MADRID - Brief news from the Primera Liga ahead of the weekend's matches. With six games left to play and six points separating leaders Barcelona and Real Madrid, the Catalans can extend their advantage away to in-form Valencia on Saturday. Real, who they visit for the 'clasico' next weekend, do not play until Sunday. "I know I have been saying all season the next game is the most important one, but now I'm saying it with more emphasis," Barca coach Pep Guardiola said. "The game in Valencia will go a long way towards deciding the league." Real Madrid's top scorer Gonzalo Higuain will be available to play in Sevilla on Sunday after his yellow card from the Getafe game was revoked. Juande Ramos has a doubt over striker Klass Jan Huntealaar, who has a calf complaint. Christoph Metzelder is likely to step in for the suspended Pepe. Wesley Sneijder, Arjen Robben and Gabriel Heinze are injured. First-choice goalkeeper Andres Palop returns from suspension for Sevilla. The 10-match ban for Real Madrid defender Pepe is an over-reaction, the club's interim president Vicente Boluda said. "It's an atrocious decision. The punishment does not correspond with what happened on the pitch," Boluda was quoted as saying in the sports daily Marca. Pepe was punished by the Spanish football federation's disciplinary committee on Friday for kicking one Getafe player and punching another after being sent off during Real's 3-2 league win last Tuesday. Real Madrid and Italy defender Fabio Cannavaro has acknowledged that his agent is speaking to Juventus about a possible move to Turin when his contract with Real expires at the end of the season. "I don't know (about the rumours), but I know they are speaking to my agent. Until the end of June I'm only thinking about Madrid. We'll see what happens," Cannavaro told the sports daily AS. Fifth-placed Villarreal are three points short of fourth-placed Valencia and the Champions League qualification slots ahead of their trip to Getafe on Sunday. They have not won on their travels in the league since the end of November. Atletico Madrid's players trained with police protection on Friday after the humbling 5-1 defeat away to mid-table Racing Santander. Atletico, who dropped out of the European places down to seventh, host struggling Sporting Gijon on Sunday. "We have to accept the criticisms. We didn't show any attitude or that we wanted to win in Santander," defender Pablo Ibanez said. "If we don't beat Sporting we don't deserve to be in the Champions League."
24 April 2009
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