Ronaldinho shrugs off weight jibes

RONALDINHO shrugged off claims about his weight as he helped Barcelona shrug off their mini-crisis and go two points clear in La Liga with a 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao last night. An own goal by Amorebieta, a fine volley by Xavi and a cool finish from the recalled Eto’o in a brilliant first half display saw Barca home.

Earlier boss Frank Rijkaard downplayed concerns about Ronaldinho’s fitness. The Brazilian was pictured after the Champions League defeat by Liverpool looking overweight. Rijkaard does not believe the matter to be a major issue and feels the photographs published were misleading.

The Dutchman said: “When the photo is taken quite close by, with inadequate light or if there is some movement, it can vary the reality a lot and, in this instance, for me there are doubts.”

Real Madrid have only won once in five La Liga outings and looked off the pace in Saturday’s 1-1 derby against Atletico at the Vicente Calderon. Atletico striker Fernando Torres struck after just 11 minutes, before Gonzalo Higuain snatched a 61st-minute equaliser for Real, who had Cannavarro dismissed.

Second-placed Sevilla were held to a goaless draw at Getafe yesterday.

Ruben Castro headed home a last-gasp equaliser for Gimnastic Tarragona last night to put a dent in Valencia’s title challenge.

Espanyol beat Osasuna in Pamplona to register their fifth successive victory.

Fabricio Fuentes‘ injury-time goal earned Villarreal their first points for four games and added to Real Mallorca’s woes.

Javier Arizmendi scored the only goal as Deportivo La Coruna jumped three places in La Liga with a 1-0 win at Real Sociedad.

In Serie A, Inter Milan continued their march towards the Scudetto with a 5-2 victory over Catania yesterday. Walter Samuel, Santiago Solari, Fabio Grosso, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Julio Cruz scored Inter’s goals.

The outcome marked Inter’s 17th Serie A win in a row and left them 14 points clear of second-placed Roma, who beat Reggina 3-0.

Francesco Tavano, Philippe Mexes and Cristian Panucci scored while Francesco Totti missed a penalty.

Lazio climbed into the Champions League places after claiming a 2-0 victory over 10-man Cagliari.

Massimo Ambrosini fired a 90th-minute winner for AC Milan against Sampdoria.

Schalke missed the chance to extend their lead at the top of the Bundesliga yesterday after Bayer Leverkusen left the Veltins Arena with all three points. Stefan Kiessling scored the game’s only goal in the 85th minute.

Bayern Munich returned to winning ways with a 2-1 triumph over Wolfsburg with goals from Lukas Podolski and Mark van Bommel.

Two late goals rescued a draw for Ligue 1 leaders Lyon after Sochaux threatened an upset in a six-goal thriller. An Alvaro Santos strike and a Karim Ziani penalty had put Sochaux 2-0 up, and after Milan Baros pulled a goal back, Sebastien Graz looked to have ensured Sochaux the points when he reestablished the two-goal cushion four minutes from time.

But in the last minute Sylvain Wiltord made it 3-2 and seconds later Juninho fired the equaliser from the spot.

Saint Etienne beat PSG 2-0 in Paris last night.

Elsewhere Youssouf Hadji struck a late equaliser for Nancy to deny second-placed Lens, the match finishing 2-2.

Lille lost 2-1 at Nice. Rock-bottom Sedan grabbed a 2-0 win at Rennes. Troyes beat Lorient 3-0. Monaco moved away from the danger zone with a 2-0 victory at Le Mans.

Nantes failed to ease their relegation worries after being held 1-1 by Auxerre.

Toulouse recorded a 3-0 win over Marseille.

In Holland, AZ Alkmaar were held by 10-man Ajax in the big Eredivisie clash yesterday. Despite the dismissal of former Spurs midfielder Edgar Davids, Ajax took the lead through Kenneth Perez midway through the second half. AZ, Newcastle’s next UEFA Cup opponents, equalised through Maarten Martens.

Ajax remain second, one point better off than AZ.

PSV lead the way after beating Groningen 1-0 on Saturday with an Alex goal.

More in this section

CourtsSoccerEuropePlace: GetafePlace: PamplonaPlace: Veltins ArenaPlace: ParisPlace: Le MansPlace: HOLLANDPerson: RonaldinhoPerson: XaviPerson: Eto’oPerson: Frank RijkaardPerson: BrazilianPerson: RijkaardPerson: Fernando TorresPerson: Gonzalo HiguainPerson: CannavarroPerson: Ruben CastroPerson: Fabricio Fuentes‘Person: Javier ArizmendiPerson: Walter SamuelPerson: Santiago SolariPerson: Fabio GrossoPerson: Zlatan IbrahimovicPerson: Julio CruzPerson: Francesco TavanoPerson: Philippe MexesPerson: Cristian PanucciPerson: Francesco TottiPerson: Massimo AmbrosiniPerson: Stefan KiesslingPerson: Lukas PodolskiPerson: Mark Van BommelPerson: Alvaro SantosPerson: Karim ZianiPerson: Sebastien GrazPerson: Sylvain WiltordPerson: JuninhoPerson: Youssouf HadjiPerson: Edgar DavidsPerson: Kenneth PerezPerson: Maarten MartensPerson: AlexEvent: Champions LeagueEvent: Serie AEvent: ScudettoEvent: UEFA CupOrganisation: BarcelonaOrganisation: Athletic BilbaoOrganisation: AmorebietaOrganisation: BarcaOrganisation: LiverpoolOrganisation: Real MadridOrganisation: AtleticoOrganisation: RealOrganisation: SevillaOrganisation: Gimnastic TarragonaOrganisation: ValenciaOrganisation: EspanyolOrganisation: OsasunaOrganisation: VillarrealOrganisation: Real MallorcaOrganisation: Deportivo La CorunaOrganisation: La LigaOrganisation: Real SociedadOrganisation: Inter MilanOrganisation: CataniaOrganisation: InterOrganisation: RomaOrganisation: RegginaOrganisation: LazioOrganisation: CagliariOrganisation: AC MilanOrganisation: SampdoriaOrganisation: SchalkeOrganisation: Bayer LeverkusenOrganisation: Bayern MunichOrganisation: WolfsburgOrganisation: LyonOrganisation: SochauxOrganisation: Saint EtienneOrganisation: PSGOrganisation: NancyOrganisation: LensOrganisation: LilleOrganisation: NiceOrganisation: SedanOrganisation: RennesOrganisation: TroyesOrganisation: LorientOrganisation: MonacoOrganisation: NantesOrganisation: AuxerreOrganisation: ToulouseOrganisation: MarseilleOrganisation: AZ AlkmaarOrganisation: AjaxOrganisation: SpursOrganisation: AZOrganisation: NewcastleOrganisation: PSVOrganisation: Groningen
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