Real Madrid’s renovation of the Santiago Bernabeu continues, and the club has just released a video looking at the impressive retractable pitch and storage system being put in place. The system would allow the ground to host lots of events other than football, including tennis, NFL matches and large-scale music concerts. As the video shows, the pitch system sees the grass divided up into trays which slide underground, revealing an artificial surface beneath. A great video showcasing one of the most ambitious and impressive stadium refurbs in world football!
What has been going on in LaLiga this past week? From the first ElClasico of the season to a brand-new contract for one of world football’s biggest rising stars, here’s all you need to know.
Real Madrid triumph in El Clásico
Real Madrid came out on top in the first ElClásico of the 2021/22 season, winning 2-1 in a thrilling contest at the Camp Nou. David Alaba’s first goal for Los Blancos was timely and brilliant, before Lucas Vázquez and Sergio Agüero traded stoppage time goals for the 2-1 final score. This is the fourth ElClásico win in a row for Real Madrid, the first time this has happened since 1965.
Sevilla win an eight-goal thriller
Sevilla vs Levante kicked off Sunday’s action with an end-to-end match that produced eight goals, the home side winning 5-3. There were seven different scorers in the game, with only José Luis Morales, Levante captain and all-time top scorer in LaLiga Santander, netting more than once.
A weekend with 35 goals
From start to finish, this was a weekend of goals in LaLiga Santander. 35 goals went in over the first nine fixtures of Matchday 10, with every team netting at least one except Cádiz CF, who lost 2-0 to D. Alavés. This is already the highest scoring round of the 2021/22 season, with a Monday night fixture between Getafe CF and RC Celta still to come.
Real Sociedad stay top of LaLiga Santander
Still at the top of the standings are Real Sociedad, who earned an impressive 2-2 draw away at Atlético de Madrid on Sunday night. The Basque side’s ‘Two Alexanders’ scored the goals, with one for Sørloth and one for Isak, before a Luis Suárez brace levelled the scoreline for the defending champions.
A European win for La Real too
Real Sociedad also earned a positive result in Europe in midweek, defeating Strum Graz 1-0 away from home in the Europa League. In the same competition, Real Betis played out an entertaining 1-1 draw with Bayer Leverkusen.
Spanish victories in the Champions League
In the Champions League, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Villarreal defeated Shakhtar Donetsk, Dynamo Kyiv and Young Boys respectively, while Sevilla drew at French champions Lille and Atlético narrowly lost a close thriller to Liverpool.
Ansu Fati’s new Barcelona contract
Ansu Fati has signed a new contract with Barcelona, committing to the Catalan club until 2027. This is great news for the Blaugrana, who have great expectations for one of world football’s best young talents. Coming just a week after Pedri agreed his own new deal, this latest contract extension is something for Barça fans to smile about.
Cádiz’s young star commits to a long-term deal too
At Cádiz, they’re celebrating a contract extension too. 17-year-old midfielder Álvaro Bastida has put pen to paper on a new deal that will run until 2026, which is great news for the Andalusian club as Bastida is one of the top talents to have emerged from their academy in recent years. Already, despite his young age, Bastida is part of the first-team setup.
A new deal for Fidel
Another player to sign a new contract this past week was Elche winger Fidel. The 31-year-old, who first joined the club in 2012 and who is a club captain, has agreed to a two-year extension that means his deal now runs until the summer of 2024.
Midweek action across LaLiga Santander
There’s no let-up in the LaLiga calendar, with Matchday 11 being played in midweek across Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. There are some fascinating games scheduled, such as Real Madrid’s home match against an Osasuna side with just two points fewer, or Barcelona’s visit to a Rayo Vallecano side who sit one point ahead of them.
Free scoring stars Ansu Fati, Memphis, Karim Benzema and Vinicius Jr will lead the lines in the long-awaited return of ElClasico at Camp Nou.
This Sunday’s clash (4.15pm CEST) will be the first ElClasico with a capacity crowd since the start of the pandemic.
The first ElClásico of the season is just around the corner, with FC Barcelona set to take on Real Madrid at Camp Nou this Sunday at 4.15pm CEST. Notably, this will be the long-awaited first meeting between these sides with supporters in the stands since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, ever since Vinicius and Mariano fired Los Blancos to a 2-0 home win in front of a packed Santiago Bernabeu back in March 2020.
