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Scotsman EU membership story "incorrect" says EC

Scotsman EU membership story "incorrect" says EC | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Reports in the Scottish media that the European Commission has sent a letter to the House of Lords claiming an independent Scotland would have to re-apply for EU membership, have been dismissed by a spokesman for EC President José Manuel Barroso.

The story, which originally appeared in the Scotsman newspaper, claimed that a House of Lords committee had been sent an official letter that contradicted SNP claims that an independent Scotland would remain a member of the EU.

However a spokesman for Mr Barroso described the claims made in the article as “incorrect” and insisted no decision had yet been made on how to respond to the committee’s request to the EC President for a statement on an independent Scotland’s EU status.

Responding to a question from Newsnet Scotland, the spokesman said: "President Barroso has been invited to contribute to the House of Lords inquiry on the economic implications for the United Kingdom of Scottish Independence. The President has not yet replied.

"The Commission position is well known and set out in the series of responses given to European parliamentary questions. The Commission has been very clear that we do not comment on specific situations but can only give a view in general".
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Córdoba 0-8 Barça: Luis Suárez scores hat-trick as leaders Barcelona run riot to relegate Córdoba - The Guardian

Córdoba 0-8 Barça: Luis Suárez scores hat-trick as leaders Barcelona run riot to relegate Córdoba - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Luis Suárez scored a hat-trick as Barcelona thrashed Córdoba 8-0 to open a five-point lead at the top of La Liga and relegate their opponents

 

Luis Suárez netted a hat-trick while Lionel Messi scored twice – his 50th and 51st goals of the season in all competitions – as Barcelona routed bottom club Córdoba 8-0 on Saturday to extend their lead at the top of La Liga.

 

Barcelona opened up a five-point gap over Real Madrid, with Carlo Ancelotti’s second-placed team visiting Sevilla later on Saturday, while the defeat, Córdoba’s 17th game without a win, confirmed the team’s relegation.

 

It took until the 42nd minute for Barcelona to take the lead, as Messi played Ivan Rakitic clear to start the rout, before Suárez grabbed his first goal in first-half injury time...

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Espanyol face fine over racist abuse of Barcelona’s Neymar and Dani Alves - The Guardian

Espanyol face fine over racist abuse of Barcelona’s Neymar and Dani Alves - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it

Spain’s football league has denounced Espanyol after their fans directed monkey chants at the Brazil pair Neymar and Dani Alves and insulted the Spain defender Gerard Piqué during Saturday’s La Liga derby at home to Barcelona.

 

Lionel Messi was also verbally abused and Espanyol will be reported to a Spanish government commission that seeks to combat violence, racism and xenophobia in sport, the Liga de Fútbol Profesional said on Tuesday.

 

A section of supporters at Espanyol’s stadium insulted Piqué, his pop star partner Shakira and their young son as part of sustained abuse of Barça, who won 2-0 despite having Jordi Alba sent off shortly after half-time. Alba was also verbally abused as he left the pitch, the LFP said...

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Barcelona application for academy in Denmark turned down - The Guardian

Barcelona application for academy in Denmark turned down - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Barcelona have had an application to establish an academy in Copenhagen turned down by the Danish Football Association

 

Barcelona have had an application to establish an academy near Copenhagen turned down by the Danish Football Association.

The DBU rejected the move for the academy, aimed at children aged six to 16, on the grounds that “the plans conflict with the Danish regulations for the protection of children”. These aim to safeguard children’s well-being, happiness and security.

 

The DBU said on its website that it did not feel it was wise for children as young as six to be in an elite training environment, particularly if the child was eventually to be rejected...

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Thomas Vermaelen declared fit eight months after joining Barcelona - The Guardian

Thomas Vermaelen declared fit eight months after joining Barcelona - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Barcelona’s Belgian defender Thomas Vermaelen has finally been declared fit eight months after joining the club from Arsenal

 

Barcelona enjoyed an encouraging weekend when they maintained their three-point lead over Real Madrid by beating Espanyol 2-0 and they received a further boost to their morale when their Belgian defender Thomas Vermaelen was finally declared fit, eight months after joining the club from Arsenal...

