Pochettino is the latest person at the Parc des Princes to test positive for the virus, following defenders Colin Dagba and Thilo Kehrer, and midfielder Rafinha.
Paris Saint-Germain manager Mauricio Pochettino has tested positive for COVID-19 and has now been forced into a period of self-isolation.
It’s been a rollercoaster of a start to life in Paris for Pochettino, who joined on January 2 and needed just 11 days to lift his first trophy, steering PSG to a 2-1 win over Marseille to lift the Trophee des Champions.
For PSG, the hope was that they could carry that momentum over to Ligue 1 to reclaim their usual spot at the top of the table, but they will have to do so without Pochettino as the Argentine must now isolate.
“Paris Saint-Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino has tested positive for COVID-19,” a statement on the club’s official website read. “He will therefore respect isolation and is subject to the appropriate health protocol.
“His assistants Jesus Perez and Miguel D’Agostino will take over from tomorrow in Angers.”
PSG currently sit second in Ligue 1, just one point behind leaders Lyon, so Saturday’s meeting with Angers is a great chance for the defending champions to keep up the pressure.
The two sides met back in October, when PSG roared to an emphatic 6-1 victory, but Angers have bounced back since then and currently find themselves in seventh, picking up recent wins over high-flyers Lille and Marseille.
“We’ll have to be ready on Saturday, because it’s a very difficult game against Angers that’s ahead of us,” Pochettino said of the game before his test results came in. “We want to win again, and to do that, we have to be ready.
“We want to be top of the Ligue 1 table and to get there, we’ll have to win. The most important thing is to be consistent in our performances. We’re very happy with the way the players are picking up our concepts. I want to thank them, the staff that we already had here, and the fans who encouraged us before the match.”
The Spanish side failed to strike a deal back then but remained open to doing business in January if City were prepared to lower their asking price – something Pep Guardiola has always refused to do.
Manchester City centre-back Eric Garcia is expected to join Barcelona as a free agent once his contract comes to a close this summer.
It was revealed last summer that Garcia had rejected the chance to sign a new contract with City as he has his heart set on a move to Camp Nou, where Barcelona have been trying to sign him ever since.
An agreement over a transfer fee is all that is needed as Fabrizio Romano has again stressed that Garcia has already agreed personal terms with Barcelona, and it’s just a case of when rather than if.
Guardiola was asked about Garcia’s future during a press conference on Friday, but as he has always done, he suggested that City will try to refuse any offers to sell the 20-year-old this month, although he was not as definitive as he has been in the past.
“I hope not but maybe Barcelona knows better than me,” he said when asked whether a deal will happen. “I don’t know what’s going to happen but maybe it’s going to happen.”
Guardiola has been reluctant to offload Garcia this season as he wants to the Spaniard to stay and act as cover for his regular starters, despite the fact that refusing to sell will cost City some money.
Garcia is usually fifth in the pecking order behind John Stones, Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte and Nathan Ake, but the latter two have been sidelined with injuries in recent weeks.
Ordinarily, that would have opened the door to Garcia, but injuries and illness have kept him out since early December.
However, Guardiola clearly believes that keeping another senior centre-back at the club has its merits, and he has urged the club to reject Barcelona’s advances, but it could all come down to how hard Ronald Koeman’s side push for the deal.
Barcelona are not expected to do any real business until after their presidential elections, with will be held on January 24.
Atletico Madrid’s LaLiga fixture against Athletic Club has been postponed.
Athletic were prevented from travelling for Saturday’s encounter because of a snow storm, forcing officials to call the game off.
A statement from Atletico read: “The match that we were supposed to play today against Athletic Club at the Wanda Metropolitano (set for 16:15) has been postponed due to the snowstorm in much of the peninsula.
“The inclement weather prevented the expedition of the Basque team from traveling to Madrid due to the temporary closure of the Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas Airport and, in addition, the travel of our team, referees and club staff to the stadium was not guaranteed to be safe due to the poor condition of the roads in the Community of Madrid.
“Faced with this situation, La Liga has requested this morning the postponement of the meeting to the Professional Competition Committee given the exceptional circumstances caused by inclement weather and the latter has ratified the decision not to play the game today as planned. The new date of the meeting will be announced in the next few days.”
The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has decided the 2020/21 LaLiga Santander calendar, with the new campaign set to begin on September 13.
Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Getafe and Sevilla – as well as Elche who gained promotion via the playoffs, will have their opening matches postponed in order for these teams to get extra rest ahead of the campaign.
The schedule is asymmetrical, meaning that the first half of the season’s fixtures are not in the same order as the second half.
Lucas Ocampos scored a late header to end Wolves’ marathon season after 383 days and send Sevilla into a semi-final against Manchester United
2019/2020 UEFA Europa League 0-1 Jimenez (13′ Penalty Missed) Ocampos (88′)
Alate goal from Lucas Ocampos put Sevilla into the Europa League semi-finals after a hard fought 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers.
