Derbies aplenty in LaLiga Santander, presidential elections at Barcelona, a new signing at Elche… It’s been a busy week in Spanish football and here’s all you need to know to stay up to date.
Spoils shared in the Madrid derby
Football fans around the world were focused on the Madrid derby on Sunday afternoon as Atlético de Madrid welcomed city rivals Real Madrid to the Wanda Metropolitano. Goals from Luis Suárez and Karim Benzema saw the teams share the spoils in a 1-1 draw, ensuring the LaLiga title race remains as tight as ever as we enter the final third of the season.
Ilaix Moriba’s first goal
So many young players are shining at Barcelona this season and Ilaix Moriba is the latest to impress. The 18-year-old La Masia graduate had been impressing in recent weeks, before scoring his first senior goal over the weekend in Barça’s 2-0 win at Osasuna. Curiously, he scored into the same goal frame where Ansu Fati also netted his first senior goal for the club last season.
Joan Laporta is elected Barcelona president
Sunday was presidential election day at Barcelona, with former president Joan Laporta winning the vote and returning to the top seat of the Camp Nou boardroom. He took a 54.28% share of the total votes cast, while Víctor Font picked up 29.99% and Toni Freixa 8.58%.
Barcelona to face Athletic Club in the 20/21 Copa del Rey final
In a busy week in the Catalan capital, perhaps the most momentous moment of Barcelona’s week was their epic comeback victory in their Copa del Rey semi-final against Sevilla. A stoppage-time Gerard Piqué goal took the tie to extra time, during which Martin Braithwaite scored the winner. In the other semi-final, Athletic Club also won in extra time, overcoming Levante UD. It’ll be Barcelona vs Athletic Club, then, in the 2020/21 Copa del Rey final.
Pablo Piatti returns to LaLiga Santander
There was a new arrival in Spanish football’s top division this week as Elche CF signed free agent Pablo Piatti, who had most recently played with Toronto FC. The Argentine winger has lots of experience at this level, having previously played for UD Almería, Valencia CF and RCD Espanyol, scoring 48 LaLiga Santander goals across 294 matches.
Valencia edge a thrilling derby against Villarreal
Matchday 26 got going with a derby in the Valencian Community, as Valencia welcomed Villarreal to Mestalla. Although Villarreal led for most of the game, Los Che mounted a late comeback as a Carlos Soler penalty and a Gonçalo Guedes blast earned them a 2-1 win that will feel extra sweet.
A seven-goal thriller in Huesca
The highest-scoring game of the past week saw RC Celta defeat SD Huesca 4-3 on Sunday in a back-and-forth thriller at El Alcoraz. Both sides had the lead at different points in the first half, before Fran Beltrán was the hero for the Galicians in the second half, breaking the 3-3 deadlock with an impressive strike.
Ledesma denies Dmitrović for a huge Cádiz win
Cádiz returned to winning ways, with Argentine keeper Jeremías Ledesma the hero. After Álvaro Negredo gave his side the lead, Ledesma then parried a penalty attempt from Eibar goalkeeper Marko Dmitrović to seal the 1-0 win. The Serbian shot-stopper had already scored a spot-kick this season but was got the better of by his counterpart.
Records at Real Madrid
Real Madrid’s Monday night draw with Real Sociedad last week saw a couple of their players hit impressive milestones. Vínicius, still just 20, made his 100th appearance for the first team and scored the equaliser in the 1-1 draw. Toni Kroos, meanwhile, made his 309th appearance to mean he has now overtaken Uli Stielike as the German with the most matches in club history.
Another Player of the Month award for Messi
Lionel Messi has won LaLiga Santander’s Player of the Month award for February, after scoring seven goals across his five league fixtures. This is the eighth time that the Argentine star has won this award since its launch in 2013, and his first since February 2020.