Real Madrid come into this encounter on the back of two consecutive ElClasico wins. The first was almost exactly a year to the day since this weekend’s clash, winning 3-1 at an empty Camp Nou in October 2020. After Fede Valverde and Ansu Fati had produced early fireworks with strikes inside the opening 10 minutes, goals from Sergio Ramos and Luka Modrić saw Real Madrid collect all three points.
Six months later they met again under a downpour at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium, with Real Madrid edging a thrilling battle 2-1 as Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos’ first half goals proved too much for the Blaugrana, even if they pulled one back through Óscar Mingueza and pushed for an equaliser until the final minute.
Those wins have made it three ElClásico victories in a row for Real Madrid, who hadn’t won back-to-back-to-back matches against their historic rivals since 1978. They haven’t won four in a row since 1965 but will be looking to achieve exactly that when the ball gets rolling this Sunday.
Ansu Fati and Memphis vs Vinícius and Benzema
Barcelona and Real Madrid will be led up front by Ansu Fati & Memphis Depay and Vinícius & Karim Benzema, respectively. The four have started the current LaLiga season like a house on fire, proving themselves to be among the elite group of forward in world football right now. Memphis has already notched four goals in his first ever season in Spanish football, while Vinicius has hit five and laid to rest any doubts about his claims for a starting spot in Carlo Ancelotti’s side. Karim Benzema has scored nine in just eight appearances, showing no signs of slowing down, while Ansu Fati has immediately dazzled following his return from long-term injury, firing in great goals against Levante and Valencia in just a few weeks. By the time Sunday’s match comes around, the 18-year-old will be close to full fitness and be looking to make his mark on the game.
Injury concerns for Barça
All signs point to Koeman being unable to call on three key players this weekend. 18-year-old sensation Pedri, who recently signed a new-long term deal at Camp Nou until 2026, is suffering with a persistent thigh injury and won’t be rushed back for the game – sensibly, bearing in mind the number of games he has played over the last calendar year and the fact that he played through the summer, first at Euro 2020 and then at the Tokyo Olympics.
Also likely to miss out are centre-back Ronald Araujo, who picked up a hamstring injury on international duty with Uruguay, and Ousmane Dembele, who is back in training but yet to play this season after surgery in the summer.
18 years later… Koeman and Ancelotti meet again
Keep an eye on the tactical tussle this Sunday. Ronald Koeman has experimented with different systems already this campaign, oscillating between Barça’s traditional 4-3-3, 3-1-4-2 and 3-4-2-1. Carlo Ancelotti, meanwhile, has implemented a more attacking style of football since taking over the Real Madrid job in the summer – and Los Blancos have scored the goals to vindicate his decision.
The Dutchman and Italian have some parallels to their careers. Both won the European Cup as players, and league titles with multiple clubs as coaches. They met on one occasion during their playing days in a goalless draw between the Netherlands and Italy in 1990, and then took each other on four times as coaches when Ajax and AC Milan met in back-to-back Champions League seasons in 2002/03 and 2003/04. One draw and three AC Milan victories means Koeman is still looking for his first managerial win over Ancelotti, and where better to break that duck than in ElClasico, the biggest club match in world football.
The 183rd LaLiga Santander Clásico
This Sunday’s game will be the 183rd meeting between these two clubs in Spain’s top division, with Barcelona and Real Madrid having met in every single one of the 90 LaLiga Santander seasons to date, with neither side having ever been relegated from the country’s top tier.
Real Madrid edge the overall record thanks to their three recent victories, having now won 75 of the 182 previous league meetings, while Barça have triumphed 72 times alongside 35 draws. To say this rivalry has been finely balanced over the year would be an understatement.
Watch ElClasico live this Sunday on BeINSports at 10:15pm
ElClasico is the game with the most and the best stars ever in football history. Both Real Madrid and FC Barcelona reinforced their squads over the summer, and up to six new players may well make their debuts in the legendary ElClasico
From their very first kick of a ball, every professional footballer dreams of playing in the biggest matches. There’s no doubt that the LaLiga Santander ElClasico is one of those, and one which all lovers of the beautiful game eagerly anticipate. Throughout history, some of the best players of all time have had the opportunity to represent FC Barcelona, Real Madrid – or both – in a match that never ceases to excite and compel.
