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Real-Villarreal Showdown Gets Top Billing

There has been no word yet that the Spanish league resolved its dispute with its television distributor, so don't expect to see many La Liga games televised this weekend, but the show goes on, nevertheless. Without a doubt, this weekend's headliner is the clash between Real Madrid and Villarreal at El Madrigal. The Yellow Submarine and its new Italian-American striker Giuseppe Rossi made an impressive start to the season last week, trouncing neighbor Valencia 3-0 at the Mestalla; New Jersey-born Rossi scored from the spot and added an assist in the victory.

Spanish champion Real came from behind to beat Atletico Madrid at home, 2-1, last Saturday thanks to goals from Raul and new signing Wesley Sneijder. It was a deserved derby win for the Merengues, who looked poor during the preseason, but Madrid's squad is still settling. New signings Arjen Robben and Gabriel Heinze didn't have a chance to play last weekend, signing for the club just days before the season opener. Both players should be available against Villarreal this weekend.

Elsewhere in La Liga, Barcelona hosts Athletic Bilbao on Sunday, in what should be a cakewalk for the Catalans, although they will be without Samuel Eto'o, who suffered a groin injury and should miss the next two months. Valencia needs to jumpstart its season at newly promoted Almeria after being beaten so badly by Villarreal at home last weekend. Following the death of midfielder Antonio Puerta, Sevilla's match against Osasuna was postponed.

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