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Spanish state broadcaster TVE accused of political bias - Financial Times

Spanish state broadcaster TVE accused of political bias - Financial Times | AC Affairs | Scoop.it

For more than 50 years millions of Spaniards have sat down each night to watch the Telediario, the flagship news programme of state broadcaster TVE. In recent months, however, the channel has not just been reporting the news — but making it as well.

 

TVE and its news programmes stand accused of blatantly favouring the government of Mariano Rajoy and his ruling Popular party, while sidelining opposition voices.

 

The channel’s own journalists have grown so concerned about political interference that they sent a delegation to Brussels this month to make a formal complaint to the European parliament. In a seven-page document, they describe TVE as a “propaganda instrument in the service of the government” — and chronicle a series of alleged journalistic lapses and manipulations.

 

With regional elections only a month away and a general election at the end of the year, Spain’s national broadcaster has turned into a crucial political battlefield.

“I have been with the channel for 30 years, and I have to say that it has never been this bad,” says Alejandro Caballero, president of TVE’s information council, an internal ethics watchdog elected by the channel’s editorial staff. “What we want is a channel that is in the service of the public. What we have is a channel that is an instrument of the government, and that is being put to use by the government.”

 

Some believe the controversy at TVE is symptomatic of a much broader problem in Spain. Analysts such as Victor Lapuente, a governance expert at Gothenburg university, argue that far too many of Spain’s public institutions — from the judiciary and the prosecution service to the civil service and state-backed media — are made to serve the interests of the government of the day.

“The prevailing culture in Spain is that the victor should enjoy the spoils,” he says, pointing out that “thousands of positions” change hands whenever a new government is elected. “But the problem is not just that people are hired or fired — the problem is that civil servants know that being politically neutral will not help their career prospects.”

 

Founded in 1957, TVE — short for Televisión Española — served for many years as a propaganda instrument for the dictatorship of Francisco Franco. Even when Spain returned to democracy in the late 1970, the station regularly drew fire for alleged political bias. Now, however, the trickle of complaints has turned into a torrent.

 

Mr Caballero and others say the channel systematically downplays or suppresses items that could damage Mr Rajoy’s government, most notably stories involving political corruption. Critics have also rounded on TVE’s coverage of the Catalan independence movement and of Podemos, the new anti-establishment party, saying both are habitually presented in an unfavourable light or marginalised...

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Luis Enrique: I pity Bayern Munich for drawing Barcelona – video - The Guardian

Luis Enrique: I pity Bayern Munich for drawing Barcelona – video - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Speaking following the Champions League draw on Friday, the Barcelona manager, Luis Enrique, says Bayern Munich are 'unfortunate' to have to face his team in the semi-finals
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Catalan nudists vow to take fight to bare all on beach to Strasbourg - The Guardian

Catalan nudists vow to take fight to bare all on beach to Strasbourg - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Naturist club threatens to take protest to the European court after a resort town’s prohibition on nudity is upheld by Spain’s supreme court

 

Naturists are taking their fight to be able to strip off on a Catalan beach to Strasbourg after Spain’s supreme court ruled that nudism is not a fundamental right.

 

The ruling sided with a decision in 2009 by the town of Castell-Platja d’Aro, 50 miles (80km) north of Barcelona, to ban nudism on its beaches and impose fines of up to €300 (£215) on those caught stripping off.

 

Town councillor Antoni Botellé said the regulations were drawn up to appease the many families who frequent the beach in the summer, but local nudists saw the ban as an attack on their freedoms.

“What bothers us is that they include us in the civic ordinance, describing our behaviour as antisocial. There’s nothing further from reality,” Catalan Naturist Club president Joaquim Plana told the Cadena Ser radio network. “They say it’s to protect families, but we also have families. Nudists aren’t odd people.”

 

His group took the town to court, arguing that the new regulations violated Spain’s constitution by infringing on members’ right to freely express their beliefs. Nudism, said the group, is akin to a philosophy that includes the practice among other factors...

