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Madrid, Barcelona, Oviedo.
Sports Columnist — Guardian
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Football, politics, history, sunsets, Estela, mugs, bad jokes, #tsfp. Author 'Fear And Loathing in La Liga' & 'Catholicism, War and the Foundation of Francoism'

Gareth Bale absence fails to take gloss off greatest game on Earth: el clásico — The world's most expensive player will not be there when Real Madrid and Barcelona emerge from the tunnel at the Santiago Bernabéu just before six o'clock tomorrow evening, but the world's best will. So will the world's second best, whichever way round you prefer to place them.

For Luis Suárez the end is in sight. Or is it the beginning? — Monday morning at Sant Joan Despí and the countdown has begun. It is 11am when Barcelona's players appear, heading for pitch two where the sprinklers are still going. They are preparing for a Champions League match against Ajax but this is clásico week and it is inevitable some are already looking to Saturday evening at the Bernabéu.

Álvaro Arbeloa: Anfield is unique. I’ve told my team-mates to enjoy it — Álvaro Arbeloa knew. "When they opened up that little ball and the piece of paper inside said "Liverpool", I said: 'Group B'. I knew we'd be drawn against them." The Real Madrid defender smiles. "Well, I don't know if I knew it or if I just really wanted it."

Athletic Bilbao blow away European hangover but only for a moment — The San Mamés wasn't finished but it was almost ready. It was September 2013 and Athletic Bilbao's new home was still missing an end, right there where the rubble of their old home was being cleared days before its hundredth birthday, but it was preparing to open its doors for the first time.

‘Play the European Cup final, or your career is over’ — 'That was one of the very few times I ever got a bonus for losing." Vicente del Bosque pauses for a moment and then adds: "the very few...or the only." It may seem unthinkable now, and it did not make it any easier to take then, but when Real Madrid travelled to Paris for the European Cup final in May 1981 they were expected to lose.

Lionel Messi: how Argentinian teenager signed for Barcelona on a servillete — Charly Rexach grins a familiar grin. "I'll go down in Barcelona's history," he says. Born and raised in Pedralbes, the smart neighbourhood that lies up the hill from the Camp Nou, Rexach joined Barcelona at the age of 12 and he has spent almost half a century there, on and off.

Spain a shadow of their former selves after fourth defeat in six games — From Solna to Zilina, for eight long years Spain went unbeaten in qualifiers. Defeated 3-2 by Northern Ireland in September 2006, they then lost 2-0 to Sweden in their following game. It proved a turning point and the run began. Between October 2006 and October 2014 they played 35 matches, winning 32, drawing two and losing none.

Diego Costa's troubling lack of goals for Spain — Atletico Madrid: 27. Chelsea: 9. Spain: 0. Diego Costa can't stop scoring for his clubs and he can't start scoring for his country. Not yet, anyway. It's been six months since he made his debut for Spain -- 18 months since he made his debut for Brazil -- and he has played six times with la selección , five of them as a starter, but he is yet to get a goal.

Kenny Dalglish to present Luis Suárez with European Golden Shoe — Luis Suárez will be presented the European Golden Shoe by former Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish. Suárez arranged for Dalglish to fly to Barcelona to be part of the ceremony which will be held in the Catalan capital next Wednesday, having insisted that he wanted to share the award with his former club.

Nuno hails attacking style after Valencia victory over Atlético Madrid — Valencia's shirt did not carry a sponsor but it did carry a slogan. " Junts tornem", it said, a statement of intent written across the players' "chests as they ran on to the pitch: " together, we'll be back ". Thirteen minutes later, they were.
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Oct 24, 2014

RT @RobertoBayon_: Nuevo post | "Situac.económ.fútbol español a 30/06/13" 2- La deuda "REAL" Artículo: Tabla:

Oct 24, 2014

RT @GreatWarRugby: At @lswf2014 tomorrow noon. Playing on right wing/hugging touchline in this fine book line-up

Oct 24, 2014

@Newsignedbooks @charlie_ianson yeah, give me a shout post-clasico ... maybe tues.weds next week and we'll sort something out

Oct 24, 2014

@hungryhenno @WillHillBet No, I think it just made it. It was on the long list but not the short list. (boo hiss, etc).

Oct 24, 2014

@NealKnows @guardian_sport yes, Balon dOr winner at the moment is Ronaldo and last year's is Messi ...

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