Alexa

Barcelona, Madrid set to resume league domination

 Spain's David Villa, center,  celebrates after scored his second goal against Liechtenstein during their Euro 2012 qualifying soccer match at Las Gau...
 Spain's David Villa, left, reacts during their Euro 2012 qualifying soccer match against Liechtenstein, at Las Gaunas stadium in Logrono, northern Sp...

Spain Soccer Euro 2012

Spain's David Villa, center, celebrates after scored his second goal against Liechtenstein during their Euro 2012 qualifying soccer match at Las Gau...

Spain Soccer Euro 2012

Spain's David Villa, left, reacts during their Euro 2012 qualifying soccer match against Liechtenstein, at Las Gaunas stadium in Logrono, northern Sp...

Barcelona and Real Madrid are set to resume their domination in the Spanish league this weekend, as their rivals band together to level the financial playing field against the two giants.
Spain's traditional powerhouses recorded lopsided victories in the opening league round and could very well do so again Saturday as Barcelona is at Real Sociedad and Madrid welcomes Getafe in a Spanish capital derby.
With the duo's grip on Spanish football ever strengthening, at least a dozen of the remaining 18 topflight clubs are meeting Thursday to discuss measures aimed at improving TV revenue sharing. About half of that money currently goes to Barcelona and Madrid, with the pair pulling in at least (EURO)250 million.
For Barcelona, center back Carles Puyol trained normally Thursday and the Spain defender could play for the first time since May after recovering from knee surgery. Gerard Pique remains sidelined for the match at the Anoeta stadium with a calf injury.
Coach Pep Guardiola survived without the pair in the season's opening win, using a Johan Cruyff-, total football-inspired 3-4-3 formation that displayed the virtues of Barcelona's star-studded midfield and allowed newcomers Cesc Fabregas and Alexis Sanchez to get on the scoresheet.
"Evidently this Barca is better than last year's," defender Daniel Alves said. "We've incorporated great players, world stars, so it's inevitable we'll be better."
The three-time defending Spanish champions will use the contest to prepare for Tuesday's game against AC Milan as the European champions begin their Champions League defense.
Madrid is at Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday but first has its opening match of the season at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium with midfield signings Nuri Sahin and Hamit Altintop still sidelined by injury.
Defenders Ricardo Carvalho and Pepe appeared side-by-side in good spirits despite problems with Portugal last week, when Carvalho walked out on his national side citing Pepe's insertion into the starting lineup without having trained as unacceptable.
"At Real Madrid the collective rather than the players matter," coach Jose Mourinho was quoted as saying on the club's website.
Meanwhile, Villarreal must quickly forget about the 5-0 loss to Barcelona with Sevilla visiting on Saturday, and Zaragoza looks to bounce back from its 6-0 defeat to Madrid at newly promoted Rayo Vallecano on Sunday.
"We need to play our best football if we want to achieve good results," Villarreal midfielder Cani said. "We need to forget about the game against Barcelona because that was only three points and it's all done."
Valencia welcomes Atletico Madrid and Radamel Falcao could make his debut after the Colombia striker joined Atletico from FC Porto in a (EURO)40 million deal.
Malaga is looking for a first victory at El Rosaleda against newly promoted Granada on Monday, after the high-spending club opened the season with defeat to Sevilla.
On Sunday, it's: Racing Santander vs. Levante; Osasuna vs. Sporting Gijon; Real Betis vs. Mallorca; and Espanyol vs. Athletic Bilbao.


Updated : 2021-02-26 04:05 GMT+08:00