Next Game

Celta Vigo v Barcelona

Sunday, 05 April 2015, 20:00

Spanish Primera BBVA

Camp Nou

Last Game

Barcelona 2 - 1 R Madrid

Sunday, 22 March 2015, 20:00

Spanish Primera BBVA

Primera Liga weekend preview

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

Last Updated: 29/03/13 at 08:27 Post Comment

Tito Vilanova: Back for Barcelona

Tito Vilanova: Back for Barcelona

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 tomorrow 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.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

S

hould have stayed because we carried him for 6.5 years. And then he has a breakthrough season, and was gone soon after. MU fans, you would be as disgusted had C Ronaldo left in 2007 and not 2009.

godof86
Is Van Persie Slipping Sadly Into The Night?

G

ood grief. Someone guessed that the form English player at the moment might be in his national side with some other players? And that's espionage? Now if they discovered that Emile Heskey was going to be in the starting line up.... at right back.... THAT would be espionage. Give it a rest Roy.

RogerRedHat
Hodgson hits out at Kane leak

H

e may get away with if Liverpool can swap the video with one of Skrtel dancing or something, but if they review the one shown on TV he's screwed.

hump3.
Skrtel denies violent conduct

Footer 365

Liverpool's Jordon Ibe back running after untimely knee setback

Jordon Ibe remains hopeful of a return to the Liverpool first team this season after returning to light training at Melwood this week.

'Fine' Akinfeev grateful for support

Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev has thanked well-wishers for their support after being struck by a lit flare thrown from the crowd against Montenegro on Friday night.

Harry Kane says debut England goal is a 'dream come true'

Harry Kane said his first goal for England was "a dream come true" after he scored 79 seconds into his debut appearance.

Mail Box

Where's The Love For Walcott?

Theo Walcott is wanted by neither Arsenal or Liverpool fans in the afternoon Mailbox. Also, some good points on the FA skewed priorities, and glorious geekery...

Ripe Robin Still Has A Role To Play...

There is some support for the aging Robin van Perise in a frankly threadbare Mailbox. Also, more debate over homegrown players, with a suggestion of an import tax...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company