|First division||Day 1 (remaining games)||19-21 Aug|
|Champions League play-off||Sevilla v Istanbul Basaksehir||22 Aug|
|Europa League play-off||Athletic Bilbao v Panathinaikos||24 Aug|
|First division||Day 2||25-27 Aug|
|Copa del Rey||First round||30 Aug|
|World Cup qualifiers||Spain v Italy
Liechtenstein v Spain
La Liga is back after a three month lay-off, with two matches already on Friday evening. As luck would have it, Leganés and Alavés (who met on the last day of last season) opened the new programme, the Madrid based team running out 1-0 winners to at least be able to say that they topped the table for the first time in their history! The visitors could have taken the lead though had Manu García not fired an early penalty kick straight at Cuéllar, but a few minutes later Gabriel got what was to prove the only goal after Pacheco could only push out a long free kick from Guerrero. Later in the evening Valencia also beat Las Palmas 1-0, a good start for new coach Marcelino on his return to Spain. Zaza opened the scoring after Carlos Soler set him up with twenty minutes gone, and later in the first half the visitors were left with ten men when Halilovic was sent off for a hard tackle on Gayà. (18.08.17)
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LaLiga and the sports paper Marca are running their Spanish Fantasy Football game once again, and we have set up a Soccer Spain private league as we did last year for our readers to compete. If you played last season you can use the same account, but if you are new to the game you have to download the app from http://www.laligafantasymarca.com/en
Please note that the procedures have changed, and instead of entering a code to join our private league, you now have to click on the following link to sign up from your smartphone or tablet (seems you can no longer access from web): https://ax9m.app.link/R1snXu92CF , If you have any problems though, please send us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org asking for an invitation, and we will send you this directly. (16.08.17)
Athletic Bilbao came back to beat Panathinaikos 2-3 in the first leg of their Europa League play-off. Kiko Ziganda’s side started poorly, and they went behind when Molins headed on a Cabezas centre for Lod to run through and beat Herrerín. Molins fired a shot just wide before the break, and soon after the restart Cabezas made it two from a Luciano Nieves assist. Midway through the second half however Aduríz headed one back from a Muniain centre, and three minutes later De Marcos scored a second from a Balenziaga cross. Another three minutes after that Aduríz converted a penalty after substitute Williams was brought down by Moledo, and Herrerín pulled off late saves from Chatzigiovanis and Donis to ensure the win. (17.08.17)
Real Madrid continue to clock up the titles under Zinedine Zidane, a 2-0 victory over arch-rivals Barcelona giving them their first Spanish Super Cup in five years. Already 1-3 up from the first leg in the Nou Camp, Marco Asensio extended his side’s lead with an impressive shot from outside of the area in only the fourth minute. Lucas Vázquez rattled the upright before Benzema latched on to a Marcelo cross to make it two shortly before the break, and although Messi and Luis Suárez hit the woodwork after the restart, the game was already over. (16.08.17)
First leg: Barcelona 1 - Real Madrid 3
Sevilla are looking good for a place in the Champions League after a 1-2 victory at Istanbul Basaksehir in the first leg of the play-off round. Escudero fired Berizzo’s side in front early on, and Babacan had to be at his best to save from Banega and Correa before the break. Sergio Rico had to keep out Visca and Adebayor after the interval however, and some twenty minutes in to the second half a long shot from Elia skidded off the wet pitch under the legs of the keeper. With six minutes to go though Ben Yedder connected with a centre from substitute Jesús Navas to restore the lead, and Rico tipped a last minute effort from Napoleoni over the bar to ensure a win for the Andalusians. (16.08.17)
So it happened, Paris Saint Germain handed over a cheque for €222 million, and Neymar has left the Nou Camp to take up residence in Paris! The fee more than doubled the previous highest transfer (€105 Mio for Pogba), and the break-up of the legendary MSN strike force has left Barça reeling. Now of course everyone knows that they have money in the bank, and the asking price for players such as Coutinho and Dembélé has gone through the roof. With two weeks to go to the only signing they have made to date is that of Paulinho (even he cost €40 Mio!), and there is a division of opinion at the club whether they should bring in new faces at any price, or use the B team (now in the second division) as a back-up. A defeat to the old rival Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup may force their hand however.
