+ Injury news first: Aleks
now has medical clearance, so he'll be fit to play in Bilbao. Dani
's probably going to be okay too, after missing the Atletico game as a precaution.
That's the good news. The bad news: Pedro
broke in training with the Spanish U21s, and he's out for a month, Guddy
got an injury playing for Iceland and will be out for at least a week, and Yaya
's got some sort of knock from playing for the Ivory Coast which is not terribly serious but might be enough to rule him out for the Athletic game.
+ Quick international highlights round-up: Titi
both scored fantastic goals for France and Spain respectively [both definitely worth watching], Leo
now has 8 goals in his last 9 games, Sammy
has now scored 10 goals in his last 11, Puyol saved the day for Spain
(and scored a goal in their other game) and Sergi Busquets
made his debut for the Spanish U21 side with a goal.
+ the Fundacion FC Barcelona's collaboration with UNICEF
is expanding to cover projects in Malawi and Angola as well as Swaziland. The article also details the good work that's been done in Swaziland already.
+ Leo made his official first team debut four years ago.
Seems like longer, to be honest. So much has happened.
+ On the contract extension front, talks for Sergi Busquets
' new contract have begun. There's a lot of BS flying around about other clubs poaching him, but I wouldn't worry. Firstly, he's a cule who is the son of a cule who works at the club. Secondly, he shares an agent with Guardiola
and said agent has a record of dealing well with the club. As long as Barca don't screw him over economically, we should be fine.
+ Further contract news: it has now emerged that the club sneakily signed a new contract with Leo
a couple of months back and just didn't tell anybody. There's no extension involved - it still goes until 2014 - and the buyout clause is still an astronomical 150 million euros, he's just earning a lot more money now. No one's sure as to the figure, but the rumour that was floated a while ago was 8 million euros + up to 4 million euros in performance-dependent bonuses per year.
[This is Leo's fourth professional contract, which just goes to show how careful Barca are about keeping him, even though neither him nor his dad (who acts as his agent) have ever come out and publicly demanded anything of the club.]