Villarreal – Atlético In Miami ? The Latest

The round 16 game would be the first regular season match of LaLiga Santander to be presented outside of Spain.

MIAMI, Fla. (October 17, 2019) —

LaLiga is continuing its attempts to stage an official league game in the United States by proposing that the Villarreal-Atletico Madrid match scheduled for the weekend of December 7-8 be played at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.

Having previously attempted to arrange a game in Miami last season between Barcelona and Girona, LaLiga seem determined to make the event happen.

Spanish newspaper El Confidencial first reported that an agreement is already in place between LaLiga and both clubs to play the match in Miami, which would be a designated home game for Villarreal:

Tal y como hiciera la temporada pasada, aunque finalmente sin éxito, LaLiga estudia llevarse un partido de Primera División fuera de España, y más concretamente a Estados Unidos. Tras el fiasco del Girona-Barça del curso anterior que tanta polémica suscitó, el presidente de la patronal, Javier Tebas, no ceja en su empeño de expandir “la industria del fútbol español” a otros continentes, especialmente el norteamericano.

Support From Both Clubs

Today, LaLiga Santander confirmed that both Atlético de Madrid and Villarreal have agreed to play their December 6 meeting in the United States. The game is set for Friday, December 6 at 22:00 CET (16:00 EST), but there is also talk of playing the match on Sunday, December 8, 2019, which from the standpoint of ticket sales in Miami makes more sense. They now hope that the Spanish FA, among other governing bodies, consents.

“Atletico Madrid work every season to promote our brand across all continents.”

Miguel Angel Gil, CEO, Atlético de Madrid
Miguel Angel Gil, CEO, Club Atlético de Madrid Photo: RTVE

“A match in the US would allow us to continue working on it,” Gil added. “Additionally, we’d bring Spanish football to fans outside our country. It’d be a great game that would mark the future.”

Villarreal president Fernando Roig joined with the sentiments. “Everything about exporting football and Spanish sport is good for everyone,” he said. “And, of course, for Villarreal. The US is a very important country where we have official club academies. It would be very special for us to play there.”

“It would be positive for everyone.” Fernando Roig, President, Villareal C.F.

The Villareal President went on to say: “I hope this time it comes to fruition. We’re starting to see if Villarreal-Atleti can be played in Miami,” Villarreal president Fernando Roig told El Transistor. “Both us and Atleti have agreed to play in Miami, but I would like this to be a consensual agreement from everyone. I would like there to be a consensual agreement because I think that taking LaLiga abroad would be good for everyone.”

The club also said it would work out a plan to reimburse ticket holders who would not be able to see the game played at the Estadio de la Cerámica, although the precise nature of the reimbursement has not yet been revealed.

Sanctioning Process

The next step in the process to bring the Round 16 match to Hard Rock Stadium is for LaLiga to make a formal application to the Real Federación Espanola de Fútbol (RFEF) which is the licensing body of spanish football. LaLiga intends to file this application today, October 17. The league has also informed the players on both sides prior to announcing the plan. In addition to the RFEF, LaLiga will once again seek the approval of UEFA, and the United States Soccer Federation.

Prior Plan Scrapped

In August 2018, LaLiga announced that it would play at least one match per season overseas as part of a new 15-year partnership with Relevent Sports Group to promote the league in North America. But a proposed game between FC Barcelona and Girona at Hard Rock Stadium for January 2019 was shelved after Barcelona’s board of directors backed out of the match, citing “a lack of consensus” among stakeholders.

While the Barça board cited a lack of consensus, the real reason was that the RFEF, along with UEFA, FIFA and the United States Soccer Federation, had not approved the game.

The fallout from the failure of these bodies to approve last season’s match continues. In September, LaLiga’s North American partner Relevent Sports Group filed an antitrust lawsuit against the USSF (ÜS Soccer”) in the United States District Court For The Southern District of New York, alleging that Us Soccer conspired with global governing body FIFA and Soccer United Marketing, the commercial arm of Major League Soccer, to block official matches from foreign clubs being held in the U.S. There is also a similar lawsuit between LaLiga and the RFEF over the right to stage games overseas.

Economic Benefit To Both Clubs

Both Atlético de Madrid and Villareal CF are looking to increase their presence in the North American market, Atletico Madrid toured the U.S. this summer, including participating in the MLS All-Star Game. Having a regular season match in Miami would be a boost to the marketing of both clubs.

