What is Brazilian legend Ronaldo’s ultimate goal with Real Valladolid?

In 2018 when Ronaldo, the 1990s Brazilian version became the majority owner of Spanish club Real Valladolid it certainly raised eyebrows.Why would Ronaldo become president of a club who were used to either being relegated or fighting in a relegation dog fight? The answer is the challenge and of course the affordability of the club, Ronaldo now owns 82% of the team, but is his project go after 2 years?

In Ronaldo’s first season of ownership Valladolid came 16th and just 4 points was the difference between staying in La Liga and playing their next season in the Segunda. Everyone at the club was obviously relived. They also made it to the quarter finals of the Copa del Rey which was no mean feat but all in all it was a season with a few highs and one to forget.

The next season saw an improvement in the league when they finished 13th but they had only ironically finished with 1 more point than the previous season and had only won a lowly 23% of their games.

This season marks the clubs 90th in existence. The objective of course is to improve and keep moving forwards. The club lost Mohammed Salisu to Premier League side Southampton but got a small fortune for him 12m euros. Transfers in and have been mostly free ones, though Fabian Orellana from Eibar catches the eye.

The project this season is to try and reach 50 points and finish in the top 10 and then for the season after qualification for the Europa League- this would be the best case scenario. But when Valladolid aren’t playing well one could just imagine that Ronaldo would love to rip off that suit, go back in time 20 years and get on that pitch pronto. The club lose a lot of games and that includes home ones, and this will be a frustrating role for Ronaldo before it gets better, and the fact is football can be cruel, it may never get better, especially if the club are relegated.

Valladolid played four pre-season games losing 2 of them but gained a decent 2-2 draw away to Portuguese side Braga in their last game before the La Liga season kicked off on September 12th.

In the league the club have played two games, starting with a 1-1 draw against Real Sociedad at home and then a defeat away to Real Betis losing 2-0. Michel, the attacking midfielder has scored the clubs only goal so far.

It will be a long and testing season for the club with such limited funds, their next game is on September 27th when they will play Celta Vigo at home. Home games will be so important for the club, and they must pick up points here, that is going to be key for survival for the 3rd time in a row under Ronaldo.

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La Liga: Best 11 Players of the Weekend: Matchday 2

About half the teams in La Liga have played 2 games but matches are still being staggered and Barcelona for example will not play their first game until September 27th. Real Madrid, the champions did open their account and it was in disappointing fashion as they could only draw away 0-0 against Real Sociedad. But did any of their players make the final cut?

Check below to see if you’re fantasy players made the best 11 in Spain at the weekend.

Formation: 4-4-2

Goalkeeper: Remiro- Real Sociedad 7pts

There were a few goalkeepers who kept a clean sheet and got 7pts but we will give the nod to Remiro of Real Sociedad who helped to keep Real Madrid at bay as the game ended 0-0. His value is 6m.

Defender: Aissa Mandi- Real Betis 5pts

Aissa Mandi makes the best 11 team for the 2nd week in a row. Mandi earned 5pts as his Real Betis team beat Real Valladolid 2-0 and he helped to keep a clean sheet and is becoming a stalwart of the Betis defence.

Defender: Marc Bartra- Real Betis 5pts

More points for Marc Bartra who played well alongside Mandi and there is a good relationship between the two players as Betis once again kept a clean sheet. Bartra is valued at 6.5m.

Defender: Fali- Cadiz 5pts

Fali came on in the 2nd half and helped his team shore up the defence and he kept his head as Cadiz beat Huesca 2-0 and kept a very important clean sheet away from home against the odds.

Defender: Djene- Getafe 5pts

Djene is a good defender who popped up in the best 11 players a few times last season and could be worth adding to your team. He helped his side Getafe keep a clean sheet as they beat Osasuna 1-0 at home at the weekend.

Midfielder: William Carvalho- Real Betis 6pts

Real Betis won their game 2-0 and William Carvalho scored a goal for the club to have a very good weekend. He was always a danger in midfield and seems to have hit it off with Nabil Fekir. It should be a good season for Betis.

Midfielder: Nabil Fekir- Real Betis 5pts

Nabil Fekir assisted and scored a goal but lost some points as he was booked. A very good player, his passing his sublime at times and he is valued in the fantasy team at 10m and has started the season very well.

Midfielder: Filip Malbasic- Cadiz 4pts

Malbasic might not be a house hold name but he helped his side Cadiz to a win at the weekend as he assisted in the 2nd goal which ended up being the winner towards the end of the game, he has started the season positively.

Midfielder: Adnan Januzaj- Real Sociedad 2pts

Just 2 pts has seen Januzaj make the selection in a weekend which was hardly vintage for La Liga, plus we are not back to a full schedule. He did well and held his own though in  midfield against the champions Real Madrid in a game that ended goalless.

