Happy (belated) birthday, Borja! (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)
Borja Valero turned 27 yesterday! We trust he celebrated it with a fine dinner, being the gourmand that he is...
Team news for the trip to Atleti: Musacchio is likely to be available for the match (per Javi Mata), and Bruno Soriano's yellow card against Valencia was rescinded--like Joan Oriol's, we never quite knew what it was for anyway. However, Marco Ruben's yellow, his fifth of the season, was upheld, so he will definitely NOT make the trip. Marchena is definitely out, Camuñas too. Hernan Perez picked up a knock in yesterday's training but is (we think) okay:
Today's practice is a closed-door one, but if we get any news, we'll let you know. As was pointed out earlier in the week, it's possible De Guzmán will play up front with Nilmar in some sort of 4-4-2; Molina seems less inclined to use the 4-2-3-1 formation, especially with Nilmar as a lone striker.
Giuseppe Rossi continues his recovery (working hard in rehab while listening to Beyoncé, he tweeted yesterday). He's hopeful of returning before the end of the season, but is not putting a timetable on his return, though he'd like to be available for the Euros, which start June 8. You can see part of the Bambino's exercise routine here--the agility and balance exercises are quite amazing! And he also gave a press conference, reported below:
Two reminders about the Atleti match this Sunday: it's the early game (noon kickoff in Spain), and please use the hashtag #ATMVIL, all you tweeters! As last time, we'll be doing a "by the tweets" feature afterward.
Perhaps not surprisingly, our home match against Sporting will be the Monday kickoff. Mark your calendars for that one. And we host Barcelona on Saturday the 28th. Not like we need an extra day's rest or anything (in fairness, Barca play some team-or-other in the Copa del Rey in midweek).
Speaking of the Copa, this has nothing to do with Villarreal at all, but check out Gorka Taquero's goal yesterday:
Quick B team news is that Barrientos has arrived and is training with the team a they prepare for a key match with Cartagena. No more definite news of departures from the squad, but we do expect some roster trimming. It doesn't look like this match (Saturday, noon EST 6pm Spain) will be televised or streamed, but we'll do the best we can to follow it.
And Pablo Iñiguez (defender, turns 18 next Friday) has just tweeted he's been named to the B team for the first time. Congratulations to him.
Enjoy your Friday the 13th.