Category Archives: Spanish La Liga

SPain La Liga League Cup

Diego Simeone praises Lionel Messi after La Liga draw

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Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has showered praise upon FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi after the forward starred in a draw with Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

Although Saul Niguez and Luis Suarez were on the scoresheet as Atletico Madrid took on Barca in the 1-1 draw, Messi had great influence in the game — first striking the post in the second half and then playing a role in building Barca’s momentum ahead of Suarez’s late equaliser after Saul unleashed an unstoppable attempt beyond him from 25 yards in the 21st minute.

After the game, Simeone singled out his compatriot — who also fired Argentina to the 2018 World Cup with a hat-trick against Ecuador earlier — for particular praise as he revelled in the occasion at Wanda Metropolitano.

“The stadium was wonderful, we had another night of brilliant football, and with the impressive Messi — extraordinary,” Simeone said. “Messi was the only one who you could see where, every time he touched the ball, something different could happen.”

“He was certainly not as tired as many expected after the trip [from international duty in South America] because he played a tremendous match.”

Meanwhile, French forward Antoine Griezmann failed to find the net at the Wanda for the first time for Atleti, but Simeone believed this was his best performance at the stadium yet.

Indeed, Griezmann had to be denied twice by Barca keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, first by a fine one-handed save at his near post after Andrés Iniesta gave away the ball again, this time with his left leg, after the Frenchman had driven into the box by nutmegging Gerard Pique.

“For me, this was the best game that Griezmann has had at home,” he said. “He twice worked the goalkeeper, he countered with [Angel] Correa and he held the ball up well.”

“It was a great game between two teams with different characteristics. Our first half was very good, the goalkeeper [ter Stegen] was key. From the 60th minute, Barca attacked with more clarity due to their need to score.”

Raphael Varane and Marco Asensio extend stay at Real Madrid

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Real Madrid forward Marco Asensio and defender Raphael Varane has extended their contracts with the La Liga Champions.

24-year-old Varane has committed to stay with Real up to the end of the 2021-22 season after having been signed from Lens in 2011.

Since arriving from France, the player had since established himself as a crucial part of Madrid’s successes in recent years and won 13 major trophies in the process, including three Champions Leagues, two Club World Cups and two La Liga titles. – Cara Daftar Sbobet

Varane, who won the Champions League twice in each of the last two seasons since Zidane took over at Real, added that the French legend was key to the various successes in Real Madrid in the last few seasons.

“Zidane was fundamental to me coming and now he’s the coach who helps me every day,” Varane said. “I thank him for his support and his confidence. He gives me advice and he is a person we respect a lot and listen to when he speaks.”

“I have learned a lot at this club. Every season is a challenge and now I am a more complete player. I have learned at the highest level. In every training session, I learn.”

On the other hand, Asensio, 21, who signed for in 2014 for €3.9 million from Mallorca, and has agreed a new six-year-deal at Santiago Bernabeu a a day after his teammate Varane committed to Real.

After a season-long at both Espanyol and Mallorca, Asensio made his first breakthrough into Los Blancos first team in 2016-17, starting in their UEFA Super Cup win over Sevilla and then making his La Liga debut shortly after.

The Spaniard then played 23 La Liga games last season, and impressed in the Champions League, scoring three times in eight appearances, including a goal in the final against Juventus as Zinedine Zidane’s side lifted the trophy.

Both Varane and Asensio follow the footsteps of clubmates including Marcelo, Isco, Dani Carvajal, Karim Benzema and Marcos Llorente, who have also recently committed their futures to the club.

Ousmane Dembele: new Barca signing set to miss out for four months

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FC Barcelona has announced that their new signing, forward Ousmane Dembele, could miss up to four months worth of fixtures after sustaining his injury to his thigh.

The French international will also miss France’s final two World Cup qualifiers away to Bulgaria and at home to Belarus in October, as Les Blues look to hold on their top spot on group A of the UEFA qualifiers — which guarantees their automatic qualification into the World Cup finals in Russia next summer.

Dembele, 20, who became the second most expensive player in the world after Neymar when he joined the Catalan side from Borussia Dortmund this summer, sustained the injury on his full La Liga debut against Getafe on Saturday.

Barca have since issued an statement on their official website, saying: “The tests have come back and show that Ousmane Dembele has ruptured the tendon in his femoral bicep in his left thigh.”

“The player will be operated on by Dr Sakari Orava in Finland this week. He is expected to be out for between three and a half months and four months.”

Dembele was making his first league start for Barcelona and his third overall, after coming on as a substitute in a 5-0 league win over Espanyol, started the 3-0 Champions League victory over Juventus on Tuesday and lasted 29 minutes against Getafe.

Getafe led early on through a wonder goal from Japanese International, and Barca, after losing Dembele, was forced to rescue the game through two second-half substitutes, with Denis Suarez levelling around the hour before Paulinho won the game late on.

Barca coach Ernesto Valverde said that the game was proof Barca could subvert pressure amidst difficult circumstances, and was happy to see two substitutes make such a vital contribution.

“The opposition put us under pressure but this comeback reinforces our belief that we are indeed capable of reacting to difficulty,” he said. “It is important for them as individuals, it gives them both confidence, whilst also showing that our squad is deep and we have many players who can help us.”

Real Madrid frustrated again after home draw against Levante

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Real Madrid dropped more points at home for the second game running after a 1-1 draw against Levante in La Liga, a game which also saw Marcelo getting sent off late on.

Ivan Lopez gave the visitors a shock lead in the 12th minute by flicking the ball over Dani Carvajal as the Madrid right-back tried to control a long throw-in and volleying into the near corner.

Real was further troubled as forward Karim Benzema was forced off the pitch with a limp, and with Lopez coming close to doubling the lead for Levante from a free-kick that whistled past a post but the champions pulled themselves level in the 36th minute when Lucas Vazquez tapped in from close range after the Levante goalkeeper, Raul Fernandez, could only parry a header from Sergio Ramos.

But Fernandez was able to make amends for that concession by denying Gareth Bale on the stroke of half-time after the Wales international raced through on goal unchallenged, before also kept out another effort by Bale and strikes from Toni Kroos and Marco Asensio after half-time.

The goalkeeper’s best save then came from a low-struck effort from Marcelo, who in frustration rolled to the floor, kicking Levante’s Jefferson Lerma in the process and earning a straight red card in the 89th minute.

Real had one final chance to snatch a win when Toni Kroos went for goal from the edge of the area but saw his shot bounce off the outside of the far post, leaving Zinedine Zidane’s side with five points from their first three league games.

“We need to play better and make that up,” said the Frenchman. “We cannot be happy with what we did. Against Valencia we dropped two points, but played well.”

“We did not play a good game, clearly. We were better after the break, made chances to score, but it was not a good game. One goal today is not enough. With the chances we created, we must be more effective.”