Getafe set for shock European return

Getafe

As La Liga enters it’s final stages of the 2018-19 season, the shake up for European qualification is beginning to take shape – with Getafe a surprise candidate to finish in the qualification spots.

The side from South Madrid have maintained their consistent form since December 2018, with just two La Liga defeats in their last 11 league games – against Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.

Jose Bordalas’ side are currently in fifth place and in prime position to qualify for European football for the first time since 2011.

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Barcelona face tough run, as Real Madrid mount challenge

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Defending La Liga champions are facing a tough run of fixtures in domestic and European action, just as bitter rivals Real Madrid are preparing a late bid for the league title.

Ernesto Valverde’s side have drawn their last two league games, against Valencia and Athletic Bilbao, dropping four key points, in the same fortnight that Santiago Solari’s team have beaten Alaves and Atletico Madrid.

That has nudged Los Blancos ahead of their city rivals as the Catalan side’s main challengers, and the current leaders will be looking over their shoulder.

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From Hazard to Dybala and possibly Neymar Real Madrid need to buy big next season

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By their incredible standards Real Madrid have looked their most fragile and normal for the first time in a good decade. It has been a season of transition for the club who came into this season without Ronaldo and with Zinedine Zidane resigning. It has felt a little empty for a side who have won the last 3 Champions League trophies.

Let’s be honest something has felt off about the club, where was the mega signings? Because look around and you will see that Florentino Perez is still around, he who invented the original galacticos and made sure that Madrid kept signing the very best players- sometimes it worked sometimes it didn’t- yes we all remember Thomas Gravesen.

This season was clearly a breather- so much had happened in such a short space of time at Madrid then everyone needed it. And yet the club find themselves just 6 points behind league leaders Barcelona, are in the semi finals of the Copa del Rey, have won the World Club Cup and have one foot in the quarter finals of the Champions League- things really are not that bad at the club, are they?

Madrid though will be having a summer of upheaval, there is no secret about that. Coach Santiago Solari is only staying if he is able to win a trophy and the Copa del Rey may not be enough for  a side who are used to winning bigger trophies. But it is the players that the club will be bringing in which is raising the most eyebrows.

Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and Madrid have been flirting with each other ever since the World Cup ended last summer and Hazard has made no secret of where he would like to play next season. With his current club Chelsea looking like they might hit a meltdown under current coach Maurizio Sarri, Hazard may just be able to find the perfect excuse to leave. He is very much expected to leave what ever happens at Chelsea.

Paulo Dybala is another leading candidate to join Los Blancos, it what would be seen as more of a shock move after his successful career at Juventus, but Dybala the class player that he is should be able to fit into Madrid with few problems.

Then there is the real shock move which could happen this summer- the transfer of Neymar from PSG- could it really happen? Neymar would be gold for Madrid and a big loss for PSG. But what about the Barcelona fans? Last time a big name player switched clubs- Luis Figo from Barcelona to Real Madrid fans started a riot ending with a pigs head on the pitch.

Neymar would be the key for Madrid going forward, although Hazard may see Neymar as a threat as he wants to be the shining light at the club- One thing is for certain, this summer will be an incredibly interesting one at the circus that is Real Madrid.

 

Real Madrid fans are wrong to turn on Gareth Bale

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If any player deserves myth status at Real Madrid currently than you could do no more wrong in suggesting that accolade should go to Gareth Bale. But it seems that every time Bale makes an error it is this the fans are remembering him for and not his greatness as a player.

Let’s be blunt, Bale has become the best ever British import- he has joined Real Madrid, competed in a side with Cristiano Ronaldo, scored countless goals- most of them important ones and most of them awe inspiring and has won so many trophies that it is easy to lose count of them all. But for some reason that doesn’t matter diddly to Madrid fans.

Madrid’s fans have always been very hard to please. Especially if you are a player of flair- even Ronaldo has been booed at the club before, and if he can be then anyone can. But these are fans that probably wish the likes of Roy Keane had played for the club. The harder you are the more loyal you are etc etc.