Striker: Iago Aspas- Celta Vigo 8pts

Aspas is another player who kept finishing in the best 11 players of the weekend and he is becoming a real legend for his club Celta Vigo, Aspas scored both of Celta Vigo’s goals as they beat Valencia 2-1. He is worth so much to the club but you can add him to your fantasy team for just 8.5m.

Striker: Gerard Moreno- Villarreal 6pts

Moreno earned 6 pts at the weekend as Villarreal won their game 2-1. Moreno scored and assisted for the winner, and he had a goal disallowed so it was a very busy afternoon for the striker who deserves his place in the best 11 of the La Liga weekend.

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La Liga Best 11 Players of the Weekend: Matchday 1

The new Spanish season kicked off last weekend and with Lionel Messi deciding to stay at Barcelona, Real Madrid may have a real challenge this year. We should not forget about Atletico Madrid too who always remain a danger. However this first batch of games did not involve any of these teams. The games were reduced from the usual 10 to 7.

So which players made the difference on the opening weekend, do you have them in your team? Did they impress so much that you would consider getting them? Let’s take a look.

Formation: 4-4-2

Goalkeeper: Claudio Bravo- Real Betis 7pts

A few goalkeepers got the same points but we will give this to Claudio Bravo for Real Betis who made some important saves but also because Betis were away from home and kept a clean sheet in beating Alaves 1-0. It was a solid display and a good result.

Defender: Oier Mate-Osasuna 7pts

Oier Mate not only helped Osasuna keep a clean sheet as they beat new comers Cadiz away he also helped assist in Adrian’s goal which was Osasuna’s first of the night in a 2-0 win.

Defender: Domingos Duarte- Granada 5pts

Granada beat Athletic Bilbao 2-0 and Duarte was everywhere, shoring up the defence and having an all round great game in helping his team secure a clean sheet.

Defender: Rafa- Eibar 5pts

This wasn’t an easy game for Eibar who drew 0-0 at home against Celta Vigo and finished the game with 10 men. However Rafa was a stand out defender for the club and earned his points as he helped keep a clean sheet.

Defender: Aissa Mandi- Real Betis 5pts

Aissa Mandi is becoming a veteran with Real Betis and a real stalwart with the club throughout the years. Betis did well winning 1-0 away to Alaves and Mandi did his job perfectly to help keep a clean sheet.

Midfielder: Ruben Garcia- Osasuna 6pts

Ruben Garcia can be snapped up for just 4.5m and last weekend he earned the most points as a midfielder in the league. He scored a goal for Osasuna as they won their game 2-0 and earned 6 points in the process.

Midfielder: Sergio Canales- Real Betis 4pts

Sergio Canales has been playing in La Liga now for some time and is still a great player to watch, really catches the eye. Canales assisted in Real Betis’ goal as they grabbed all three vital points.

Midfielder: Miguel Alfonso Herrero- Real Valladolid 3pts

Earning just three points wouldn’t normally put you in a team of the week but it has for Miguel Alfonso Herrero who would cost you 7.5m to add to your team. His team Valladolid drew 1-1 with Real Sociedad and he got the goal. However he was then booked five minutes after goal which penalised his points.

Midfielder: William Carvalho- Real Betis 2pts

Many defenders got 2 points but Carvalho played a good game with Betis in their away victory and made some vital interceptions, so he makes this team.

Striker: Jose Luis Morales- Levante 8pts

Jose Luis Morales had a strange game as he opened the scoring against Valencia which was a shock for Levante and he scored later in the game to get register two. But Valencia came back and won the game 4-2. So a bad game for his team but for him personally he had a good game and in fact scored the most points of any player in the league this weekend.

Striker: Maximiliano Gomez- Valencia 4pts

Gomez was involved in the same game as Morales and they take the strikers awards this week. Gomez was of course on the winning side as Valencia beat Levante 4-2 and he scored one of the four goals.

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La Liga is back and will kick off with the grand derby when Sevilla take on Real Betis

It’s taken 3 months but La Liga is finally returning after Covid-19 and the first match will take place this Thursday when bitter rivals Sevilla take on Real Betis.

The match between the two teams is called ‘The Grand Derby’ and it is sure to be a good encounter. Of course the edge will be taken off the game given that the league will play out the season behind closed doors with no fans. However the Bundesliga has proved that even without fans games have still been intense. For example goals are still being scored, with plenty of attacks and players are still being booked and cautioned. Of course without the fans it will never be the same, but at the end of the day many fans will be watching the games on television and getting back into the drama of football.

Currently Sevilla are in 3rd place with 47 points and whilst a top two position looks out of reach the club will have to continue to win games to qualify for next seasons Champions League. There is just 2 points between Sevilla in 3rd and Atletico Madrid in 6th position and it is clear that Sevilla have no given right to a top 4 place. As for Real Betis they are in 12th place with 33 points and 9 points behind a Europa League place and losing pace so they will probably need something from this game.

