Stabbing of Mourinho's bodyguard places Real on high alert

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The Independent Online

A Real Madrid bodyguard protecting Jose Mourinho was stabbed last Friday in La Coruña, northern Spain, the club disclosed yesterday.

A member of Real's security team received a four-centimetre wound from a sharp object as he shepherded Mourinho through crowds at Alvedro airport ahead of the match between Madrid and Deportivo.

Mourinho was only told about the incident yesterday and Real, who travel to Santander today for an away fixture, are now awaiting the results of a police investigation.

CCTV footage is being studied and Real are considering changing their security arrangements to protect their manager, with the team taking the bus to away grounds direct from the airport runway instead of having to exit via arrival lounges.

Real face Santander with Cristiano Ronaldo set to sit out his first game of the season. The Portuguese winger picked up a slight calf strain while scoring a hat-trick in the 7-0 win over Malaga on Thursday. Until his second-half substitution on 77 minutes, Ronaldo had played every minute of his side's 27 games, racking up 27 goals. He could also miss the home fixture against Hercules – the only visiting team to have won in the Nou Camp this season – but will return for Real's most important game of the year so far against Lyons in the Champions League.

Barcelona will face Arsenal in the Champions League on Tuesday with their first- choice goalkeeper after Victor Valdes confirmed he has shaken off a knee injury. Valdes' mistake in the first leg, when he let Robin van Persie's shot beat him at the near post, allowed Arsenal back into the game. But his form over the past two seasons means he will be welcomed back by a team shorn of central defender Gerard Piqué, who is suspended.

Barcelona, who play Zaragoza this evening, will also be able to call upon central defender Carles Puyol, who will play alongside Eric Abidal against Arsenal. Puyol has not played for six weeks but has responded to treatment for the tendinitis in his left knee and could even start on the bench tonight. Coach Pep Guardiola who has suffered a slipped disc, will also need a late test if he is to take his place in the dugout against Arsenal.

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