Both Los Merengues and Los Cules made signings in the summer, and on October 24 several of them will have the opportunity and the honour of being able to make their ElClasico debuts. Up to six players could make their debut:
The Dutch star came to LaLiga Santander with the intention of making his mark at Barcelona. He’d always dreamt of representing the club and soon he’ll get the chance to shine in ElClasico. The 27-year-old has hit the ground running and is one of the league’s most in-form attackers. He’s known for his exceptional talent, goalscoring ability, assist providing, plus the ability to conjure something out of thin air. There’s no doubt that FC Barcelona’s acquisition of Memphis could be decisive in what will be a showstopping afternoon at the Camp Nou, at 4:15PM on October 24.
Eric Garcia is a Barcelona boy through and through. The young centre-back from Martorell came through the club’s academy where he did in fact play against Real Madrid. He impressed at every stage of his development, captaining every La Masia side he featured in. He re-joined Barcelona this summer after the club saw in him a player that not only already possessed great quality as a youngster but could go on to form the heart of the club’s defence for years to come. It seems more than likely that Garcia will be making his ElClasico bow this season.
Luuk De Jong:
Luuk De Jong was a last-minute acquisition by Barcelona, joining on loan following a successful stint at Sevilla FC. The Dutch striker has come in to bolster the Barça attack, and will be keen to be among the goals for his new club. But will he manage to make it onto the scoresheet in his LaLiga Santander ElClasico debut?
Sergio Aguero, one of the best strikers in the history of the game, signed for FC Barcelona this summer. The Argentine is back in LaLiga Santander, where he’d already shone with Atletico Madrid. Bad luck with injuries is about to end, so he may well get his first chance to impress for FC Barcelona on October 24 in ElClasico.
Youth, self-confidence, quality, and power are just some of the hallmarks of Eduardo Camavinga. Real Madrid signed the midfielder with the aim that after bedding into the side he would go on to be a fixture in Los Blancos’ midfield in the coming seasons. Despite his tender years, the 18-year-old has already made quite the impact at his new club. He not only scored on his first appearance but has regularly pulled fans onto the edge of their seats with his class. There’s no doubt that this ElClasico will be the first of many for Camavinga
29-year-old David Alaba joined Real Madrid during the last transfer window. The versatile Austrian footballer is keen to bring his experiences in elite football to the heart of Los Blancos’ back four. His performances so far this season for Carlo Ancelotti’s men have been of considerable merit. The next LaLiga Santander ElClasico will be a very special occasion for Alaba, as he’ll likely be making his maiden bow in this iconic clash. He’s a top-drawer player who his team will need in this kind of game.
Don’t miss ElClasico on October 24 at 10:15pm on the usual broadcaster: BeINSports
FC Barcelona and Real Madrid meet at Camp Nou this weekend (Sunday, 4.15pm CEST) in what is the most eagerly awaited club football clash in the world. Here are six direct match-ups which could well decide who takes home the points.
ElClasico is always such a tight contest and this weekend’s encounter could come down to a single individual battle on the chessboard that is the football pitch. Ahead of the meeting between Barcelona and Real Madrid at the Camp Nou on Sunday, here comes a look at six duels that could prove decisive.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen vs Karim Benzema
Benzema is in terrific form and comes into ElClasico with nine goals from his eight LaLiga Santander appearances so far and after helping France to a Nations League triumph with his excellent performances in the Final Four. Real Madrid’s main man in attack appears to be unstoppable, but ter Stegen has managed to keep Benzema at bay over the years. In fact, the Frenchman has scored just twice across the 1,075 minutes they’ve shared on the pitch in previous ElClásico meetings. The number nine scored in their last encounter, however, in Los Blancos’ 2-1 win at Valdebebas last campaign.
Vinícius Jr vs Gerard Piqué
Benzema might be the primary goal scorer in this Real Madrid squad, but the player who seems to creates out of nothing is Vinícius and he’ll look to use his pace and trickery to get the better of Gerard Piqué. The Brazilian and the Spaniard are at opposite ends of their careers, so we’ll see youthful confidence going up against veteran experience and this could be key to the game’s outcome.