An empty stadium in Duisburg was brought to life as Ocampos got his 17th of the season to send the Sevilla bench into rapture.
Adama Traore was dangerous early on and Diego Carlos brought the winger down in the box, which resulted in a spot kick.
Sevilla though, were let off when Bono saved Raul Jimenez’s resulting penalty.
From there, the LaLiga Santander side were in the ascendancy and had the better of the chances, with Jules Kounde heading over.Sevilla kept plugging away and just as it looked like extra time was on the horizon, Ocampos nodded home from an Ever Banega cross with two minutes left to play.
That means Sevilla will face Manchester United in the semi-final on Sunday August 8.
The 2019/20 LaLiga Santander campaign has been completed and several players have seen their stocks rise.
As such, there are some new faces in the league’s most valuable XI, as well as some very familiar ones.
Here, we’ve put together the most valuable XI for LaLiga Santander, based on the latest evaluations from Transfermarkt.
Unsurprisingly the team only contains players from the top three clubs, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.
The team’s total valuation is estimated to be a staggering 786 million euros.
Jan Oblak: 80m euros
Despite not winning the Zamora Award this season and despite coming behind Thibaut Courtois in UEFA’s team of the season, Oblak is regarded by many as the best goalkeeper in the world at present.
The Slovenian shot-stopper only conceded 27 goals in 38 games this season, averaging 0.71 goals conceded per game.
Jose Maria Gimenez: 56m euros
The Uruguayan centre-back hasn’t had the best of seasons, with injuries only permitting 21 appearances for the 24-year-old.
However, in the games he has played he has performed well and he has formed great partnerships with either Felipe or Stefan Savic in the heart of the Atletico defence.
This season has also been the cleanest for Gimenez, only receiving two bookings all season.
Raphael Varane: 64m euros
The French defender has played 32 matches this season, scoring two goals and lifting his third LaLiga Santander title with Real Madrid.
The 27-year-old is one of the first names written on the team sheet for club and country and the only cup he hasn’t won in his prosperous career is the European Championship.
Renan Lodi: 50m euros
Lodi started the season with mixed form in his first season in European football, but delivered in the Champions League tie against Liverpool.
Lodi finished the season with 32 appearances, one goal and two assists, which has helped sky rocket his valuation and he is now regarded as the fourth most expensive left-back in the game.
Nelson Semedo: 40m euros
The Barcelona right-back is still only 26 and still has lots of potential, while he has also demonstrated that he can already play at the top level.
Casemiro: 64m euros
Casemiro has played a key role for Real Madrid since Zinedine Zidane has been coach and, at the age of 28, he is regarded as one of the best defensive midfielders on the planet – if not the best.
This season, Casemiro boasts 294 recoveries, 1,080 accurate passes and he scored four goals
Frenkie de Jong: 72m euros
De Jong arrived in Spain last summer, when Barcelona signed him from Ajax with the aim of making him the leader of their midfield of the future.
Unfortunately, due to injuries and having to adapt to the Spanish style of football, it hasn’t been the most fruitful of seasons for the 23-year-old, scoring only two goals and assisting a further two.
Yet he still has enormous potential and a huge evaluation.
Saul: 72m euros
Saul has shown throughout his career that he is a man for the big occasion, while he has also become Diego Simeone’s emergency option due to his versatility and ability to play in almost any position.
Eden Hazard: 80m euros
Hazard hasn’t had the best season of his career due to lengthy injuries.
He made 16 appearances, scoring one goal and providing three assists, but his value remains high and Real Madrid are confident that the Belgian will find his best form again.
Antoine Griezmann: 96m euros
The most controversial signing of last summer has not performed as expected, scoring nine goals and four assists in 35 games this season, which hasn’t exactly filled the void of Neymar.
At 29 years of age, he will have to redeem himself next season.
Lionel Messi: 112m euros This price tag is still extremely low for what Messi has to offer.
This season saw the Argentine win his seventh Pichichi Award with 25 goals and 22 assists, which was his lowest scoring season due to his change of position to become more of an attacking midfielder.
After 120,000 votes were placed in MARCA’s end-of-season review for LaLiga Santander, the results are in.
Unsurprisingly, after winning the title, Real Madrid players featured prominently on the podium of various categories.
LaLiga’s best player
With 36 percent of the votes in this category, Benzema beat Lionel Messi (32 percent) to be named the best player in LaLiga Santander for 2019/20.
Sergio Ramos was third with 14 percent.
The best signing
Sevilla forward Lucas Ocampos was chosen as the signing of the season with 38 percent, after a phenomenal campaign.
Second place went to Ferland Mendy with 18 percent followed by Marcos Llorente with 13 percent.
The worst signing
Luka Jovic was deemed the worst signing of the campaign (29 percent), followed by Real Madrid teammate Eden Hazard and Barcelona’s Antoine Griezmann.
