This week in LaLiga: Zidane, Alaba, Villarreal and much more

What has been going on in LaLiga this past week? Here are 10 of the top stories, from Villarreal’s Europa League win to coaching changes. 

Joaquín is staying at Real Betis 

Joaquín will add to his legacy at Real Betis, with the club icon having agreed to a new contract that will run until 2022 and that will see him play at the Estadio Benito Villamarín as a 40-year-old. The club have even named one of the stadium gates after Joaquín, who says he’s prepared to keep performing at the highest level. 

Zinedine Zidane leaves Real Madrid 

Zinedine Zidane has left his role as head coach at the Santiago Bernabeu outfit. The Frenchman had returned to the club in March 2019 for a second stint in charge and won the 2019/20 LaLiga Santander title and the 2019/20 Spanish Super Cup, meaning he brought 11 total trophies to the Bernabéu across his two spells in charge. A true club legend. 

Real Madrid bring in David Alaba 

In the same week as Zidane’s departure, there has been an arrival at Real Madrid too. David Alaba, the versatile Austrian, has made the move to LaLiga Santander after a decade performing at the highest level.  

José Bordalás switches the Coliseum for Mestalla 

José Bordalás’ very successful spell with Getafe has come to an end, with the coach deciding to leave the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez and take over the Valencia dugout at Mestalla. The man who led Getafe to the Europa League will now look to take Valencia back to where they belong, back to European football. 

Míchel returns to Getafe 

Bordalás’ position at Getafe has already been filled, with Míchel taking over. He returns to the club he already coached between 2009 and 2011, when he took Geta to the Europa League group stage. Real Madrid legend Míchel has also coached Sevilla and Málaga at LaLiga Santander level. 

The end of Diego Martínez’s Granada miracle 

Granada were one of the many clubs involved in the week of managerial musical chairs, with Diego Martínez having announced that he is leaving the Andalusian club. What he achieved at Granada was miraculous. Under his watch, Granada secured promotion to LaLiga Santander and then qualified for Europe for the first time in the club’s history after just a single season, taking them all the way to the Europa League quarter-finals. 

Villarreal are Europa League champions 

Villarreal won the first major trophy in their history and they did so in style, defeating Manchester United on penalties in Gdansk, Poland to lift the Europa League. All 22 players had to take a spot kick in a shootout where nobody missed until Gerónimo Rulli saved against his counterpart David de Gea, after the Argentine goalkeeper had just converted a penalty of his own. It was a huge moment and historic achievement for Villarreal, who hail from a city of just 50,000 people and who first played top tier football in 1998.  

Espanyol promoted as LaLiga SmartBank champions 

We already knew that Espanyol and RCD Mallorca were the two clubs who had achieved automatic promotion into LaLiga Santander ahead of the 2021/22 season, but now Espanyol have confirmed that they are coming up as champions. Both teams finished with 82 points, but Espanyol had the better head-to-head record. 

The LaLiga SmartBank playoffs are set 

With the LaLiga SmartBank season having reached its conclusion, we now know the six clubs who’ll battle it out in the promotion playoffs. Leganés will take on fellow Madrid side Rayo Vallecano, while Almería will face Girona. Both semi-final ties will have two legs, the first of which take place this week. 

Barcelona win LaLiga Promises Santander 

The latest edition of the prestigious LaLiga Promises Santander youth tournament was held this weekend and Barcelona’s youngsters came out on top. They overcame Sevilla in the final of the competition, which was held at Villarreal’s Ciudad Deportiva Pamesa Cerámica. The future is bright at La Masia. The 2020 tournament, rearranged due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will be played this weekend.   

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