Real Betis to break transfer record for Borja Iglesias

Borja Iglesias

Real Betis fell away from the European places last season primarily due to a lack of firepower and a blunt attack in the final third. The striking position was earmarked many months ago for being their primary area of concern this summer with the aim of landing a minimum of one prolific player.

A multitude of reports now claim that the club are prepared to break their 22-year long transfer record to land Espanyol striker Borja Iglesias. The hitman has a €28m release clause at the RCDE Stadium and that would trump the signing of Brazilian winger Denilson, in then (1997) a world record transfer which brought Betis into global headlines. Continue reading

Transfer News: Are Tottenham finally ready to spend money and buy Lo Celso?

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The transfer window in the Premier League opened up on May 16th and so far it hasn’t seen many players coming in but has seen quite a few leaving. There is a lot of work at Manchester United to be done and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer realises this and has acted accordingly. Two players have already been released in Ander Herrera and Antonio Valencia and we should expect more in the coming weeks.

West Ham have been very active in juggling up their squad and have released 8 players which includes Andy Carroll and Samir Nasri. They have also got Roberto the goalkeeper from Espanyol on a free as a back up.

A couple of legends of the Premier League will play no more in England in Manchester City’s Vincent Kompany who will become player/manager of his boyhood club Anderlecht. Petr Cech’s last game was in the Europa League final for Arsenal and he will hang up his gloves and join Chelsea’s goalkeeping coaching team.

The big news this week regarded Tottenham and their reported pursuit of Giovani Lo Celso. The North Londoners have reportedly bid £53m for the midfielder who was on the books of PSG but was then loaned out at Spanish club Real Betis, who bought the player only in April.

With Tottenham buying no new players in the last two transfer windows this would signal the clubs first purchase in over a year. However whether Tottenham will get their man is up for debate given that Betis have him under a release clause for £88m. It is understood that the club would listen to offers though in the region  of £75m but that is still over £20m what Tottenham have bid. And to further make things complicated for the club other Premier League sides have shown an interest in the 23 year old.

The connection could be a good one though for Tottenham fans hoping that their manager Mauricio Pochettino stays at the club next season given that Lo Celso is Argentinian. But this could end up being a war of words between Pochettino and club chairman Daniel Levy. If we remember a few weeks ago Pochettino hinted that he needed assurances from the club in order to stay with them, and surely one will be to bring in quality players this summer in the form of Lo Celso.

For Real Betis they would be looking at massive profits. They purchased Lo Celso only in April for about £20m, and if they did accept Tottenham’s bid they would have made a massive £33m profit in one month. Though it looks likely they will hold out for more and Tottenham will need to make a bigger improved bid.

The good news even if Tottenham fail with Lo Celso is that the club have revealed their purchasing power and that they will be buying players this summer, which must come as a relief for any Tottenham fan.

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Espanyol boss Rubi set to join Real Betis

Rubi Espanyol

The departure of Quique Setien from Real Betis created one of the most high-profile and interesting job vacancies in European football. In his first season at the helm, Setien led the club back to European football but inflated expectations and a greatly increased budget meant that this season’s 10th-place finish was one of disappointment.

A series of stars have arrived at Los Verdiblancos over the past 18 months: Pau Lopez, Marc Bartra, William Carvalho, Sergio Canales, Giovani Lo Celso. International standard players whose standard is competing in Europe and next season presents an opportunity for the club to focus on domestic competitions and potentially even launch a bid for a top four spot. Continue reading

Top La Liga Strikers in 2018/19: Lionel Messi

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The different descriptions of how to praise such genius ran out a long time ago and it is no surprise to see Lionel Messi ranked as the best La Liga striker of the season. He didn’t just amass more points he engulfed and controlled that position so that the next nearest striker, Karim Benzema was a cool 75 points behind him.

Personally for Messi it was another terrific season, true it could have been better as Barcelona ‘only’ won the league this season but the magician from Argentina still scored 36 goals in the league and assisted in another 13. That means that he was involved in 49 of Barcelona’s 90 goals, so well over 50% which is simply a stunning statistic.

Messi could have been yours this season but he would of cost the most out of every other player and was valued at 20m. He did end up collecting a huge 172 points though which as you’ve probably guessed was good enough to be ranked number 1 right across the board from strikers to any other player in any other position in any other major league. Whew! are we lucky to be able to witness his greatness in our lifetimes.

Messi started the season in fantastic fashion earning 20 points in his first 3 games including 12 alone when Barca beat Huesca 8-2 at the Camp Nou on matchday 3. In that game Messi scored 2 goals and two assists so even if that match was involved in 50% of the goals.

There were only 6 times when Messi failed to score a point and on two of those occasions the club had already won the league and so were concentrating on other competitions including the final stages of the Champions League and the Copa del Rey final.

