Real Murcia vs. Barcelona  3 - 5

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Rijkaard exit necessary for Barca: Laporta

18 May 2008 11:29

MADRID (AFP) - Barcelona president Joan Laporta paid tribute to the successful work of outgoing coach Frank Rijkaard, saying the club now had to rebuild with their new manager Pep Guardiola and some fresh personnel.

In five years at Camp Nou, Rijkaard won league titles in 2005 and 2006 when his team also lifted the Champions League and said goodbye on Saturday with a 5-3 win over Real Murcia.

But reserve team coach Guardiola, a former Barca captain, will now take over the reins.

"It was a cycle that gave us good moments and some glorious ones, such as the Champions League in 2006, but it is now over," Laporta told LaSexta.

"If cycles are ended so are the people that formed that group. Not all need to go because there are solid foundations and a group of youngsters that can still give us much more success."

Brazilian Ronaldinho, Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o, Mexican centre back Rafael Marquez and Portuguese playmaker Deco are all expected to leave Barca in a summer clearout while the future of French striker Thierry Henry remains unclear.

However with youngsters Lionel Messi, Bojan Krkic and Giovani dos Santos all developing alongside the likes of Andres Iniesta and Xavi, Barca have the foundations for a top side.

Barcelona are expected to give Guardiola the funds as they attempt to stop Real Madrid winning a third successive league title and director of football Txiki Begiristain revealed negotiations were already under way.

"Some negotiations are advanced and some are more advanced than others," said Begiristain.

Sevilla are the main target club with Barca said to be interested in their trio of Brazilian right back Daniel Alves, Danish holding midfielder Christian Poulsen and energetic midfielder Seydou Keita.

Article

Departure day at Barca as Rijkaard signs off in style

18 May 2008 00:24

MADRID (AFP) - It was a day of farewells for Barcelona on Saturday as coach Frank Rijkaard said an emotional goodbye after five years and his team gave him the perfect send-off with a 5-3 win at relegated Real Murcia.

Rijkaard won two league titles and the 2006 Champions League crown to etch his name in Barca's history books but he will now make way for reserve team coach Pep Guardiola after two seasons without silverware.

Rijkaard's final match was a festival of goals as 19-year-old Mexican striker Giovani dos Santos scored a hat-trick with Samuel Eto'o and Thierry Henry also on target.

The Dutch coach allowed himself a huge smile - something he has not been able to do much this season - as Giovani scored two great goals to complete his hat-trick.

Saturday's game could be both Eto'o's and Henry's final match in a Barca shirt with their futures far from clear but both signed off by getting on the scoresheet.

Brazilian Ronaldinho and Portuguese playmaker Deco are set to follow Rijkaard out of the Camp Nou exit door but took no part against Murcia.

Ronaldinho was a major factor behind Barca's success under Rijkaard with his silky skills and incredible goals - notably a brilliant solo effort against Real Madrid which prompted a standing ovation from the Real fans - but his love of partying now seems to outweigh his love of football.

Incoming coach Guardiola, a former Barca captain, will need to give the team a facelift but with Giovani, Lionel Messi and Bojan Krkic, who turned down going to Euro 2008 with Spain due to fatigue, providing young blood there is already a framework.

On Sunday, the respective battles for survival and UEFA Cup are intertwined in three intriguing matches.

Real Mallorca are a point behind Racing Santander in the UEFA Cup race but on Sunday the islanders face a Real Zaragoza team that need to win and hope to stay in the top-flight.

Osasuna are a point above Zaragoza heading into their away match at Racing who are desperate to retain the final European place.

Recreativo Huelva and Valladolid are the two other teams in relegation danger and thay face one another on Sunday.

Champions Real Madrid are set to be presented with the championship trophy but confusion reigns as to whether their opponents Levante will show up for the game as their players plan to strike due to unpaid wages and bonuses.

Article

Preview: Real Murcia - FC Barcelona

16 May 2008 19:12

In the only Primera Division match scheduled for Saturday, Barcelona need a point to secure a spot in next season's Championship preliminary round.

In fact, a win would almost certainly mean that the Blaugrana finish this season in third place.

But the Catalans will be without Gabriel Milito, who will be out for a significant amount of time as result of surgery.

Opponents Real Murcia have nothing to play for except their pride, as they are certain of relegation at the end of the season.

The first clash between these two teams this season, had a 4-0 win to Barcelona as result.

Primera División table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +48 85
2 38 +23 77
3 38 +33 67
4 38 +19 64
5 38 +26 64
6 38 +1 60
7 38 +15 59
8 38 -3 52
9 38 -1 52
10 38 -14 51
11 38 -3 50
12 38 -10 48
13 38 -6 47
14 38 -4 47
15 38 -15 45
16 38 -20 44
17 38 -7 43
18 38 -11 42
19 38 -29 30
20 38 -42 26