LaLiga’s Week Review

A huge LaLiga Santander matchday took place over this past weekend, just after some thrilling European matches involving Spanish sides. Off the pitch, there have been award nominations and boardroom moves too. All of that and more is discussed below.  

LaLiga Santander leaders get back to winning ways 

Atlético Madrid had had a tough February, winning just one of their five games across all competitions before their game against Villarreal CF on Sunday night. After back-to-back losses, one against Levante UD in LaLiga Santander and one against Chelsea in the Champions League, they needed a positive result and got one, winning 2-0 away at the Yellow Submarine. Diego Simeone’s side still have a cushion at the top of the table.  

Ferland Mendy’s sensational strike 

Real Madrid returned to European action this past week and they did so with a win, overcoming Atalanta 1-0 away from home in their Champions League last 16 first leg. It was left-back Ferland Mendy who produced the winning goal, doing so in style in the final moments of the match. That gives Los Blancos a good result to defend in the second leg later in March.  

Granada’s historic night in Naples 

The 2020/21 season is Granada’s first ever in European competition and they’re still alive, reaching the Europa League last 16 after overcoming historic Italian side Napoli 3-2 on aggregate. Their win in Naples will go down as one of their best ever moments and made the front page headlines across Spain the following morning. Meanwhile, Villarreal CF also progressed to the last 16 by beating RB Salzburg, while Real Sociedad bowed out away at Manchester United.  

Real Betis win the Andalusia Day derby 

Sunday February 28th was Andalusia Day and there was an Andalusian derby in LaLiga Santander to celebrate it, with Real Betis making the short trip to take on Cádiz. As these two colourful teams met under the Sunday afternoon sunshine, it was an even contest for the most part. But, a late goal from Juanmi saw Real Betis earn a 1-0 win to make it an extra special Andalusia Day for them.  

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LaLiga Santander Matchday 25 preview: A blockbuster weekend lies ahead

Matchday 25 of the 2020/21 LaLiga Santander season is set to be a momentous one as the top six sides in the standings face off against each other. Leaders Atlético de Madrid visit sixth-placed Villarreal CF at 9pm CET on Sunday night, while second-placed Real Madrid host fifth-placed Real Sociedad at the same 9pm CET time slot on Monday night. Before that, fourth-placed Sevilla FC welcome FC Barcelona, third-placed, to the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán at 4.15pm CET on Saturday.  

The first of the weekend’s three blockbuster matches is the Saturday afternoon showdown between Sevilla FC and FC Barcelona. These two teams have already met each other twice this season, having played out a 1-1 draw in LaLiga Santander at the Camp Nou in October and having just met in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-finals at the start of February when Sevilla secured a 2-0 advantage.  

Sevilla haven’t finished above the Catalan club in the end-of-season standings since 1969/70, but they have an excellent opportunity to achieve that this year as Julen Lopetegui’s side were ahead of this weekend’s opponents until this Wednesday. The Rojiblancos are in an excellent run of form as they have won their past six matches in league play and haven’t conceded a single goal in the past five of these fixtures.  

With Moroocan keeper Bono in goal and with a solid central defensive partnership of Diego Carlos and Jules Koundé, Sevilla have, along with Atleti, the joint-best defensive record in the division with just 16 goals conceded. Barça, though, boast Lionel Messi and there is no team that the Argentine has scored more frequently against in his career than Sevilla, with a mindblowing 37 goals from 41 games. It’ll be thrilling to see who comes out on top.  

Villarreal CF vs Atlético de Madrid is the next of the weekend’s heavyweight bouts, a match between two teams desperate to return to winning ways. Villarreal have been struggling of late in LaLiga Santander and are winless in their past six league matches. Atleti, meanwhile have only won one of their past four games and have already dropped the same number of points in the second half of the 2020/21 season as they did in the entirety of the first half.  

Atleti dropped points against Villarreal earlier this season when they played out a goalless draw in the Spanish capital. They meet again this weekend knowing it will be a fascinating tactical battle as Unai Emery and Diego Simeone are two of the best coaches in European football. It’ll be interesting to see how this footballing chess match plays out on Sunday night.  

The last fixture of Matchday 25 is also one of the best, with Real Madrid hosting Real Sociedad on Monday evening. They played out a 0-0 draw when they met in the Basque Country earlier in the season, but their matches before that had been very entertaining. In their seven previous meetings before this season, there were 4.4 goals per game on average across four Real Madrid wins and three Real Sociedad wins.  

Making this showdown even more exciting is the fact that La Real’s Alexander Isak is the most in-form striker in LaLiga Santander right now. The Swedish forward has scored in each of his past six league outings, netting a whopping nine times. With the reigning champions missing several players, especially in defence, Isak will look to take advantage in this match that could significantly influence the title race and the push for Champions League qualification.  