Miami is the leading choice for holding LaLiga games in the United States, given the league is in a fifteen-year agreement with Relevant Sports, which is tied in to the ownership group of Hard Rock Stadium and the Miami Dolphins NFL franchise. Hard Rock Stadium, originally opened in 1987 and known as Joe Robbie Stadium, has undergone extensive upgrades in recent years, and is perfectly suited to host soccer matches. It even has the look of a modern European football arena. On top of that, Miami traditionally has among the highest support for soccer of any city in North America, given its large percentage of the population with ties to Latin America, and, to a lesser extent, Europe.

Photo: Hard Rock Stadium

Recapítulo En Castellano:

  • El organismo presidido por Javier Tebas cuenta con la aprobación de ambos clubes, que ven la propuesta como una oportunidad histórica. El encuentro se disputaría el domingo 8 de diciembre.
  • Por segundo año consecutivo, LaLiga estudia seriamente la posibilidad de llevarse un partido de la Primera División española a tierras estadounidenses.
  • Javier Tebas no ceja en su empeño de expandir más el mercado del fútbol nacional a otros continentes, especialmente el americano.
  • Ambos clubes implicados están de acuerdo con la iniciativa, asi lo aseguró Fernando Roig, presidente de Villarreal, más tarde en declaraciones al programa ‘El Transistor’ de Onda Cero: “Es bueno para que exportemos LaLiga a un país tan importante. No hay problemas por parte del Atleti. Esperamos que todo siga su curso”.
  • LaLiga presente que el enfrentamiento entre castellonenses y madrileños se juegue en Miami (Florida) en el Hard Rock Stadium, junto a la misma empresa promotora, Relevent.
  • Este pasado martes José Manuel Llaneza, vicepresidente del club amarillo, se reunió en Madrid con miembros de LaLiga para comprobar algunos detalles y dar su visto bueno a la operación.
  • El Villarreal compensará a sus aficionados, los grandes damnificados por esta medida, de alguna manera que todavía no se ha concretado. No se descarta que el club sufrage vuelos chárter para sus socios con la esperanza de que ningún abonado se quede sin disfrutar de un hecho que la junta directiva considera histórico. “Es posible. Estamos estudiando y viendo alternativas diferentes. No habrá problemas”, indicó Roig.
  • En su momento, la Federación (RFEF) se opuso por completo a que los partidos del campenato doméstico se celebraran fuera del país, pero se desconoce qué postura defenderá ahora una vez que ha maniobrado para organizar la próxima edición de la Supercopa de España en Arabia Saudí (del 8 al 12 de enero). Fue en septiembre de 2018 cuando la RFEF presidida por Luis Rubiales rechazó por completo la idea de un partido en Florida, que tampoco convenció a la FIFA ni a la AFE.

Just How Bad Is Barcelona’s Start to This La Liga Season?

Miami, Fla. (September 23, 2019) —

Granada had only beaten Barcelona once in their last twenty meetings. Then came Saturday night, a pleasant, warm, dry evening in southern Andalusia.

By now, you’ve undoubtedly heard the final score. The shocking result over the weekend condemned Barcelona to its worst league start in 25 years and leaves the club in eighth place in the table, three points behind Granada. The previous worst start was in 1994-1995 under manager Johan Cruyff. It is also the first time since that season that Barcelona have failed to win any of its first three away games. The Blaugrana have been winless on the road stretching back to April (last season.)

Manager Ernesto Valverde made four changes to the side that unconvincingly drew 0-0 with Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League last Tuesday, as a returning Messi started on the bench once more. Summer signing Junior Firpo was handed his first start of the season after Jordi Alba had picked up an injury in midweek, but it was his defensive slip that directly led to Granada taking the lead after just one minute and five seconds.

Ramon Azeez headed in at the back post, to the delight of the over 18,000 spectators at the Nuevo Los Cármenes, who would not have dared to dream of being a goal up after less than two minutes having been played. The early advantage proved no fluke either, as the hosts pressed on and could have added to their advantage before the interval – Manchester City loanee Yangel Herrera shooting narrowly over from outside the box.

Barcelona’s best opportunity fell to Luis Suarez in first-half stoppage time, but the Uruguay forward’s goal-bound attempt was – typically of the hosts’ defensive performance – blocked on the line.

Something had to be done, and Valverde introduced Lionel Messi (replacing Carles Perez) and 16-year old superstar Ansu Fati at half-time. The pair saw plenty of the ball in the second half, but despite their best efforts, neither could achieve a breakthrough. In fact, it was a Granada substitute, Álvaro Vadillo, who had a bigger impact on the game, adding the hosts’ second from the penalty spot after Arturo Vidal’s costly hand ball in the area, which was confirmed beyond any doubt by VAR. Vadillo swept the ball to his left from the penalty spot, away from a diving Marc Andre ter Steigen.

