Barcelona

  1. Luis Enrique must now rotate For Barcelona

    Barcelona beat Rayo Vallecano on Thursday night to set a new record of 35 unbeaten matches, but as both Luis Enrique and Leo Messi have said this season, records themselves mean little without the silverware to go with them.

     

    The relentless nature of Barca's performances of late don't indicate much chance of a slip-up any time soon from the Catalan giants, but they should still be looking at the upcoming couple of games as an opportunity: a chance to rotate the side a little more heavily before a period which will determine exactly if they can go on and repeat last season's treble success.

     

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    In terms of La Liga, the last five fixtures will pose no problems at all. If Barcelona still hold a points advantage over Atletico

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  2. Barcelona and Sevilla to Face off in Copa Del Rey Final 2016

    The second leg matches of the 2015/16 Copa del Rey semifinals both ended in draws, with Barcelona tying 1-1 against Valencia and Sevilla hitting a 2-2 stalemate with Celta de Vigo. Judging from a snapshot of just those two games, you could make the observation that the semis were close. They weren't.

    Indeed, both Barcelona and Sevilla won so big in their first leg games that they were easily able to coast into the finals. Barcelona crushed Valencia 7-0 in their first match, with Luis Suarez scoring four goals and Lionel Messi netting three. Sevilla, meanwhile, beat Celta Vigo 4-0, with Kevin Gameiro providing a brace and Adil Rami and Michael Krohn-Dehli netting one goal apiece.

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    The Second Leg

    The two at-home victories left the challenging

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  3. Four Barcelona players who must seize Copa del Rey semi-final opportunity

    By Karl Matchett.

     

    Barcelona have already all but qualified for the Copa del Rey final, having trounced Valencia 7-0 in the first leg of the semis-but the second leg at the Mestalla must be completed nonetheless, giving Luis Enrique a chance to rest key individuals for bigger battles ahead, and hand starts to those still looking to nail down a regular place in the team.

     

    It's likely that for the final itself, the manager will stick with a full-strength side, but there remains a lot of games ahead in La Liga and the UEFA Champions League as Barça search for another treble of trophies come the end of the season.

     

    Big performances, especially showing a good attitude with little to play for, can help sway the decision to get more game time as the season heads into the final months, so even with a seven-goal advantage t

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  4. Nike Versus Adidas: Who Made the Better 2015/16 Football Kits?

    There may be a few other kit manufacturers on the battlefield-like Puma or the newly involved New Balance-but for the most part, Adidas and Nike are the rulers of the football kit market. Ahead of the 2015/16 season, these two sporting gear companies held nine of the 11 most valuable kit manufacturing contracts in all of soccer. Judging just on contract price, Adidas was winning the battle at the start of the season, holding all four of the most valuable kit deals (Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, and Real Madrid). Nike's top soccer properties, meanwhile-Barcelona, Manchester City, and Paris Saint Germain-aren't quite as high-grossing, since those deals were all signed two or more years ago.

    But what about aesthetic and performance? Whose jerseys look better this season and whose kits have been worn by the better-performing football clubs? Read on for Soccer Box's rundown of who made the better football kits for the 2015/16 campaign.

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  5. Barcelona Beat Atletico Madrid to Maintain La Liga Lead

    Coming into Saturday's head-to-head match between FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, Barca had won five games in a row against the Mattress Makers. Despite the best efforts of the Atletico squad, Barcelona won once more this weekend, earning a 2-1 advantage to solidify their frontrunner status in the 2015/16 La Liga.

    Not that anyone has had reason to doubt Barca's title hopes as of late. Ever since Neymar and Luis Suarez stepped up to steer the football club through Lionel Messi's lengthy and nerve-wracking injury period, FC Barcelona have been nearly untouchable. They haven't lost a game in any competition since the beginning of October and have only had to abide a few draws. The January 30th match against Atletico Madrid was interesting because, if one team was going to be able to knock Barcelona off balance, the Mattress Makers were going to be that team.

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    A Comeback

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  6. Is Pep Guardiola Really That Good?

    With Pep Guardiola set to leave Bayern Munich at the conclusion of the 2015/16 season, the 45-year-old Spaniard will likely be the top target for clubs seeking new coaches this summer. So far, we're still not sure where Guardiola might end up club-wise, though he has intimated that he wants to work in England. Not surprisingly, the list of clubs that could hire Pep reads like a list of the Premier League's best teams. Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, and Chelsea have all been linked to potential deals with Bayern's championship king.

    But is Pep Guardiola really that good? Could he really take a struggling soccer club like Manchester United and turn it back into a football dynasty? Or have his coaching abilities been exaggerated and inflated by the teams he was handed and the leagues in which he's worked?

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  7. Five out-of-favour La Liga players who could be shrewd winter acquisitions

    By Ameen Rabbani.

    As we enter the final week of the January transfer window, clubs around Europe will undoubtedly be looking to La Liga in the hope of finding a winter bargain to bolster their squads for the six months that lie ahead. Here's five out-of-favour players who could do with a change of scenery from Spain's top flight and make a difference elsewhere.

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      1. Denis Cheryshev

    It was somewhat surprising that Denis Cheryshev was given the nod to continue at Real Madrid this season despite enjoying a largely successful loan spell at Villarreal in 2014-15. As suspected with Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and

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  8. Has Cristiano Ronaldo Won His Last Ballon d'Or?

    On Monday, January 11th, Lionel Messi won the FIFA Ballon d'Or Award for the fifth time. The win has seemed, for a while now, like a foregone conclusion. Messi led Barcelona to a treble victory in 2015, was the soccer club's top scorer during the 2014/15 season, and has even recovered from a lengthy autumn injury with grace. Cristiano Ronaldo may have led Leo in terms of goals scored, but Messi was probably the right pick for the best footballer in the world.

    Still, as Messi takes the Ballon d'Or and breaks Cristiano Ronaldo's two-year winning streak, one has to ask if we will see Ronaldo lift that trophy again. Or, for that matter, if Messi's fifth Ballon d'Or will be his last.

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    The Glory Years

    At this point, it's understandably difficult to imagine a Ballon d'Or ceremony

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  9. Copa del Rey 2016 Quarterfinal Preview.

    We're only just reaching the quarterfinals for the 2015/16 Copa del Rey, but the tournament has already brought its fair share of surprises. From the controversial disqualification of Real Madrid in the middle of the round of 32 (for fielding an ineligible player) to the surprisingly great showing from some of Barcelona's up-and-coming young talents, this year's Copa del Rey has offered entertainment and discussion in equal measure. Now, with the slate for the quarterfinal officially announced, we're checking back in with the tournament to assess the likely outcomes of the next run and whether or not FC Barcelona are a shoe-in to win the CDR title once more in 2016.

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    The Quarterfinal Draw

    As is customary for the Copa del Rey, most of

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  10. Vidal and Turan Make Barcelona La Liga Debuts

    In a deliberately barren summer 2015 transfer window, FC Barcelona made just two signings: Turkish midfielder Arda Turan, arriving from Atletico Madrid for a fee of €34 million; and Spanish winger and right back Aleix Vidal, transferring from Sevilla on a €18 million fee. At the time, Barca were still serving out a FIFA transfer ban for breaking the rules of the "international transfer of minors." As a result, while Turan and Vidal arrived at Camp Nou in the summertime, they were barred from actually competing for FC Barcelona until after January 1, 2016.

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    The Debut Performances

    Now, though, with the New Year finally upon us, Barca's year-long transfer ban has officially lifted, meaning that both Turan and Vidal are finally allowed to play again. Both footballers don

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