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LaLiga unites with UNAOC on ONE HUMANITY campaign to promote global change

Both organizations join forces to promote and raise public awareness around social responsibility 

Madrid , February  25  2021   LaLiga and the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) have signed a global memorandum of understanding (MoU) under which they will work together to promote and raise public awareness around social responsibility for the next two seasons (21/22 and 22/23).  

Both organizations will work to promote and raise public awareness around social responsibility through different projects and tools. The pillars of the agreement will be promoting education, combating racism and discrimination based on religion, belief, ethnicity or gender, social integration and gender equality.  

By signing the MoU, both institutions have agreed to work together on a set of promotional activities with the launch of the first communication campaign titled “ONE HUMANITY. The inspiring video includes passionate and strong messages from key players of the following LaLiga clubs: Real Madrid CF , Real Sociedad, Athletic Club, Deportivo Alavés, SD Huesca, CA Osasuna, RC Celta, Atlético de Madrid, Levante UD, Real Betis, Granada CF, Sevilla FC, Valencia CF, and Elche CF.  

Both organizations will amplify their projects globally through their communication channels . As part of the MoU, UNAOC will also support LaLiga with its CSR and educational projects worldwide. 

A signing ceremony took place at LaLiga’s headquarters in Madrid, with the the presence of Javier Tebas, President of LaLiga, and Miguel Angel Moratinos, High Representative for UNAOC. 

Moratinos commented on this new partnership: “It is an honor to work with LaLiga on this strategic alliance, to help promote a better society, especially through the most loved sport in the world, football.  It is my hope that this deepened cooperation between UNAOC and LaLiga, a world leader in leisure and entertainment, helps us build a greater community and provides us with a great deal of value.” 

Javier Tebas added: The transmission of values through all our international alliances is vital and this strategic collaboration with UNAOC is a great example. Together with UNAOC and the involvement of all our participating clubs, I am positive that we will achieve our goals to foster and spread awareness around equality, diversity, and social responsibility.” 

By signing this Memorandum of Understandingwith UNAOC, LaLiga continues to bolster ties with the world’s most important organisations and institutions on an international stage. The new agreement is a further demonstration of LaLiga’s commitment to developing the love of football all over the globe. 

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Javier Mascherano is the new LaLiga Ambassador

The Argentine star was presented at an event held in Buenos Aires which also welcomed other Ambassadors such as Andrés Iniesta and Fernando Redondo 

February 24, 2021.- Argentine footballer Javier Mascherano, a former FC Barcelona player, joins the squad of footballing stars who, since 2014, have been playing an active part in the LaLiga Santander Ambassadors project which brings former players in the competition together to promote and raise LaLiga’s visibility around the world. 

Former teammates at the Catalan club along with other LaLiga Santander Ambassadors welcomed ‘El Jefecito’ at an event that officially presented Javier Mascherano as the latest member of “LaLiga Santander Ambassadors”. “I am proud to be part of this project and to serve as an ambassador for the values ​​of football and for the best league in the world. What’s more, being able to share the experience in such great company is very enriching.” 

The captain of this prestigious team of LaLiga Santander Ambassadors is Fernando Sanz, who welcomed Javier Mascherano by presenting him with the now iconic LaLiga Santander Ambassadors shirt. “Having Javier Mascherano as a member of the LaLiga Santander Ambassadors project is very important to us because he perfectly embodies the values ​​that we defend from this institution: competitiveness, teamwork and dedication. I’m sure that with his help, this team of legends can only become greater.” 

In addition to Fernando Sanz, other LaLiga Santander Ambassadors wished to accompany Javier Mascherano in his presentation. His former teammate in FC Barcelona ​​Andrés Iniesta, the recent LaLiga Santander Ambassador signing Aritz Aduriz and the Argentine Fernando Redondo were among those wanting to welcome and thank him for coming on board and being a part of the Ambassadors of LaLiga Santander program. 

The Argentine star is the 30st LaLiga Santander legend to join the best team in the world, whose members include Fernando Sanz, Carles Puyol, Anaïr Lomba, Aintzane Encinas, José María Gutierrez, Fernando Morientes, Fernando Hierro, Robert Pirès, Luis García, Gaizka Mendieta, Julio Baptista, David Albelda, Xabi Prieto, Marcos Senna, Milinko Pantic, Ismael Urzaiz, César Sánchez, Samuel Eto’o, Diego Forlán, Denilson De Oliveira, Frédéric Kanouté, Steve McManaman, Vero Boquete, Fernando Redondo, Patrick Kluivert, ‘El Pibe’ Carlos Valderrama, Christian Karembeu, Aritz Aduriz and Paolo Futre. 