The best U21 player
Martin Odegaard, after a terrific season with Real Sociedad, was named the best player under the age of 21 with 38 percent of the votes, fighting off competition from Barcelona’s Ansu Fati (24 percent) and Real Madrid’s Fede Valverde (21 percent).
Best Spanish player By some distance, Sergio Ramos was voted the best Spaniard with 56 percent.
Santi Cazorla’s tremendous campaign with Villarreal saw him come second.
Zinedine Zidane’s title winning season earned him the title of best coach with 46 percent of the vote, while the efforts of Granada boss Diego Martinez didn’t go unnoticed as he came second.
Breakthrough team of the year
The superb campaign of Granada, finishing seventh in the table, earned them 94 percent of the votes in this category.
The most disappointing team
After finishing bottom of the table, it’s no surprise that Espanyol were voted as the most disappointing team of the campaign (26 percent). With 23 and 19 percent respectively, Valencia and Barcelona didn’t impress either.
The best goalkeeper
Pivotal to Real Madrid’s success, Thibaut Courtois earned 55,000 votes to come out on top.
The best defender
There was no stopping Sergio Ramos in this category, as he earned an overwhelming 65 percent of the votes.
The best midfielder
Casemiro edged the best midfielder category with 29 percent of the vote, beating Cazorla (20 percent) and Odegaard (17 percent).
The best forward
Despite being outscored and out-assisted by the Argentine, Benzema defeated Messi to the best forward prize.
Huesca sealed their return to LaLiga Santander on Friday night after beating Numancia 3-0 at the Estadio El Alcoraz.
The first thing to highlight is Huesca themselves, who are a very mature club.
They showed patience with Michel, despite the bumps in the road, improved the team in the January transfer window and the project was always looking towards the top of the table.
Not everyone knows how to make the most of the parachute payments received after being relegated from LaLiga Santander, but Huesca used it to good effect as they secured an instant promotion from LaLiga SmartBank.
The fact that the San Lorenzo festivities are not able to be celebrated due to COVID-19 makes the promotion even more joyful.
Real Madrid are top of Laliga after beating Real Sociedad 2-1 away on Sunday to move leapfrog Barcelona in the Spanish table.
Madrid captain Sergio Ramos broke the deadlock in the 50th minute by converting a penalty after Vinicius Jr. went to ground in the area following contact from Sociedad’s Diego Llorente.
Sociedad thought they had levelled with a strike from Adnan Januzaj from outside the box but the goal was ruled out after a VAR review showed Mikel Merino obstructing the view of Madrid keeper Thibaut Courtois without touching the ball.
Their sense of injustice deepened a minute later when Karim Benzema doubled Madrid’s lead in the 71st minute after controlling the ball with the top of his arm, although Merino ensured an exciting finish by lashing in off the crossbar in the 83rd minute.
However, Zinedine Zidane’s side clung on for the win to move level with Barca on 65 points after 30 games – and Los Blancos climb above the Catalans, who were held 0-0 at Sevilla on Friday, due to a superior head-to-head record.
Toni Kroos enters the field with a bag of golf clubs and chooses the right one for every occasion.
He has scored plenty of goals with a putter, gently depositing the ball in the net from the edge of the box but, on Sunday against Eibar, he took out a driver after four minutes and announced Real Madrid’s intentions for the remainder of the season.
Real Madrid need to keep up their rhythm Real Madrid can take Barcelona to the wire although they will have to improve, as they burst out of the traps before dropping in the second period.
Zinedine Zidane used his five available changes but it had no effect on Madrid’s flat game, and whether it was just a natural consequence of the first match back after so long out or the sign of things to come will be seen very soon.
Barcelona at full speed
Barcelona didn’t struggle to get back on track on their competitive return.
The team continues to play in patches, far from the exuberance that was expected when Quique Setien arrived.
They score, they fall asleep, they wake up, they suffer, then they score again.
Barcelona are immune to a lack of supporters, playing just as well in an empty stadium as in one ready to burst.
The Catalans often got up to cruising speed on Saturday to maintain their lead at the top but will also need to improve moving forward.
Atletico Madrid continue to stumble
Just like before the coronavirus enforced break, Atletico Madrid stumbled on their return against Athletic Club.
With one point after another, it’s difficult for Los Rojiblancos to mount a consistent charge towards the Champions positions, which is their biggest goal.
After Diego Costa equalised at San Mames, Atletico looked uncertain as to whether they should attack or defend, and again depended on Jan Oblak heroics to leave with a point.
There is also an apparent attempt to tweak Marcos Llorente’s position, as if he can play like he did at Anfield every game.
The lad may have the quality and talent to play higher up the pitch but it is not the only thing that Diego Simeone must solve in the remaining ten games.
The power of Sevilla
It seems as though whoever wants third place is going to have to rip it out of Sevilla’s hands.
The derby was an explosion of hard work and determination from a serious and well-drilled team.
