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Abel Caballero, the mayor of Vigo, accused Real Madrid of disregarding safety concerns as they pushed for Sunday's ultimately postponed match against Celta Vigo to go ahead, but the capital city club has responded with an official statement.

Los Blancos have expressed their upset at his comments, insisting that they did not call into question the local security measures.

"Real Madrid regrets the unfortunate statements made by the mayor of Vigo, Abel Caballero, in which he claims that this club disregarded the security measures required for the Celta Vigo v Real Madrid fixture to go ahead," the first section of their statement read.

"Not only are the mayor's comments inappropriate, but they are also totally inaccurate because at no point in time did Real Madrid question the security measures in place at Balaidos."

In the third section of their statement, Real Madrid even outlined how they had proposed a range of alternative options in order for the match to go ahead safely.

"Real Madrid wishes to make it very clear that, having learned of the possibility of the game being postponed more than 30 hours ahead of kick-off, the club proposed three alternatives to the LFP," the club said.

"Firstly, for consideration to be given to the possibility of repairing the damaged stadium roof.

"Secondly, the possibility of the affected stand being closed.

"Thirdly, if the two aforementioned options were not possible, to look into staging the fixture at another nearby venue.

"These proposals were made with a view to avoiding the postponement of the fixture from negatively impacting upon the four competitions, given the knock-on effect it would cause between them, as well as the massive financial losses suffered by television channels from around the world, which will have an impact on future tenders for the sale of broadcasting rights."

A date for the rescheduled fixture is yet to be announced by the league's governing body.

Marcelo causes Instagram storm with birthday message for Neymar

By wishing his compatriot Neymar a happy birthday on Instagram, Real Madrid defender Marcelo invoked the ire of certain supporters.

On Sunday, February 5, the Barcelona forward turned 25 and his Brazil teammate sent him his well wishes via social media.

Posting a picture of the pair together on international duty following the Confederations Cup final, he accompanied it with a short message wishing the striker a happy birthday.

The left-back likely couldn't have imagined the storm it would cause though, with fans replying to the post to reprimand Marcelo due to the rivalry that exists between Real Madrid and Barcelona and because it was also his club teammate Cristiano Ronaldo's birthday too.

Responding to the criticism, Marcelo hit back angrily with a brief message, posting: "Shut the f**k up idiots."

Real Madrid and Barcelona keep an eye on Aguero's Manchester City situation

The inexorable rise of Gabriel Jesus has led to Sergio Aguero's Manchester City future being thrown into doubt, and LaLiga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona are keeping close attention to the unfolding saga.

Stating after the Citizens' win over Swansea City on Sunday that he'll address his circumstances in the summer, Aguero has drifted further and further out of Pep Guardiola's plans recently and was only on the bench for the 2-1 victory.

Inevitably, clubs like Real and their Catalonian rivals have always been attentive to a player of his class and Barcelona in particular are aware of how much of a boost Aguero's signing would be to Lionel Messi.

However, the forward only signed a new contract with City a few months ago and is committed until June 2020, earning 16 million euros per season, a figure difficult to improve while keeping any potential deal affordable.

Despite being dropped by Guardiola, there is yet to be enough discontent to really spark either Madrid or Barcelona's interest, but should an exit be on the cards it won't be long before a swoop is made.

Luis Enrique: Barcelona are going to suffer

Prior to Barcelona's Copa del Rey semi-final second leg match against Atletico Madrid, Luis Enrique faced the media and was clear in his assertion that if the Catalans were to reach the final again, they'd have to suffer against the Rojiblancos.

Diego Simeone's side enjoy going to war with their opponents and Enrique expects them to be very aggressive at the Camp Nou.

"Atletico will have to risk more and are going to cause us problems," he began.

"I have no special fear but a logical concern for this type of game.

"In the first leg a good result was obtained, but I don't think anyone in my squad thinks the tie is over.

"We are going to suffer for sure and it would be ridiculous to think that it will be easy."

Barcelona have been struggling with injuries to key players but their coach was upbeat in his assessment of their current fitness levels.

"Pique is available, but on Tuesday we will assess what condition he is in," Enrique continued.