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Ronald Koeman knows FC Barcelona can’t have more mistakes in LaLiga

FC Barcelona’s manager, Ronald Koeman, has talked in the press conference in the last day before receiving Elche CF (Wednesday, 19:00 GMT/UTC+1) in the Camp Nou stadium.The team worked this morning for the last time and know, as the coach told the media, that they can’t miss any more chances in LaLiga if they want to have options to win the tittle until the end. At this point of the season, they stand in the fourth position (after Sevilla FC’s last victory Yesterday) and 8 points behind the leader of the table, Atlético de Madrid.FC Barcelona will have to deal with many absences for the game ahead. Ansu Fati, Sergi Roberto and Philippe Coutinho are confirmed to be left out for the game ahead. Ronald Araújo will remain a last minute doubt for the game as he is still struggling with some discomforts, but Koeman had been saying during the season that he won’t take risks with any player.

“IT’S TRUE THAT ELCHE SEEM TO BE AN OPPONENT THAT BECAUSE OF THEIR VICTORY THE OTHER DAY ARE CONFIDENT, THEY ARE FIGHTING TO AVOID RELEGATION, SO IT’S GOING TO BE A COMPLICATED GAME. WE SAW WHAT CADIZ DID THE OTHER DAY WHEN THEY CLOSED IN, I DON’T KNOW IF ELCHE ARE GOING TO PLAY AS FAR BACK AS THEM, BUT CADIZ MADE THE MOST OF THE GAME. IT DEPENDS A LOT ON OURSELVES, ON OUR PLAY ON THE BALL, AND ALSO DEFENDING WELL AT IMPORTANT MOMENTS”

“I THINK THAT BEING A BARCELONA PLAYER YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO WIN, BUT IT IS TRUE THAT WE ARE AT A POINT IN THE SEASON WHERE WE ARE PLAYING FOR A LOT, SO WE HAVE TO LOOK FOR THE ENERGY THAT HAS BEEN THERE LATELY IN MANY GAMES, BECAUSE OF COURSE WE HAVE DROPPED POINTS AT HOME, BUT OF THE LAST 13 GAMES WE HAVE WON 10 AND DRAWN 3. OF COURSE I AM DISAPPOINTED TO LOSE TWO POINTS AT HOME THE OTHER DAY, BUT I THINK WE HAVE TO CONTINUE THIS DYNAMIC BECAUSE IF WE FAIL MORE, THERE WILL COME A POINT WHERE WE WILL HAVE NO CHANCE OF DOING ANYTHING”.

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Five things you might not know about Alexander Isak

Alexander Isak is one of the most in-form strikers in LaLiga Santander with 12 goals and two assists so far this season. Here are some facts you may not already know about the Real Sociedad striker. 

Alexander Isak has started 2021 on fire and has already notched 12 goals and two assists this season in LaLiga Santander. Here are five things you probably don’t know about the Swedish striker powering the txuri-urdin’s quest for a high finish come the end of the season.  

Isak was born in Solna, Sweden in 1999. He is of Eritrean origin, the country his parents left in search of better opportunities for their children. He remains closely linked to his roots and currently collaborates in soccer projects for children in Asmara, the country’s capital. 

The striker made his debut in LaLiga Santander against Valencia CF on Matchday 1 of the 2019-20 season. In his first season as a Real Sociedad player, he scored nine goals in LaLiga Santander, a mark that he has already comfortably passed this season with 14 games still left to play. 

Isak is the youngest player to score in five consecutive LaLiga Santander matches in the 21st century, doing so at the age of 21 years and 146 days – 85 days younger than Sergio ‘Kun’ Agüero (21 years 221 days) and 85 younger than Antonio Sanabria (21 years 231 days). Other LaLiga greats took even longer. Samuel Eto’o did it aged 22 years and 62 days; Gonzalo Higuain aged 22 years and 115 days.  

He has equalled the record held by Darko Kovacevic and John Aldridge as the Real Sociedad player who has scored in the most consecutive LaLiga games: six. 

Isak is the youngest ever scorer in the history of the Swedish national team, notching his first goal at the age of 17 years, 3 months and 22 days. And, records aside, he’s completely passionate about music: “music is life for me,” he says. 

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LaLiga Interview: Adnan Januzaj former Manchester United on LaLiga, EPL and David Silva

On playing in LaLiga, differences with the Premier League/Bundesliga 

In England, it’s more physical. Obviously everyone knows that LaLiga is much more technical. In between the spaces you have to play with your head, the players here are very clever.  

In the Bundesliga, if you play for Dortmund or Bayern Munich you’ll always have the ball and kill the other teams.  

In Spain, it’s more difficult. It’s more equal. Every game is very difficult to play, all the teams in Spain can play football, they can score goals. 

