What’s been going on in La Liga this past week? New players, impressive pre-seasons and new-look stadiums all feature in this week’s news round-up.
Junior Firpo joins FC Barcelona
Barcelona have added depth at the left-back position after picking up Junior Firpo from Real Betis in a transfer worth around €18 million plus €12 million in variables. The pacey 22-year-old is already a star in La Liga having impressed at the Benito Villamarin and was part of Spain’s U-21 European Championship-winning squad this summer.
Barca jet off to the United States
Firpo wasted no time in joining up with his teammates on the plane to the United States where they’ll face Napoli in both Miami, Florida and Ann Arbor, Michigan following their friendly 2-1 win over Arsenal on Sunday. Lionel Messi won’t take part in the tour, however, after suffering a calf injury in training.
Atletico Madrid continuing turning heads in pre-season
Diego Simeone will be thrilled with his side’s near-perfect pre-season, having overseen five wins from five. Atleti picked up regulation time wins over Numancia, Real Madrid, the MLS All-Stars and Atletico San Luis in addition to a shootout win over Chivas.
Espanyol’s march towards the Europa League group stages continues
Espanyol’s 3-1 in over Icelandic side UMF Stjarnan this week handed them a 7-1 aggregate win and a place in the next round of Europa League qualifying. Next up for los Pericos are Switzerland’s FC Luzern, with a play-off tie against either Bulgaria’s CSKA Sofia or Ukrain’s Zorya Luhansk awaiting the winner.
Real Madrid finish third at the Audi Cup
The goals have been flying in at both ends during Real Madrid’s pre-season and that was the case again as they faced Fenerbahçe in the third-place play-off of the Audi Cup in Munich, after falling against eventual winners Tottenham in the semi-final. Los Blancos defeated the Turkish side 5-3, with Karim Benzema scoring a hat-trick and with Nacho and Mariano also getting on the scoresheet.
Sevilla, RC Celta and Granada keep winning
Several La Liga Santander sides have registered 100 percent records in pre-season. RC Celta have won three from three, Granada have won six from six and Sevilla have won seven from seven. For their respective coaches Fran Escriba, Diego Martinez and Julen Lopetegui, this summer could hardly have gone any better.
Real Mallorca continue to strengthen
As the last team to secure their place in the 2019/20 La Liga Santander season through the promotion play-offs, Real Mallorca are in a race against time to boost their squad ahead of the new campaign. They’ve done a good job so far of acquiring talent with two new additions joining in the past week: left-back Lumor joining from Sporting Clube de Portugal and striker Igor Zlatanovic arriving from FK Radnik Surdulica.
Adrian Lopez is back in Spain
Osasuna have signed Adrian Lopez from Porto, bringing the striker back to Spanish football. The Asturian has previously represented Real Oviedo, RC Deportivo, Alaves, Malaga, Atletico Madrid and Villarreal, making Osasuna his seventh Spanish club. He has 41 goals to his name in the Spanish top flight and will be looking to add to that in Pamplona as the LaLiga SmartBank champions look to re-establish themselves in the top flight.
Injury blow for Szymanowski and Leganes
Terrible news came out of Leganes this week as Alexander Szymanowski suffered another serious injury, this time in his right knee. The winger was one of the stars of Lega’s promotion campaign in 2015/16, but repeated injuries have limited him to just nine minutes since 2017. All of Spanish football wishes him a speedy recovery.
A name change in San Sebastan
Real Sociedad haven’t just completely refurbished their stadium this summer, upgrading the facilities and eliminating the running track to bring fans closer to the pitch, they’ve also renamed it. Previously known as Anoeta, La Real’s home stadium is now the Reale Seguros Stadium.