A suspension for Cristiano Ronaldo is the latest concern for coach Carlo Ancelotti whose Real Madrid side are looking far from the slick machine that strung together 22 straight victories before Christmas.
Barcelona seized control of their King’s Cup quarter-final tie against Atletico Madrid when Lionel Messi followed up his saved penalty to score and secure a 1-0 first-leg victory at the Nou Camp on Wednesday.
Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin bought a 20 percent stake in Spanish league champions Atletico Madrid on Wednesday, his company announced, the first mainland Chinese investment in a top European football club.
When Fernando Torres left Atletico Madrid for Liverpool in 2007, the idea of the Spanish capital`s second club being favourites to beat record winners Barcelona in a two-legged King`s Cup tie would have been unthinkable.
Barcelona boss Luis Enrique hailed Lionel Messi`s consistent brilliance this season after the Argentine took his tally to 28 goals in 27 games with a hat-trick in a 4-0 win away to Deportivo la Coruna on Sunday.
FC Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez, who has missed the team's recent games due to a hamstring injury, has resumed training with the rest of the squad and is awaiting medical approval to play on Sunday against Deportivo de La Coruna.
After staving off a full blown institutional crisis with victory over La Liga champions Atletico Madrid last weekend, Barcelona will be hoping their best performance of the season proves to be a turning point in their campaign.
Atletico Madrid forward Fernando Torres rolled back the years with a King`s Cup double at Real Madrid on Thursday that was a reminder of the talented youngster who made his name at the club before taking England by storm at Liverpool.