MADRID - Brief news from the Primera Liga ahead of this weekend's matches:
Real Madrid will carry on battling to defend their title despite last week's 6-2 humbling by visiting Barcelona that put the Champions League finalists seven points clear with four matches left, midfielder Fernando Gago said.
"Last Saturday's match was ugly and things are more complicated for us but it's mathematically still possible and we have to keep fighting," he told the club's website.
Pep Guardiola's Barca, still coming to terms with Wednesday's stunning win over Chelsea, could secure the first of three possible titles if Real lose or draw at Valencia on Saturday and they beat Villarreal at the Nou Camp on Sunday.
Andres Iniesta's dramatic late strike at Stamford Bridge gave them an away-goal victory that put them in the Champions League final on May 27 and they play the King's Cup final against Athletic Bilbao in Valencia next Wednesday.
Real midfielder Lassana Diarra is doubtful for the Valencia clash, the club said on Friday, as the Frenchman has influenza and has not trained for two days.
Midfielders Wesley Sneijder and Guti returned to training with the rest of the squad on Friday as they continued to recover from muscle injuries, they added.
Real coach Juande Ramos said he would not necessarily leave the club when his six-month contract expired in June even if the champions did not win a trophy this year.
"I am not assuming anything," Ramos said at a news conference on Friday. "I won't renew automatically for winning a title, or not renew for not winning one."
Sevilla midfielder Adriano Correia said Inter Milan had shown interest in signing him but he was happy at the Andalusian club, who are in third place on 60 points, four ahead of fourth-placed Valencia and 18 behind Real.
"Whether I stay or go depends on my agent and the club but I really am happy in Seville," the Brazilian told the club's website. "I have a contract until 2014 and I am delighted with that." Sevilla host in-form Real Mallorca on Saturday.
Valencia striker David Villa said it was vital for the club to take three points at home to Real to help them secure the lucrative fourth Champions League spot. The club are one point ahead of Atletico Madrid and Villarreal and three in front of Deportivo Coruna.
"Clearly we are playing one of the strongest sides in the league but the prize is three points," Spain international Villa, who has 25 league goals this season, said on the club's website.
Villarreal striker Joseba Llorente said it was a good time for the sixth-placed side to be playing Barca as they were bound to be distracted by their exploits in the Champions League and next week's King's Cup final.
"The Barcelona players will be very tense and worn out," he told the club's website. "We can take advantage of the situation."
Atletico Madrid are in fifth with the same number of points as Villarreal (55) but a much healthier goal difference and host Espanyol on Sunday.
Winger Simao Sabrosa said he was sure the players would get a better reception this time from their disgruntled fans. "We have lost a lot of points at home and now is the time to do the talking on the pitch," he said on the club's website.
Atletico striker Florent Sinama Pongolle is still recovering from a muscle injury and the Frenchman is unlikely to feature against Espanyol, the club said.
Unsettled Greek defender Giourkas Seitaridis has reached an agreement with club officials to return to training on Monday, they added. He failed to turn up for last month's 3-1 home win over Sporting Gijon and was suspended.
Relegation-threatened Getafe host fellow strugglers Osasuna on Sunday and defender David Cortes urged the Madrid-based club's fans to get behind the players.
"We have to give our all and I expect the same from the fans at this crucial moment for Getafe," he told the club's website.comments