It was as if Sevilla had even gone through quarantine, and are an underestimated bunch this season.
After winning in the reverse fixture this season (2-1), Sevilla are looking to complete the league double against Real Betis for the first time since 2016/17.
At home, Sevilla have won five of their last six LaLiga games against Real Betis (L1), with this defeat coming in January 2018, 3-5.
Sevilla have won their last four LaLiga derbies against Andalusia teams while Real Betis have lost their last three, the last two under Joan Francesc Ferrer “Rubi”.
Sevilla have only lost one of their last 11 LaLiga games at Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán (W6 D4), 1-2 against Villarreal in December, however they have drawn three of the last five (W2).
Real Betis have only won one of their 13 away LaLiga games this season (D6 L6), their fewest victories away from home at this stage of the season since 2013/14 (none).
Sevilla have scored two or more goals in their last four LaLiga encounters, they last scored in five consecutive games in October 2018 (six).
Nabil Fekir has been involved in all the three goals scored by Real Betis away from home in LaLiga in 2020 (one goal and two assists).
Only against Eibar (five) has Sevilla’s Youssef En-Nesyri scored more LaLiga goals than against Real Betis (four), scoring his only hat-trick against the Verdiblancos in the competition in February 2019 as Leganés player.
Lucas Ocampos has scored in his last four LaLiga appearances (four goals on aggregate) and could become the first Sevilla player to score in five consecutive games in the top-flight since Alvaro Negredo in 2011 (six).
Real Betis’ Joan Francesc Ferrer “Rubi” is winless in his five managerial LaLiga games against Sevilla (D1 L4), drawing one and losing two at Sanchez Pizjuán.
Granada CF – Getafe CF
Granada have only lost one of their last six games against Getafe (W3 D2) the most recent encounter, 1-3 at Coliseum in the reverse fixture this season.
At Los Cármenes, Granada have only lost one game versus Getafe in LaLiga (W3 D1). 0-2 in October 2013 with Lucas Alcaraz in charge of Granada and Luis García in charge of Getafe.
Under José Bordalás, Getafe have only lost one of their seven trips to Andalusia teams in LaLiga (W3 D3), the last such game, 0-2 against Sevilla in October 2019.
Getafe have won three of their last four away LaLiga games (L1), as many victories as in their previous 14 away games in the competition (W3 D6 L5).
Granada are unbeaten their last four LaLiga games (W2 D2) however they have drawn the last two and haven’t drawn three games in a row since April 2016 (four).
Only Real Madrid (13) have kept more LaLiga clean sheets this season than Getafe (12) they haven’t conceded in six of their last eight league matches.
Darwin Machís has been involved in six goals in his last five LaLiga games for Granada (four goals and two assists), after having a hand in just three (two goals and one assist) in his previous 21 games this season.
Granada’s Roberto Soldado has scored four goals in a single LaLiga game only once, versus Getafe in April 2011 as Valencia player.
Getafe’s Jaime Mata has already received 10 yellow cards in LaLiga this season and has seen one in eight of his 12 away appearances in the competition.
Getafe’s José Bordalás is winless in any of his three managerial trips to Granada in all competitions (D2 L1), drawing 0-0 in his last visit in charge of Elche in the second tier.
Valencia CF – Levante UD
Levante have won just one of their last eight LaLiga games against Valencia (D2 L5), conceding three or more goals in each of those defeats.
Valencia are unbeaten in their 13 home LaLiga games against Levante (W9 D4), winning the last five.
Levante have just won two of their 29 away LaLiga games against sides from their same region (D8 L19), but both wins came against Villarreal in 2011.
Valencia have just won one of their last five LaLiga games (D2 L2), winning 2-1 in their last match at Mestalla in the competition v Real Betis, after winning three of the previous four (L1).
Levante have lost their last five away LaLiga games, conceding at least twice in each match. The last time they lost six consecutive away games in the competition was in February 2016, under Rubi.
Only Barcelona (12) have scored the first goal of the match in more home games in LaLiga this season than Valencia (11 – W8 D3 – level with Real Sociedad), while Levante have lost all of their away matches when they conceded first (L9).
Valencia’s Kevin Gameiro has been involved in nine goals against Levante in LaLiga (six goals and three assists), more than against any other opponent. Indeed, Gameiro’s tally of six goals v Levante is his joint-best against a side in La Liga (level with Málaga and Sporting de Gijón).
Valencia are the only team that Levante striker Roger Martí has scored more than one brace in LaLiga, scoring the first in September 2018 and the second in December 2019, but both came at Ciutat de València.
Daniel Parejo has scored in each of his last two appearances for Valencia in LaLiga (two goals total) and he is one goal away from equalling his goal tally from last season (nine goals in 36 appearances).
Levante manager Paco López has won just one of his seven LaLiga games against sides from the Valencian Community (G7 – W1 D2 L4), 2-1 at home against Villarreal in August 2019.