Granada’s Álvaro Vadillo celebrates his penalty kick.

Such was the strength of Granada’s play that the visitors, despite having 73 % of the possession and out passing Granada by a wide margin, failed to register a shot on target in the first half and landed just one of their eight shots – from Messi in 82nd minute – on target in the entire game.

Barcelona never looked like getting back into the contest after that, as a resilient, dogged Granada recorded a famous victory.

One can only imagine what Ernesto is thinking.

Barcelona have now failed to score in six of their last seven La Liga away matches, while €120 million summer signing Antoine Griezmann is yet to have a shot on target after four away matches for Barcelona.

The recent form of the Culés has Luis Suarez worried:

“This defeat hurts us and makes us very worried and we need to really take hard look at ourselves if we are to improve. We didn’t manage to dominate the game in any way. We need to analyse what has gone wrong in these a way games; we are obviously concerned about the lack of chances we are creating.”

Leo Messi is not fully healthy though he is still the key to Barcelona’s fortunes.

When asked where the blame lied for the loss at Estadio Nuevo Los Carmenes, Valverde was clear in his answer.

“We’re missing precision in the final third, they tried to press us, we came out well from the pressure and then it was a matter of adding the finishing touch, that’s where we went wrong,” he explained.

“We will try to improve.” He also took responsibility for the defeat, adding, “You always blame yourself for what happens, the actors are the players but in the end, the coach is responsible,” he said.

Barcelona are also leaking goals as well, having conceded nine goals in five matches, tied for the worst defensive record in La Liga along with Real Betis.

“It’s clearly not a very good statistic for us and not in line with what we have been doing in the last few years,” said Ernesto Valverde.

Adding to the pressure the Catalan press has been unsympathetic to the Blaugrana, as this cover of yesterday’s Diario Sport clearly shows:

El Sueño Rojiblanco Continúa – Granada CF Shock Champions Barcelona, Climb To 3rd In La Liga

Miami, Fla. (September 23, 2019) —

“Absolutely stunning.”

These are perhaps the best words to sum up the game this last Saturday at the Estadio Nuevo de Los Cármenes. Diego Martinez’s side has impressed so far in 2019-20, following their return to the Spanish top flight. Saturday night, their tenacity was again on display, as home side Granada CF shocked the reigning La Liga champions FC Barcelona, 2-0 in a night few Granada fans will forget anytime soon.

Ramon Azeez stunned the visitors with a goal inside the first 60 seconds, heading home at the far post, after Jose Puentas profited from a slip by Junior Firpo, who got his first start for the Catalan side.

The visitors never really recovered from that early setback, with Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann unable to trouble an organised home defence.

Throughout the game, the home side played with intensity, hunger, order, perfect coverage, helping each other in a display of teamwork that Ernesto Valverde surely would have wanted from his Barcelona players.

Valverde brought on Lionel Messi and Ansu Fati at half time, but again they struggled to make any attacking inroads as the hosts looked to preserve their lead.

Any chance of a late FC Barcelona comeback was killed off with 25 minutes to go as substitute Arturo Vidal conceded a penalty for handball, which was signaled by referee Cuadra Fernández, whose decision was confirmed beyond any doubt by VAR. Alvaro Vadillo, who had come on as a substitute, then scored from the spot to make it 2-0.

All of the Granada turned in a terrific performance on the night. In particular, Ángel Montoro gave the side the rhythm needed at every moment. When he had to play wide, he did it. When he elected to change the side of attack, both Machís and especially Puertas, benefitted from his decisions. And when he has to find Yangel Herrera o Azeez inside, he executed it with certainty.

With the win Granada CF sit third in the La Liga table. They actually briefly were first after the win, prior to Sunday’s games. When the calendar came out in July, even the most optimistic fans of the club could not possibly have imagined that after 5 games, the team would have 25 % of the points needed to survive relegation.

La Liga.com Match statistics, Minute by minute, Lineups / Estadísticas, Minuto a minuto, Alineaciones

DID YOU KNOW? This was only the fifth time in history that Granada’s have beaten Barcelona. It is also the first time since 1944 that they have scored more than one goal against Barça.


Galeria Gráfica / Photos

Crónica en español

El Granada hace historia con un partidazo ante el Barcelona (2-0)

El conjunto de Diego Martínez se impone con total merecimiento al actual campeón de La Liga

El Cuadro de Nazarí mostró los argumentos que le hicieron ascender.

