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Messi Outshines Higuain as Barca Stay Top

Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona cruised to a 3-0 win over Racing Santander on Saturday, a victory which preserved the Spanish and European champions' one-point lead over Real Madrid in La Liga.

Messi's Argentinian international teammate Gonzalo Higuain had earlier hit his second hat-trick in a week to lead Real Madrid to a 4-1 mauling of Real Betis as Jose Mourinho's team temporarily dislodged Barcelona from top spot.

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Mancini Unsure of Tevez Future

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini said he didn't know whether Carlos Tevez would play for the club again Friday after the Argentinian striker returned to training this week.

A Manchester City official warned journalists not to ask questions about Tevez at Mancini's weekly press conference, as the club mulls action against the player over his refusal to appear as a substitute against Bayern Munich.

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Liverpool Derby Still Highlight for Fergie

Sir Alex Ferguson insists Manchester United’s meetings with Liverpool still represent the highlight of the Premier League fixture calendar despite the emergence of cross-town rivals City.

The veteran United manager takes his side to Anfield on Saturday for the first meeting between the traditional north-west rivals this season at a time when Manchester City appear to be credible title contenders.

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Ferrer Beats Roddick to Reach Shanghai Semis

Spain's David Ferrer battled back from a set down to reach the semi-finals of the Shanghai Masters on Friday with a 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 7-6 (7/2) win over Andy Roddick.

After a first set that went with serve, Roddick drew first blood when he clinched the tie-break but the Spanish third seed hit back strongly in the second set to break the big-serving American twice.

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Hamilton Urged to Ignore Critics

Formula One's most experienced driver urged Lewis Hamilton to ignore his critics on Friday after the Briton shrugged off a dip in form to top practice for the Korean Grand Prix.

Brazilian Rubens Barrichello, 39, who is taking part in a record 319th grand prix, gave his support to Hamilton after the McLaren man dominated a rain-hit day to lead team-mate Jenson Button and German champion Sebastian Vettel.

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Rooney Loss a 'Huge Blow' Says Shearer

Former England captain Alan Shearer said Wayne Rooney's suspension from the group stage of Euro 2012 was a "huge blow" on Friday as Football Association officials mulled their response to the ban.

Rooney was given a hefty three-match suspension by UEFA on Thursday following his dismissal for violent conduct in England's qualifier with Montenegro in Podgorica last Friday.

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Nadal Takes Stock after Sobering Defeat

Rafael Nadal came to Shanghai in high spirits and eyeing a 20th Masters title, but a shock defeat to Germany's Florian Mayer means he no longer has a chance of topping the year-end rankings.

For so long locked in a duel for tennis supremacy with Roger Federer, Nadal is now playing second fiddle to Novak Djokovic, who is guaranteed to end the year as world number one after Nadal's third-round defeat on Thursday.

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Barcelona Hoping to Shake Off 'FIFA Virus'

Champions Barcelona are hoping there will be no hangover after the international break as they look to hang on to top spot in La Liga when they face Racing Santander on Saturday.

Pep Guardiola's men will be expected to claim all three points at the Camp Nou, but Barca are usually at their most vulnerable immediately following an international break -- a syndrome known here as the "FIFA virus" -- and Guardiola has considerable selection problems to contend with just now.

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Troubled Milanese Look to Bounce Back

Troubled title favorites Inter and AC Milan will look to kickstart their campaigns this weekend as both try to overcome unimpressive starts in Serie A.

Inter sit just one place and one point above the relegation zone with Milan only a point and two places ahead of them after five matches.

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Villas-Boas Warns against International Hangover

Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas has called on his team to shake off the after-effects of the international break and maintain their recent good form against Everton on Saturday.

The Blues turned on the style to record heavy victories over Swansea and Bolton in their last two games, and Villas-Boas is keen for his team to maintain that momentum against the Merseysiders at Stamford Bridge.

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