Vilanova back to boost Barca

A look ahead to this weekend's action in Spain's Primera Liga, including Barcelona's clash with Celta Vigo.

Last Updated: 28/03/13 at 17:37 Post Comment

Tito Vilanova's presense will boost Barcelona's players

Tito Vilanova's presense will boost Barcelona's players

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Barcelona head into Saturday's clash with Celta Vigo boosted by the return to Catalonia this week of coach Tito Vilanova.

Vilanova has spent the past two months in New York undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy following surgery on his parotid gland in December.

The 44-year-old had suffered a relapse after first having a tumour removed from his throat in November 2011.

Reports in Spain suggested he would meet with the first-team squad on Friday and may even be present at the clash with second-bottom Celta, although matchday responsibilities will remain with his assistant Jordi Roura.

Vilanova's mere presence is sure to provide a fillip for the players as they embark on another important week with the trip north west followed by Tuesday's Champions League meeting with Paris St Germain.

"I'm very pleased with his return," said young winger Cristian Tello.

"We need him. He'll ease in to his time with the team. The important thing is that he recovers well.

"His absence has been noticeable because the presence of the head coach is always very important."

Barca will definitely be without Pedro on Saturday - the forward sustained a calf injury not long after scoring the only goal for Spain against France on Tuesday night - while Xavi is doubtful due to a hamstring problem.

Due to the international break, Barca's closest challengers Real Madrid have had to endure a fortnight of further speculation surrounding the future of boss Jose Mourinho.

Some reports in England have suggested the Portuguese is close to agreeing a return to Chelsea, while Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti has revealed he remains in touch with a man who led the Nerazzurri to an unprecedented treble in 2010.

Mourinho's immediate focus is seeing out the season with Madrid and landing the club a record 10th Champions League title.

Madrid are 13 points adrift of Barca in the league and midfielder Xabi Alonso admits continental matters are now dominating the players' minds, starting with the first leg of their quarter-final against Galatasaray on Wednesday.

"Nearly all of the fans have told me that we have to go all out to win the Champions League, everyone wants us to win it," said Alonso.

"All Madridistas really want to see the team conquer Europe, they want to see us go all the way and reach the final. But we have a few tough steps to get through for that to happen - the first one is next Wednesday, at our stadium.

"We want to get a good result at home, I am sure that it will be a great game with a great atmosphere."

On Saturday, Madrid visit a Real Zaragoza side a point above the relegation zone

with Alonso admitting it could be a tricky encounter.

"Zaragoza are having problems, they are on a bad run," he said.

"Any trip to any stadium is difficult and I do not think that this will be easy."

Madrid's city rivals Atletico will hope to capitalise on any slip-up when they host Valencia on Sunday while fourth-placed Real Sociedad will hope to extend their remarkable record of one defeat in 18 league games when they go to Espanyol.

At the bottom, there is a six-way scrap to remain in the top flight.

And with Celta Vigo and Zaragoza facing the top two it may provide a chink of light to the others.

Rock-bottom Deportivo La Coruna were given renewed hope by their win over Celta last time out and they have the chance to build on that victory when they visit third-bottom Real Mallorca.

Osasuna and Granada are the other clubs in trouble. Osasuna, in 16th, go to Real Valladolid and Granada visit Athletic on Monday.

Monday's other game sees Real Betis host Getafe while, on Saturday, Rayo Vallecano host Malaga and Sevilla go to Levante.


Click here for completely free £10 bet with Sky Bet & £5 free every week


More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

sn'tthis strange. Last season we were worried that we were stuck with a Dinosaur in Moyes while Liverpool and Everton were disappearing into the distance with their young, spritely managerts, playing football from heaven. Progressive managers, they said. Managers who understand the modern game.........

HarryBoulton
Rodgers: The pressure's on

B

eing consistently and unrelentingly dog turd really takes it out of you. Try shadow boxing. That's what it's like watching Liverpool, punching thin air.

sinbadsdad
Neville: Reds need a rest

G

ood list, some crackers in there. For me, I'd have had Steve McManaman for Liverpool away at Celtic in the UEFA cup in 1997. I was in the ground that night and everyone kept screaming at him to make a pass, but he just kept going and going and going...brilliant, and in the dying minutes too.

uncle-muller
F365's Top Ten Counter-Attacking Goals

Footer 365

FIFA could face UK criminal probe from Serious Fraud Office

The Serious Fraud Office is looking into claims of corruption in the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Scottish football: Aleksandar Tonev's appeal against seven-game ban to be heard on December 4

Celtic winger Aleksandar Tonev will find out on December 4 if his appeal against a seven-match ban has been successful.

European Qualifiers: Cesc Fabregas buries hatchet with Sergio Ramos over Spain row

Cesc Fabregas says he has spoken to Sergio Ramos after the Real Madrid defender questioned his commitment to Spain.

Mail Box

Mails: Quit Massaging Mourinho's Ego

That's the message from the afternoon mailbox after it was claimed that the Chelsea boss has transformed Cesc Fabregas into a complete player. Plus, more on Arsenal...

F365: Saving You From Bad Relationships

A cracking Mailbox, with thoughts on Chelsea, Willian, Jurgen Klopp, Brendan Rodgers and Aguero. Plus how Football365 saved one man from an unhappy relationship...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property