Betis come into the match with mixed form with just 1 win from their last five games although they did win their last match before the pandemic put an end to proceedings. However that victory was a fantastic 2-1 win over Real Madrid. As for Sevilla they are on a 4 game unbeaten run and have lost just two games at home this season.

And who will win La Liga? Only Barcelona and Real Madrid can win the title now and Barcelona have 58 points whilst Madrid are just two points behind on 56. At the weekend Barcelona will be away to Real Mallorca whilst Madrid will take on Eibar at home. Of course both teams will be favourites to pick up all three points but they could also be rusty. However what has been impressive in Germany has been Bayern Munich who have actually looked sharp and fantastic as if the break had never occurred so it will be interesting to see how the two giants in Spanish football react.

The first games back in La Liga will be spread over four days starting on June 11th until Sunday June 14th. The league has another 11 games left to play.

 

 

La Liga: Best 11 Players of the Weekend: Week 24

Real Madrid were shocked as they could draw at home against Celta Vigo 2-2. With Barcelona getting past Getafe with a 2-1 win it means that Barca are just one point behind Madrid with 14 games left to play. From the top 6 teams only two won in Barcelona and Villarreal and that has also made Champions League finishing positions more open and interesting.

Let’s take a look below at who performed the best this past weekend.

Formation: 4-4-2

Goalkeeper: Joel Robles- Real Betis 7pts

Only two goalkeepers in La Liga earned 7 points and it happened in the same match as Leganes took on Real Betis. The game ended 0-0 but Joel Robles deserves this one being the away goalkeeper and Levante had 11 goal attempts.

Defender: Oier Mate- Osasuna 8pts

It was a perfect match for Oier Mate who not only kept a clean sheet for his club but also scored the only goal and winner as Osasuna beat Athletic Bilbao 1-0 away from home.

Defender: David Garcia- Osasuna 5pts

Garcia alongside his team mater Oier Mate helped to keep a clean sheet away from home and earned 5 points. That is his 7th of the season where he has helped his club.

Defender: Aissa Mandi- Real Betis 5pts

Aissa Mandi has been good at collecting yellow cards which has hampered his points total, but at the weekend he did a perfect job for Real Betis and he has helped the club keep 4 clean sheets this season.

Defender: Martin Valjent- Real Mallorca 

Real Mallorca beat Alaves 1-0 and Valjent was a big part of that success and earning 3 points in the heart of defence. He has helped to keep 4 clean sheets this season.

Midfielder: Suso- Sevilla 6pts

Suso rescued a point for Sevilla who were losing 2-1 at home to Espanyol but with just minutes left Suso was able to get a very important goal for the home side. It was only his 2nd goal of the season but such an important one.

Midfielder: Toni Kroos- Real Madrid 4pts

It was a disappointing result at the weekend for Real Madrid who could only draw 2-2 at home to Celta Vigo. But Toni Kroos put in a good shift at home and also scored a goal to put his team back in the game after they conceded first.

Midfielder: Moises Gomez- Villarreal 4pts

Moises Gomez got the winning goal as his side Villarreal beat Levante 2-1 in a very close game. He has been involved in 7 goals this season and that was his 3rd of the season.

Midfielder: Thomas Partey- Atletico Madrid 4pts

Thomas scored only his 2nd goal of the season to help Atletico draw 2-2 with Valencia in an entertaining draw. The league is over for the club but they need to maintain a Champions League berth.

Striker: Gerard Moreno- Villarreal 6pts

Gerard Moreno had a brilliant game for Villarreal as he opened the scoring and then set up the winner as his side won 2-1. Moreno has scored 10 goals this season and created 3 further goals.

Striker: Lucas Ocampos- Sevilla 6pts

Lucas Ocampos also earned 6 points and did the same job as Moreno scoring his teams first goal and then setting up the assist for the 2nd as Sevilla drew 2-2. It was Ocampos’ 7th goal of the season.

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Barcelona sack Ernesto Valverde but the situation turns into a farce

Barcelona have sacked coach Ernesto Valverde but the handling of the affair ended up turning into a farce. Instead of the club making a professional decision the story ran out of control when former player Xavi rejected taking the job.

The Catalan giants ended up exposing themselves early, Valverde knew he was out of a job as the Barca board scrambled to appoint someone after the club were beaten 3-2 by Atletico Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup semi-finals out in Saudi Arabia. The timing though seems off. It is ended with Barcelona fans having a Valverde for a domestic league game, only to see him and the team go halfway around the world to play in the Super Cup and the team coming back with Valverde gone and a new manager in place.

