LaLiga Grassroots is here, a bid by LaLiga to support and promote grassroots football around the world

LaLiga Grassroots will take LaLiga’s sports and academic methodology to a new level in order to further strive for sporting excellence in bringing through young players and training coaches both nationally and internationally.

A web platform has been launched with detailed information on this new initiative, through which interested parties will also be able to access the pre-registration process for the sports programmes set to begin in the summer of 2022 at the ESC Madrid Center.

Madrid, October 14, 2021. – LaLiga has announced the launch of LaLiga Grassroots, in its bid to further advance and improve its bespoke sports and training projects as well as the promotion of LaLiga’s know-how and methodology. This initiative is part of a series of international sports projects that LaLiga has been running since 2015 across multiple markets, and its most salient new feature is this series of programmes which will take place in Spain. These will mainly be held at the ESC Madrid Center, a state-of-the-art, world-beating sports complex.

“LaLiga Grassroots was conceived as a new specialised unit conceived by the Sports Projects team and the International Business and Development team,” explains Juan Florit, head of LaLiga Sports Projects and who will be in charge of the technical and sports side of LaLiga Grassroots. “Our activities will mainly focus on the holistic development of young players, international training programmes for professionals in the sector, and projects to promote and support LaLiga clubs when it comes to their academies and running international tournaments.”

This new project represents a further step in LaLiga’s creation and execution of sports projects, an area through which it has enjoyed great success over the last six seasons. This includes finding positions for nearly 750 Spanish coaches, as well as providing training for more than 20,000 coaches and 175,000 players in the more than 400 projects carried out across 38 countries.

“The work we’ve carried out over the years in training players and coaches internationally has taken things to the next level, not only for those who have worked with LaLiga, but also for the league itself and its clubs,” says Javier Hernandez, Head of Business and International development for the project. “We’re convinced that now, with the creation of LaLiga Grassroots and the new programmes that we’ll be running at the ESC Madrid Center, we’ll be able to create better opportunities for everyone.”

Two big programmes and unique, world-class facilities

LaLiga Grassroots offers a variety of programmes which focus on improving players’ abilities through channelling the power of sport as an educational tool to promote their all-round development. Within the Grassroots project, there are two long-term programmes aimed at young people from all over the world set to take place in Spain and which are the most notable:

LaLiga Talents and LaLiga Academy.

These programmes are aimed at male and female players between the ages of 12 and 18 years and are oriented towards giving these athletes an all-round training experience, taking care of and supporting their personal development both on and off the pitch. The main difference between both programmes is that LaLiga Talents is centred around players who already work in a high-performance training environment, with the aim of helping them develop and get the most out of their talent to reach the best level attainable, while LaLiga Academy focuses on improving and optimising the abilities of players who want to experience a unique sports and educational programme curated by LaLiga.

There will be short-term and long-term activities included in these programmes such as LaLiga Camps and high-performance training camps for teams, mixed groups and international players. These aim to improve both preparation and development on an individual and collective level.

All programmes in Spain will take place at the ESC Madrid Center, a state-of-the-art complex that will open its doors in the summer of 2022.

The centre has an on-site 400-capacity residence with 24-hour security, an international school equipped with an auditorium, library, laboratory, clinic, as well as several game, rest and study rooms. Likewise, the complex houses two state-of-the-art football pitches and various training areas, an NBA court, gym and a swimming pool. Overall, this makes the centre the ideal place to achieve the synergy between sports training and academic education that LaLiga Grassroots projects seek to achieve.

These facilities will be available to all LaLiga clubs wishing to run training programmes, carry out brand internationalisation projects or have other needs, and they will also have the LaLiga Academy Manager software, created by LaLiga in order to optimise the management and daily operation of academies.

Registration for all these programmes, as well as additional information about them, is now available on the website

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A high-voltage clash in LaLiga Santander gets the engines running for ElClasico

FC Barcelona will this weekend host Valencia CF in a Camp Nou stadium with 100% permitted capacity for the first time since March 2020.

With Jose Bordalas at the helm, ‘Los Che’ come into the encounter ahead of Barcelona in the table and with some of the brightest young talents in Spanish football.

LaLiga Santander is back with a bang after the international break, with a very tasty clash set to round off the weekend at the Camp Nou. FC Barcelona host Valencia at 9pm CEST on Sunday in what has become one of LaLiga’s most high-profile rivalries over the past two decades – in particular since the late 1990s, when Valencia lived a golden era of LaLiga and European titles and every match against Barcelona seemed to throw up goal fest after goal fest.

These high-scoring encounters have returned in recent years, as have a score of incredibly memorable matches. The 2019 Copa del Rey final saw Valencia upset Lionel Messi’s Barcelona 2-1 in Seville against all the odds, while their last four meetings in LaLiga Santander have seen an average of 4.5 goals per game (5-2, 2-0, 2-2, 3-2).

No less is expected of this Sunday’s encounter; in fact, even more is anticipated. Valencia CF are a different side from that which has struggled over the past couple of seasons – since that 2019 Copa del Rey final, to be exact.

This season, with new coach Jose Bordalas at the helm, Los Che have quickly proven themselves to be a solid, reliable, effective, and exciting side. They’ve recovered the essence of what made Valencia sides so thrilling over the years, and head to Camp Nou one spot ahead of Barcelona in the standings. In fact, they even rose as high as joint leaders six matches into the season, before dropping points in two tough, consecutive games against Real Madrid and Sevilla FC.

