Real face rivals in Barça chase

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The Independent Online

While Barcelona test the team spirit of Real Sociedad this evening, their closest rivals in La Liga, Real Madrid and Seville, meet in Andalucia. Jesus Navas, the winger who has inspired Seville's season, returns to their squad after a month out with a knee injury.

Madrid have problems in central defence with both Fabio Cannavaro and Ivan Helguera doubtful but Ronaldo is back, in form, and angry. Having scored three goals in two games after returning from a knee ligament injury the Spanish media have reported that "the king is back" and that he is thinner. Ronaldo responded: "It is absurd we spend so much time talking about my weight. It annoys me that when you score goals you are great, when you don't you are fat."

There must have been cross words at Real Sociedad too, though Gaizka Garitano tried to dismiss a training ground incident which left the Brazilian defender Adriano Rossato needing surgery on his cheekbone. "This kind of isolated incident happens in every team. We have a great team spirit," he said. For Barcelona, Andres Iniesta has recovered from an ankle injury but Rafael Marquez is out.

In Italy, the leaders Internazionale travel to the surprise sixth-placed side, Empoli. Pursuers Roma hope to field Francesco Totti in the Rome derby. "If it wasn't the game against Lazio I wouldn't be playing," he said.

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