Diez puntos suma ya el cuadro de Diego Martínez, lo que es decir, el 25 % de los necesarios para salvarse.

Fue un histórico triunfo del Granada CF frente al FC Barcelona para colocarse como uno de los dos mejores de LaLiga Santander. Los goles de Ramón Azeez y Álvaro Vadillo (de penalti) demonstraron la superioridad de los 11 de Diego Martínez frente a un Barça sin ideas que ni Messi pudo reactivar. 

Cuando allá por el mes de julio salió el calendario, pocos podían imaginar que tras la disputa de las cinco primeras jornadas, el Granada CF tendría el 25% de los guarismos necesarios para salvarse. Diez puntos que saben a gloria tras vencer al Barcelona (2-0) y que permitieron al conjunto rojiblanco dormir como líder de LaLiga Santander. Y lo hicieron por méritos propios, con los argumentos que han llevado a volver a ilusionar a toda una ciudad.

El mejor guión

Si a Diego Martínez le hubieran pedido que hiciera un guión del partido, seguramente habría soñado con un choque como el que hicieron sus jugadores ante el campeón de liga. Intensidad, hambre, orden, coberturas perfectas, ayudas y automatismos que seguramente Ernesto Valverde hubiera querido para su equipo. Y encima, un gol en la primera acción de ataque. Lo soñado por todos.

Los rojiblancos se adelantaron a los dos minutos, gracias a las ganas que pusieron en un balón dividido de Puertas con Lenglet, en una acción en la que los culés reclamaron falta. Pero Cuadra Fernández no lo estimó, ni el VAR tampoco. El almeriense, tras un excepcional pase de Soldado, se internó en el área y centró, tocando Piqué el esférico que se elevó para que Azeez remachara en boca de gol para delirio de Los Cármenes, que se frotaban los ojos ante tanta eficacia.

El Barça comenzó a dominar el esférico pero sin profundidad. El sistema defensivo de los nazaríes se le atragantó a los de Valverde, incapaces de superar las dos líneas ordenadas desde el banquillo. Pero es que cuando tenían los locales el balón, lo cuidaron con mimo. En especial, Ángel Montoro, que le dio el ritmo que necesitaba al partido en cada momento. Si había que jugar en largo, lo hacía. Que tocaba cambios de orientación, tanto Machís como, especialmente, Puertas, se beneficiaban de ello. Y si lo ideal era asociarse por dentro con Yangel Herrera o Azeez, lo ejecutaba con acierto.

Pocas Ocasiones

Ello incomodó al Barça, que no tuvo profundidad, con un Griezmann desaparecido, Luis Suárez desasistido y con Carles Pérez como único estilete con algo más de peligro por banda derecha, aprovechando su velocidad ante un debutante en Primera, el canterano Carlos Neva.

Las ocasiones no es que fueran numerosas, pero si hubo un equipo que lo intentó, ese fue el Granada CF. Puertas, Neva o Yangel Herrera lo intentaron desde fuera del área y casi siempre para cerrar una contra. Y, todo ello con Piqué en el campo, que pudo ser expulsado por una agresión a Machís en el 18’por la que pudo ver perfectamente roja. Acción que repitió en el descuento del primer acto, donde sí vio cartulina.

“Sí, Se Puede”

De hecho, la mejor ocasión visitante llegó en el añadido con un remate mordido de Luis Suárez que Puertas supo despejar en línea de gol. No habría sido justo que llegara el empate ante el esfuerzo descomunal de los rojiblancos, que fueron despedidos con una sonora ovación de su afición al grito de “¡Sí se puede!”.

Valverde era consciente de que caer en Granada generaría una enorme crisis y apostó por sacar todo su arsenal ofensivo. Dio entrada a Leo Messi y Ansu Fati, situando al astro argentino por detrás de los tres atacantes. Pero no era el día del conjunto con mayor límite salarial de la competición. Y no lo era porque enfrente se encontró con un grupo de jugadores humildes que se dejaron todo en cada duelo individual, que presionaron en bloque, con intensidad pero que, sobre todo, tenían el hambre que las estrellas culés no tienen a día de hoy. Y eso es mucho.

Riesgo

Porque, pese jugar con hasta cuatro delanteros, Rui Silva no pasó por excesivos apuros, logrando así su tercera puerta a cero de manera consecutiva gracias, además, a que todos sus compañeros se afanaron en proteger el arco nazarí. Con tanto riesgo asumido, lo normal era que, a la contra, el Granada CF pudiera hacerle daño a su rival. Y, aunque no tuvieron el acierto ni los efectivos necesarios porque el objetivo era evitar que el Barcelona se metiera en el partido, cada opción había que aprovecharla. Y así lo hicieron los de Diego Martínez.