But why now? Why did Barcelona make this decision? Valverde after all becomes the first Barcelona coach in 17 years sacked mid way through the season. The last was Louis van Gaal. It has been reported that Barcelona panicked when they witnessed the Atletico game. The club were 2-1 up with 10 minutes to go and lost 3-2. It reminded them of the Champions League collapses against Roma and Liverpool when the club spurned a 3 goal lead, each time with Valverde in charge.

It’s odd in a way that the club have finally said goodbye to him given that they are top of the league in Spain and qualified for the knock out stages of the Champions League. If they were going to sack him surely it would have come days after going out of the Champions League in embarrassing fashion to Liverpool, or at the end of last season, but he was liked by the board, well until now.

So who will be replacing him? It should have been Xavi and that would have been the natural decision. But the former Barca great actually did the most decent thing and declined to leave his current managerial position at Al Sadd during their season. It was reported he could take over in the summer but Barca wanted someone now. That someone is Quique Setien.

Setien’s last job was coach of Real Betis where he recorded some great results including beating Barcelona. He has long been an admirer of the clubs playing philosophy and could be the perfect replacement, only time will tell on that, but he has never had a win rate above 50%, at the same time he has never coached one of the elite teams and at 61 his dream has finally come true.

As for Valverde, well once you have managed Barcelona it is like winning an Oscar and he will be high demand, with no problems to find another job, although he will more than likely take the next 6 months off. The one shame is the way Barcelona handled it all for a man who probably should have gone this summer. Having said that one could question if he has been a failure for Barcelona? Sure their performances collapsed in the Champions League but Barcelona won 2 league titles under him and two cups. Week in week out they did a job on Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid to win La Liga.

Former Barcelona great Andres Iniesta called the handling of Valverde’s sacking ‘a bit ugly’, and he was right to say that. It’s interesting how loyal figures at the club are usually shown the back door or the handling for their exits is not done let’s say with the best of etiquette in mind. But what is done is done and Setien will be thrown in at the deep end, his dream has finally arrived and he will be hoping that it isn’t a nightmare.

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A preview of gameweek 5 in LaLiga

Football, football, football.

Here is our preview of all ten games in LaLiga this coming weekend.

Osasuna v Real Betis

Key men: Roberto Torres (Osasuna); Nabil Fekir (Real Betis)

Prediction: Osasuna 1 – 1 Real Betis Continue reading

A preview of all the action in gameweek 4 of LaLiga

Another full list of LaLiga matches awaits all Spanish football fans this weekend. There are some very interesting matchups to look out for as well.

Here is our preview of all ten games.

Mallorca v Athletic Bilbao

Key men: Salva Sevilla (Mallorca); Inaki Williams (Athletic Bilbao)

Prediction: Mallorca 0 – 1 Athletic Bilbao Continue reading

Barcelona thrash Real Betis as Antoine Griezmann arrives for the champions

With Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez injured for another game, the focus was on two things in La Liga: 1) How would Barcelona react after losing their first game of the season against Athletic Bilbao, 2) How would Antoine Griezmann perform?

Thankfully the Frenchman announce his arrival for the Spanish league champions and did it in style as Barcelona thrashed Real Betis 5-2 at the Camp Nou. Griezmann scored a brace and looked delighted to get off his mark with the club. The pressure was already growing for the World Cup winner after a move from Atletico Madrid which had cost the Catalan Giants over 100m euros. His first game for the club was poor and when Nabil Fekir opened the scoring for Betis it seemed as if Barcelona and Griezmann would be in real trouble.

They say timing is everything and in football it means a lot when you can equalise just before half time, it was scrappy and seemed to come off of Griezmann’s shin, but that mattered little, the fans were delighted for him and that goal seemed to reenergise the player who went on to have a very confident second half which led to him scoring again, a cracking goal too that swept into the net.

For many Griezmann was the man of the match and it mattered with the likes of Messi, Suarez and Ousmane Dembele out with injury. One wonders where Barca would be in the league had they not signed Griezmann? But what he did at the weekend was step up. It seems incredible to think that just 2 games in the pressure was massive on Griezmann to perform but this is what it is like at clubs like Barcelona, had he put in a no show again at home and Barca lost or even drew as a result, fans would have been venting their anger. But the storm has been calmed, caught in a tube and thrown away, and Griezmann and Barcelona can now look forward to their next game.

As for the league table it’s strange to see Barcelona in 9th place, though there has only been 2 games played. Sevilla and Griezmann’s former team Atletico Madrid top the league standings as they have won both of their opening games.

Barcelona’s next game will be against Osasuna. On paper that seems like 3 points but this game is away from home in Basque County just like the Bilbao match was a few weeks ago. Basque teams have an uncanny ability to turn it on against the likes of Barca and Real Madrid, and Barcelona will have to be on their game to get anything in that encounter.

One thing is for sure, it should be a cracking game.

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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