Tag Archives: La Liga

This Week in LaLiga

This Week in LaLiga… [27 July 2020]

From contract extensions to summer transfers, here are some of the top news headlines to come out of LaLiga this week.

The 2019/20 LaLiga Santander season may be over, but teams are now planning for next season. There have been several important developments in the past week. These range from coaching changes to contract extensions to confirmed transfers…

Unai Emery is back in LaLiga Santander

Villarreal announced Javi Calleja wouldn’t be continuing as head coach. The Yellow Submarine went out and hired Unai Emery to take over on a three-year deal. Emery is returning to LaLiga Santander! Emery enjoyed a lot of success at Valencia and Sevilla before stints in France and England with PSG and Arsenal.

Negredo commits to Cádiz

Spanish striker Álvaro Negredo is back in LaLiga Santander. The 34-year-old has signed with newly promoted Cádiz. The Andalusians will be the fourth team he’ll represent in Spain’s top division. He previously played for Almería, Sevilla and Valencia. Negredo was most recently with Al-Nasr in the UAE. He has also played for Manchester City in England and Besiktas in Turkey.


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Shinji Okazaki renews with Huesca

After Huesca secured promotion back to Spain’s top tier, they have agreed to renew the contract of their top scorer Shinji Okazaki. The Japanese veteran scored 12 goals as Huesca finished 2019/20 as LaLiga SmartBank champions. He’ll now get to experience Spain’s top flight for the first time in his career.

Four teams win promotion to LaLiga SmartBank

LaLiga SmartBank will feature four new teams next season, all of which secured promotion through a playoff tournament held in southern Spain: Logroñes, Cartagena, Sabadell and Castellón will play in Spain’s second tier in 2020/21.

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Zinedine Zidane manager or Real Madrid

6 Things You Might Not Know About Zinedine Zidane

There’s little left to say about ‘Zizou,’ undoubtedly one of the greatest ever figures in football history. But here are six things you may not know about Zidane, from his remarkable trophy-winning statistics as Real Madrid coach to starring in his own TV documentary.

1. He averages a trophy every 19 matches as Real Madrid coach

The 2019-20 LaLiga title is Zinedine Zidane’s 11th as Real Madrid coach in just three and a half seasons. A figure which rounds out, incredibly, at around one trophy every 19 games. Also, he’s yet to lose a Champions League knockout game. He is the only coach to win the competition three seasons in a row.

Having said that, there’s nothing quite like winning LaLiga for Zidane, as he made clear this Thursday after wrapping up the title: “The Champions League is the Champions League, but this title makes me happier because LaLiga is what it’s all about.”

2. He is Real Madrid’s first French manager

Zidane and Real Madrid have adapted well to post-lockdown football

Real Madrid have had many French players over the years and they’ve had head coaches from 16 different countries. But Zidane is the first Frenchman to sit in the club’s dugout as coach. He first took over in January 2016, staying on until May 2018 before taking over again in March 2019. Taking into account this season’s LaLiga title, he’s already won 11 trophies as manager. 

3. Just one trophy eludes him

Zidane has won almost everything there is to win in football, from the World Cup and Champions League to the Ballon d’Or and a horde of domestic titles. But the Copa del Rey remains elusive, both as a player and manager. He won the 2014 Copa del Rey as an assistant to Carlo Ancelotti, but to date he is yet to win Spain’s domestic cup competition as a leading man.


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4. His sons are following in his footballing footsteps

Zidane is the father of four boys, all of which have made careers for themselves in the world of football. Midfielder Enzo is currently on the books of Almeria UD and pushing for promotion out of LaLiga SmartBank, Spain’s second tier. Goalkeeper Luca is currently out on loan from Real Madrid at Racing Santander. Theo and Elyaz and still underage and part of the youth academy at Los Blancos.

5. The most popular Frenchman of all-time

In a 2004 poll in leading French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche, Zidane was voted as the most popular Frenchman of all time. The poll wasn’t limited to sports stars but took all public figures into account, with Zidane’s footballing exploits seeing him picked ahead of other iconic personalities. ZZ explained at the time that he was proud of how someone from an immigrant background could come top in such a poll. Highlighting the importance of racial harmony in modern-day France.

