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Iniesta defends Barcelona pal Ronaldinho

Andres Iniesta has jumped to the defence of Barcelona teammate Ronaldinho after a new round of controversy following his absence from Sunday's 2-2 draw at Almeria.

Barca insist Ronie missed the game through injury, though medical reports state the Brazilian was fit.

In the meantime, Iniesta said yesterday: "Ronaldinho has had some problems. There are no players here who do not want to play for the team, let alone someone as important as Ronaldinho.

"I hope people do not try to read more into this than there is. If a player has some sort of injury, even minor, it can hamper them. No two players handle injuries the same way.

"I can't say what happened to Ronaldinho, because I am not him. But there is no way any player would refuse to play.

"If we're missing a player, that should not be an excuse. There are players available to take anyone's place."

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