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Barcelona’s Andrés Iniesta delighted with his performance in PSG win - The Guardian

Barcelona’s Andrés Iniesta delighted with his performance in PSG win - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
The midfielder will always be a hero to Barcelona and Spain fans but some had started to question whether the 30-year-old’s best days were behind him

 

Andrés Iniesta will always be a hero to Barcelona and Spain fans but some had started to question whether the 30-year-old’s best days were behind him.

The playmaker’s outrageous skills were on full display again on Tuesday, however, as he cut through the Paris Saint-Germain midfield and released Neymar in front of goal to put Barça 1-0 ahead in the 14th minute of their Champions League quarter-final, second leg.

Already leading 3-1 from last week’s first leg in Paris, Neymar’s goal, the first of a double in a 2-0 win for Barça on the night, effectively killed off PSG’s chances of a comeback.

 

The Catalan giants eased through to the last four for the seventh time in eight seasons and a record 11th time in the Champions League era...

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Barcelona wobble on their way up the Tourmalet but emerge unscathed at top - The Guardian

Barcelona wobble on their way up the Tourmalet but emerge unscathed at top - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
The Camp Nou trembled with fear as Valencia dominated but Barça found the grit to secure a vital win that suggests the title may be edging towards Catalonia

 

Luis Enrique said he wanted the Camp Nou to tremble and tremble it did, just not the way he hoped. Saturday started with Luis Suárez scoring at the south end in the 55th second and ended with Leo Messi scoring at the north end in the last second. In the 92 minutes and four seconds between those goals, they suffered. Eventually El Mundo Deportivo cheered “a happy ending” and, surveying the final scene, there was something a bit cinema about it: an explosion, the hero lying on the ground motionless, slowly opening his eyes, looking around, and realising that somehow, with implausible inevitability, he’s still here. He’s survived; they’ve actually done it. Now here come his friends, running towards him, relieved and elated, hauling his exhausted body off the floor and embracing him.

 

Or something like that...

 

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Barça 2-0 Valencia: Lionel Messi’s 400th goal helps Barcelona beat Valencia in La Liga - The Guardian

Barça 2-0 Valencia: Lionel Messi’s 400th goal helps Barcelona beat Valencia in La Liga - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Lionel Messi scored his 400th goal for Barcelona and set up Luis Suárez for another as the La Liga leaders beat Valencia 2-0

 

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi hit his 400th career goal for the La Liga leaders, deep into stoppage time, to seal a 2-0 win over a Valencia side that will rue their missed chances.

 

Barça’s Uruguay striker Luis Suárez continued his devastating form with a low strike inside the area, after being set up by Messi with less than a minute gone in Saturday’s game.

Messi scored on the counter-attack deep into added time for his landmark goal, knocking the ball into the net after his first shot had been saved by keeper Diego Alves.

 

Barça move five points clear of Real Madrid, who play Malaga at home later on Saturday, when third-placed Atlético Madrid can open a four-point gap over Valencia, who are fourth, if they beat Deportivo de La Coruña.

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PSG 1-3 Barça: Barcelona dazzle PSG as Luis Suárez brilliance lights up Paris - The Guardian

PSG 1-3 Barça: Barcelona dazzle PSG as Luis Suárez brilliance lights up Paris - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Luis Suárez brilliance lights up Paris as Barcelona dazzle PSG

 

Barcelona’s claim on this competition can feel irresistible on nights such as this. They prospered here where Chelsea had so laboured, inflicting a first home defeat in European competition in nine years and 34 games on wounded PSG with Luis Suárez for once eclipsing Lionel Messi as the chief tormentor. The Uruguayan’s two goals were sumptuous, his team’s progress in this quarter-final first leg serene.

Those teams who count themselves in contention should beware.

 

This was a ruthless way to dissect PSG’s raised expectations in the wake of last month’s elimination of the Premier League’s champions-elect. Patched up and makeshift PSG might have been, untimely injuries and suspensions taking their toll, but there was a gulf in class. Laurent Blanc’s players heaved unsuccessfully to contain slippery opponents and were made to look utterly limited at times.