RCD Espanyol – D. Alavés
Espanyol are unbeaten in their previous five home LaLiga games against Alavés (W3 D2), alternating a win and a draw.
Espanyol are winless in their two previous home LaLiga games against Basque opposition this season (D1 L1) after winning the four played last season, keeping a clean sheet in three of them.
Espanyol are winless in their last four LaLiga games (D2 L2), their worst such a run under Abelardo Fernández, and they have collected only 20 points after 27 games this season, their lowest tally at this stage in a top-flight season.
Alavés are unbeaten in their previous three LaLiga games (W1 D2), drawing the last two – they last drew three consecutive games in the top-flight in February 1956.
Espanyol have scored the first goal just five times in LaLiga this season (alongside four other sides) no team has scored fewer. They have won a league-low when scoring first (GP5 – W1 D2 L2).
Alavés have scored a league-high 14% of their goals from free kicks in LaLiga this season (4/29), alongside Celta de Vigo (14% – 3/22), scoring three of their last seven goals from free kicks.
Espanyol’s Raúl de Tomás has scored in his two LaLiga games against Alavés, both in the2018/19 season as a Rayo Vallecano player (two goals on aggregate).
Alavés’s Lucas Pérez scored his only LaLiga brace in September 2015 v Espanyol as a Deportivo de La Coruña player.
Espanyol’s Abelardo Fernández is unbeaten in his three managerial games in all competitions against Alavés (W1 D2), winning the only one at home (1-0 in charge of Sporting de Gijón in Liga Smartbank in April 2015).
After losing his first two LaLiga games against Espanyol in 2016/17 as Leganés manager, Alavés’s Asier Garitano is unbeaten in his last three managerial LaLiga games against Espanyol (W2 D1).
RC Celta – Villarreal CF
Celta de Vigo have won their last three LaLiga games against Villarreal, after losing their previous four. They’ve never won four consecutive games against them in the top-flight.
After winning their first six games against Villarreal at Balaídos in LaLiga between 1999 and 2006, Celta de Vigo have just won one of their seven games against them in the competition (D3 L3), winning last time out (3-2 in March 2019).
Celta de Vigo are unbeaten in their last five matches in LaLiga (W2 D3). The last time they went six or more without a defeat in the competition was in April 2016 (seven – W4 D3).
Celta de Vigo have kept a clean sheet in their last three LaLiga games. The last time they kept four consecutive clean sheets in the top-flight was in April 2006, under Fernando Vázquez.
Villarreal have lost their last three LaLiga games. The last time they lost four or more consecutive matches in the top-flight was in 1999 (seven), when they suffered their longest such streak.
Celta de Vigo have scored 10 goals at Balaídos in LaLiga this season, with only two of them coming in the first half of matches – the lowest percentage of goals scored in the first half at home (20%).
Gerard Moreno has been involved in four of Villarreal’s last five goals in LaLiga (three goals and one assist). The striker has scored more goals in this season (11 goals in 25 appearances) than in the last campaign (eight in 35).
Celta de Vigo’s Iago Aspas has scored a brace in each of his last two appearances against Villarreal in LaLiga, after failing to find the net in his previous seven matches against them in the competition.
Villarreal’s Carlos Bacca has scored five goals against Celta de Vigo in LaLiga, more than versus any other opponent in the competition, including his only hat-trick in the competition, recorded in April 2018 at La Cerámica.
After winning in the reverse fixture (3-1), Villarreal could become the first team that Óscar García wins twice against as Celta de Vigo manager in LaLiga.
CD Leganés – R. Valladolid CF
Real Valladolid have won just one of their nine games against Leganés in all competitions (D2 L6), a 2-0 win at José Zorrilla in May 2015 in the second tier.
CD Leganés have won all four of their home games against Real Valladolid in all competitions, one in LaLiga, two in Segunda and another in the Copa del Rey, keeping a clean sheet in all four.
Leganés have just lost one of their last six matches at Butarque in LaLiga (W3 D2 L1), after winning just one of their previous 12 home games (W1 D3 L8).
Real Valladolid have lost their last two LaLiga games – they last lost three consecutive games in March 2019 (four).
Only Levante (16) have lost more points with goals conceded in the second half of games than Leganés (14) in LaLiga this season.
Real Valladolid’s Sandro Ramírez has scored two goals in his last three LaLiga games, after scoring just one in his previous 55 matches in the competition.
Óscar Rodríguez has been involved in each of Leganés’ last four goals in LaLiga (three goals and one assist). He has scored more league goals in 26 appearances this season (seven) than he had last campaign (four in 31).
Leganés’ Guido Carrillo has scored three goals in three appearances against Real Valladolid in LaLiga, more than against any other opponent in the competition, scoring his only brace against them in December 2018 at José Zorrilla.
