Barcelona eye treble success

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The Independent Online

Barcelona's assistant coach Tito Vilanova is expecting a tough test against Chelsea in the semi-finals of the Champions League, after seeing his side ease past Bayern Munich.

Barca drew 1-1 in Germany to complete a 5-1 aggregate success in the quarter-finals, with Vilanova taking charge with Pep Guardiola banished to the stands after being ordered off during the first leg in the Camp Nou.



He said afterwards: "We are happy to be in the semi-finals. We will focus on Chelsea later on, now we have to concentrate on our tasks in La Liga.



"But we know Chelsea are very strong opponents after they reached the final last season.



"I don't think we had any preference between Liverpool or Chelsea. Maybe Chelsea are more attacking, but Liverpool are very disciplined in defence.



"Liverpool would not have been any easier, but Chelsea is hard enough.



"We have got to keep on working. I don't think we can say we have reached our goals for the season just yet.



"We have three titles up for grabs and we have now got to get them."



Real Madrid striker Ruud van Nistelrooy has targeted a return to action at the start of next season.



The Netherlands international has been out of action since suffering season-ending knee ligament damage at the beginning of November.



Van Nistelrooy has been on the sidelines for almost six months following surgery, but has revealed he is now close to making his return to training.



"I think I will be able to return to training in a month. It feels good and I am optimistic," he said.



"I'm looking forward to kicking a ball again and playing a match.



"I will have to wait until next season, but I am very enthusiastic and very motivated."



Meanwhile, Real defender Sergio Ramos has issued an apology after leaving Sunday's win over Real Valladolid to attend a bullfight.



The Spain international was suspended for the match, but left before the full-time whistle at the Santiago Bernabeu and was later photographed at the controversial event wearing his club suit.



"At no time did I intend to cause any trouble and if I have done then I am sorry to the fans, my team-mates, the company and to the club who I owe," said a contrite Ramos.



"It was not good. I take responsibility and if the club decides to sanction me then I will accept that.



"I have already spoken with (sporting director) Pedja Mijatovic and I will accept a sanction. If someone has been offended then I am sorry."

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