Fue por medio de una falta lateral que ejecutó Vadillo y que Arturo Vidal tocó con el brazo demasiado extendido. El colegiado tuvo que acudir por primera vez en la historia en Los Cármenes a la pantalla del VAR y señaló penalti. El propio extremo gaditano ejecutó magistralmente la pena máxima para júbilo de los seguidores granadinos, que no todos los que acudieron a la instalación del Zaidín iban con el equipo de su tierra, por cierto.

Fiesta

Con 2-0, el choque se puso muy de cara para hacer una de las cosas que mejor sabe hacer el Granada CF, que no es otra cosa que dormir los partidos. Pese a que el Barça lo intentó, no tuvo ideas y sí demasiadas imprecisiones. Y tampoco es que los locales se encerraran atrás. Todo lo contrario. Siguieron presionando a destajo, como si cada balón fuera el último de la temporada. Unas ganas que la grada agradeció con ovaciones constantes, como la que llegó en el 90’ con todo el equipo en campo contrario. No era para menos. Se estaba cerca de vencer al actual campeón, cosa que se confirmó y que la plantilla, en el campo y en el banquillo, celebró como si de un ascenso se tratara. El matagigantes ha vuelto. Y todo con Ivan Rakitic en la cancha.

Highlights / Destacados


Sources: Granada Hoy, YouTube, La Liga, Granada CF, FC Barcelona

Images by Alex Camara

Más imágenes del Granada-Barcelona:

Cronica

Directo

Sling TV To Become Official Sponsor of La Liga in North America

LaLiga North America continues its expansion and promotion of Spain’s top soccer league in the United States and Canada by partnering with Sling TV.

Miami, Fla. (September 18, 2019) –

Sling TV has become the official sponsor of La Liga in North America. The agreement will result in additional programming dedicated to La Liga.

Sling TV curently broadcasts La Liga regular season matches via beIN Sports and beIN Sports en Español. Subscribers are able to watch all matches on Sling TV’s Best of Spanish TV service and World Sports.

Additional content as part of the new partnership will include weekly La Liga segments: the Luis Garcia Show (in Spanish) and the Jimmy Conrad Show, (in English). Facebook users will be able to watch exclusive commentary ahead of the top four matches of the week on LaLiga’s Facebook page.

Sling TV will also show La Liga Ambassadors Club, which includes meet and greets with former players as well as player Q&As on Facebook Live throughout the season. Also encompassed in the partnership are La Liga experiences and merchandise which will include sweepstakes, giveaways and promotions across both partners’ platforms.

With increased coverage, Spain’s top soccer league is enjoying an increased following in North America, beyond traditional strongholds like Miami and Los Angeles. In the three meetings between rivals FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF last season – two in LaLiga, one in the Copa del Rey – beIN Sports and beIN Sports en Español reached a combined audience of more than 2.7 million viewers.

What The Parties Are Saying:

“When we started our venture here and created our plan to grow the brand while getting the clubs and players closer to fans, doing it alone was going to be tough, so having partners that can come in and help amplify what we’re doing and commit to our strategy is just proof of the success,” Gartner said. “Having Sling TV come in as the first commercial partner we have for the region on a deal that’s anchored primarily on the original content strategy we set out to do is a good validation of how we see the market and how we see the strategy to grow here. 

That the content being developed is bilingual is important to LaLiga North America, says Gartner. It fits into their target market which consists of native Spanish speakers and a younger, bilingual audience. He also believes the additional content will allow partners of LaLiga to reach out to the target market in a more customized way.

“LaLiga’s rabid fan base has found a home at Sling TV,” said Alfredo Rodriguez, vice president of marketing at Sling TV. “As the Official North American sponsor, LaLiga fanatics can now get a premium experience through the partnership, gaining access to everything LaLiga through exclusive content and giveaways.”

About LaLiga North America

LaLiga North America is a joint venture between Spain’s domestic league and Relevent Sports Group, which also produces the International Champions Cup each summer, operating to support the league’s growth on the continent through content development, activations, marketing agreements, commercial partnerships, exhibition matches and youth academies.

About Sling TV

Sling TV provides over-the-top (“OTT”) TV services with more than 640 channels in 22 languages across multiple devices. As of July 29, 2019, Sling had 2.47 million subscribers.

Playing With Conviction

Granada CF currently tied for 5th in La Liga table after 4 rounds.