Madrid themselves seem happy with their lot, and Zidane has said that he would only sign Mbappé if e.g. Gareth Bale moved on. Manchester United are waiting in the wings, but Bale himself said he is content at the Bernabeu and has no intention of swapping sunny Spain for the not so sunny North of England. Mbappé destination may now even be PSG, although financial fair play rules are making the Qatari owners think twice about dipping in to what for them is their petty cash box to fork out the €180 Mio Mónaco are asking for him.
Meanwhile back on planet normal the transfer market rolls on, with Sevilla signing Kjaer and Jesús Navas since our last report, and their city neighbours Betis tying up Boudebouz and Javi García. Villarreal moved quickly to replace Soldado (who has gone to Fenerbahçe) with ex Sevilla striker Bacca, Espanyol have shored up their defence with Naldo, Atlético have offloaded Kranevitter, Santos Borré and Amath, and Carlos Vela has announced that he is off to join the new MLS franchise Los Angeles FC, but only in January, so Real Sociedad can still avail of his services in the meantime.
A bit of a lull though for the next few days as clubs concentrate on the opening weekend of the new season, but expect things to pick up again as we approach the transfer deadline, which in Spain has been set at midnight on 1 st September, a day later than almost everywhere else. As we say over here, “las cosas del palacio van despacio”! (15.08.17)
|Date||Player (Country)||Old club||New club||Position/Comments|
|14/08/17||Paulinho (BZL)||Guangzhou Evergrande (CHN)||Barcelona||MF Barça have announced that ex Spurs midfielder has signed for 4 years. Fee around €40 Mio.|
|11/08/17||Naldo (BZL)||Krasnodar (RUS)||Espanyol||DF Played for Quique at Getafe, and returns to Spain on 3 year deal, + 1 optional. Fee a bit over €2 Mio?|
|03/08/17||Neymar (BZL)||Barcelona||Paris St Germain (FRA)||FW Confirmed! PSG deposit cheque for €222 Mio with LFP for buy but out clause, doubling highest ever transfer fee!|
|01/08/17||Jesús Navas||Manchester City (ENG)||Sevilla||MF Spanish international winger out of contract, and will be coming back to his old club! Signs for 3 years.|
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Please help us by participating in our appeal at the following link: https://www.gofundme.com/love-la-liga. Any amount however small will be much appreciated!
Real Madrid won the European Super Cup for the second time in a row and the fourth time in their history after beating Manchester United in Skopje on Tuesday. Casemiro headed against the crossbar before connecting with a Dani Carvajal centre to open the scoring midway through the first half. Isco combined with Bale to make it two shortly after the restart, and Bale himself rattled the crossbar again a few minutes later. Lukaku got one back though after Keylor Navas could only push out a shot from Matic, and José Mourinho’s side could have levelled it had Navas not saved from Rashford later on. (08.08.17)
Disappointment for Spain’s under 21 side, a 0-1 defeat against Germany depriving them of what would have been their fifth European title at this level. A disciplined German team chased down every ball though and didn’t allow Spain to play their usual game, and a looping header from Weiser shortly before half time was enough to give them the victory. (30.06.17)
Semi-final: Spain 3 - Italy 1
Spain beat Macedonia 1-2 in their latest World Cup qualifier to stay at the top of their group, ahead of Italy on goal difference. Strikes by David Silva and Diego Costa in the first half hour appeared to have put Julen Lopetegui’s side on track for a comfortable victory. However Ristovski ran through to pull one back midway through the second half, and there were some nervous moments for the visiting supporters before the final whistle. (11.06.17)
Spain drew 2-2 with Colombia in the latest friendly international, a late goal by Morata saving his team’s unbeaten record under coach Julen Lopetegui. David Silva opened the scoring after connecting with Pedro’s cross midway through the first half, but strikes either side of half time by Cardona and Falcao turned the scoreline around before Morata connected with Saúl’s cross to head home the equalizer with three minutes to go. (07.06.17)
Barcelona are champions of the Spanish cup for the third season in a row after they beat Alavés 3-1 on Saturday evening! The Vitoria based side were playing their first Copa del Rey final in their history, and Ibai Gómez hit the post before Messi opened the scoring on the half hour mark. Theo Hernández equalized though with a well struck free kick just three minutes later, but with half time approaching Neymar restored the lead, and just before the break Alcácer added a third following a good run by Messi. No more goals after that, and a first title of the season for Luis Enrique in his last game in charge before moving on to pastures new. (27.05.17)
