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Spanish will pay tribute to Puerta

  • Story Highlights
  • There will be a minute's silence at this weekend's Spanish league games
  • Players and supporters will pay tribute to Sevilla defender Antonio Puerta
  • Puerta died after collapsing during last Saturdays' 4-1 victory over Getafe
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MADRID, Spain -- This weekend's Primera Liga program in Spain will be overshadowed by the death this week of Sevilla's Spanish international defender Antonio Puerta.

Sevilla defender Puerta collapsed on the pitch during last Saturday's 4-1 victory over Getafe.

Puerta, 22, collapsed on the pitch during Saturday's 4-1 win over Getafe and died on Tuesday from multiple organ failure stemming from prolonged cardiac arrest.

There will be a minute's silence at all of this weekend's fixtures in Spain.

"It is a huge loss for Spanish football. He was a young man that had made his international debut and had a huge influence on those around him," said Real Madrid captain Raul.

"We have lost a team-mate and a great professional footballer."

Sevilla play AC Milan in Friday's Super Cup final but Monday's league match against Osasuna has been postponed as the club will face AEK Athens in the second-leg of their Champions League qualifier.

Encouraged by their opening day defeat of neighbors Atletico, champions Real Madrid have a testing trip to Villareal on Sunday.

Villareal have won nine league games in a row during an 18-match unbeaten run stretching back to April and started the new campaign with an impressive 3-0 away win at title hopefuls Valencia.

Real 1-0 in the corresponding fixture last season, but their new coach Bernd Schuster was the last coach to mastermind a win over Villareal back on April 15 when he was in charge of Getafe.

Schuster was pleased with the 2-1 win over Atletico last weekend but feels that there is still a lot to do.

"I am happy because we won an important game. We played well and won and this is the style of football I want because all my previous teams have played this way," Schuster said. "I am sure we can continue in this vein but there is still a lot of room for improvement.

"The players have to get to know one another. We have a lot of new players who arrived at the end of pre-season and we need to give them time to adapt."

Recent signings Arjen Robben and Gabriel Heinze have to wait to see if they will make their league debuts against Villareal.

Robben and Heinze have been in intensive training because of a lack of match fitness.

Title favorites Barcelona are searching for their first goal of the new season when they host Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

All the pre-match hype against Racing Santander surrounded "The Fantastic Four" starting but French international striker Thierry Henry was left on the bench in a dour 0-0 draw.

"If you want to see The Fantastic Four -- go to the cinema," said Henry. "We are still not in our best form and we need a little bit more time. You have to be patient."

The striking quartet has been temporarily reduced to three this week, with Samuel Eto'o suffering a groin injury which will keep him out for eight weeks.

Barcelona fans will hope for better things against Bilbao and coach Frank Rijkaard does not want to give Real an early head-start in the title race by surrendering more points.

"We have drawn our first match away from home but it is hardly the end of the world," said Rijkaard. "We need to work harder, particularly on movement, because we were too predictable."

Valencia also need to regroup after the mauling by Villarreal. Spanish internationals David Villa and Joaquin were sent off and will miss Sunday's trip to promoted Almeira.

"We have to be realistic and admit it was a bad performance. But we will go out and try to forget the last match and start again," explained Valencia coach Quique Flores E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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