"Iniesta and Busquets are better every day and that is very positive news for us.

"It could be that they come back but, as with Gerard, we want to see exactly what physical condition they are in first."

Should the hosts emerge victorious, it will give them their first shot at silverware this season, but Enrique suggested that no competitions take priority over any other.

"No, it's just like every year, from the beginning we have the goal of winning everything and for that we have to win the cup as well," he said.

"It's equally important as the Champions League and LaLiga."

The team has had a number of staff rotated recently and Enrique was coy when discussing who would come in to the team for Tuesday's fixture.

"Arda to replace Neymar? Rafinha was an option, but we do not know if he will be fit," he noted.

"Denis is another and though I have fewer options than for the pivot, we still have several.

"Aleix Vidal has had opportunities and he has taken advantage of them.

"I've never had complaints about his work but just as in the beginning, there were situations in which I felt I had things to improve.

"I think he is now at a very high level and for us it is great news."

Simeone: The only result that would satisfy me is to reach the final

Although his side trail ahead of their Copa del Rey semi-final second leg, Diego Simeone is taking a single-minded approach to proceedings but believes Atletico Madrid can pull of a surprise.

Barcelona haven't been beaten at home in the Copa del Rey since a 3-1 semi-final loss to rivals Real Madrid in 2013.

Luis Enrique's men also hold a 2-1 lead from the first leg at the Estadio Vicente Calderon last week but Cholo isn't too despondent about his side's chances.

"It is easy to say things but in reality the only thing that matters is the work that we do on the field," Simeone told reporters. "We're facing a team who are very strong at home so it is going to be a difficult game.

"They are perhaps the best team in the world and we are ready for a backlash from them. However, anything that I say today doesn't matter too much.

"All that counts is the events which take place on the pitch, rather than asking me a thousand questions which don't matter to me. The only result that would satisfy me is to reach the final."

Given the rotation policy Luis Enrique implemented during the Catalans' 3-0 win over Athletic Club last time out, Simeone is expecting a strong Barcelona side to take the field and also offered his thoughts on the message he has for his players.

"With the way that they have prepared for this game and the rest they gave some players, I'm expecting to come up against the best possible Barcelona," he continued.

"The message I have for my guys is to play with the same intensity as we have throughout our best phases of the season. If we feel good as a team, then everything else will come accordingly."

Ranieri certain he has the backing of Leicester players

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri insisted his players are fully behind him following media reports suggesting he has lost control over his dressing room.

Following their stunning title triumph last season, Leicester are battling relegation as they sit 16th in the table, a point above the bottom three after 24 games.

"Journalists ask about the players, and whether they are happy with me, and I can tell you they are happy with me," Ranieri told Sky Sports after Sunday's 3-0 home loss to Manchester United.

"We are together, I have full confidence in the players, and also the players are confident with me. Normally we never give up, but at the moment the confidence is not so high.

"It is important to forget. Last season was something terrific. Now, we have to fight. We are Leicester and we fight."

Leicester, who are on a four-game losing run in the league and have won just twice in their last 15 top-flight games, host second-tier side Derby County in the FA Cup on Wednesday before a trip to face relegation rivals Swansea City four days later.

Emery not yet thinking about Barcelona Champions League tie

Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery has claimed that he isn't thinking whatsoever about his side's upcoming Champions League face off against Barcelona.

The former Sevilla boss has been handed a tough assignment in his debut season in the French capital, with the Blaugrana lying in wait in the first knockout round which kicks off this month.

"For now I'm only thinking about our next game against Lille," Emery told the assembled media. "We have to use each game as an opportunity to improve.

"We didn't win our last home game [a 1-1 draw against Monaco] so we know that it is important for us to get back to winning ways.

"The team has certainly improved and the challenge for us is to maintain our consistency."

Although Angel Di Maria and Thomas Meunier have returned from injury for Emery's squad, the PSG boss admitted that he does have some other fitness concerns with the Barcelona clash looming.

"Kevin Trapp, Marco Verratti and Javier Pastore are all injured and none of them will play in the game against Lille," he added.

"That is concerning for us, particularly the Pastore injury as he is a very important player."

 
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