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FC Barcelona return to league action on Saturday with a trip to Pamplona to take on Club Atlético Osasuna, to give them their full title. Before the 9.00pm kick off in the El Sadar stadium in La Liga, we take a closer look at Barça's next hurdle in their challenge for the league title.
Where are they from?
Osasuna are from the city of Pamplona, the largest city and capital of the region of Navarra. Known as Iruñea in the Basque language, the city of 209,000 people is best known internationally for the San Fermín festival in July, which features the famous ‘running of the bulls’.
The club was founded in 1920 out of a merger between two older clubs and its name means something like ‘health’ / ‘strength’ in the Basque language. Other than a brief period in the 1950s, when they finished as high as fifth in La Liga, they had spent most of their years in the lower divisions until returning to the top flight in 1980
Since then they have been a more or less regular fixture in the first division, usually finishing mid-table but occasionally making it into the UEFA Cup/Europe League, their best run coming in 2006/07 when they went all the way to the semi-finals.
And in 2005 they reached their only major final, the Copa del Rey, losing in extra time to Real Betis.
Head to head
Barça have won 14 times in 38 visits in La Liga to Osasuna, however, their recent record is more impressive. The blaugranes have lost just once in their last 10 visits in the league, that defeat coming back in the 2011/12 season with Pep Guardiola as coach. On their last four visits they have won twice and drawn twice with last season's fixture ending 2-2 with goals from Ansu Fati and Arthur.
Osasuna's 4-0 defeat at Camp Nou in the league at the end of November came in the midst of a run of 13 games without victory in La Liga. However, four wins in their last six matches has lifted them out of danger and after the 1-0 win away last weekend at Alavés, they now find themselves in 12th place in the table, six points off the relegation zone.
Facundo Roncaglia (Argentina, 14); Ante Budimir (Croatia, 4); Darko Brašanac (Serbia, 3); Adrián López (Spain, 2); Jonas Ramalho (Angola, 1)
Goalkeeper Rubén Martínez rose up the youth ranks at FC Barcelona and was the senior team’s third-choice keeper for a while behind Víctor Valdés and Albert Jorquera. He even got to play when Valdés was sent off against Valencia in 2004 and covered for the suspended keeper in the following game too.
Winger Jony Rodríguez spent two years playing U19 football at La Masia (2008 to 2010), and nationalised Ecuadorian Kike Saverio was at Barça B last year and featured for the first team in the friendly with Cartagena – he is now an Osasuna player but is currently on loan at Andorra. Striker Marc Cardona is another player on the Osasuna books with a Barça background but he is also elsewhere this season, on loan at Second Division leaders Mallorca.
Top scorer 2020/21 in La Liga
Ante Budimir (6)
Jagoba Arrasate never played football at the highest level, but impressed as a coach at Real Sociedad, eventually taking over the first team in their Champions League season of 2013/14. He took the Osasuna job in 2018, originally just for one year, but after guiding the team back into the first division he has been there ever since.
Did you know?
FC Barcelona, Real Madrid and Athletic Club are all famously fan-owned clubs rather than limited companies. But there is one other club in La Liga of similar status: Osasuna.
It was a 7-1 defeat at Camp Nou in 2017 that confirmed Osasuna’s most recent relegation to the second division.
Roberto Torres has scored four goals in his last four games against Barça. Let's hope he does not make it five on Saturday.
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