion of how close the teams are in terms of qual­ity.

“I see Barca play­ing very well, but luck­ily in the rear- view mir­ror,” Casil­las said.

“I think this is go­ing to be one of the most evenly­bal­anced ‘cla­si­cos’ I have ex­pe­ri­enced in my time in La Liga (10 years).”

Real de­fender Raul Al­biol twisted knee lig­a­ments against FC Zurich on Wed­nes­day and is a se­ri­ous doubt, so Ezequiel Garay could be his re­place­ment in the cen­tre of de­fence. Striker Ruud van Nis­tel­rooy and mid­fielder Guti are un­likely to fea­ture with mi­nor in­juries.

English winger Jer­maine Pen­nant could re­turn for Real Zaragoza at home to Osasuna to­mor­row.

The for­mer Liver­pool player has missed their last three games with a tor n mus­cle while Brazil­ian striker

Xavi Her­nan­dez

Lionel Messi

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