What has been going on in LaLiga this past week? Here are 10 of the top stories, from Simeone’s new record to Granada’s historic night.
A huge LaLiga Santander matchday took place over this past weekend, just after some thrilling European matches involving Spanish sides. Off the pitch, there have been award nominations and boardroom moves too. All of that and more are discussed below.
LaLiga Santander leaders get back to winning ways
Atlético Madrid had had a tough February, winning just one of their five games across all competitions before their game against Villarreal CF on Sunday night. After back-to-back losses, one against Levante UD in LaLiga Santander and one against Chelsea in the Champions League, they needed a positive result and got one, winning 2-0 away at the Yellow Submarine. Diego Simeone’s side still have a cushion at the top of the table.
Simeone matches Luis Aragonés
With Atlético Madrid’s win at Villarreal, Diego Simeone now has 308 victories across all competitions since taking over as the club’s coach in December of 2011. That pulls him level at the top of the club’s rankings for victories as coach, joining his former mentor Luis Aragonés. Impressively, Simeone has achieved this feat in exactly 100 matches fewer, doing so in 512 games compared to Aragonés’ 612.
Ferland Mendy’s sensational strike
Real Madrid returned to European action this past week and they did so with a win, overcoming Atalanta 1-0 away from home in their Champions League last 16 first leg. It was left-back Ferland Mendy who produced the winning goal, doing so in style in the final moments of the match. That gives Los Blancos a good result to defend in the second leg later in March.
Granada’s historic night in Naples
The 2020/21 season is Granada’s first ever in European competition and they’re still alive, reaching the Europa League last 16 after overcoming historic Italian side Napoli 3-2 on aggregate. Their win in Naples will go down as one of their best ever moments and made the front page headlines across Spain the following morning. Meanwhile, Villarreal CF also progressed to the last 16 by beating RB Salzburg, while Real Sociedad bowed out away at Manchester United.
Raúl García is staying in Bilbao
Since joining Athletic Club in 2015, Raúl García has been one of the Basque team’s best and most consistent players. He’ll be wearing their red and white stripes for many more matches after signing a new deal with the club that’ll run until 2022, with the option for a further extension.
Sunday, February 28 was Andalusia Day and there was an Andalusian derby in LaLiga Santander to celebrate it, with Real Betis making the short trip to take on Cádiz. As these two colourful teams met under the Sunday afternoon sunshine, it was an even contest for the most part. But, a late goal from Juanmi saw Real Betis earn a 1-0 win to make it an extra special Andalusia Day for them.
Ansu Fati’s nomination
With Ansu Fati having been out injured since November, some might forget just how impressive the young FC Barcelona forward had been as he broke record after record. For his achievements before his long-term injury, the 18-year-old has been nominated for a prize in the prestigious Laureus World Sports Awards, in the Breakthrough of the Year category.
Patricia Rodríguez joins Granada’s board of directors
Patricia Rodríguez, the former general director at SD Eibar and at Elche CF, has been welcomed into the Granada CF board of directors this week. Rodríguez, who also previously held a role as a vice-president of LaLiga, has helped improve the finances at her previous two clubs and will now work with the directors at Granada to take the thriving Andalusian side even further.
Presidential debate at Barcelona
Ahead of the club’s presidential elections on March 7, FC Barcelona organised a debate this week between the three remaining candidates. Joan Laporta, Víctor Font and Toni Freixa discussed a number of the big issues ahead of the upcoming vote.
Copa del Rey warm-ups
The second legs of the Copa del Rey semi-finals will take place this coming week and, curiously, the two matchups will be re-runs of matches that took place in LaLiga Santander over the weekend. FC Barcelona defeated Sevilla FC 2-0 on Saturday and these two teams will now meet again on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Levante UD and Athletic Club drew 1-1 on Friday and will face off in the cup competition again on Thursday.