Robben jinx strikes again

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The Independent Online

Arjen Robben's injury jinx appears to have struck again following reports that the Real Madrid winger faces six weeks on the sidelines.

Robben, whose 18-month spell at the Bernabeu has been blighted by a succession of injuries, pulled out of Wednesday's 2-0 Champions League defeat to Juventus after picking up an injury during the warm-up.

Scans have revealed the Netherlands winger suffered a tear to a thigh muscle and is likely to be out of action until the new year.

Robben could miss up to ten games including the "Classico" showdown with bitter rivals Barcelona in mid-December.

Meanwhile, defensive duo Pepe and Sergio Ramos are both facing a race against time to recover from ankle and thigh injuries in time to face Malaga at the weekend.

In the aftermath of Liverpool’s Champions League draw with Atletico Madrid, Spanish referee Manuel Enrique Mejuto Gonzalez has called for the authorities to get tough on cheats by hitting players who dive with €50,000 fines.

The experienced FIFA-listed referee, who was Spain's representative at Euro 2008, made the claim following the furore surrounding Steven Gerrard’s late penalty in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw.

The Spanish club were furious after Gerrard appeared to dive to win the penalty before rubbing salt into the wounds by converting the spot-kick himself.

"I am convinced that if we put fines of €50,000 and two or three-game bans for diving in the area then it would make people think," claimed Mejuto.

The outspoken official also condemned club officials who publicly denounce referees after perceived poor performances. "The executives that attack the referees are guilty people too," he said. "If they do not know how to behave they stamp and shout but those who sit a box of a team should be an example, as should the players."

Barcelona starlet Sergio Busquets is confident of agreeing a new long-term contract at the Camp Nou.

The 20-year-old graduate of the club's famous academy is reported to earn less in a year than some of the star names he now plays alongside in the first team pocket in a week.

Barca president Joan Laporta has already spelled out the importance of tying the midfielder down to a new contract and Busquets believes an agreement on a fresh deal is only a matter of time.

"There is no problem because I am sure that I will renew with Barca and that we will reach an agreement," he claimed.

"I have left this in the hands of my representative and I am focussing on playing, which is what I enjoy doing the most. At the moment I am calm about how things are going and the only thing that I want to do is concentrate on earning more playing time."

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