 

Luis Enrique described Barcelona’s performance as “spectacular, both in defence and attack” though, for all their familiar slick possession, it was Suárez’s incisive interventions after the interval that took the breath away...

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Barcelona’s Lionel Messi: I’m back to my best after a difficult year - The Guardian

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi: I’m back to my best after a difficult year - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it

Lionel Messi has acknowledged that he is back to his best for Barcelona after difficult year that saw him accused of tax fraud and suffer from numerous injuries.

 

The four-times winner of the Ballon d’Or award has been in scintillating form since the turn of the year, having racked up 34 goals in La Liga this season and another eight in the Champions League. That means Messi has already surpassed his tally from last season, when Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo beat him to the Ballon d’Or for the second successive year.

 

In an interview with Barça magazine ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final first leg against Paris Saint-Germain, the 27-year-old Argentina forward believes he has put a tricky period in his career behind him.

“The truth is that I began the season in another way after everything that had happened to me last year,” said Messi.

“I spent a lot of time away from the pitch [injured] and when I returned I wasn’t in great form. I have tried to forget what I experienced, though, and recover my best version and now I feel really good.”

 

In total, Messi has scored 45 goals from just 44 matches this term and became La Liga’s record goalscorer of all time in November. His goal against Sevilla was his 399th in official games for Barcelona...

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Barcelona’s winning philosophy makes them coaching incubator for top clubs - The Guardian

Barcelona’s winning philosophy makes them coaching incubator for top clubs - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Barcelona’s ideas have been spread across the continent by former players who switched to the dugout, including coaches of four Champions League quarter-finalists

 

Where are they now? In the dugout, that’s where, and not just any dugout. Take a look at the picture above. It is nearly 19 years old now: 28 August 1996, the side that won the Spanish Super Cup. You will recognise some of the faces, and among them are four of the eight coaches in the Champions League quarter-finals: this week Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich face Julen Lopetegui’s Porto and Laurent Blanc’s Paris Saint-Germain take on Luis Enrique’s Barcelona. Their Barcelona, where they all played together.

 

If it is extraordinary enough that one team provides half the managers left in the competition, go a little deeper. The starting XI that day ran: Lopetegui, Ferrer, Popescu, Abelardo, Blanc, Luis Enrique, Sergi, Amor, Guardiola, Stoichkov, Pizzi. Only two of them have not become first-team coaches: Guillermo Amor, who ran Barcelona’s academy and is now technical director at Adelaide United, and Gica Popescu, sent to jail for three years for fraud. Now there’s a “Where Are They Now?”.

 

There were 27 players in Barcelona’s squad in the 1996-97 season. Popescu apart, only five others have not worked as coaches or technical directors and among them are Giovanni, who scouts for Olympiakos, and Vítor Baía, an ambassador for Porto, plus the owner of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, Ronaldo, and another Ballon d’Or winner, the Fifa presidential candidate Luís Figo...

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Barça 6-0 Getafe: Luis Suárez and Lionel Messi lead Barcelona rout of Getafe - The Guardian

Barça 6-0 Getafe: Luis Suárez and Lionel Messi lead Barcelona rout of Getafe - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez both scored twice as Barcelona thrashed Getafe 6-0 to stay on course to claim the Spanish league title

 

Barcelona’s ninth win in 10 league games provisionally lifted them five points clear of Real Madrid before the second-place side hosts Almería on Wednesday. There will then be four rounds left.

Messi converted a ninth-minute penalty earned by Suárez to get Barcelona rolling at Camp Nou before setting up the Uruguay striker’s first goal.

 

Neymar was next to get onto the score sheet before Xavi and Suárez both struck before halftime.

Messi scored again just after the restart for his 49th goal in 49 games in all competitions this season.

Messi also closed the gap with Real rival Cristiano Ronaldo with his 38th league goal. Ronaldo’s 39 goals leads the domestic competition.