Real Valladolid’s Enes Ünal has scored more goals against Leganés in LaLiga than versus any other opponent, scoring three goals in three appearances and all three goals netted for his current side.
Leganés manager Javier Aguirre has only lost one of his six home LaLiga games against Real Valladolid (W2 D3), 1-2 in February 2009 for Atlético de Madrid.
RCD Mallorca – FC Barcelona
Mallorca are winless in their last nine LaLiga games against Barcelona (D1 L8), losing the last six, conceding four goals per game on average in those defeats.
Mallorca have lost 10 of their last 11 home LaLiga games against Barcelona, winning the other 2-1 in May 2009 with Gregorio Manzano and Pep Guardiola in the managerial dugouts.
Mallorca have alternated between a defeat and a win in their last five LaLiga games at San Moix (W2 L3), losing in their last such fixture (0-1 against Getafe).
Barcelona have lost five away games in LaLiga this season, their worst total in a single campaign since 2007/08 (six), under Frank Rijkaard.
Barcelona have conceded exactly two goals in each of their last five away LaLiga games – they last conceded 2+ goals in six consecutive such games in May 2008 (seven).
Barcelona have won 58 points after 27 games in LaLiga this season – the lowest total by a side in top spot at this stage since 2006/07 (also Barcelona but with 53 points).
Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has scored in each of his last six games against Mallorca in LaLiga (11 goals in total), including two hat-tricks – the first came in October 2011 and the second in December 2019.
Mallorca player Takefusa Kubo has had a hand in three goals in his last three appearances in LaLiga (two goals and one assist), one more than in his previous 21 matches in the top-flight.
Lionel Messi has been involved in 12 of Barcelona’s last 14 goals in LaLiga, scoring six and assisting another six. The Argentinean has only failed to score or assist in five of his 22 league games this season.
Barcelona’s Quique Setién has just lost one of his four managerial games against Mallorca in all competitions (W2 D1), all in LaLiga SmartBank with Lugo, but he has failed to win either of his two trips to the island (D1 L1).
Real Madrid – SD Eibar
Real Madrid have lost just one of their 11 LaLiga games against Eibar (W9 D1) – 0-3 at Ipurua last season, while winning four of their five home matches in this run (D1).
Real Madrid have lost just one of their last 36 home games against Basques sides in LaLiga (W31 D4), 0-2 against Real Sociedad in January 2019.
Real Madrid are unbeaten at home in LaLiga this season (P13 – W9 D4), the last time they were unbeaten at home at this stage of a campaign was in 2016/07, which was the last time they won the league title.
Only against Barcelona (41) have Eibar conceded more LaLiga goals than they have against Real Madrid (29), while they’ve only scored seven goals against them and just two away from home.
Eibar have lost their last two away LaLiga games and could lose three consecutive away matches in the top-flight for the first time since November 2017 (five).
Real Madrid have just scored 49 goals after 27 games in LaLiga this season, their third-worst tally at this stage since 2005/06 (47 in 2018/19 and 37 in 2006/07).
Real Madrid have scored each of the last 16 penalties they’ve taken in LaLiga, the longest current run of any side. The last time they missed a penalty was in May 2018 against Sevilla.
Fabián Orellana has been directly involved in three of Eibar’s last five away goals in LaLiga (two goals and one assist). Only in 2015/16 for Celta de Vigo (four) has he scored more away goals in a single top-flight season than in 2019/20 (two).
Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema has scored a brace in each of his last two appearances against Eibar in LaLiga. The Frenchman has scored more braces against them than versus any other side in the competition (three).
Eibar boss José Luis Mendilibar is winless in his 10 away games at Real Madrid in LaLiga (D1 L9), with his teams conceding 37 goals in total (3.7 on average).
Real Sociedad – C.A. Osasuna
Real Sociedad have won their last three LaLiga games against Osasuna and could equal their best run against them in the top-flight, four (also 1985-87, 1982-84, 1962-1981).
At home, Real Sociedad are unbeaten in their last six LaLiga games against Osasuna (W4 D2), keeping a clean sheet in four of them, since a 1-2 defeat in November 2005.
Real Sociedad have won their last four home LaLiga games, keeping a clean sheet in three of them, they last won five or more consecutive home games in the top-flight in 2014 (six), under the current Osasuna manager, Jagoba Arrasate.
Osasuna have only won one of their last five away LaLiga games (D1 L3), 1-0 v Athletic in February 2020. The Navarre side lost their last away game in the top-flight against Sevilla (2-3) and could lose back to back away league games for the first time this season.
Only Barcelona (12) have scored the first goal more times at home in LaLiga this season than Real Sociedad (11, alongside Valencia), however Real Sociedad is the only one of them to have lost such a game (G11 – W7 D2 L2).
Osasuna have scored a league-high 55% of their goals in the first half in LaLiga this season (21/38).
In the reverse fixture this season against Real Sociedad, two of the three goals scored by Osasuna were headers, both assisted by Roberto Torres, the only LaLiga game where he has provided two assists.