Jose Gaya and Carlos Soler, two of Valencia’s most important players, are back for this weekend’s match, though they’ll be without Paraguayan centre-back Omar Alderete through suspension, whose place will most likely be taken by Mouctar Diakhaby. Regardless, Bordalas should be delighted with the performances of his team so far this season, and especially so with those of Jasper Cillessen – who returns to the Camp Nou two years after his move to Mestalla – Hugo Guillamon, playing further forward in midfield, the exciting young American winger Yunus Musah, and Gonçalo Guedes, who looks to be back to his thrilling best.

Up the coast in Barcelona, coach Ronald Koeman is set to face his former side with renewed spirits. His side were outclassed last time out at Atletico de Madrid (2-0), but with a number of players now recovered from injury this Barcelona side looks to be a different proposition. Ansu Fati is likely ready to start and has already shown himself to be match sharp with a tremendous solo goal against Levante UD after almost a full calendar year out with injury. Sergio Agüero, meanwhile, could be in line to make his debut for the club, while Ousmane Dembele is also reaching the end of his return from injury. Koeman lost Uruguayan centre-back Ronald Araujo to injury this international break, but both Memphis and teenage sensation Gavi return with their spirits in the sky after strong showings with the Netherlands and Spain, respectively.

Just a glance at the players to watch in Barcelona vs Valencia this weekend demonstrates why this is one of the most important matches in world football when it comes to young talent. Both sides boast one of the most prolific and impressive youth academies in European football, and the list of young rising stars set to be on show at Camp Nou is astounding: Ansu Fati, Gavi, de Jong, Dest, Yusuf Demir, Riqui Puig, Nico Gonzalez, Carlos Soler, Guillamón, Yunus Musah, Racic, Guedes and Hugo Duro… Factor in those likely to miss the match – Pedri, perhaps the brightest young star in world football right now, Dembele, Eric Garcia, Araujo – and it’s clear that these two sides are absolutely ‘can’t miss’ for football lovers around the globe looking to catch an eye on the stars of the future.

What’s more, this weekend will see Camp Nou open its doors to a 100% capacity crowd for the first time since March 2020, thanks to the recent decision by the regional Catalan authorities to remove all restrictions on outdoor arenas. It’s an ideal starting point ahead of next weekend’s ElClasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid at the biggest stadium in Europe. But all eyes will be on this weekend first, though; FC Barcelona vs Valencia CF has all the ingredients to be one of the best matches of the season so far. You won’t want to miss it.

Watch FC Barcelona vs Valencia CF this Sunday on BeINSports

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LaLiga Santander Matchday 9 preview: Koeman set to face his former club as FC Barcelona host Valencia CF

LaLiga Santander is back following the international break this weekend with eight fixtures taking place over the course of Saturday, Sunday and Monday. One fixture jumps off the schedule: FC Barcelona hosting Valencia CF at the Camp Nou on Sunday night, a can’t-miss match for many, many reasons.

Before that, though, the action starts with a fascinating fixture between two clubs who changed their coach during the international pause. Levante UD, who replaced Paco López with Javier Pereira, will face Getafe CF, who have welcomed back Quique Sánchez Flores to take over from Míchel. Logically, both of the new coaches will be hoping to start on the front foot and to lead their struggling clubs out of the relegation zone as soon as possible. This Saturday evening match should therefore be an engrossing affair.

There is one other match on Saturday night, with Real Sociedad hosting RCD Mallorca with the chance for the Basque side to go top of the LaLiga Santander table. La Real are currently level on points at the top with Real Madrid and Atlético de Madrid, neither of whom will play this weekend and whose matches were postponed due to the late return of some of their South American players, meaning that the Txuri Urdin have a unique opportunity in front of them.

Four of the Matchday 9 fixtures will take place on Sunday, starting with lunchtime kick-off Rayo Vallecano vs Elche CF. For many analysts, these two clubs were among the favourites for relegation ahead of the season, but they have both proved the doubters wrong with excellent starts to the campaign. Rayo Vallecano, in particular, have started phenomenally and, led by star signing Radamel Falcao, have propelled themselves into the European positions.

Two other teams with European qualification aspirations meet next, with RC Celta welcoming Sevilla FC to Spain’s north-western coast. The Andalusians suffered their first loss of the 2021/22 campaign just before the October international break, so will be looking to scratch that itch when they meet Iago Aspas and co.

Villarreal CF host CA Osasuna on Sunday evening, with the visitors having started the season really well by taking 14 points from their first eight matches. Villarreal, meanwhile, are the only undefeated team left in LaLiga Santander, but they have only won two of their seven fixtures, drawing the other five. Having made a new signing during the October pause, acquiring free agent Serge Aurier, the Yellow Submarine will be hoping for a boost and another victory for the win column.

At 9pm CEST on Sunday night, it’s blockbuster time: FC Barcelona vs Valencia CF at the Camp Nou. For under-pressure Blaugrana coach Ronald Koeman, this meeting with his former club is massive and he’ll hope for a better result than the 2-2 draw these two sides played out last season. Valencia have improved leaps and bounds since then and their new coach José Bordalás even beat Koeman’s Barça side last campaign, when in charge of Getafe, so this won’t be easy for the Catalan side. Over the past six meetings between these historic foes, there have been two wins each and two draws, throwing up an average of 4.5 goals per game, so anything could happen on Sunday night.

On Monday, there are two more fixtures. The first pits together D. Alavés and Real Betis; home team remain inside the relegation zone but they did win their last match at Mendizorrotza against champions Atlético Madrid in impressive fashion. Against the Verdiblancos, they’ll be hoping for another big scalp.

Next up is a historic match. RCD Espanyol and Cádiz CF haven’t faced each other in league play since 2006, but will finally do so again on Monday night. Having always been in different divisions since then, this is far from a common fixture and it’ll be special when these two sides from opposite ends of Spain take to the same pitch to conclude this weekend’s action.  

Watch LaLiga Santander live this weekend on BeINSports

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