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Bale rejoins Real Madrid training ahead of Clasico

Bale missed the second leg of Madrid's Champions League quarter-final victory over Bayern Munich. Credit: PA

Gareth Bale's hopes of being fit for Sunday's La Liga showdown with Barcelona have received a boost as he returned to training following a muscle injury on Thursday.

The Wales forward rejoined the squad for their first training session since their Champions League win over Bayern Munich on Tuesday night, Madrid said in a statement.

He had been a major doubt for El Clasico, having been forced off with injury in the first leg of Madrid's quarter-final tie at Bayern.

Zinedine Zidane's side host Barcelona at the Bernabeu on Sunday in a clash which could go a long way to determining the outcome of the title race. Madrid go into the match with a three-point lead and a game in hand on their bitter rivals.

Barcelona boss Luis Enrique targets second Champions League miracle

Luis Enrique is hoping for a repeat of Barcelona's Champions League heroics Credit: PA

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique is optimistic his side can pull off another stunning comeback to advance in the Champions League.

The Catalan side looked down and out after losing the first leg of their last-16 tie 4-0 against Paris St Germain in February, but produced a remarkable 6-1 second-leg triumph last month to reach the quarter-finals of Europe's premier club competition.

They gave themselves another mountain to climb as they suffered a crushing 3-0 loss to Juventus in Turin last Tuesday in the first leg of the last-eight meeting, but Enrique has warned Barca should not be written off just yet.

We will try right until the end. Those who experienced the night against PSG at Camp Nou will have another chance to enjoy a historic evening. Right until the 95th minute, we have to be united.

We have to get the fans involved in our game and our intensity. We need Camp Nou to bounce to experience another special evening.

Many results at home and the recent comeback against PSG are statistics that invite optimism. We have to create a collective crazy atmosphere so our players can perform at their best.

We need to intimidate a team like Juventus to the maximum. If we score the first goal, Camp Nou will get the second and the third will come by itself.

– Luis Enrique told reporters



Barcelona defend Messi against 'unjust' ban

Messi was handed a four-match international ban by FIFA for "''having directed insulting words'' at an official. Credit: PA

Barcelona have branded the four-game international ban handed to Lionel Messi for abusing an assistant referee "unjust and totally disproportionate".

Messi was also fined 10,000 Swiss Francs (£8,100) by FIFA on Tuesday for ''having directed insulting words'' at an official during his side's World Cup qualifier with Chile last Thursday.

He was caught on camera venting his fury at an assistant who signalled that he had committed a foul late on in Argentina's 1-0 win. He was not shown a card at the time.

The 29-year-old missed Tuesday's 2-0 loss to Bolivia and will also be banned for Argentina's next three World Cup qualifiers, unless an appeal is successful.

FC Barcelona express their surprise and outrage at the official decision of the FIFA disciplinary committee to sanction Leo Messi after the World Cup qualifying match between Argentina and Chile.

The club consider the four-game ban imposed upon the player unjust and totally disproportionate.

Finally, FC Barcelona want to reiterate their support for Leo Messi, an exemplary sportsman for his behaviour on and off the pitch.

– Barcelona statement

Former president of FC Barcelona dies

Agusti Montal, the former President of FC Barcelona Credit: PA

The former president of FC Barcelona has died at the age of 82.

Agusti Montal was president of the club between 1969 and 1977.

Barcelona observed a minute's silence during training on Wednesday, in memory of Montal.

Neymar open to move to 'amazing' Premier League

Neymar has frequently been linked with a move to the Premier League throughout his career. Credit: PA

Neymar has fuelled speculation that he could one day move to the Premier League by revealing he finds the top flight of English football "amazing".

The Brazil international, who has contributed 14 goals and 18 assists in 36 appearances for Barcelona this season, signed a new contract in October that will keep him at Camp Nou until June 2021.

But despite this, Neymar says he is intrigued by the possibility of testing himself in the Premier League and, in particular, working for renowned managers such as Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho and Manchester City's Pep Guardiola.

The Premier League is a championship that amazes me.

I like the playing style and the teams. And who knows, someday, I would like to play at it, yes.

I admire Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool — these are the teams that are always there fighting.

And then you have high-level coaches like Mourinho and Guardiola. These are coaches with whom any player would like to work.

– Neymar to the Sun
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