For me, the most difficult league is Spain. In my experience. The Premier League also, but if you’re in a team that plays very good football and that can create many chances… it’s also nice to play in England.  

On David Silva 

He’s a technical player, he’s an unbelievable player. Obviously because of what he’s achieved in his career. The way he thinks on the pitch… it’s different to other players, you know?  

I’m a bit similar to him. I can see passes, he can see passes. At the end of the day, when you play with players who have a similar game to you then you’ll have a better understanding on the pitch.   

On Eden Hazard 

People maybe don’t know Eden well enough here in Spain, but they will. For me, he’s one of the best players in the world. I have no doubt about it. 

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LaLiga´s week review

It was a weekend of great goals and shock results in LaLiga Santander as the 2020/21 title race continues to heat up. At the bottom, the return of a former coach has added extra spice too. There have been so many storylines in the world of Spanish football over the past week… here’s all you need to know. 

Levante frustrate the leaders not once… but twice 

As a result of a quirk in this season’s fixture list, Levante and Atlético de Madrid met twice in the space of four days this past week. Levante took four points from their double header against the league leaders with a 1-1 home draw on Wednesday and then won 2-0 in the capital on Saturday, with goalkeeper Dani Cárdenas putting in an exceptional performance.  

Cádiz take points off Barcelona again 

Just like Levante have earned four points against Atleti this year, newly promoted Cádiz have taken one win and one draw from their two meetings with Barcelona. After beating the Blaugrana at home earlier in the season, they went away to the Camp Nou this weekend and earned a memorable 1-1 draw.  

Real Madrid’s backups step up 

Real Madrid are currently experiencing an injury crisis, missing key players like Sergio Ramos, Dani Carvajal, Eden Hazard and Karim Benzema. Their backups have upped their game, however, and have led Los Blancos to four consecutive victories, proving that there is more strength in depth at the capital city club than many suspectde. Next up: Atalanta in the Champions League.

Another prize for Casemiro 

Casemiro has already an impressive array of trophies in his career, including various individual awards, and this week he added Spanish news agency EFE’s award for the best Ibero-American footballer of 2020. Other Brazilians like Ronaldo Nazário and Roberto Carlos have won the prize in the past and Casemiro said he was proud to follow in their footsteps.  

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LaLiga Santander Matchday 24 preview: it’s going to be a tough weekend!

All seven of the Spanish teams who entered UEFA competition this season made it through the group stages and into the knockout rounds; five of them returned to Champions League and Europa League action this midweek, with two more set to restart their European campaigns next week. Now, though, the focus is back on LaLiga Santander and they’re gearing up for some very difficult matches this weekend.  

Before that, the weekend’s action gets under way with a team looking to make it into Europe next season. That team is Real Betis, whose only LaLiga Santander loss of 2021 was against FC BarcelonaLos Verdiblancos are in excellent form and on Friday night they’ll face a struggling Getafe CF side that haven’t netted a goal in their past 449 minutes of play.  

Atlético de Madrid then play Levante UD in the Spanish capital and, due to a quirk in the schedule, this will actually be their second meeting in the space of four days. These two sides also faced off on Wednesday night in a fixture that was postponed from earlier in the season and now, this Saturday, they’ll do battle again.  

Valencia CF, with just one win from their past six matches, are in action next, welcoming RC Celta to Mestalla. The good news for Valencia and the bad news for the Galician side is that Iago Aspas is suspended for this match, so Los Che will be desperate to capitalise on this with a three-point haul.  

Saturday night sees Real Valladolid and Real Madrid square off. Both these teams have had lengthy injury lists of late and Real Madrid have been dealing with this much better than the Pucela, with Zinedine Zidane’s side winning their past three LaLiga Santander games. They’ll return to Champions League action in the midweek following this weekend’s game, so will surely be looking for a statement win at the Estadio José Zorrilla

On Sunday, the teams who were just in European action continue their LaLiga Santander campaigns and FC Barcelona will be looking to bounce back from their disappointment against PSG by turning in a convincing performance at home to Cádiz CF – who have already beaten both Barça and Real Madrid this season. The Andalusian side want to get back to winning ways too after suffering four consecutive league defeats. With both these teams needing a positive result, this should be an especially intriguing matchup at the Camp Nou.

The final game of Matchday 24 is another fascinating one as CA Osasuna will host Sevilla FC, another of the Spanish teams coming into this round after a continental clash. Although the Andalusians won their past five in LaLiga Santander while conceding just one goal in the process, Osasuna are in a good run of their own as they’ve won three of their past four. With a longer rest between matches, they might just fancy their chances of another victory in this Monday night matchup.  

Watch LaLiga Santander live this weekend on beIN Sports (Channel 818 Astro) 

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