Previews: Xavi doubtful for Villarreal trip

Topics

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

Barcelona's midfield playmaker Xavi faces a late fitness test for the match at sixth-placed Villarreal on Saturday, when they need to pick themselves up after Wednesday's Champions League elimination at the hands of Inter Milan.

"I have a minor calf problem that has been bothering me for a few days now," Xavi told a news conference. "I don't know if I'll be able to help the team at the Madrigal."

Although Xavi trained on Friday and was included in the squad, the club said he remained a doubt. Eric Abidal and Andres Iniesta are still injured.

Champions Barca top the standings on 87 points with four games left to play, one ahead of Real Madrid who host Osasuna on Sunday.

"Barca have a difficult game tomorrow because Villarreal also have a lot to play for," Real goalkeeper Iker Casillas told a news conference. "At best they could drop some points but if we don't win it would be worth nothing."

Kaka is set to start for Real after returning from injury as a substitute to score the winner away to Real Zaragoza last weekend.

Third-placed Valencia travel to Espanyol on Saturday and a win would move them a step nearer to securing Spain's last automatic Champions League qualification spot.

They are without suspended midfielders Ruben Baraja and David Silva.

Sevilla, fifth, are two points adrift of the last Champions League qualification slot held by Real Mallorca, but dismissed ideas their King's Cup final opponents Atletico Madrid would be distracted when they visit on Sunday.

Atletico qualified for their second cup final on Thursday beating Liverpool on the away goals rule to make the Europa League final against Fulham.

"We have played teams with not much to play for (in the league) before and they have made life very difficult. They may view the game differently but they won't be coming to lose," Sevilla winger Diego Perotti told a news conference.

The five matches in which the bottom seven teams are competing in to avoid relegation all kick-off at the same time on Saturday.

Bottom club Xerez, who host Almeria, are seven points short of 17th-placed Malaga and safety.

Deportivo La Coruna have given 34-year-old playmaker Juan Carlos Valeron a five-year contract extension, club said on their website .

When the former Spanish international decides to hang up his boots, the plan is for him to work at the club in a different capacity.

"We are making Valeron the club figurehead on a sporting, philosophical and technical level," Depor president Augusto Cesar Lendoiro said.

Follow FFT.com on Twitter Join FFT.com on Facebook