Thursday 14 December 2017

Barca fret on Guardiola future

Jamie Holland

Barcelona will welcome back Andres Iniesta against struggling Racing Santander at the Nou Camp this evening, but the defending champions are likely to be without Cesc Fabregas, Alexis Sanchez and Ibrahim Afellay.

Real Madrid, one point behind co-leaders Barca and Levante, expect Karim Benzema, Pepe and Fabio Coentrao to return against Real Betis, but defenders Raul Albiol and Ricardo Carvalho have been ruled out.

Rumours continue to circulate in Spanish media about Pep Guardiola leaving at the end of the season, fuelled by comments from the Barcelona coach that he thinks about stepping down "every day".

That prompted chairman Sandro Rosell to call Guardiola "the best coach in the history of the club" amid assurances that "everything possible" would be done to convince him to stay.

Despite the speculation, Racing coach Hector Cuper, formerly in charge at Valencia and Inter Milan, is under no illusions about the scale of the task facing his team at the Nou Camp.

"Since I've been in the football world I've never seen anything like (Barcelona). It's the best team in the world and a long way ahead of the others," Cuper said. "I've always said that perfection does not exist, but this Barcelona team is the closest I've seen."

Real Madrid v Real Betis,

Live, Sky Sports 1, 6.0

Barcelona v Racing Santander,

Live, Sky Sports 1, 7.0

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