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Barça, Spanish federation fined for int'l transfers of minors

International Sports Desk, Apr 2 (EFE).- The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has fined the Royal Spanish Soccer Federation, or RFEF, and FC Barcelona 500,000 Swiss francs ($565,000) and 450,000 Swiss francs ($508,000), respectively, for infractions related to the international transfer and registration of players under the age of 18.

Barça struggles at home against Atletico Madrid

Barcelona, Apr 1 (EFE).- FC Barcelona had to come from behind Tuesday at the Nou Camp to salvage a 1-1 draw with visiting Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal. Atleti and Barça, currently first and second in La Liga, have played to a tie in their last four matches. The away goal for Atletico means that Gerardo "Tata" Martino's charges must score in next week's second leg at Madrid's Vicente Calderon stadium. Barcelona defender Gerard Pique and Atletico striker Diego Costa left Tuesday's match in the first half due to injury.

Football: Barca, Atletico bosses content despite drawing once more

Barcelona manager Gerardo Martino believes his side did everything in their power to break down a dogged Atletico Madrid as they were held 1-1 at the Camp Nou in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday. Diego Ribas had put Atletico in front with a wonder strike 11 minutes into the second-half, but Barcelona responded 19 minutes from time when Neymar swept home Andres Iniesta's sublime through ball.

Football: Pique out for four weeks, Costa to undergo tests

Barcelona will be without defender Gerard Pique for the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Atletico Madrid and the Copa del Rey final against Real Madrid due to a hairline fracture in his right hip. The Spanish international is expected to be sidelined for four weeks in total, the club confirmed, and may also miss the Champions League semi-finals should Barca make it to the last four after being held 1-1 at home by Atletico in the first leg of their tie on Tuesday night.

Football: Pique out for four weeks, Costa to undergo tests

Barcelona will be without defender Gerard Pique for the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Atletico Madrid and the Copa del Rey final against Real Madrid due to a hairline fracture in his right hip. The Spanish international is expected to be sidelined for four weeks in total, the club confirmed, and may also miss the Champions League semi-finals should Barca make it to the last four after being held 1-1 at home by Atletico in the first leg of their tie on Tuesday night.

Real Madrid defender Marcelo out with torn hamstring

Madrid, Apr 1 (EFE).- Real Madrid defender Marcelo has a torn hamstring and will not be available for the Blancos' Champions League quarterfinal clash against Borussia Dortmund, his club said Tuesday. Coach Carlo Ancelotti rested the 25-year-old Brazilian international for last Saturday's La Liga match with Rayo Vallecano. "A medical exam has revealed that Marcelo has suffered a grade-one tear in his left hamstring. Pending further developments," Real Madrid said in a brief notice posted on its Web site.

Football: Diego Costa doubtful for Barcelona clash

Atletico Madrid faced an anxious wait to see whether key striker Diego Costa would be fit to play in his side's Champions League quarter-final, first leg clash away to Barcelona on Tuesday after he left training early with an apparent knee injury. The 25-year-old Spanish international walked off the Camp Nou pitch after just five minutes of his side's training session on Monday and Atletico boss Diego Simeone admitted it will be a race against time to get his top scorer fit.

Barça coach stresses defense ahead of Champions clash with Atletico

Sant Joan Despi, Spain, Mar 31 (EFE).- FC Barcelona coach Gerardo "Tata" Martino said Monday that he wants his squad to focus on playing sound defense in this week's first-leg Champions League quarterfinal with Atletico Madrid. "We cannot go in to play a desperation match. We need order," he said after practice for Tuesday's contest at Barcelona's Nou Camp. While not expecting a wide-open game, Martino said he knows Atletico will "come out in the first moments with the idea of scoring a goal, knowing the value it can have."

Football: Demands on Neymar unrealistic, claims Alves

Barcelona full-back Dani Alves believes there has been too much expectation placed upon Brazilian international teammate Neymar in his first season with the Catalan giants. Neymar has had an up and down campaign as 14 goals in all competitions has been offset by a lack of form and fitness for much of the season. The 22-year-old has also been under intense scrutiny due to the controversy surrounding his transfer from Santos last May with Sandro Rosell resigning as the club's president in January as he faced legal action over misappropriation of funds in the deal.

Football: Barcelona's Xavi fears Atletico inside knowledge

Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez is concerned that Atletico Madrid will know exactly how to stop the Catalans when they meet in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday. Both sides have already clashed three times this season, twice in the Spanish Supercup and once in La Liga with all three encounters ending in draws. Barca took the spoils in the Supercup on away goals, but it is Atletico who lead the way in La Liga, a point ahead of second placed Barca, with just seven games remaining.
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