Carles Puyol says goodbye to FC Barcelona

Carles PuyolBarcelona, May 16 - FC Barcelona's veteran captain Carles Puyol Thursday said goodbye to FC Barcelona after 15 years, a decision that had been previously announced March 4.

Puyol held a press conference Thursday where he received words of praise and admiration from his colleagues, ex-colleagues, presidents and ex-presidents, coaches and other figures from the world of football, Xinhua reported.

Puyol said he wanted to recover. "This year with the physical problems I have had I barely played and it is going to be something difficult to do in the future."

Hamilton wins Spanish GP, Mercedes team-mate Rosberg runners-up

Lewis HamiltonBarcelona (Spain), May 12 - Lewis Hamilton took the world championship lead from Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg after a closely fought victory in the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday.

Hamilton leads Rosberg by three points after his fourth win in a row, reports the BBC.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo ended up third and his team-mate Sebastian Vettel fourth.

Hamilton converted his pole position into a lead at the first corner and built a 2.6-second lead over Rosberg by lap 13.

Nadal loses in Barcelona Open

Rafael NadalBarcelona, April 26 - Rafael Nadal Friday lost in the ATP Barcelona Open, the first time since his debut here in 2003.

The Spaniard lost in three sets to his compatriot Nicolas Almagro in the quarterfinals by 2-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, ending his 41 game winning streak at the tournament, Xinhua reported.

He had not even dropped a set in the tournament since the 2008 final, and seemed cruising to his conquest of the title for the ninth time as he missed the 2010 version.

This was also the first victory for Almagro over Nadal in their 11-time meetings.

Barcelona win Spanish Super Cup

Spanish-Super-CupBarcelona, Aug 29 : Barcelona won the Spanish Super Cup after a tough goalless match at Camp Nou.

The first leg held last week at the Vicente Calderon finished on a 1-1 draw with Barcelona's Neymar and former Barcelona player David Villa scoring.

Barcelona won their 11th title thanks to the away goal rule.

The fourth-time world player, Lionel Messi, played Wednesday evening, having been recovering from a thigh bruise that prevented him from the Malaga game Sunday.

Messi was withdrawn at halftime in the Supercup first leg. (IANS)

Efimova wins gold in women's 50m breaststroke

Efimova wins gold in women's 50m breaststrokeBarcelona, Aug 5 - Yuliya Efimova ended her personal battle with Lithuania's Ruta Meiliutyte when she took the gold medal in the women's 50 metres breaststroke in the world championships held here.

Efimova, who won gold in the 100m breaststroke earlier in the week, had broken the 50m world record in Saturday's heats, only for Meiliutyte to set a new world best of 29.48 in the semifinals in the afternoon, reports Xinhua.

Sun crowned 'distance freestyle king' with golden treble

Sun crowned 'distance freestyle king' with golden trebleBarcelona, Aug 5 - Chinese star swimmer Sun Yang has become the new king of distance freestyle swimming as he completed a hat-trick of world titles after winning the 1,500m final with a commanding performance at the world championships.

Sun collected the 400m, 800m and 1,500 freestyle golds here in the swimming world championships that ended Sunday, matching a feat previously achieved only by Australian Grant Hackett in the 2005 Montreal Worlds, reports Xinhua.

Liu Zige wins 200m butterfly crown at worlds

Liu-ZigeBarcelona, Aug 2 : World record holder Liu Zige won the gold in the final of the women's 200 metre butterfly in the World Swimming Championships here.

The Chinese led the entire race and held off a strong challenge of home favourite Mireia Belmonte Garcia, who had momentarily threatened to overtake her in the final lap Thursday, reports Xinhua.

Belmonte swam the third lap faster that Liu Zige but the new World Champion was able to find depths of courage in the last 50 metres to win, timing 2:04.59, under two-tenths of a second ahead of Belmonte-Garcia. Hungarian Katinka Hosszu took bronze.

Swimmer Sun Yang claims second gold at worlds

Sun-YangBarcelona, August 1 : Sun Yang wrote his name in the record books of the World Swimming Championships when he became only the second man to defend his gold medal in the 800 metres freestyle with a comfortable victory at the Palau St. Jordi here.

Sun Yang swam the fastest time of the year (7:41.36) Wednesday to finish 2.27 seconds ahead of American Michael McBroom, who was a second ahead of Canada's Ryan Cochrane. The Chinese led the race from start to finish but was content to maintain a lead of around a metre until around 150 metres from the finish when he upped his pace to stretch out his lead, reports Xinhua.

Franklin wins worlds 100m backstroke gold

Missy-FranklinBarcelona, July 31 : Missy Franklin followed the gold medal she won in the women's 100-metre backstroke in London a year ago with another triumph in the event at the World Championships here.

As in London, the 18-year-old American beat Australia's Emily Seebohn to the silver while Japan's Aya Terakawa finished third to ensure that the podium Tuesday was an exact repeat of that in the 2012 Olympics, reports Xinhua.

Franklin impresses in world swimming championship qualifier

Missy-FranklinBarcelona, July 29 : Missy Franklin's quest to become the first woman to win a World Championship gold medal directly after an Olympic gold in the 100 metres backstroke remains on track as she clocked the fastest time in the heats and booked her place in the semi-final of the event at the Palau St. Jordi here Monday.

Franklin, who won her first gold of the meet in the 4x100 metres freestyle relay Sunday, clocked 59.13 seconds, ahead of Hungary's Katinka Hosszu and Elizabeth Pelton with China's Fu Yuanhui fourth and 2009 bronze medallist Emily Seebohn in fifth, reports Xinhua.

