What has been going on in LaLiga this past week? Here’s all you need to know, from yet ANOTHER record for Leo Messi to the long-awaited return of Chimy Avila.
Record breaking Messi puts on a show
Barcelona produced a statement victory on Sunday by thrashing Real Sociedad 6-1 at the Reale Arena. Lionel Messi led the way with two goals and an assist too, doing so on the night when he overtook Xavi Hernández to become the Barça player with the most official first-team appearances in club history (768). Talk about marking the occasion in style. The Argentine has now been involved in 23 goals in 2021 (16 goals and 7 assists), more than anyone across Europe’s top five leagues.
Oblak is the hero for the league leaders
Atlético de Madrid kept their four-point advantage at the top of the LaLiga Santander table with a hard-fought win 1-0 over Alavés on Sunday, with Luis Suárez scoring the only goal of the game. Jan Oblak was the hero at the end of the game as the Slovenian goalkeeper saved a penalty from Joselu to keep his side in front.
500 up for Suárez
That Luis Suárez goal against Alavés was an extra special one as it was his 500th as a professional footballer. It’s a special achievement that only a few of the very best have ever managed, with the centre-forward’s goals spread out for Atletico (19), Barcelona (198), Liverpool (82), Ajax (111), Groningen (15), Nacional (12) and the Uruguay national team (63).
Chimy Ávila’s return
There was excellent news for Osasuna and for all of LaLiga this week as striker Chimy Ávila returned to a matchday squad, having been out since January of 2020 with two separate long-term knee injuries. Although he didn’t make it onto the field against Huesca, one of his former clubs, it was a fantastic sight to see the Argentine back among the substitutes and he’ll be back in action before long.
Bono finds what he was looking for
Sevilla’s Bono became the second goalkeeper to score in the 2020/21 LaLiga Santander season this weekend, scoring in stoppage time to salvage a 1-1 draw for the Andalusians at Real Valladolid. Eibar’s Marko Dmitrovic converted a penalty earlier this season, making this campaign the first ever to see two keepers get on the scoresheet.
Happy 102nd birthday, Valencia CF!
One of LaLiga’s oldest clubs, Valencia CF celebrated their 102nd birthday last week. Respected across the country and around the world, they received various messages of congratulations on their special day.
Iñaki Williams continues his consecutive matches streak
Athletic Club forward Iñaki Williams has now played 185 consecutive LaLiga Santander matches, moving him above Andoni Zubizarreta’s 184 and onto the ‘podium.’ Only Real Sociedad’s Juan Antonio Larrañaga (202) and Luis Arconada (188), have longer streaks of consecutive outings in Spain’s top division than Williams. Must be something in the water up in the Basque Country!
Benzema keeps up his spectacular form
Karim Benzema was the main man as Real Madrid defeated RC Celta 3-1 this weekend, with the Frenchman scoring his side’s first two goals and then assisting Marco Asensio for the third. Benzema has now scored in each of his past six appearances across all competitions, producing eight goals over these half dozen matches. He is approaching the business end of the season in top form, powering Real Madrid’s title drive.
Real Madrid progress to the Champions League quarter-finals
Zinedine Zidane’s side progressed into the last eight of the Champions League with a 4-1 aggregate win over Atalanta and will now face Liverpool FC in a repeat of the 2018 final – which they won 3-1 in Kiev. If they overcome the English side, Chelsea FC or FC Porto await in the semi-finals. With their title run still in full flow, an exciting month of April awaits Los Blancos.
Villarreal and Granada get the job done
The two Spanish sides in Europa League action this past week went into their second legs with advantages from the first legs and both Villarreal and Granada finished the job. Villarreal repeated their first leg score to defeat Dynamo Kyiv 2-0 again for a 4-0 aggregate win and they’ll now play Dinamo Zagreb. Meanwhile, Granada’s 2-1 second leg loss to Molde was enough as they progressed 3-2 against the Norwegian side to set up a quarter-final tie against Manchester United.