Messi scored some huge points in games that other players could only dream about, 14 against Real Betis and 16 against Sevilla. But that wasn’t even his biggest haul, no that was saved for the game against Levante where Barcelona were playing away. The game finished 5-0 to Barca and Messi scored a hat-trick plus got two assists so was involved in every goal. To top that he picked up an extra 2 points as a bonus for getting the hat-trick.

The plaudits have long run out for him but he still amazes and seems one of the main reasons to watch La Liga football. Despite his attacking greatness it is also worth noting his disciplinary. This is important given in fantasy football how points can be lost and Messi was shown the yellow card just 2 times this season in the league.

It was another season where Messi made scoring hat-tricks seem normal and scored some fantastic goals once again, proving he is one of the greatest players ever to play the game. He will be back next season where he will most likely be the most expensive purchase but can your team really live without him?

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Zinedine Zidane showed a lack of class not playing Gareth Bale in final Real Madrid game

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Is it simply a clash of styles that Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane and Gareth Bale have never got on? At the weekend in the final La Liga game of the season and what appears to be Bale’s final game for the club, Zidane did not start the Welshman, and then didn’t even bring him on as Real Madrid lost at home to Real Betis 2-0.

It was an act of cold power from the French legend and a final reminder that Zidane never really cared for Bale. The same Bale who scored countless goals for the club including single handily beating Liverpool in the last seasons Champions League final that saw an incredible bicycle kick. Even then Zidane did not start Bale and it is evident that the game changed the moment he came on.

It’s a shame that the relationship between the two has had to end like this, but it’s even a greater loss that Bale did not start the game and then get substituted late on and get one final proper applause from the home crowd. Please let’s not forget Bale’s six seasons at the club which included 102 goals and 13 trophies, 4 of those Champions League titles.

Zidane mind numbingly played it down, but we’ve been here before with Madrid and their politics and it is blindingly obvious that Bale has played his last game with the club.

It is how business seems to be done at Real Madrid and at the same time Zidane might be right to want Bale out of the club if they need to go forward. Bale in that sense is a reminder of a team from a few years ago and not now. At the same time Bale does have a contract for another 3 years and a huge salary reported to be 14m a season, so selling Bale might be harder than the club think.

At 29 Madrid will be hoping to get the 100m money back that they spent on the player when they signed him from Tottenham at the start of the 2013/14 season. While Bale still has the quality and still has at least 4-5 seasons at the top of his game he is one for picking up injuries and Madrid not always playing him this season has meant that he hasn’t been in the shop window so to speak. Plus it doesn’t help that this is unquestionably the clubs worst season in a decade.

Bale doesn’t have to walk, his contract is legit, but the most likely outcome will be a loan or swap deal and money perhaps to a club like PSG who would be able to afford hi wages, we will wait and see. But Zidane created his own faux pas at the weekend and really should have allowed Bale to say goodbye properly.

 

Real Betis will not sign wayward Jese Rodriguez

Jese

The story of Jese Rodriguez is one of missed opportunity, bad decisions and misfortune. As he rose through the youth ranks at Real Madrid and into the first-team squad, his style of play drew comparisons to Cristiano Ronaldo and he was widely recognised as one of the best players in the world.

Three months ago, Jese celebrated his 26th birthday and even though he should be approaching an age where most elite footballers reach their peak, his career is lurching from one underperformance to the next. Reports in Spain now say Real Betis, where he is currently on loan, will not exercise the option to sign him permanently. Continue reading

Real Betis set to dismiss boss Quique Setien

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The future of boss Quique Setien at Real Betis looks increasingly uncertain and it appears likely he will be removed from his post this summer. Last week, the club confirmed via a statement that they had decided to stick with the under-fire coach until the end of the season. But for how much longer beyond that?

Los Verdiblancos have taken just four points from their last seven La Liga games and are now out of contention for a European spot. Their form since Christmas has been one of a team in the relegation mix and results, combined with the team’s sluggish style of play, has pushed fans over the edge in Seville. Continue reading

How La Liga side Getafe spent under €25m and are aiming for a top 4 finish

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Not many pundits, journalists and fans could have expected to see Getafe in 5th place in Spain’s La Liga in the middle of April with just 6 games left to play, but that is how this season has transpired.

Getafe are aiming of course for a Champions League finish and Sevilla are the only club that currently stand in their way. Forget about the top 3- Barcelona are 23 points in front, Atletico Madrid are 14 points and Real Madrid have 9 points more. But Sevilla are just one point to the advantage of the club.

Directly below Getafe the fight is not finished to overtake them and they may have to fend off threats from Valencia and to a lesser extent Athletico Bilbao who are currently 5 points off of Getafe’s blistering pace.

With 13 games won so far this season and a plus goal difference of 11 the club have taken everyone by storm, but just how has this improvement happened this season?