Miami, Fla, 16 September 2019

It’s early in the season, but after four rounds of La Liga, fans of Granada CF are probably surprised by the club’s performance thus far: two wins, one draw and one loss. For a team which is one of the favourites to finish in the bottom three, these are good times in Andalucía.

The season has seen Granada open the campaign with a 4-4 goleado at the Cerámica against Villarreal, followed by a narrow 1-0 defeat at home against currently first-place Sevilla. Then came a surprising 3-0 win away at the RCD Espanyol stadium over the Péricos before the international break, and proving that was no fluke, winning over the weekend 2-0 at Celta de Vigo. The team has also scored 9 goals while conceding 5 (+4 differential).

Germán Sanchez heads home a goal in first half stoppage time.

Granada are coached by Diego Martinez who at 38 years old is young for a manager, but has a wealth of coaching experience having retired from playing at the age of just 20. He has steadily built his way up since, spending seven years on the coaching staff at Sevilla before getting his big break with Osasuna in 2017-18. His switch to Granada last summer ultimately worked out well for both clubs with Osasuna the other side to achieve direct promotion from the Segunda last season.

Sunday’s Result Versus Celta

Manager Diego Martínez said in the pre-game press conference that “we approach every game with maximum confidence and thinking that we can win.” And win they did, though the game didn’t go according to plan. Nonetheless, Granada’s win on Sunday came exactly 61 years after their last victory in Vigo. The game itself will likely be remembered more for the deployment of VAR than much else. Under unusually warm, sunny skies and dry conditions, something not that common in this part of Spain, the most influential person on the pitch was referee Prieto Iglesias, who issued not one but two red cards after consulting VAR that reduced Celta to nine men before 30 minutes had been played.

Referee Prieto Iglesias issues red card to Celta’s midfielder Fran Beltran in the 28′

Granada found the back of the net in first half stoppage time on a nice header from Germán Sanchez and again shortly after the restart, when, in minute 53, Yangel Herrera unleashed a blast that nearly destroyed the crossbar on its way in. From that point on, it was game over.


Related:

Summer Transfer Market: La Liga Santander And La Liga Smartbank Summer Transfer Market 2019 | Mercado de Fichajes 2019

A closer look at the squad: Granada CF (Transfermarkt)


At the post game press conference following the 2-0 victory, Manager Diego Martínez characterised it as a “marvellous victory,” adding that if someone had told him his club would have seven points after its first four matches it would have been beyond all imagination.

“Es una victoria maravillosa para un equipo recién ascendido como nosotros. Cuando salió el calendario, si nos dicen que vamos a tener siete puntos, no se lo hubiera imaginado ni el más optimista”.

One of the biggest tests of the season awaits the Nazarí side this weekend, as defending champions Barcelona make a visit to the Nuevo Estádio de Los Cármenes. Barcelona is playing well even in the absence of Lionel Messi, and has seen excellent performances turned in by young players such a Frenkie de Jong and 16-year-old forward Ansu Fati.

Discussing the upcoming game, Diego Martínez said he is hoping for a full stadium that supports Granada, and pledged that his team will approach every game as if it was the last.


Continue reading Playing With Conviction

La Liga Sets A New Record In Summer Transfer Window

La Liga Santander teams have rarely shown much appetite to spend in the summer market, yet as the fiscal gap between the Spanish top flight and Premier League has closed ever so slightly, teams have been prepared to gamble on new players.

Miami, Fla. (Monday September 9, 2019) – Photos: KE Russo

LA LIGA: Looking At The Summer Transfer Window

On September 2, 2019, the summer transfer window closed for Spanish club’s. This report highlights some facts and figures from the transfer ñwindow involving Spanish top flight clubs. Statistics about fees is sources from Transfermarkt. This is not always exact due to the fact that the reporting of transfers by the media is not consistent and even the clubs involved will quote different figures depending on how a deal is structured. Disclaimers aside, it is a good source of information.

The Numbers:

Total Euros Spent by La Liga Clubs – €1,319,620,000

On the purchasing side, over one billion Euros was a new record for La Liga in one transfer window. Real Madrid were the highest spenders, and the amount spent was also aided by the Antoine Griezmann and João Félix deals.

Coverage of the transfer market in the media. Source: La Marca, September 7, 2019.

The record spending would have been even higher, probably in excess of €1.5 billion, if a couple of rumoured transfers had actually been completed, such as Neymar returning to FC Barcelona, or Paul Pogba and/or Tottenham’s Danish forward Christian Eriksen to Real Madrid.

