Tito Vilanova will step down as Barcelona manager to receive treatment for throat cancer. Photo credit: http://es.eurosport.yahoo.com/

Tonight was a sad night in Barcelona.

When F.C Barcelona President Sandro Rosell called this evening’s emergency press conference, everyone—fans, players, officials and journalists—already had an idea of what was to be announced.

But they hoped they would be wrong.

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Outstanding and Standout Moves in the January Transfer Window

Thank God it’s over. The month of January is a dramatic one for football around the world. Some players leave the only league they’ve ever known for an entirely new one; a new style of football than what they’re used to. Some players go back to the league in which they started that gave them their career. Some players enter a professional league for the first time. In just four weeks, the entire world of football can be turned upside down.

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Javi Martínez: Valencia are more dangerous

(Photo credit: InsideSpanishFootball.com)

In an interview with his club, Bayern Munich defensive midfielder Javi Martinez  spoke of the team’s Champions League clash with Valencia on Tuesday saying Los Che are stronger than when they visited Munich two months back.

Although Bayern Munich defeated Valencia 2-1 in September, the former Athletic Club de Bilbao man addressed his side’s concerns ahead of their away match at the Mestalla tomorrow stating, “They were in a trough when they came to Munich two months ago, but they’re on a roll now. And they’ve beaten Borisov twice. They’re a dangerous team.”

“Valencia is a very good, balanced team with a number of excellent individuals. They’ve had to sell lots of big names in recent years, the likes of Villa, Silva, Mata, Albiol, Marchena and Jordi Alba, but despite that, they’re always there or thereabouts near the top, routinely fighting for third or fourth place in the ‘other league’ beneath the dominant pair of Barcelona and Real Madrid.”

Martinez also touched on the challenge that fellow Spanish international, Robert Soldado will present to Bayern.

“He’s a very agile striker, his movement is good, and he can score at any time. He has plenty of goals to his name already. I think he’s the heart and soul of Valencia.”

During Bayern’s press conference today, Martínez remained supportive when asked about former teammate, Fernando Llorente, and his struggles at Athletic.

“I know Fernando is not doing well. He has been through tough times and I can only encourage him to change his situation.”

This article was originally published on InsideSpanishFootball.com on Nov. 20, 2013.

La Liga dominates Golden Boy nominations

(Photo credit: InsideSpanishFootball.com)

Nine La Liga players have been nominated to receive the prestigious Italian award that highlights young talent in Europe.

On Saturday, Italian newspaper, Tuttosport, released the list of the 40 official nominees for its tenth annual Golden Boy award, which honors the best under-21 player in Europe.

Each candidate must be an active in a first division European league and born after 1 January 1992.  30 journalists from the top sporting publications across continent, such as Le Équipe, Marca, A Bola, Bild, The Times, De Telegraaf, Mundo Deportivo, France Football, Sport Express, Blick and Ta Nea, will vote on the winner to be announced in December in Turin, Italy.

The nominees include Thibaut Courtois (Atletico Madrid), Gerard Deulofeu (Barcelona B), Isco (Málaga CF), Jesé (Real Madrid Castilla), Koke (Atletico Madrid) Samuele Longo (RCD Espanyol), Iker Muniain (Athletic Bilbao), Joel Campbell (Real Betis) and Raphael Varane (Real Madrid CF).

The winner will join the likes of past recipients such as Rafael van der Vaart, Wayne Rooney, Lionel Messi, Cesc Fàbregas, Sergio Agüero, Anderson, Alexandre Pato, and Mario Balotelli.

German midfield Mario Götze, the 2011 Golden Boy award winner, has been nominated again this year for his work with Borussia Dortmund.

The full list of nominees can be found here.

This article was originally published on InsideSpanishFootball.com on Oct. 29, 2012.