This week’s LaLiga football news includes a plethora of stories. Barcelona coach Xavi praises his team’s progress, Real Madrid coach Manolo Preciado dies, and Atletico Madrid are interested in signing Philippe Coutinho. Then there’s the new loan deal with Aston Villa. This roundup of LaLiga news has something for everyone. It’s not all about the results, but it does give us a peek at what we’ll be seeing.
Barcelona coach Xavi praises his team’s progress
Former Spain and Real Madrid midfielder Xavi has praised his team’s progress in the La Liga. Barcelona have only managed to score one goal in the last two matches, and they wasted a good opportunity against Benfica. While the team is almost certain to progress to the Europa League, it needs a miracle to go one better against Bayern Munich. The team’s defensive record has been a source of great pride for Xavi, and he’s praised the way the team has played.
Xavi has praised the midfield and defensive play of his team. Adama Traore, a former Wolverhampton Wanderer, made his second Barcelona debut. The midfielder, who was only good for second division football until recently, has now returned to Barcelona. The Frenchman was praised by Xavi for guiding his side to a 4-2 win against Atletico de Madrid. The win lifted Barcelona up to fourth place in LaLiga and qualified for the Europa League quarter-finals.
Real Madrid coach Manolo Preciado passes away
Former Sporting Lisbon manager Manolo Preciado has died. The Spaniard coached several Spanish teams before becoming Real Madrid’s coach in 2010. His tenure in charge of the Portuguese club saw him lead it to the Primera Division for the first time since 2002. During his time in Madrid, Preciado also coached Sporting Gijon, the club he was dismissed from in January.
A legendary coach, Preciado was known for his verbal sparring with Jose Mourinho, which led to a memorable game between the two. Mourinho had accused Preciado of handing Barca a series of points after fielding a weakened team in the Camp Nou. Despite the feud, both men managed to make peace after the game. In a touching tribute to Preciado, Mourinho also expressed his condolences.
Atletico Madrid’s interest in signing Philippe Coutinho
The January transfer window is open and Atletico Madrid are interested in signing Barcelona playmaker Philippe Coutinho. With Kieran Trippier on the move to England, Atleti have had difficulties in filling the void at full-back. However, they have had discussions with Cash’s agents and are hoping that the deal will convince the Brazilian to stay. As a side, they also want to secure a permanent deal with Coutinho, who is currently contracted to Barcelona until 2022.
The Brazilian has also been linked with a move to Barcelona, but it has not been confirmed yet. The Spanish giants have told some players they can leave, but it has been tough to move big earners, with Griezmann and Marcelo among the most wanted players. Meanwhile, Manchester City have no interest in signing the Brazilian despite his huge wage demands. Atletico are also in talks with Tottenham winger Emerson Royal, who was bought from Barcelona for PS26million.
Atletico Madrid’s new loan deal with Aston Villa
The new loan deal between Atletico Madrid and Aston Villa paves the way for Andre Moreira to return to the Premier League. The Portuguese keeper has not played for Atletico Madrid since joining the club in the summer of 2014. He spent the previous three seasons on loan with the likes of Belenenses, Moreirense and Uniao Madeira. Moreira has made one appearance for Villa this season, in a friendly match against Stoke City. Moreira is expected to compete with Jed Steer for the number one shirt, with the former likely to be given a chance to prove himself.
Philippe Coutinho is one player who has already signed for Aston Villa. He was initially loaned to Villa from Barcelona, but was a disappointing performance in his first season. He has since scored four goals and provided three assists for the Championship side. Aston Villa are set to pay 65% of his wages, and Atletico Madrid can buy him once his contract ends. The deal was facilitated by Steven Gerrard, who has praised the signing of his former teammate.
Real Madrid’s hopes of a second consecutive La Liga title
The team that won the Spanish top flight last season is still alive in the Champions League semifinals, and they now have to win the Champions League to ensure their spot in the final. The team’s title push came as a team effort, but a key component of that effort was Karim Benzema’s performance. Having spent his career in Cristiano Ronaldo’s shadow, Benzema is finally stepping out of the shadow.
While Zidane’s injury prevented him from winning the trophy, Madrid did not let it get in the way of its chances of the treble. With just three league defeats, the team would have had to suffer defeat in the final against Barcelona. Despite all of this, the team deserves a round of applause. If Zidane hadn’t been able to play, they wouldn’t have won the title.