Russia gets gold in solo free routine synchronised swimming

Svetlana-RomashinaBarcelona, July 25 : Russia's Svetlana Romashina won the gold medal in the solo free routine of synchronized swimming at the World Swimming and Diving Championships here.

The 24-year-old Romashina scored a total of 97.340 points in a Marilyn Monroe-inspired routine which allowed her to win her third gold medal in Barcelona after her success in the solo and duet technical routine here Wednesday, reports Xinhua.

Messi repeats desire to remain at Barcelona

Lionel-MessiBarcelona, May 16 : FC Barcelona striker Lionel Messi may be out of action for the rest of the season as the result of a torn hamstring but his 46 goals this campaign were vital in Barca claiming their fourth La Liga title in five years.

The Argentinean striker gave his feelings on what has been a difficult campaign for Barca, who are currently 10 points ahead of Real Madrid with a game in hand, but who had to suffer the loss of coach Tito Vilanova for almost three months as he underwent cancer treatment in New York, reports Xinhua.

Nadal reaches quarters in Barcelona

Rafael-NadalBarcelona, April 26 : Tennis World No. 5 Rafael Nadal defeated France's Benoit Paire Friday to reach the quarterfinals of the Barcelona Open.

It took the Spaniard 86 minutes to dispose of Paire 7-6(2), 6-2 in a rain-delayed game Thursday.

Seven-time Barcelona champion Nadal survived a first-set tie break to finish his opponent in the second, converting both of his break points.

Nadal, who missed his first clay title of the season after losing in last week's Monte Carlo final to Novak Djokovic, will face either his compatriot Albert Ramos or sixth seed Kei Nishikori in the quarters later Friday.

Nadal beats Berlocq in Barcelona

Rafael-NadalBarcelona, April 25 : Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal beat Argentina's Carlos Berlocq 6-4, 6-2 in the second round of Conde de Godo here.

The 26-year-old Nadal had no trouble at the beginning of the match and quickly broke serve before racing to a 5-3 lead in the first set Wednesday, Xinhua reports.

Berlocq, who is ranked 63rd in the world, showed spirit, breaking Nadal's serve and looking to attack the Spaniard at the net, but Nadal kept cool and took the next game to claim the opening set.

Nadal optimistic going into Conde Godo tournament

Rafael-NadalBarcelona, April 23 : World No. 5 Rafael Nadal was in an optimistic mood at the press conference held here for the Conde Godo tennis tournament despite his defeat in Monte Carlo by world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.

Nadal, who has won the Conde Godo tournament seven times, said Monday he's very happy to be in Barcelona as it is a Spanish competition and very special for him, reports Xinhua.

Despite his defeat in Monte Carlo, where he had won eight times, Nadal said he came to Barcelona with the same thrill as he had won there.

Champions League: Barca look to overcome injuries against PSG

BarcelonaBarcelona, April 9 : Barcelona are looking for another magical night at the Camp Nou Stadium Wednesday when they try to secure a place in the Champions League by beating Paris Saint Germain.

Barca are favourites after a 2-2 draw in Paris last week, leaving them needing just a 0-0 draw to reach the last four -- but the game is more complicated than that, Xinhua reports.

Paris showed a week ago that they are a side that is not willing to lay down and accept defeat after twice coming back from behind to assure a draw in virtually the last kick of the game. Meanwhile, Barca have injury problems to contend with.

Messi on verge of another record

Lionel-MessiBarcelona, March 29 : Lionel Messi could add another record to his already staggering list of achievements if he scores for Barcelona on their visit to play relegation staring Celta Vigo Saturday evening.

Messi scored in Barca's last 18 league matches, a feat unsurpassed in the Spanish BBVA Primera Liga and will make it 19 if he scores in the Balaidos Stadium against the side that currently sits second from bottom of the table.

Real Madrid stun Barca to enter final

Cristiano-RonaldoBarcelona, Feb 27 : Two goals from Cristiano Ronaldo led Real Madrid to the final of Copa del Rey as they qualified with a stunning 3-1 win away to eternal rivals FC Barcelona at Camp Nou stadium here to obtain a 4-2 aggregate triumph following the 1-1 draw in the Santiago Bernabeu three weeks ago.

To beat Barca on any given day is a great result for Madrid but to take such an authoritative win on their great rivals' home turf will also give them a massive morale boost ahead of next week's Champions League tie against Manchester United, where they must overcome the same first leg result, reports Xinhua.

Shakira released from Spanish clinic

Barcelona, Jan 28 : Colombian singer Shakira was released Sunday from the clinic in the northeastern Spanish city of Barcelona where she gave birth last week to her first child, Milan Pique Mebarak, clinic spokesmen told EFE.

The singer, boyfriend and F. C. Barcelona player Gerard Pique, and the child left the clinic in the early afternoon in an SUV with tinted windows driven by one of Shakira's brothers.

The singer did not stop to take questions from reporters, heading straight for Pique's residence in Cabrils, a town some 25 km from Barcelona, where the couple will be living until construction is completed on their new house in Ciudad Condal.

CaixaBank to become Spain's largest bank by assets

CaixaBank to become Spain's largest bank by assetsBarcelona, March 27 - CaixaBank said Monday that it plans to purchase Banca Civica for nearly 1 billion euros ($1.33 billion) in a transaction that will leave the buyer as Spain's largest financial institution by assets.

The two entities have total combined assets of 342.62 billion euros ($457.13 billion), the purchaser said in a statement.

CaixaBank, currently No. 3 among Spanish banks, earlier acquired Caixa Girona and Bankpyme amid the ongoing major consolidation of Spain's financial sector.

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