With the new season now underway, what’s gone down in La Liga this week?
Aduriz steals the show in the opener
The 2019/20 La Liga Santander season got under way in style on Friday night as Athletic Club defeated reigning champions Barcelona at Same Mames in dramatic fashion. Goalless with one minute to go, step up 38-year-old Aritz Aduriz with an acrobatic overhead kick to earn a 1-0 win for the Basque side.
Real Madrid are the early La Liga Santander leaders
Real Madrid’s 3-1 win at RC Celta sees Zidane’s side sit top of the LaLiga Santander table after Matchday 1. Sevilla, who picked up a 2-0 away win over RCD Espanyol, were the only other side to win by more than one game but Real Madrid occupy top spot thanks to their higher goal tally.
A La Liga goal on the Puskas Award shortlist
FIFA have included Lionel Messi’s delightful chip against Real Betis last season among the ten goals on the shortlist for the 2019 Puskas Award, the prize recognising the best goal in world football. The Argentine’s goal was the third of a sensational hat-trick which handed his side a 4-1 win at the Benito Villamarin on Matchday 28.
Xisco Campos ends his 15-year wait
RCD Mallorca enjoyed their return to LaLiga Santander by defeating Eibar 2-1 in what was their first top-flight match since 2013. For one of their players, though, this match ended an even longer wait. 37-year-old captain Xisco Campos had first played for the club in the top flight back in 2004/05, before spending the majority of his career in the lower divisions. This weekend, 15 years later, he made it back to the big time.
Several attacking talents have suffered injuries over the past week. Eden Hazard (Real Madrid), Borja Iglesias (Real Betis), Portu (Real Sociedad), Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid), Sandro Ramirez (R. Valladolid), Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele (both FC Barcelona) have all ended up on medical reports in the past days. Hopefully they’ll be back firing on all cylinders soon.
Pape Cheikh returns to Celta
After coming through the youth ranks at RC Celta and playing 22 league matches for the first team, Pape Cheikh set off for Lyon in 2017. But now the versatile midfielder is back on a loan deal for the 2019/20 season with an option to buy at the end of the campaign. Still just 22 years old, he’s still set to unleash his full potential.
Leganes’ new World Cup centre-back
Chidozie Awaziem will be playing on loan at CD Leganes on loan from Porto this season. The centre-back has been capped by the Nigerian national team several times and was in the Super Eagles’ squad for the 2018 World Cup. He’ll look to form a solid partnership in central defence with fellow Nigerian defender Kenneth Omeruo at Butarque this season.
Joao Felix dazzles the Wanda Metropolitano
Joao Felix made his LaLiga Santander debut on Sunday evening, playing in front of an expectant crowd at the Wanda Metropolitano. They certainly weren’t disappointed. The youngster was excellent in his side’s tight 1-0 win over Getafe and wowed fans with a special long-distance run from deep that earned his side a penalty. He limped off in the second half but coach Diego Simeone has said it was just cramp.
The new PUMA football’s debut
Several players made their LaLiga Santander debuts over the weekend, and so too did the new PUMA match ball that will be used in both LaLiga Santander and LaLiga SmartBank through the 2019/20 season. To celebrate the start of the new campaign, the match balls were sent to influencers all over the world who shared their first impressions of the ball on social media.
Next up for Espanyol: Zorya Luhansk
Espanyol are just one round of Europa League qualifying away from the group stages of the competition. After defeating Switzerland’s FC Luzern 6-0 on aggregate, they’ll now face Ukranian side Zorya Luhansk. The first leg will be played at the RCDE Stadium on August 22nd, with the second leg following a week later on August 29th.