March 30, 2013
Celta Vigo v Barcelona: Preview
Team Stat Comparison
|Goals for *||1.2||2.7|
|Goals against *||1.1||1.3|
|Last 5 home||W-L-D-W-L||W-W-W-W-W|
|Last 5 away||W-L-W-L-L||W-W-D-W-D|
|* Goals per match - home matches for home club and away matches for away club|
|Stats: Celta Vigo | Barcelona|
|3/21||H: Malaga||3/16||H: Osasuna|
|3/26||A: Barcelona||3/23||A: Real Madrid|
|3/29||H: Sevilla FC||3/26||H: Celta Vigo|
|4/6||A: Rayo Vallecano||3/29||A: Espanyol|
|4/13||H: Real Sociedad||4/6||H: Real Betis|
Eric Abidal could be about to play his first match since undergoing a liver transplant after being named in Barcelona's squad for the trip to Celta Vigo tomorrow.
The French defender was cleared to return to football last month by doctors, having been out of action for over a year. His last appearance came against Atletico Madrid on February 26, 2012.
He underwent his transplant last April, having undergone initial liver surgery in March 2011 when he missed only seven weeks of action, returning in time for the Champions League victory over Manchester United that year.
Abidal, who helped France reach the 2006 World Cup final, has been a Barcelona player since 2007.
Barcelona confirmed on their official website that Abidal was in the 19-man party travelling to Vigo.
His Barcelona team-mate, striker David Villa, posted a picture of the pair together on Twitter this evening, writing: "An example for everyone! Congratulations Abi!''
While Abidal nears his return, Lionel Messi goes into tomorrow's Primera Division match on the brink of another incredible record.
The Argentinian has scored in his last 18 consecutive league matches and, should he find the net again tomorrow, would become the first man ever to score in successive games against every team in the Spanish top flight.
Those 18 games have brought 28 goals, helping the Catalans hold a 13-point lead over bitter rivals Real Madrid at the top of the standings.
Celta shut out Messi, if not Barcelona, in the reverse fixture at the Nou Camp last November, which the hosts won 3-1.
But young Barcelona winger Cristian Tello reckons Celta will be a tough nut to crack.
"We are very focused on the league,'' Tello said. "Each match is a final for us, and we want to win as many points as possible. Celta are fighting for their lives and they will be a difficult rival to defeat.''
Barcelona have been boosted this week by the return from the United States of coach Tito Vilanova, who has spent the past two months in New York undergoing cancer treatment.
Matchday responsibilities will remain with his assistant Jordi Roura as Vilanova continues his recovery, however, and Tello is happy for Roura to remain in caretaker charge.
"He's done a spectacular job. He's continued on with the team and he's delivered as the acting manager,'' Tello said.
Celta coach Abel Resino thinks his side are facing Barcelona at a good time, with the Catalans facing the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final away to Paris St Germain on Tuesday and missing several players through injury and suspension.
Xavi, Carles Puyol, Adriano, Jordi Alba and Pedro are all injured, while Victor Valdes is banned, meaning Jose Manuel Pinto will be in goal on his return to his former club.
Key midfielder Xavi could miss the trip to Paris, with the club claiming "his availability for the next match will depend on his recovery''.
Resino, whose side are second bottom of the table, three points from safety, said: "Barca will bring a competitive team, but it certainly would be a good time to play against Barcelona.
"In addition to coming with some casualties, they come to play after a tough match with the national team (Spain won 1-0 away to France in their World Cup qualifier on Tuesday) and are before a very important game because they play to progress in the Champions League.''