Sporting Gijon renew Cuellar’s contract while negotiations with Barral continue

Sporting Gijon goalkeeper Ivan Cuellar has signed a new contract keeping him at the club for another three seasons.

His current deal was due to expire at the end of next season but the 27-year-old now finds himself tied to Sporting until 2014. Cuellar joined Sporting in 2008 from Atletico Madrid but injuries have restricted his first team involvement, allowing Juan Pablo to become first choice.

Meanwhile, negotiations with striker David Barral are being finalised, in a bid to extend his contract that is also due to expire next summer. At Sporting since 2006 he has become an integral part of the team, forming a formidable partnership with Croatian Mate Bilic.

He battled with Bilic and Gaston Sangoy for a starting place last season as Coach Manuel Preciado often fielded only one striker. However, his performances, that include a superb individual goal against Barcelona in February, has seen Barral become a huge part of Preciado’s plans for the 2011/12 season.

Sporting opened their pre-season preparations with a 1-1 draw against third division side Real Oviedo. Coach, Manuel Preciado used all the players available to him in the friendly game at Oviedo’s Carlos Tartiere Stadium and it took a 90th minute equaliser from Argentine striker Sangoy to ensure the draw for the La Liga side.

Coach Preciado also used the friendly to try out a host of different tactical options using the usual 4-4-2 formation from last season that was then converted to a 4-2-3-1 formation in the second half. New signing Ricardo Leon, who joined from Tenerife this summer, did not play in the match due to injury.

Sporting also played in their brand new Kappa kit. The ‘pajama’ – as it is known – has come under wide criticism from the club’s fans but despite this, sales of the new kit have hit a record high.

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