Barcelona have agreed a contract extension with manager Pep Guardiola. The club announced the news on Tuesday evening with the Spaniard expected to put pen to paper later this week, prolonging his stay in Catalunya until June 2012.
With the midweek fixture schedule dominated by international matches this week, Barcelona’s training sessions have had a very low-key feel to them. 14 players are away on international duty leaving Jose Pinto, Seydou Keita and Maxwell as the only fit members of the first team squad to report for duty. Left-back Adriano is also missing but has the rather unglamorous excuse of having a wisdom tooth removed as the reason behind his absence. A selection of B-team players have had to step in to make up the numbers.
Away from the Camp Nou, Barca striker David Villa has collected two awards from the offices of the Spanish FA this week. After the national team’s heroics at the World Cup finals in South Africa last year, Villa was voted the tournament’s third best player behind Wesley Sneijder of Holland and Diego Forlan of Uruguay who came second and first respectively. The former Valencia man also finished joint-top scorer of the tournament with his five goals, the same as Sneijder and Forlan and also Thomas Muller of Germany, but by virtue of having provided more assists and scoring his goals in fewer minutes, Villa was awarded second spot.
Of all the midweek international fixtures, arguably the most anticipated duel takes place in Geneva in Switzerland where Argentina will play Portugal and Lionel Messi will face Cristiano Ronaldo. With the two players battling to be La Liga’s ‘Pichichi’ or top-scorer, it will be a fascinating encounter to see who will come out on top. The pair have scored an amazing 48 goals between them this season already so any neutral could be forgiven for thinking that Wednesday’s meeting will produce more goals for their respective nations.
Interestingly, according to Spanish newspaper Marca, a recent online poll of 50 000 fans suggests that Ronaldo will finish top scorer in La Liga this year by a majority of just 0.6%. With a good portion of the season still to go, the one thing that is certain is that both Messi and Ronaldo will not stop in their quests to score goals, starting with their international friendly tomorrow evening.