It’s not that the fans do not like Bale, and any of them would have to admit he has been one of the best foreign players the club have had in their last 25 years, but they won’t let things lie down. So when Bale missed a sitter against Atletico Madrid that was brought to the forefront so much so that Spanish daily reported on it, is Bale in crisis at Madrid moment? What was bizarre is that Bale scored in that game and Madrid won 3-1, which has consequently brought them  back into the league.

But this is Madrid fans in a nutshell, they did the same to another British player-who scored important goals and won 2 Champions Leagues, Steve McManaman. Now the ex Liverpool player is welcomed back at the Bernabeu with open arms and you get the feeling that once Bale leaves the club and the years go on and retirement comes, Bale will be seen as a very important figure at the club. Surely that was cemented last summer when he came off the bench in the Champions League final and scored an incredible bicycle kick against Liverpool- and let’s be honest it was his involvement in the game that ended up winning Real Madrid their 3rd consecutive Champions League title.

Madrid fans will never change- but they need to show Bale a little bit more respect- after all he is the best player they have at the moment.

Philippe Coutinho the odd man out at Barcelona

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It has now been over a year since Philippe Coutinho became the world’s second most expensive player in the history of football. The Brazilian moved to Barcelona from Liverpool in a deal which cost a potential total of €160m, has already won three medals at the club and enjoyed many decisive moments yet there is speculation over his future.

Across the playmaker’s first 22 appearances in Spanish football he found the net ten times, yet only six more goals have followed in the following 28 outings for the Catalan giants. Coutinho has faced dilemmas both on and off the pitch, trying to force his way into a star-studded attack while settling into a new culture and language. Continue reading

Vinicius Junior provides spark for Real Madrid attack

Vinicius Junior

Only a fortnight after making his debut as a teenager with Flamengo, Vinicius Junior was making football headlines around the world. The Brazilian penned a new contract with his club before his €45m release clause was met by Real Madrid with many questioning the price of the deal for someone with such little experience.

That move came before Neymar – who Vinicius has said is his ‘idol’ – left Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain in a world record €222m move. Indeed, at the time the 17-year-old was at the time the second highest fee for a Brazilian footballer, behind only Neymar’s switch from Santos to the Camp Nou. Continue reading

Sevilla must address miserable away form

sevilla

Back in November there were fanciful suggestions that Sevilla could challenge for this season’s La Liga title. Those questions have long since vanished and the question is now whether they can maintain their position in the top four this season.

This would still represent success for the club of course, yet despite having a relatively strong campaign to date there are a number of underlying issues which continually reoccur to undermine their loftier ambitions. Saturday’s loss at Celta Vigo ensured they still had not won away from home in the league since September and they are now 14 points off the top. Continue reading

Rayo Vallecano looking to trade places with Leganes

Rayo Vallecano

One of the most intriguing fixtures in La Liga Game Week 22 will be between two lesser known sides from the Spanish capital – Rayo Vallecano and Leganes.

The sides from South Madrid face each other on Monday night, in what could be a decisive battle in the fight to avoid relegation.

The two sides are just 17km apart, however local rivalry will not be on the only thing on the line at the Campo de Futbol de Vallecas, with the season edging towards its final third.

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Real Betis to swoop for Tottenham outcast Vincent Janssen

Victor Janssen Tottenham

Real Betis are set to make a late bid for Tottenham striker Vincent Janssen, as the La Liga side look to bolster their attacking options before the transfer window closes.

Janssen has not played for the Premier League side so far this season, and he could make a loan move to the Andalusian club in the next 24 hours, with a purchase option available in the summer.

The Dutch international has endured a torrid time in North London following his move from AZ Alkmaar at the start of the 2017-18 season.

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Barcelona perform U-Turn on Denis Suarez to Arsenal

Denis Suarez

La Liga leaders Barcelona have reopened the door on Denis Suarez’s loan move to move to Arsenal, after the transfer had looked to be dead in the water just last week.

Rumours of disagreements over the specific terms of the deal, primarily Arsenal’s unwillingness to agree on a compulsory purchase clause on the midfielder at the end of the season, had looked to have killed off the move.

However the Catalan side have now given Suarez the green light to make the move to the Premier League.

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