The club had a big summer clear out last summer and brought in over 20 players, most of these were loans and loan backs and they actually spent just over 20m euros in the window.  Vitorino Antunes for 2.5m euros arrived from Dynamo Kiev and Mauro Arambarri from Argentinian side Boston River for 2m euros. Ivan Alejo from Eibar came for 4m euros and the teams biggest expenditure was on Valencia’s Nemanja Maksimovic for 5m euros.

And it has been interesting. Antunes has impressed in defence and has picked up 49 points so far this season in Ligue 1 Fantasy football, he is the 3rd best performing player for Getafe. In first place for the club is David Soria, the 26 year old goalkeeper also joined the club from Sevilla last summer.

Goals have come from Angel Luis Rodriguez Diaz, simply known as Angel, which makes buying a shirt with his name on the back more cost effective. The Spaniard has scored 12 goals this season and is the clubs leading goal scorer, but he has also assisted a further 7 times, this is his 2nd season with the club and from 57 games he has 18 in total. But this has been far his most impressive season after his switch from Real Zaragoza.

A lot of the credit has to go to coach Jose Bordalas who at 55 and mostly coaching 2nd and 3rd tier clubs got his break in 2016 when he was appointed head coach from Alaves after he had guided the club to the Segunda Division title.

Last season Getafe finished 8th with 55 points, that points total will surely be passed this season and the club have properly progressed in the last couple of seasons. What has helped is that goals have been spread over 3 different players. The aforementioned Angel, but also Jorge Molina has weighed in with 9 goals and Sebastian Cristoforo even in a  midfield role has 10. It means that Getafe for the first time in years are not reliant on just one player.

The club continue to play the game within their means, and if that means Champions League qualification in the process then their success will not just be on the pitch but in their accounts too.

For now Getafe look good for at least the Europa League and they will be hoping to continue their great level and their capacity to shock the bigger teams as the league’s end draws in.

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Week 32: Best 11 Players of the Weekend in Fantasy La Liga

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It was a weekend that saw Atletico Madrid close the gap on league leaders Barcelona to 9 points after Barca rested most of their first team squad in order to prepare for their Champions League match against Manchester United in midweek. But Barca will surely still win the league. Real Madrid do not play until today but given that they are 8 points clear of 4th place their Champions League participation will be assured for next season.

Below in a formation of 4-4-2 we look at the best performers in La Liga over this past weekend and see if you had any of these top performing players in your line up.

Goalkeeper: Sergio Asenjo-Villarreal

Sergio Asenjo had an important job to do even if the goalkeepers of Atletico Madrid and Barcelona earned the same points. Villarreal are struggling with relegation and Asenjo was able to keep a clean sheet and make important saves as his team beat Girona 1-0 to move 2 points clear of the bottom three. It was the clubs first clean sheet in the last 5 games.

Defender: Xabier Etxeita- Huesca

Etxeita was the defender for Huesca that really stood out at the weekend to earn his 5pts. Huesca played league leaders Barcelona, and while Barca did rest the majority of their first teamers, Etxeita remained disciplined in defence and made sure his team got a famous point against the Catalan giants. He is valued at 3m.

Defender: Filipe Luis- Atletico Madrid

It was a typical solid performance from Filipe Luis as Atletico eased to a 2-0 win over Celta Vigo to move within 9 points of Barcelona and pull 5 points clear of Real Madrid. Luis has had an outstanding season and is valued at 6.5m.

Defender: Alvaro G. Soberon- Villarreal

Soberon won’t be on many of the team of the week lists but he shored up a Villarreal defence as the team who have struggled all season got a huge result at the weekend by beating Girona 1-0 away from home. He has earned just 7 points this season and 5 of them came at the weekend. He can be bought for 4.5m.

Defender: Jeison Murillo- Barcelona 

Murillo is seldom used at Barcelona but the 26 year old was drafted into the team as Ernesto Valverde opted to rest the majority of players. It is to Murillo’s credit that he stayed focused and made some good blocks as Barca kept a clean sheet, impressive given a wealth of this team were playing together for the first time.

Midfielder: Sarabia- Sevilla

Sarabia had a fantastic game as Sevilla took on their arch rivals not only did he assist in the first goal for the club but he then scored the 2nd and Sevilla won a thrilling game 3-2 for Sarabia to earn 6pts at the weekend. The player is currently the highest ranked in midfielders with 78pts and is valued at 7m.

Midfielder: Giovani Lo Celso- Real Betis

Keeping with the Sevilla derby on the other end was Lo Celso and Betis who put in a big performance before losing 3-2. Lo Celso did score though to make it 6 goals this season and was a threat in the match.