 

Messi’s goals and assists have put Barcelona in contention for three titles this season. Positioned to dethrone Atlético Madrid in the league, Barcelona have reached a Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich and the Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao...

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Barcelona await Manchester United and Chelsea in International Champions Cup - The Guardian

Barcelona await Manchester United and Chelsea in International Champions Cup - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it

Chelsea and Manchester United will both take on Barcelona as part of the pre-season International Champions Cup at venues across the United States during July.

 

The schedule, confirmed on Tuesday at a press conference in New York, will see Chelsea play the Major League Soccer side New York Red Bulls in New Jersey on 22 July, Paris Saint-Germain in Charlotte, North Carolina on 25 July Barcelona in Washington DC on 28 July before their final match back at Stamford Bridge in London versus Fiorentina on 5 August.

 

United, meanwhile, open against the Mexico City-based Club América on 17 July at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field, before taking on San Jose Earthquakes on 21 July at a venue to be confirmed with a date against Barcelona at Santa Clara’s Levi’s Stadium on 25 July 25 then concluding in Chicago against PSG on 29 July...

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The best goals of the week: Andrea Pirlo, Robert Lewandowski, Neymar and Hulk - The Guardian

The best goals of the week: Andrea Pirlo, Robert Lewandowski, Neymar and Hulk - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Featuring a goalkeeper’s last-minute winner, a blind player with remarkable footwork, solo efforts from Brazil and Australia, and another Pirlo free-kick
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Dani Alves apologises to Turkish fans over Armenian picture - The Guardian

Dani Alves apologises to Turkish fans over Armenian picture - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
The Barcelona defender Dani Alves was forced to backtrack over the weekend and apologise to his Turkish fans for posing for a photo in which he called for recognition of the Armenian genocide
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Espanyol 0-2 Barça: Barcelona see off Espanyol through Neymar and Messi despite Alba’s red - The Guardian

Espanyol 0-2 Barça: Barcelona see off Espanyol through Neymar and Messi despite Alba’s red - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it

Neymar scored the opener to continue his rich vein of form as Barcelona won a one-sided La Liga derby against Espanyol 2-0 despite the dismissal of Jordi Alba early in the second half.

 

Neymar followed up his two goals against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on Tuesday by slotting home after Luis Suárez dummied an Alba cross inside the area to open the scoring after 17 minutes.

 

With Barça picking holes in the Espanyol defence, Lionel Messi doubled the lead from a tight angle after 25 minutes...

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CL semi-finals: Barcelona v Bayern Munich and Juventus v Real Madrid - The Guardian

CL semi-finals: Barcelona v Bayern Munich and Juventus v Real Madrid - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
The Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola will return to face his former club Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals. Real Madrid face Juventus

 

Pep Guardiola faces an emotional return to Barcelona after his current club, Bayern Munich, were drawn to face them in the semi-final of the Champions League. In a classic last four the defending champions, Real Madrid, play Juventus in the other tie. The four clubs have between them won the competition 21 times in its 60-year history but there was little doubt about which plot-line deserved top billing.

 

Guardiola was both a playing and managerial hero at Barcelona, winning a host of honours, after emerging through the club’s youth system. As a player he won six league titles and the European Cup in 1992 while he added three more league titles and two Champions Leagues during his all-conquering four-year spell in managerial charge, which ended in 2012...

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José Mourinho, the anti-Barcelona, stands alone in modern football - The Guardian

José Mourinho, the anti-Barcelona, stands alone in modern football - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
The Chelsea manager is close to seeing his team win the Premier League but of everyone involved in the Barça team in the 1990s, from Pep Guardiola to Julen Lopetegui, he is the outcast who now revels in his role as the dark lord

 

Modern football was invented in Barcelona in the mid-90s. Of this season’s Champions League quarter-finalists, four sides are managed by players who turned out for Barça in 1996: Pep Guardiola, Luis Enrique, Julen Lopetegui and Laurent Blanc. Within a couple of years, they had been joined by Frank de Boer and Phillip Cocu as well as the coach, Louis van Gaal, and his assistant, Ronald Koeman. In slightly differing ways, the eight are apostles for the Barcelona way – or, more accurately, given the influence of Ajax on that style, the Barçajax way. However, there was another presence there, initially as a translator and then as a coach. In the Barçocracy of modern football, there is a fallen angel.