Frenkie de Jong vs Casemiro
As is so often the case in football, the key battles could be in the midfield – and keep a particular eye on the individual duel between Frenkie de Jong and Casemiro. These two players bring the energy to their respective midfields and are capable of playing their best football on the biggest occasions. Key to protecting their defences at the same time as getting forward to contribute to attack, de Jong and Casemiro are undoubtedly two of this fixture’s most important players.
Gavi vs Eduardo Camavinga
We might witness a glimpse into the future during this October’s ElClasico, with 17-year-old Gavi and 18-year-old Camavinga likely to earn some minutes at the Camp Nou. Both these players have caught the eye to start the 2021/22 campaign, with Gavi making an impact after emerging through Barça’s La Masia academy and with Camavinga hitting the ground running at Real Madrid following his summer transfer from Rennes. If these two players do feature in this game, perhaps off the bench, then they’ll likely occupy the same area of the pitch and their fresh legs in the final stages could prove decisive.
Ansu Fati vs David Alaba
There is great excitement at Barcelona at Ansu Fati’s comeback, after he returned from a 10-month injury layoff by scoring a goal against Levante on his first match back. The 18-year-old has inherited Lionel Messi’s iconic number ten shirt at Camp Nou and will be looking to score against Real Madrid, just as he did in this same fixture last year before his knee injury. Out to prevent the teenager from repeating last year’s trick is summer signing David Alaba, the experienced centre-back who has seamlessly slotted into Real Madrid’s back line. While Los Blancos’ defence has been leakier than Carlo Ancelotti would like, that’s not Alaba’s fault and the Austrian will be determined to earn a clean sheet in his first ElClasico.
Memphis Depay vs Thibaut Courtois
While ter Stegen vs Benzema is a duel we’ve enjoyed many times before, the upcoming battle between Thibaut Courtois and Memphis is a relatively novel one. They have only shared the pitch for 17 minutes in their careers, back in 2015/16 when they both played in English football, so this should be a special face-off between the goalkeeper and the forward at Camp Nou. Both players have started 2021/22 in good form and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the result of this ElClasico comes down to a one-on-one chance between the Dutchman and Belgian.
Watch ElClasico this Sunday at 10:15pm on BeINSports.
FC Barcelona face Real Madrid this Sunday (4.15pm CEST) in a clash which pits together some of the most exciting rising stars in football today. Here’s a look at some of the best talent to keep an eye on.
LaLiga Santander leads the way with more nominees for the 2021 Golden Boy than any other league, with Pedri, Gavi, Camavinga and Rodrygo all nominated alongside Villarreal’s mercurial 19-year-old Yeremi Pino.
There is something special about the Barcelona and Real Madrid squads this season: both clubs have many young talents earning serious minutes. Both are inside the top six when looking at the LaLiga Santander teams with the youngest average ages, demonstrating that Ronald Koeman and Carlo Ancelotti are both placing their trust in rising stars. Here’s a look at the up-and-coming talents at Barcelona and at Real Madrid in each position.
In goals: Lunin and Peña have talent even if they lack minutes
In Marc-André ter Stegen and Thibaut Courtois, Barcelona and Real Madrid have two of the best goalkeepers in the world. That means it is incredibly difficult for up-and-coming shot-stoppers like Iñaki Peña and Andriy Lunin to earn minutes. Yet these young goalkeepers have impressed in training and with their national teams, with Peña having been involved at all youth levels for Spain and even making the senior team’s bench for one friendly, while Lunin has featured for Ukraine’s senior side on six occasions.
In defence: Both clubs already have their centre-backs of the future
Finding world-class centre-backs is one of the most difficult tasks in football, but both Barcelona and Real Madrid have young central defenders they believe in. Éder Militão’s excellent end to last season convinced Real Madrid that the 23-year-old Brazilian is already capable of leading their back line and he has started 2021/22 on the front foot too. Over in Barcelona, Koeman has been rotating between two young centre-backs to start the campaign as 20-year-old Eric García and 22-year-old Ronald Araújo have each shown promise.