6. Zidane starred in his own documentary

Back in 2006, ZZ was the star of French documentary Zidane, Un Portrait Du 21e Siecle (“Zidane, a 21st century portrait”). This very unique show saw a film crew focus 17 cameras on the Frenchman for the entirety of a Real Madrid match against Villarreal in 2005. But that’s not all he’s done in the world of film; he has also starred in movies such as Goal! II (2007) alongside the likes of Sergio Ramos, David Beckham and Thierry Henry and Asterix at the Olympic Games (2008).

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Real Madrid win 2019-20 LaLiga title

5 key players as Real Madrid clinched the 2019-20 LaLiga title….

While Real Madrid’s 2019-20 LaLiga Santander title success was a real team effort, here are five players who have stood out for their individual contributions over the course of the campaign…

Sergio Ramos

Sergio Ramos

Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos has led his side with typical character and energy all through the season. He has now won his fifth LaLiga Santander trophy (and lifted his second as captain). Ramos has been part of the division’s stingiest back four all season. With he and long-term partner Raphael Varane complementing each other perfectly at the centre of the defence.

Ramos has also contributed at the other end of the pitch. His ability to cooly convert from the penalty spot during the last few weeks of the season was crucial. His career-best 10 goals have also helped him become LaLiga’s top-scoring defender of all time. With his current total at 71 across his years at Madrid and first club Sevilla FC.

Karim Benzema

Karim Benzema has been Madrid’s best attacker over the season. Benzema’s 21 LaLiga goals are more than Eden Hazard, Gareth Bale (I don’t know if we should even count him), Luka Jovic, Marco Asensio, James Rodríguez, Lucas Vazquez, Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo combined. He has produced all kinds of goals – towering headers, close-range finishes, accurate volleys, a long-range screamer, calmly taken one-on-ones against the keeper and a couple of penalties.

Many have been vital strikes too – such as the winners in tight games against other top sides Atletico Madrid and Sevilla FC. Benzema’s eight assists have also been crucial. Meanwhile, his durability has allowed him to play more minutes in LaLiga this season than any Madrid player.


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Thibaut Courtois

Thibaut Courtois recovered from an uncertain start to the 2019-20 season. He brought a level of confidence and calm which flowed throughout the team. With just 20 goals conceded in their 34 games played -there is still one more LaLiga game-, Courtois has become the first Madrid keeper since Iker Casillas back in 2007-08 to win the ‘Zamora’ trophy. An accolade for LaLiga’s best goalkeeper. 

Five consecutive clean sheets during the post-COVID 19 lockdown was especially key to Madrid overhauling FC Barcelona over the final weeks. Courtois also made big saves in important games through the season. Such as the goalless draw at his former club Atletico Madrid in September. And the 2-0 El Clásico victory over Barça in February. He even contributed in the opposition area – winning a header at a corner in the Valencia CF penalty in December, leading directly to Benzema’s crucial equalising goal.

Casemiro

Also key to Madrid’s rock-solid core this season has been holding midfielder Casemiro. His physicality and reading of the game have helped protect his defence. Casemiro stats show what he has excelled in. Among all LaLiga players in 2019-20, he sits second in tackles per game, third in interceptions and third in fouls committed, while no midfielder has made more clearances all season. Meanwhile, his four LaLiga goals have all been decisive victories.

Opposition fans and coaches may have been frustrated by his ability to show up in the right place at the right time to thwart their attacks. 

Fede Valverde

2019-20 also saw the emergence of a young midfielder Fede Valverde.  Valverde’s energy and athleticism helped him break into the team. Where his range of passing and ability on the ball also soon become clear. His coming out party came in a man of the match performance in a 4-2 victory over Granada CF in October. With local pundits comparing his ‘box to box’ style to international figures Paul Pogba and Steven Gerrard. Already capped 20 times at senior level by Uruguay, his own confidence levels also rose through the campaign. 