 

In the modern world, at least at elite level, José Mourinho stands alone. He was at the greatest coaching seminar the world has seen, when the game as we know it was shaped, but he did not draw the same lessons everybody else did. The other eight espoused the proactive, possession-based football seeded at the club by Vic Buckingham, developed by Rinus Michels and taken to new levels by Johan Cruyff...

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Barça 2-0 PSG (agg 5-1): Neymar leads Barcelona against Paris Saint-Germain - The Guardian

Barça 2-0 PSG (agg 5-1): Neymar leads Barcelona against Paris Saint-Germain - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Barcelona’s Brazilian forward repeatedly harassed the PSG defence and his first-half double earned a 2-0 win on the night, taking his side through 5-1 on aggregate

 

Barcelona are in the semi-final of the Champions League for the seventh time in eight years. For Paris Saint-Germain, there was no comeback and no chance of a comeback, nor much of an attempt at one. It took only 14 minutes for Barcelona to score the first goal and although that left PSG much the same task as they had faced at the start – needing three to overturn the defeat suffered at the Parc des Princes six days before – they never embarked on that task and were never allowed to either...

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Scotland knows the power of a common enemy. We English don’t - The Spectator

Scotland knows the power of a common enemy. We English don’t - The Spectator | AC Affairs | Scoop.it

-When last Sunday Pope Francis took the brave step of acknowledging the Armenian tragedy as the ‘first genocide of the 20th century’, he knew he was entering a minefield. On… Read more

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Luis Suárez leaves Edinson Cavani in shade in Champions League show - The Guardian

Luis Suárez leaves Edinson Cavani in shade in Champions League show - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
The two Uruguayan strikers embraced before Barcelona’s 3-1 first-leg win at PSG but enjoyed or endured contrasting fortunes after that
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Coals to Newcastle? The London tapas chain opening up in Spain - The Telegraph

Coals to Newcastle? The London tapas chain opening up in Spain - The Telegraph | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Following the success of their tapas restaurants in London, Brindisa are venturing to Barcelona to take their Catalan cooking back to its roots

 

It is 8am, and La Boqueria, just off La Rambla in the centre of Barcelona, is already a hive of activity. Porters scurry up and down narrow avenues, ferrying glistening fish in iced boxes on trolleys as traders shout instructions. First mentioned in the 1200s (some traders here are ninth generation) and encompassing 236 stalls over a site the size of two football pitches, La Boqueria is one of the world’s best food markets.

 

Close to the centre of the market is Menuts Rosa, a favourite stall with many locals. The Gabaldà family have been selling offal here since 1900; today Francisca Gabaldà and her daughter Rosa supply all the city’s top chefs, including Ferran Adrià. Their stall is not a sight for the faint-hearted – piled high behind the counter is everything from tripe and tongue to feet, testicles and sheep’s heads...

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Sevilla feel the noise against Barcelona to extend unbeaten home record - The Guardian

Sevilla feel the noise against Barcelona to extend unbeaten home record - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
No one has won at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán in 13 months and in front of a raucous sellout crowd, Barcelona became the latest to crumble in Seville

 

The music stopped but the singing went on. They belted out El Arrebato acapella, Sevilla’s anthem ringing round the ground, the “oooooooooo” rising and falling. “And that’s why I’ve come here to see you today,” the chorus opens. Almost 45,000 of them had come to watch their team play Barcelona on Saturday, the stadium packed. It was just before 8pm, the teams were out, and they stretched their scarves and sang loudly. Two hours later they were singing it again, even louder now. In front of them stood a dozen footballers in white, soon joined by one in orange. On both sides of the barrier they applauded, as exhausted as they were elated...

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