Roberto Torres has been involved in the last three Osasuna’s goals in LaLiga (two goals and one assist) and he is one goal away from equalling his best tally in a LaLiga season (seven in 2016/17).
Three of the last four Real Sociedad goals at home were headers, scored by different players (Mikel Merino, Nacho Monreal y Adnan Januzaj).
Osasuna’s Jagoba Arrasate has managed two games in all competitions against his former team, Real Sociedad, losing both (one in LaLiga and one in Copa del Rey, both in charge of Osasuna).
Athletic Club – Atlético de Madrid
Athletic have only won one of their last 13 LaLiga games against Atlético de Madrid (D2 L10) winning their most recent home game (2-0 in March 2019).
Atlético de Madrid are winless in their three away LaLiga games against Basque sides this season (D1 L2), they’ve always won at least one game in a single LaLiga season against them under Diego Simeone.
After failing to win in 10 consecutive LaLiga games (D5 L5), Athetic have won their last two and could equal their best run this season, three between November and December 2019.
After winning three consecutive LaLiga games between December 2019 and January 2020, Atlético de Madrid have only won two of their last eight LaLiga games (D4 L2), both wins at home.
Away from home, Atlético de Madrid have only won one of their last 10 LaLiga games (D7 L2), 2-1 v Real Betis in December 2019.
Raúl García has scored nine goals in 25 appearances in LaLiga this season and could equal his best tally in a single LaLiga season for Athletic (10 in 2016/17 and 2017/18.
Athletic’s Iñaki Williams has scored four goals against Atlético de Madrid in LaLiga, his joint-best tally against an opponent in the competition (also four v Real Betis and Real Sociedad).
Only in the 2016/17 season (15 for Real Madrid), has Atlético de Madrid’s Álvaro Morata scored more goals in a single LaLiga season than in this term (eight also in 2013/14 for Real Madrid).
Athletic’s Gaizka Garitano has lost four of his five managerial LaLiga games against Atlético de Madrid (W1), however his only win was at home as Athletic manager (2-0 in March 2019).
Atlético de Madrid’s Diego Simeone has won a league-high 15 games against Athletic (G19 W15 D2 L2)
Sevilla and Real Betis is the game in Spain most defined by its fans and on Thursday it will be a first glimpse of LaLiga without them as the season resumes behind closed doors after three months away due to the coronavirus.
Fireworks, banners, plumes of smoke and crowds, delirious at the sight of a team bus, let alone a goal, the Seville derby is a fixture renowned for its intensity and cherished by its supporters.
There will be 110 games held in 39 days, with clubs playing every three days for five and a half weeks, but none for the rest of the season will be as much of a stark reminder of what is missing.
“We can’t wait to return to competing,” said Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui on Wednesday.
“In circumstances that three months ago were unimaginable but today it is the reality and we have to adapt.
“The derby is going to be played and we all know what it means. We have to respond.”
At the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, where Sevilla had only lost two league games this season in front of their fans, the stands will be empty, except for officials and substitutes, who will be strecthed out across rows to maintain social distancing.
For those watching on television at home, the stands can be full, with virtual faces planted in place of vacant seats and fake crowd noise, taken from the computer game Fifa, ebbing and flowing according to the action.
LaLiga’s hope is to pitch the restart as a celebration.
“Volver es Ganar”, has been the league’s slogan, “To Return is to Win”, and there is excitement around football’s return, to go with the relief in recent weeks as the number of deaths and infections have fallen.
‘RESPECT THE RULES’
Spain has recorded more than 27 000 deaths overall and remains one of the worst-hit countries in the world by coronavirus.
But there were 48 new infections on Monday, the lowest since lockdown was declared by the government and down from as many as 10 000 towards the end of March.
Sport resuming adds to the sense that the crisis is now under control but the differences in Seville could also be a sobering demonstration of Spain’s “new normal”.
All players will arrive wearing masks and gloves and have their temperatures checked before entering the stadium.
In total, only around 270 people will be allowed inside while outside, 600 police and security personnel will remain in operation until hours after the final whistle.
Their remit will be to ensure fans do not gather together in large groups, fill up small areas or congregate on the same streets.
A perimetre fence will be in place to keep them at a distance from the stadium.
“It is very important that they pay attention to what is asked of them,” said Betis coach Rubi. “It will be the only time in their life that this will happen. They have to live it 100 per cent but while respecting the rules.”
The football will be the same, albeit with five substitutes allowed instead of three and two drinks breaks permitted to take into account the possibility of extreme heat this summer.
Sevilla cannot afford a slow restart either given they sit at the front of a tight queue of clubs aiming to overtake them and finish in the top four.
One point behind are both Real Sociedad and Getafe. Atletico Madrid are two points back in sixth.