Also in defence, there is excitement at both clubs over the promising young left-backs to have come through their respective academies. At Real Madrid, 20-year-old Miguel Gutiérrez has already earned 10 appearances for the first team after catching Zinedine Zidane’s eye and then earning further opportunities with Carlo Ancelotti. Barcelona, meanwhile, have high hopes for Alejandro Balde, the 17-year-old who sadly saw his first senior start end prematurely because of an injury. In 20-year-old Sergiño Dest, Barcelona also have a quality right-back to be excited about.
In midfield: The future has arrived with Valverde, Pedri, Camavinga and Gavi
The centre of the pitch is so important and both Barcelona and Real Madrid already have young midfielders who can lead their sides for many years to come. Nobody has made more appearances for Real Madrid so far this term than Fede Valverde, just like nobody had more appearances at Barcelona last year than Pedri’s 52. What was incredible about Pedri last season was that the 18-year-old had never before played at LaLiga Santander level, yet he immediately became one of the most important players for Barça and then for the Spanish national team.
This year, the Pedri story is being replicated with Gavi, who has emerged from Barcelona’s La Masia academy and then slotted in seamlessly to the Spain squad, even becoming La Roja’s youngest ever player during the Nations League Final Four at the age of 17 and 62 days. Eduardo Camavinga has been just as impressive at Real Madrid, scoring and assisting across his first few appearances following his move from Rennes.
So impressive have the performances of these young stars been that Pedri, Camavinga and Gavi are among LaLiga’s five nominees for this year’s Golden Boy award, given to the best U21 player in European football.
With other young talents earning minutes too, such as Nico, Riqui Puig and Antonio Blanco, it’s clear that Barcelona and Real Madrid have young talent in midfield, players who’ll dominate in the future but who are already impressing in the present.
In attack: Ansu Fati vs Vinícius could be the great individual battle of the next decade
In Ansu Fati and in Vinícius, Barcelona and Real Madrid each have a talented young forward who could go on to become one of the world’s very best. The Spain and Brazil internationals have burst onto the scene in LaLiga Santander and have already demonstrated that they deserve to be starting up front for these two prestigious clubs. With Ansu Fati still just 18 and with Vinícius only 21, both players have room for growth and the latter is showing that this season by already scoring five LaLiga Santander goals, surpassing last season’s tally. Ansu Fati, meanwhile, has just returned from a long-term injury and will be looking to rediscover the form he showed when he shocked the world as a 16-year-old.
As well as those two blue-chip forwards, there are other young attackers at Barcelona and Real Madrid who also have the potential to leave their mark on the game. From Yusuf Demir to Rodrygo – another 2021 Golden Boy nominee –, Barcelona and Real Madrid have as many rising stars in attack as they do in every other position.
Watch ElClasico live this Sunday at 10:15pm on BeINSports
The world’s most iconic club match will now have its own logo and visual identity
Rivalry, strength, passion, technology, innovation, dynamism, entertainment and globality are among this new image’s main attributes
Madrid, 13 September 2021.- LaLiga has created a logo and brand identity for ElClasico, the match that pits FC Barcelona and Real Madrid against each other each season, with the aim of giving one of the most iconic and popular sporting showdowns on the planet a unique and highly recognisable visual identity.
The branding project’s aim is to reflect the DNA of what this legendary encounter symbolises: rivalry, strength, passion, technology, innovation, dynamism, entertainment and globality.
Always at the cutting edge of innovation and entertainment, this new image will be yet another asset in LaLiga’s bid to enhance the brand value of its competition and its clubs, which can be featured at all international events and activations held around this match as part of LaLiga’s internationalisation strategy.
This initiative shows LaLiga to be looking to the future once again, working more closely with clubs to promote the competition and its most iconic matches, including not only ElClasico but also El Gran Derbi, El Derbi de Madrid, El Derbi Vasco, among others.
Watched in every corner of the planet, ElClasico is LaLiga’s blockbuster par excellence that puts life on hold; it is the most watched club match globally. An encounter that everybody watches, that brings everybody together, whether they like football or not, and a cultural touch point that transcends borders.
