A European roundup, and a couple of pre-season results

Lionel Messi made a return to the starting lineup for Barcelona; Internazionale stumbled at the top of Serie; Carlos Tevez helped take Manchester United through to the 6th round of the FA Cup, whilst Javier Mascherano did likewise for Liverpool, where he may soon be joined by Pablo Aimar. Lionel Scaloni, meanwhile, has already moved to Real Mallorca.

Mascherano first, and simplest: he played the whole match as Liverpool eventually beat non-league Havant and Waterlooville, 120-odd places their inferiors in the English league system, 5-2 at Anfield, having trailed 1-0 and then 2-1, and gone into the break at 2-2. On Sunday, Masche was joined by his good friend Tevez in the draw for the last sixteen, as Manchester United also fell behind at home, to Tottenham Hotspur, but came back to win 3-1 after Carlitos equalised before half-time. Cristiano Ronaldo got the other two

On Sunday, Inter’s Argentines stumbled to a goalless draw away to Udinese which sees their lead at the top of Serie A cut to five points. Esteban Cambiasso had a couple of good chances but fluffed his lines, and Julio Cruz, for once this season, didn’t finish too well either. In the evening, over in Spain, Lionel Messi made his return to Barça’s starting XI for the always tough trip to Athletic Bilbao. Messi was quiet and the match finished 1-1.

Later in the evening, Fernando Gago finally made a meaningful contribution for Real Madrid, setting up Wesley Sneijder for his side’s third in a 3-2 win over Villarreal which moves Madrid nine points clear. Diego Milito got yet another goal – his fourteenth of the season – for Real Zaragoza, who drew 2-2 away to Racing de Santander.

Meanwhile according to the Daily Mirror in Britain, Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez is about to make a move in the transfer market for his former Valencia playmaker, Pablo Aimar. The former River Plate man is currently recovering from surgery, but on his return to Europe, according to the Mirror, will be making the move to Merseyside for a fee of €13 million.

Lionel Scaloni, though, has most definitely moved clubs, arriving at Real Mallorca on Saturday on an 18-month loan from Italian side Lazio. Having previously spent decent stretches at Deportivo de La Coruña and Racing de Santander, Scaloni knows La Liga well, and explained that although Lazio didn’t want to let him leave, ‘Mallorca made more of an effort to try to push the deal than Lazio did to call it off.’ The ex-Newell’s and Estudiantes defender joins Germán Lux, Jonás Gutiérrez, Ariel Ibagaza, Guillermo Pereyra and Oscar Trejo at the island club, so he won’t be short of countrymen, at least.

And finally, the superclásico wasn’t the only match taking place on Saturday. Elsewhere, Argentinos beat Tigre 2-1 in a 35-minutes-each-way match, Gabriel Hauche scoring one and Diego Fontanello putting through his own net for the other. Sebastián Ereros scored Tigre’s consolation. There was some revenge for Diego Cagna’s boys, though, as the reserves lined up for a match-up right after, and Tigre won 4-1. Newell’s and Banfield, meanwhile, played out a very dull half-match indeed, drawing 0-0 over 45 minutes. The only shot on goal, more or less, was an effort from Newell’s Nicolás Spolli which hit the bar.

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