Valverde’s goals came in LaLiga games against SD Eibar and Real Sociedad. His versatility has also been very useful to Zidane.  He has been moved between different roles in central, right and attacking midfield during the accelerated end of season programme.

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Lionel Messi post-game interview after Barcelona loss to Osasuna

Barcelona team erratic and weak…: Lionel Messi

Last night, Real Madrid were crowned champions of LaLiga. Whilst over in Barcelona, the Catalans lost to a 10-man Osasuna. 🙆‍♂️

Messi turned evil Super Saiyan and unleashed his anger in a rare post-match interview.

https://twitter.com/beINSPORTS_EN/status/1283882354516406274?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1283882354516406274%7Ctwgr%5E&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dailymail.co.uk%2Fsport%2Ffootball%2Farticle-8532089%2FLionel-Messi-FURIOUS-weak-Barcelona-slump-defeat-home-Osasuna.html

‘This game represents the entire year. We have been an erratic and weak team,’

‘Madrid did its part by winning all its matches, which is impressive, but we also helped them to win this league. We have to be critical of how we have played, starting with the players, and the rest of the club.

‘We have lost because of our mistakes and not because of Madrid’s successes, as many say.

‘The feeling on this team is that it tries, but that it cannot get the job done. Today in the first half they were better than we were and it seems we have to fall behind to react like we tried to do in the second half.’


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The game summed up Barcelona’s campaign. They had a lot of the possession and created chances they could not finish. Their defence has been shaky, their midfield has been below average, and their attack is led by Luis Suarez – who doesn’t look like he can actually run anymore.

They signed Antoine Griezmann at the beginning of the season but he has struggled to fit in. Mainly because he has been played out of position on the flanks. He is more effective in the centre behind the main striker. A position that is owned by Messi.

Champions League 

My five-year-old Messi-stan son: ‘Barcelona are still in the champions league, at least they have a chance to win a trophy right Dad?’

Well, Messi isn’t so confident.

‘Roma, Liverpool… the fans are running out of patience because we’re not giving them anything. If we want to fight for the Champions League, a lot has to change. Like this, we will lose to Napoli.’ Super Saiyan Messi continued.

Barca are tied with Napoli 1-1 in their last-16 clash. Last year they crashed out the competition to eventual winners Liverpool after leading 3-0 in the first leg. The year before that, they got choked slammed off the top rope by Roma after leading 4-1 on aggregate going into the away game. 

I’m not a betting man but I wouldn’t put my money on Barcelona making waves in this year’s competition either.

The Barcelona board should be worried. Messi hasn’t signed a new contract and has now come out publicly with his concerns about the team. He may want to stay at the club till he retires but Barcelona may be forcing his hand in considering the opposite.

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La Liga Thursdays: Last Week In LaLiga – Lionel Messi’s Ballon d’Or, Joaquín’s hattrick at the age of 38, and more

Lionel Messi wins his sixth Ballon d’Or

The 2019 Ballon d’Or, an award given out each year by France Football magazine to the best player of the calendar year, was awarded on Monday and it went to Barcelona’s Lionel Messi. This was the sixth time he has won the prestigious award and he followed up this honour by scoring a hat-trick in front of the fans at the Camp Nou during Barcelona’s 5-2 win over Real Mallorca on Saturday night. The Argentine also won LaLiga’s Player of the Month award, for his performances in the month of November.

A new leader in the Pichichi charts

To cap off what has been a very impressive week for Lionel Messi, he has also now gone top of the Pichichi charts as the top scorer so far of the 2019/20 LaLiga Santander season. Even though injury prevented him from starting the season brightly, forcing him to wait until the eighth matchday to score his first goal, he now has 12 goals to his name and has moved ahead of Karim Benzema, who has 11 after scoring in Real Madrid’s 2-0 victory over Espanyol.

Joaquín shows he’s still got it

Real Betis captain Joaquín may now be 38 years of age, but he can still perform miracles on the pitch. On Sunday, he scored a 20-minute hat-trick at the Estadio Benito Villamarín to help his side defeat Athletic Club 3-2.

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