Real Madrid are league champions for the 33rd time in their history after they beat Málaga 0-2 on Sunday night! Zidane’s side needed at least a draw to stay ahead of Barcelona, but with only two minutes gone Ronaldo gave them the lead, and some ten minutes in to the second half Benzema wrapped things up with the second. Barcelona themselves came back from two goals down to beat Eibar 4-2, although their efforts were all in vain. Inui put the visitors two up, but Juncà put through his own net with just over an hour gone, and Luis Suárez levelled the score before Messi scored twice to give his team the three points. Earlier in the evening Villarreal made sure of fifth place after a 1-3 victory at Valencia, and Real Sociedad take the second of the Europa League spots after a last minute 2-2 draw at Celta. Athletic Bilbao drop to seventh though after a 3-1 defeat at third placed Atlético, and they have to wait for the result of next weekend’s cup final to see whether they get the third Europa League place or not. (21.05.17)
Four more matches on Saturday, fourth placed Sevilla rounding off their season with a 5-0 win over next to bottom club Osasuna, Vitolo and Franco Vázquez got two each and Jovetic was also on the scoresheet in what was Sampaoli’s last game in charge before taking over as the Argentina national coach. The early evening had been reserved for the battle to avoid the last relegation spot, but as Sporting Gijón went down last weekend, there was nothing left to decide. Sporting themselves drew 2-2 with Betis in their last game, and Deportivo and Leganés both celebrated their survival, the Galicians beating Las Palmas 3-0, and the Madrid based side drawing 1-1 with cup finalists Alavés. (20.05.17)
The last weekend of the season, with the league title and the Europa League spots still to be decided. All of that takes place on Sunday though, but before the big day several games have been scheduled between teams with nothing to play for but pride (and possibly a bit of extra income from television rights!). The first of those was on Friday night between the already relegated Granada and their visitors Espanyol, the Catalans running out 1-2 victors to move up to eighth pending the rest of the weekend matches. All the goals came in the first quarter of the game, Leo Baptistao opening the scoring and then crossing in for Rubén Vezo to put through his own net, and Andreas Pereira getting one back for the locals. A sad end for the Andalusians though after six years in the top flight, and a disappointment for coach Tony Adams, whose side have failed to pick up a single point since he took over seven games ago. (19.05.17)
Real Madrid are World champions for the second time after they beat Kashima Antlers 2-4 in this year’s final in Yokohama! The Liga side were clear favourites, and they appeared to be on track for an easy win when Benzema opened the scoring in only the ninth minute after Sogahata could only push out a shot from Modric. However just before the break Shibasaki levelled the scores with a shot on the turn past Keylor Navas, and some seven minutes in to the second half the team captain got his second of the match with a long shot wide of the Costa Rican keeper. Ronaldo made it all square again from the penalty spot after Yamamoto brought down Lucas Vázquez a few minutes later, but with full time approaching the locals failed to convert two or three chances to win it. However in the first half of extra time Ronaldo scored twice from Benzema and Kroos assists to complete another hat-trick and give Zinedine Zidane his third international title since taking over from Rafa Benítez just under a year ago. (18.12.16)
Semi-final: Real Madrid 2 – Club América 0
|League champions||Real Madrid|
|Spanish cup winners||Barcelona|
|Promoted to the first division||Levante, Girona, Getafe|
|Relegated to the second division A||Sporting Gijón, Osasuna, Granada|
|Promoted to the second division A||Albacete, Barcelona B, Cultural Leonesa, Lorca|
|Relegated to the second division B||Mirandés, Elche, Mallorca, UCAM Murcia|
|Champions League||Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, Sevilla|
|Europa League||Villarreal, Real Sociedad, Athletic Bilbao|
|European Super Cup||Real Madrid v Manchester United|
|Club World Cup||Real Madrid|
|Day 1 - Aug 20|
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