Betis have not entirely given up on European qualification themselves although it will take a formidable run to close a nine-point gap on seventh-placed Valencia, who host Levante on Friday.
“We are not going to make any excuses about the unusual circumstances, the lack of fans or the small amount that we have trained,” said Rubi. “This is the situation. We have to face it.”
Real Betis are trying to extend the contracts of a number of their players amidst the uncertainty going into the upcoming transfer window, and one of those players is Loren Moron.
Los Verdiblancos have been able to get academy graduate Edgar Gonzalez to sign a new deal, so Loren is next on the agenda.
The 26-year-old’s current deal is set to expire in 2022, but Betis want to extend his stay until 2024, with his release clause set to remain at 50 million euros.
Loren is one of Betis’ lowest earners at the moment, but the club want to reward him for the 11 goals he has scored in LaLiga Santander and the Champions League, with his performances having attracted interest from many European clubs.
Now, Betis hope to reach an agreement with Loren before the resumption of LaLiga Santander in mid-June.
Athletic Club Bilbao striker Aritz Aduriz has announced his retirement from football.
The first touch of Aritz Aduriz’s last season was a last-minute overhead kick to beat Barcelona. His last touch was meant to come in an all-Basque Copa del Rey final. It would have been the perfect ending. Now he will never be able to say goodbye.
Aduriz: “This is how this journey ends for me, unforgettable and wonderful from start to finish.”
The statement explains that his hip problems are becoming so serious that even playing these last matches of the season when La Liga resumes is impossible now.
“The time has come,” Aduriz’s message began. “Many times, I have said that football will leave you before you leave it.
“Yesterday, the doctors told me to go to see the surgeon, sooner rather than later, to get a prosthetic to replace my hip and to try and go about my everyday life, as normally as possible.
“Unfortunately, my body has said ‘enough’. I can’t help my team-mates the way I would like to, nor the way that they deserve. That is the life of a professional athlete. Simple, very simple.”
Aduriz had intended 2019-20 to be his last season and it seemed he would get the chance of a famous farewell, with Athletic set to face Basque rivals Real Sociedad in the Copa del Rey final.
However, the suspension of the Spanish season due to the coronavirus pandemic means there is no certainty when, or even if, the Copa final will be played.
“Unfortunately, we are living through situations much more grim and painful; the pandemic that we are suffering from has left us with irreparable damage and we have to keep fighting it, together,” he said.
“Therefore, I don’t want you to worry about me, this is just an anecdote. Let’s forget about the finals we dreamt about, because we will have time to say goodbye. And yes, the time has come to say goodbye, and this is how the road ends for me – unforgettable and marvellous, from beginning to end.
“Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.”
It’s a sad end to a quite brilliant career for the authentic living legend of Basque football. It all promised to end so well with a cup final against their old rivals Real Sociedad, but that dream is now over.
The numbers from his career are quite incredible – 780 games and 285 goals, with more than 400 league games for Athletic Club alone. 177 of his goals came after the age of 30, as he signed off his career with his best spell yet back in Bilbao.
Marcelo has already established himself as one of the most successful players in Real Madrid’s history and the Brazilian left-back is celebrating his 32nd birthday this Tuesday.
Marcelo has won numerous trophies and has broken several records at Los Blancos, but there are still a few challenges to overcome in a rather complicated period for him at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
Here, we look at the five challenges he is facing.
To compete with Mendy for a starter spot
Ferland Mendy’s emergence has prompted Zinedine Zidane to drop an injury-prone Marcelo to the bench this season.
The Brazilian will try to win back his spot in the starting line-up.
Although there are rumours concerning his possible departure this summer, he insists that he wants to remain at the club.
To become the foreigner with the most appearances
Roberto Carlos has featured in more games than any other foreign Real Madrid player with 527.
Marcelo has registered 505 matches so far, closely followed by Karim Benzema with 501.
Another campaign at Los Blancos will be enough to help Marcelo break his compatriot’s record.
To regain his influence on the pitch
Marcelo’s figures have dropped dramatically in the last couple of years.
This season he has played 19 games and has scored just one goal, while last season he netted three in 34 matches.
Meanwhile, in 2017/18, he managed five goals in 44 encounters and one year before he played 47 times and scored three goals.
His 13 and 11 assists from the 2016/17 and 2017/18 seasons respectively have dropped to last year’s six and to the five of the ongoing campaign.
To beat Gento’s titles record
Paco Gento tops the list of the Real Madrid players with the most titles at the club with 23 trophies.
He is followed by Sergio Ramos, Manolo Sanchis and Marcelo, who have won 21 titles each.
Should he manage to lift another three trophies, Marcelo will write his name with golden letters in the history of Los Blancos.
To get back in the Brazil squad
Marcelo didn’t participate in the 2019 Copa America, one which Brazil won on home soil.
The 32-year-old left-back, who has won a Confederations Cup with the Selecao, is eager to challenge for a spot in Tite’s squad for the next Copa America.