Friday Ticker: Roura keeps Barcelona focusing on La Liga; Suarez, Bale, and Van Persie nominated for award; and more

Friday Ticker: Roura keeps Barcelona focusing on La Liga; Suarez, Bale, and Van Persie nominated for award; and more

South American Soccer

Friday Ticker: Roura keeps Barcelona focusing on La Liga; Suarez, Bale, and Van Persie nominated for award; and more

JordiRoura1 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

Though they have a 13 point lead ahead of Real Madrid in La Liga, Barcelona assistant coach Jordi Roura says that they can’t any matches off until the title is clinched.

The Catalonian side is set to play next Tuesday against Bayern Munich in the Champions League, but before that Barcelona have a league match to worry about, when they face Levante at home on Saturday.

“We still have nine points and try to win sooner rather than later,” Roura said to Spanish publication Marca. “Though Levante has not had good results lately, that’s a good team. They have nothing to lose and are very dangerous.”

Lionel Messi has been rumored to make a return to action in Saturday’s match, but Roura all but ruled it out, confirming Barcelona won’t play an injured player.

Here are some more stories to get your Friday started:

SUAREZ, BALE, AND VAN PERSIE NOMINATED FOR PFA AWARD

Forwards Luis Suarez, Gareth Bale, and Robin Van Persie are among six players nominated for the Professional Footballers Association Player of the Year award.

Despite having served a lengthy suspension last season for racism, Suarez has had an outstanding on the field this season, scoring 29 goals for Liverpool in all competitions. Suarez’s 22 goals in the Premier League good for the top spot on the scoring charts, ahead of Van Persie’s 21 goals, and Bale’s 17 goals.

Michael Carrick, Juan Mata, and Eden Hazard round out the six-man class of finalists for the award, which was won by Van Persie last season. The winner of the award will be announced on April 28.

FIGHTING MARS DRAW IN HUACHIPATO

The final day of group stage matches in the Copa Libertadores was marred by fighting in Chile. Needing a win to make the knockout round, the home side Huachipato could only manage a 1-1 draw against Brazilian side Gremio. Soon after the final whistle blew, fighting erupted amongst the players of both teams, allegedly beginning after the Gremio manager Verderlei Luxemburgo taunted his opposite number.

Chilean police had trouble stopping the fighting between the coaching staff and players of both teams on the edge of the field by the tunnel to the locker room.With the draw, Gremio advanced to the knockout stages.

Around the continent, Brazilian side Fluminense defeated Caracas of Venezuela 1-0, Argentine side Tigre defeated Paraguayan club Libertad 5-3, and Peru’s Sporting Cristal defeated Palmeiras of Brazil 1-0.

QUICK KICKS

Manchester United winger Ashley Young has been ruled out for the season with an ankle injury. (REPORT)

Barcelona midfielder Xavi doesn’t believe Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas will join the Catalan club. (REPORT)

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger isn’t interested in re-signing Alex Song from Barcelona. (REPORT)

Jupp Heynckes is considering going with Claudio Pizarro and Mario Gomez up top for FC Bayern’s next game. (REPORT)

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What do you make of these reports? Do you see Barcelona winning their next three matches? Do you believe Suarez should have been nominated? Who do you see winning the award?

Share your thoughts below.

 

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