The Big Three’s Impact On The Numbers

Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid disbursed a massive €806m in this transfer window. In third place was Atlético de Madrid, where the bulk of their spending, €126 million, was paid to Sport Lisboa e Benfica for João Félix, making the young Portuguese striker the most expensive Atlético signing of all time, and the most expensive Portuguese player signing ever. (You heard that right, Cristiano fans.) The big three clubs’ combined spending amounted to 61% of the money spent by La Liga clubs, with the other 17 sides spending just under €514m.

The fourth place spender was Sevilla Football Club, who accounted for a good portion of that €514m by spending almost €159m on new players.

Top Four Widen Their Margin

Including Sevilla FC along with the top three results in the combined percentage of the total spent being increased to 72.8 %, going back to an older theme of larger polarisation. All of the top spenders broke their respective club records.

Total Money Recouped by La Liga Clubs – €1,026,720,000

On the selling side of the market, Spanish top flight clubs also recouped over €1 billion during this transfer window, meaning that the total net spend is less than €300m, which averages out to under €15m per club. Take out Barcelona and Real Madrid and that total net spend for the league reduces to just €17m (less than €1m per club on average). Compared to the Premier League, where mid-table and bottom half sides are capable of spending large sums on individual players, the same cannot be said for mid-table La Liga clubs. Though the smaller clubs are packing a bit more of a finncial punch these days, it is at a lower spending level than the Premier League.

Biggest Spenders –

Rank (Spain) Club Rank in Europe

  1. Real Madrid (€307.5m) 1st
  2. Fútbol Club Barcelona (€255) 2nd
  3. Atlético de Madrid (€243.5) 3rd
  4. Sevilla Football Club (€158) 7th

Real Madrid were the biggest spenders in this transfer window with Barcelona (€255m) and Atletico Madrid (€243.5m) close behind. Los Blancos were quick to open their coffers with deals to obtain Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, Éder Militão and Ferland Mendy, who combined for a bill of over €40m.

Lowest Spenders – Athletic Club Bilbao (€0m)

Athletic Club were the only club who didn’t spend any money this summer with the club’s famous ‘Basque only’ policy always affecting their dealings. Iñaki Williams signed a nine-year contract (practically unheard of anymore) which allowed Athletic to at least not lose their biggest player. The next lowest spenders were Real Valladolid who only signed one player on a permanent deal – Pablo Hervias for €1m from Eibar.

Most Money Received from Sales – Atletico Madrid (€313.1m)

The keys to Atlético de Madrid’s revenue from sales were the transfers of Antoine Griezman (€120) to Barcelona, Rodri (€70m) to Manchester City, Lucas Hernández (€80m) to Bayern München, and Portuguese winger Gelson Martins (€30) to Monaco. Combined these four sales generated €300m in cash to reinvest in the club. This helped to offset Atlético Madrid’s refusal to offer new longer term contracts to their ageing defenders, which resulted in Diego Godín, Filipe Luis and Juanfran all leaving for free.

Barcelona were next in this category with €156.4m coming in as Jasper Cillessen, Malcom Oliveira, Andre Gomes, Paco Alcacer and Denis Suárez all departed, while they also received an €8.5m loan fee from Bayern for Philippe Coutinho.

Most Expensive Signing – João Félix (€126m)

As mentioned, at €126m, João Félix was the most expensive signing by a La Liga club in this transfer window. However there were a couple of others that came close, with Antoine Griezmann moving to Barcelona for €120m and Eden Hazard arriving at the Bernabeu from Chelsea for €100m. Again, the exact figures may ultimately vary depending on add-ons and the success the players have at their new clubs. Those three deals were also the most expensive anywhere in Europe this summer, with Harry Maguire’s transfer to Manchester United the next highest.

Most Signings – Mallorca & Leganes (14)

Mallorca and Leganes top the list for most signings with 14. This does not include players who have been bought and then sold or bought and immediately loaned out. Thus the actual number of ‘new’ arrivals those is much lower given that both clubs have been very active re-signing players who they had on loan last season. In terms of the highest turnover of players, Sevilla come out clearly on top with 13 new signings, none of whom were at the club last season.

Biggest Net Spenders – Real Madrid (€177.5m)

Not surprisingly, Real Madrid were the biggest net spenders. While Mateo Kovacic, Marcos Llorente, Raul de Tomás, Theo Hernández and Keylor Navas all left for €15m+ fees, they failed to find a buyer for Gareth Bale or James Rodriguez, two of their biggest earners. As a result, it was difficult for the club to finance any move for Paul Pogba or Neymar. While writers may say it was a “so-so” window for Los Blancos, the proof will ultimately come with results on the pitch. Barcelona finished with a net spend of €98.6m while Sevilla also spent over €50m more than they recouped.

