With the La Liga Santander kick-off just a few days away (Athletic Club vs FC Barcelona, Friday 21.00), we take a look at what’s been going on in La Liga this week as teams make their final preparations!
Joao Felix keeps impressing
Atletico Madrid took on Juventus in Stockholm in their final pre-season fixture, running out 2-1 winners thanks to yet another impressive Joao Felix performance and a seriously unbelievable finish for the winner. The Portuguese teenage sensation has been in stellar form this summer, scoring four goals and providing three assists for his new club during pre-season.
Inaki Williams is a long-term commitment man
As a product of the club’s famed youth academy, Inaki Williams is a hero in Bilbao, and even more so after signing a nine-year contract extension this week. Athletic fans will be enjoying the 25-year-old’s speedy runs and cool finishing well into the next decade; his lengthy new contract at San Mames runs until 2028.
Aduriz to retire at the end of the season
One Athletic Club star signs on for the long term, another announces his retirement is near. Veteran striker Aritz Aduriz said this week that he’ll be hanging up his boots at the end of the 2019/20 season. Aduriz, who’ll be 39 by the time he retires, has represented Valencia and RCD Mallorca as well as Athletic in LaLiga Santander and has only got better with age.
Another La Liga Santander season for Pedro Porro
At just 19 years of age, Pedro Porro turned heads last season with his performances on the right flank for Girona. Though the Catalans were relegated at the end of the season, the teenage right-back showed incredible promise, earning a move to Manchester City who promptly loaned him back to R. Valladolid this season. A treat for all fans of Spanish football.
Espanyol stay strong in Europe with impressive FC Luzern win
Espanyol continued their Europa League qualifying campaign in Switzerland on Thursday, picking up a stylish 3-0 win over FC Luzern with goals from Facundo Ferreyra, Didac Vila and Matias Vargas. They’ll face the Swiss side in the second leg at the RCDE Stadium this Thursday.
Mangala returns to Valencia
Eliaquim Mangala is returning to Valencia, having joined from Manchester City after previously spending the 2016/17 season on loan at the club. The centre-back made 30 top-flight appearances that year and will look to add to that tally at Mestalla as Marcelino’s side reinforce their backline ahead of the new La Liga Santander season.
Barcelona defeat Napoli… twice!
Ernesto Valverde will be pleased with how his Barcelona squad finished pre-season: with a double defeat of Napoli during their tour of the USA. The Blaugrana beat the Italian side 2-1 in Miami, Florida in the first match of a double-header, before winning 4-0 a few days later in Michigan.
Surgery for Neto
Barcelona’s summer signing Neto has required surgery as a result of a fractured scaphoid bone in his left hand. He suffered the injury during their US tour, where he impressed with a number of brilliant saves against Napoli.
Granada to enjoy Jose Antonio Martinez for another season
Jose Antonio Martinez was a key member of Granada’s promotion-winning squad last season while on loan from Eibar and he’s now returned for a second season with the Andalusians. The 26-year-old was the fourth-most-used player for Granada last season and coach Diego Martínez will be delighted to have him available again.
Hazard gets his shirt number
Real Madrid’s superstar signing this summer, Eden Hazard, has been handed the club’s prestigious number seven shirt. The Belgian follows in the footsteps of club legends Raul Gonzalez, Cristiano Ronaldo and Emilio Butragueño in wearing the famous jersey; expectations couldn’t be higher!