LaLiga is preparing a major launch of this new visual identity to coincide with the next ElClasico, set to be played in October. It will be implemented across all media outlets and actions that LaLiga rolls out, both nationally and internationally, through promotions, digital and media campaigns, international media activations, press conferences, and international events.
Just last week, LaLiga won the International Creativity Award at this year’s Sports Industry Awards for its unique ElClasico campaign, highlighting its diverse and highly adaptable events in all four corners of the world during the pandemic. The award was also a reflection of LaLiga’s wider work in promoting ElClasico in recent years.
The design of ElClasico’s identity
This is a groundbreaking, young, exciting, football-loving, and visual image that will connect with a global audience and especially among a young demographic. Its style is reminiscent of the digital environments popular among younger audiences and their passion for eSports, TV shows and urban culture. A visual identity that conveys not only the today, but also the tomorrow of a great sporting and entertainment show that brings the world to a standstill for 90 minutes.
ElClasico’s new logo draws its inspiration from the shared emotion that exists between footballers and fans the world over. It is an inclusive brand that does not set a distance between the stars and their supporters, but rather brings them closer together and helps fans feel that they are very much an integral part of the game.
Custom typography has been used to create this new identity, with an energetic style, sharp angles and verticality to express movement, dynamism, and its digital essence.
The symbol that separates Real Madrid and FC Barcelona will replace the usual “vs.” and will be the icon that best represents ElClasico. It represents rivalry, strength, and confrontation, evoking the competitive spirit of both teams.
Real Madrid have been redeveloping their home ground over the past year and a half, but will finally return this Sunday to take on RC Celta
This Sunday, for the first time in a year and a half, there will be a matchday buzz in the Chamartín area of Madrid. The Estadio Santiago Bernabéu hasn’t hosted any event since Real Madrid defeated FC Barcelona 2-0 in ElClásico on 1st March 2020 and now, 560 days later, Los Blancos will take on RC Celta at their historic home, at 21:00 CEST on 12th September.
When the coronavirus pandemic struck, temporarily halting the football calendar and then preventing fans from attending matches, Real Madrid decided to bring forward the redevelopment work that they had planned for the Bernabéu. If no football stadium was going to be able to host supporters for a significant period of time, Real Madrid concluded that it made sense to use that time to start with the construction work that they’d planned to carry out over the next several off-seasons.
As such, Los Blancos fulfilled their final few 2019/20 home fixtures and all of their 2020/21 home matches at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano in their Valdebebas training complex. This was the stadium that had been used by the B team and, even if it’s a smaller ground, it is a state-of-the-art venue that has 14 booths for TV and radio, dozens more seats for the written press and a media centre. There was enough space for up to 30 cameras to be installed, meaning that the broadcasts of Real Madrid’s LaLiga Santander matches were still of the highest quality.
During their brief stay at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, Real Madrid clinched the 2019/20 LaLiga Santander title, as well as winning important fixtures such as ElClásico or the Madrid derby. In total, including matches in all competitions, Los Blancos played 31 home fixtures in Valdebebas between football’s return and now, for a record of 23 wins, four draws and four defeats. That made for a win percentage of 74%, only slightly below Real Madrid’s all-time home win percentage of 77%.
Now, after playing their first three fixtures of the 2021/22 LaLiga Santander season on the road, it’s finally time for Los Blancos’ homecoming and, even if there is still limited capacity due to the remaining coronavirus restrictions and the fact that fans are returning gradually, there is great excitement ahead of this weekend’s clash with RC Celta Vigo.
Summer signings David Alaba and Eduardo Camavinga will be able to experience the home support of the Bernabéu for the first time, while other stars such as Karim Benzema, Luka Modrić and Toni Kroos can savour the cheers of their fanbase for the first time in over 18 months.
Construction work is still taking place at the stadium, as the redevelopment project is a significant one and won’t be finished for some time yet. However, Real Madrid have been able to accelerate the process as they construct what club president Florentino Pérez has said will be “the best stadium in the world”.
The new-look Bernabéu will bring increased security, comfort and accessibility for fans, while it will also boast a new roof, a new exterior and new spaces, such as convention rooms, stores, car parking and a new interactive museum. Most importantly, it’ll have the special atmosphere that exists at Real Madrid matches, starting from this Sunday.