Midfielder: Franco Vasquez- Sevilla

Vasquez has stepped up his game in recent weeks as Sevilla look to finish 4th and claim a Champions League berth. He also scored what turned out to be Sevilla’s 3rd and winning goal in the derby against Betis and earned his 4pts this past weekend.

Midfielder: Pablo Fornals- Villarreal

Fornals has earned 25pts this season and was the best midfielder that Villarreal had at the weekend earning 3pts for helping his team keep a clean sheet and keeping his midfield together as they got a vital away win over Girona. Fornals can be brought into your side for 8m.

Striker: Santi Mina- Valencia

Santi Mina earned the most points of any striker this past weekend with 8. Mina scored 2 goals as his team beat Levante 3-1 to edge closer to a Champions League spot he has a total of just 14 pts but could have a strong finish to the season and is valued at 7m.

Striker: Inaki Williams- Athletic Bilbao

Inaki Williams really helped Bilbao out at the weekend by scoring a brace as his side won 3-2 in a game that included them missing a penalty. The win was huge and Bilbao have a chance for a Europa League finish. Williams has earned 49pts and is worth 7.5

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Week 31: Best 11 Players of the Weekend in Fantasy La Liga

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Barcelona look like they will win the league after their season defining match up against 2nd placed Atletico Madrid ended in a 2-0 win for the Catalan giants, courtesy of goals from Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi. The win took Barcelona a huge 11 points clear with just 21 left on the board. Below we take a look at the best performing players this past weekend in La Liga for your fantasy team.

Formation: 4-4-2.

Goalkeeper: Marc ter Stegen- Barcelona

Several goalkeeprs achieved 7pts this weekend but we will give the nod to Barcelona’s Marc ter Stegen based on the fact that Barca kept out the 2nd best team in Spain Atletico Madrid and ter Stegen kept a clean sheet against a team who had scored 45 times this season. ter Stegen is 2nd in the rankings and can be bought for 10m.

Defender: Jordi Alba- Barcelona

A colossal performance from Jordi Alba at the back for Barca who isn’t afraid to also attack and cause problems for the opposition. With just five minutes left v Atletico Madrid the match was 0-0 and he assisted in Luis Suarez’s goal, a famous performance and Alba is 3rd in the fantasy rankings and can be bought for 9m.

Defender: Djene- Getafe

Getafe have been brilliant this season and could qualify for the Champions League- they are currently in 4th place and Djene put in a terrific performance in defence, keeping a clean sheet as his team beat Athletic Bilbao 1-0. Djene ‘s value is 5.5m.

Defender: Sergi Gomez- Sevilla

Sergi Gomez was part of the Sevilla side who beat Valladolid 2-0 away from home in a tricky match on paper. It took Sevilla to 5th place and just 1 point behind Getafe. Gomez earned 5pts for his troubles and he is valued at just 6.5m which looks like a bargain.

Defender: Abdoulaye Ba- Rayo Vallecano

Abdoulaye Ba has started 20 games for Vallecano and has been part of a team that has conceded a massive 54 goals this season. That is why he deserves to be included in this team of the week for performers as he kept a rare clean sheet as Vallecano beat the mighty Valencia 2-0. It was a fantastic result for the club and Ba would cost 4m.

Midfielder: Giovani Lo Celso- Real Betis

The ex Barcelona player Lo Celso earned a huge 8pts at the weekend as Real Betis beat Villarreal 2-1. But it was an even more memorable weekend for Lo Celso who grabbed both of Betis’ goals. Lo Celso can be snapped up for 6m.

Midfielder: Sergi Darder- Espanyol

Sergi Darder is 10th in the midfielder rankings for fantasy la liga and he secured 8pts at the weekend as he opened up the scoring for Espanyol who went onto win their game 2-1. Darder is valued at 6.5m and has played 25 times this season.

Midfielder: Adri Embarba- Rayo Vallecano

This was a massive game for Embarba who assisted in both of Rayo Vallecano’s goals as they beat Valencia 2-0 given the team a massive boost of staying up. Embarba will need a few repeat performances if his side are to stay in La Liga and would cost just 3.5m.

Midfielder: Roque- Sevilla

Roque has struggled this season and started just 15 times being used as a substitute on a few occasions. However he earned 6pts as Sevilla kept a clean sheet in a highly intense game. Roque is valued at 3m.

Striker: Karim Benzema- Real Madrid

With most of the goals being scored by midfielders and defenders in La Liga this past weekend Karim Benzema was far and away the best performing striker in La Liga. The Real Madrid forward earned 8pts as he scored both of his sides goals in their 2-1 win over Eibar. Benzema would cost 10m.

Striker: Iago Aspas- Celta Vigo

Aspas has been here before as one of the best performers in La Liga and has done it again. He earned 7pts as Celta Vigo won 3-1 and he scored 2 of the goals to give his side a much needed 3pts. Aspas can be bought for 8.5m.

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