Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Competing narratives in Malaysia Airlines disaster coverage

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Kenya : Police arrest 8 over Mombasa rampage

Read more

FOCUS

Overfishing and the global appetite for bluefin tuna: can Tokyo turn the tide?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Too many graphic images from Gaza ?

Read more

FASHION

Who's next in Paris, an event with international ready-to-wear and fashion accessories collections

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Muslims and Christians clean up Bangui, and violence spirals out of control in Algeria's Gardaia

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Is there such thing as 'telegenic' victims of war?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

2014-07-22 07:21 IN THE FRENCH PRESS

Read more

  • Israel hits targets in Gaza despite diplomatic efforts for ceasefire

    Read more

  • Flight MH17 shot down ‘by mistake', US intelligence indicates

    Read more

  • France to proceed with sale of warship to Russia, says UK should mind its' own business

    Read more

  • Conflicting rulings by two US courts cast shadow on future of Obamacare

    Read more

  • Video: Lebanon fears fallout from regional turmoil

    Read more

  • Widodo wins Indonesian presidential election

    Read more

  • US, European airlines suspend flights to Tel Aviv over Israel-Gaza conflict

    Read more

  • Australian veteran Rogers claims 16th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • France gives go-ahead to pro-Palestinian Paris rally

    Read more

  • French Jews mourn French-Israeli soldier killed in Gaza

    Read more

  • PSG punished by UEFA for abuse of disabled Chelsea fans

    Read more

  • Colombia's Rodriguez signs '€80m' contract with Real Madrid

    Read more

  • Children killed in minibus crash in eastern France

    Read more

  • A call for harmony in riot-hit ‘Little Jerusalem’ Paris suburb

    Read more

Sport

Independence row adds spice to Barcelona, Madrid clash

Latest update : 2012-10-07

Barcelona will wait until just before the crunch clash against Real Madrid to make a decision on centre-back Gerard Pique's fitness. With increasing Catalonian calls for independence, there may be more at stake than just a football match.

La Liga leaders Barcelona will wait until the last minute to make a decision on Gerard Pique's fitness for Sunday's visit of champions Real Madrid, said coach Tito Vilanova.

The central defender picked up a foot injury in the Champions League two and a half weeks ago and has been left out by Spain for the World Cup qualifiers against Belarus on Friday and France four days later.

Pique returned to training with the Barca squad on Saturday afternoon but Vilanova was cautious about rushing him back for a high-profile match against Real.

"Pique has been out of action for quite a few days," Vilanova told a news conference.

"If he had at least trained in this time we would have more information and I am not in favour of (painkilling) injections because this could give us problems further down the line.

"There is no doubt about Pique's willingness to play because he has dedicated all the hours possible to recover but we cannot fight against nature," added Vilanova.

Barca are already without influential centre half Carles Puyol who dislocated his elbow during the week.

Vilanova is most likely to play midfielders Javier Mascherano and new signing Alex Song in the middle of the defence on Sunday.

The duo have looked uncomfortable when thrown together over the last couple of weeks.

Barca have won all six league games and already hold an eight-point lead over Real who only dropped 14 points on their way to the title last season.

Sunday's game has been given added significance because of the growing political debate within Spain over Catalonia's desire for independence.

Barca, often seen as a symbol of the independence movement, are planning to turn the Nou Camp into a giant red and yellow Catalan flag but Vilanova, like his opposite number Jose Mourinho earlier in the day, refused to get drawn into the debate.

"There are always Catalan flags and mosaics here, they have done it many times before," Vilanova said.

"When we go to other stadiums we see other flags and it isn't a problem. It is only a game of football."

(REUTERS)

Date created : 2012-10-06

  • CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

    Chelsea, Barcelona take Champions League victories

    Read more

  • FOOTBALL

    Real Madrid beat Barca 2-1 to take Spanish Super Cup

    Read more

  • SPANISH FOOTBALL

    Barcelona's Guardiola signs off with cup final triumph

    Read more

COMMENT(S)