La Liga Previews: Barca eye revenge in "El Clasico"

MADRID - Brief news from the Primera Liga ahead of this weekend's matches:

Barcelona are itching to avenge last season's 4-1 defeat away to Real Madrid when they meet in Saturday's "Clasico" at the Nou Camp, defender Rafael Marquez said.

"A win would give us an important advantage over Madrid and a boost to help us make progress," the Mexican said on the club's website.

"Hopefully it will be a great game and we can convince people that the 4-1 is forgotten. It's something that I don't like thinking back to and I understand people want revenge."

Real Madrid midfielder Ruben de la Red could become the third player from the Spanish champions to be forced to end the season early after his collapse on the pitch in a King's Cup match in October.

Club president Ramon Calderon said in a television interview late on Thursday the Spain international would not play again this season but officials said Real Madrid were still waiting for final test results.

Striker Ruud van Nistelrooy and midfielder Mahamadou Diarra are already out with serious knee injuries.

Villarreal defender Javi Venta will be out for three weeks after injuring his ankle in last weekend's 3-3 draw at home to Getafe, the club said on its website.

Villarreal, who are in second place six points behind leaders Barcelona after 14 matches, play at fourth-placed Sevilla on Sunday.

Sevilla's Italian midfielder Enzo Maresca is recovering well from a muscle strain, was able to train normally on Thursday and should be available for the Villarreal clash, the club said on its website.

Espanyol midfielder Ivan de la Pena will be unavailable for three or four weeks after suffering a calf strain in Sunday's draw against Real Betis, the club said.

It is another setback for new coach Mane, who has already lost Spain international striker Raul Tamudo. However, defender Steve Finnan is continuing his recovery from a muscle problem and should be back in training within the week.

The Barcelona side, struggling in third-to-last place with 13 points from 14 matches and only one win in the last 12, play at third-placed Valencia on Saturday.

Valencia forward David Silva is fit enough to return to action against Espanyol after three months out following September's operation to correct an ankle problem.

"I felt good this week even if I am still missing a bit of rhythm," the Spain international told reporters. "If the coach thinks I should come on for a few minutes it would be perfect for me."

Atletico Madrid's home match against Real Betis on Sunday is the most important of the season so far, Portuguese forward Simao Sabrosa said.

"Betis are a great team, play football very well and have top quality players," he told reporters. "We need to win and get three more points in the bag." Atletico are in sixth on 24 points, two behind city rivals Real Madrid.