Biggest Net Profit – Atletico Madrid (€69.6

Surprisingly, given Atlético de Madrid smashed their transfer record on João Félix, the third most expensive player of all time, they still managed to end up with the largest overall transfer profit of any club in La Liga. Villarreal and Espanyol also clocked up net transfer profits of over €40m. In the case of the Yellow Submarine, there was perhaps some need to be profitable after a well below par season deprived them of the revenue the Europa or Champions League will bring. However Espanyol are in the Europa League for the first time in 13 year, although they suffered losses during the summer with Borja Iglesias following coach Rubi to Real Betis, and Mario Hermoso going to Atlético. On the incoming side, Argentine left winger Matías Vargas arrived from Vélez Sarsfield (€10.5m) and central defender Fernando Calero (€8.0m) from Valladolid were the main additions Given early results like a 3-0 drubbing at home by newcomers Granada CF on September 1, they could have used more help.

Club Net Transfer Spend (€m)

Real Madrid -177.5 Barcelona -98.6 Sevilla -57.6 Valencia -30 Real Betis -26.3 Leganes -19.5 Osasuna -13.5 Real Sociedad -11.8 Levante -8.8 Mallorca -7 Granada -7 Getafe -6.8 Celta Vigo -3.3 Athletic Club 0 Real Valladolid +7 Alaves +7.2 Eibar +9.9 Villarreal +40.2 Espanyol +40.5 Atletico Madrid +69.6

How do La Liga Figures compare to the Premier League & Serie A?

Speculation was that La Liga could possibly out spend the Premier League this summer. However, with European windows now shut, that ultimately was not the case. Premier League clubs total spent a total of €1.55bn, over €200m more than the equivalent figures in La Liga. Regarding net spending the gap is wider, with Premier League clubs spending €732m more than they recouped compared to a net spend of less than €300m in La Liga. Even if Real Madrid had pulled off a late mega-deal for Paul Pogba and Barcelona had signed Neymar, it still likely would not have been enough to catch the Premier League. A closer comparison is between that of La Liga and Serie A. Italian top flight clubs paid out €1.18bn on new signings, marginally less than Spanish clubs. However their net spend was in fact greater (€328m), due to Serie A clubs recouping less money from player sales. Thus, as was the case last season, La Liga’s net transfer spending this summer was only the third highest in Europe, again behind the Premier League and Serie A.

Here is an excellent graphic found in Transfermarkt that compares the transfer balances around the world’s leagues:

Transfermarkt.com – Transfer Balances – Season 2019

The European Transfer Market for this summer was also a topic discussed at SoccerEx Europe 2019, which took place last week in the Lisbon suburb of Oeiras. Further insights are included in a new release of the Football Transfer Review 2019 by Prime Time Sport. The report was presented by Esteve Calzada, CEO of Prime Time Sport.

Esteve Calzada, CEO, Prime Time Sports 📷 SoccerEx
Chart Showing Amounts Spent On Player Acquisitions In The Top 5 European Leagues.
Continue reading La Liga Sets A New Record In Summer Transfer Window

Granada CF returns to La Liga

Nerja, Málaga, España (lunes 19 de agosto de 2019) – Kenneth Russo

Granada Club de Fútbol is back in La Liga Santander, and the primary mission this season will be to survive in the top flight of Spanish football. The beginning of a new season is always filled with anticipation, and the battle for la permanencia began with a goleado, a wild encounter Saturday night at the Estadio de la Cerámica in Villarreal, where the rojiblancos produced a 4-4 draw with Villarreal.

Antonio Puertas scored the goal that earned the away point. Manager Diego Martínez, who is the youngest head coach in La Liga, said, “We are a team that believes.” That belief will receive a second test at home this Friday as Sevilla FC come to Granada.

El Granada Club de Fútbol está de vuelta en La Liga Santander, y la misión principal de esta temporada será sobrevivir en la máxima categoría del fútbol español. El comienzo de una nueva temporada siempre está lleno de anticipación, y la batalla por la permanencia comenzó con un goleado, un encuentro salvaje el sábado por la noche en el Estadio de la Cerámica en Villarreal, donde los rojiblancos produjeron un empate 4-4 con Villarreal.

Antonio Puertas marcó el gol que le valió el punto como visitante. El gerente Diego Martínez, quien es el entrenador más joven en La Liga, dijo: “Somos un equipo que cree”. Esa creencia recibirá una segunda prueba en casa este viernes cuando el Sevilla FC visita al Granada.