Iker Muniain: The Lion King
La Liga Lowdown Blog
by Louis Scattergood
9M ago
It has been 90 seconds and it’s already getting heated on the pitch, but Dani García has the composure to take the ball out of the sky after a loose ball from Jordi Alba and send it back over the head of the full-back. Nico Williams has pace to burn and races beyond the recovering Barcelona defender, sliding a fizzing ball across the Barcelona box. Oihan Sancet has made a darting run into the six-yard box, but the ball flies beyond him, Ronald Araújo and Dani Alves. Iker Muniain finds himself with the ball and he already knows what he wants to do, he only needs three touches of the ball: contr ..read more
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From Milla to Busquets via Guardiola: The passing of the Barcelona midfield baton
La Liga Lowdown Blog
by Ruairidh Barlow
10M ago
When Luis Milla moved on a free transfer from FC Barcelona to Real Madrid, becoming one of just 37 players to play for both in the 120 years they have just about coexisted, he committed a betrayal. Peculiar as it is, 22 of those 37 have switched directly to the other in what must be considered the cardinal sin for fans. In Milla’s case, a heated contract dispute with Barcelona and more specifically, the flammable Johan Cruyff, led to him departing for Los Blancos. Curiously, Barcelona’s current midfielder of choice in that position, Sergio Busquets, in some small way owes his career to Milla a ..read more
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Stadium Guide: Estadio de la Cerámica
La Liga Lowdown Blog
by Louis Scattergood
10M ago
When it comes to some of Spain’s most unique stadiums, Estadio de la Cerámica is almost unrivalled. Home to Villarreal and set in the small town of Vila-real, many of those who visit the stadium do so only to watch a game of football. It was initially built in 1923 and has been expanded over the years, with the first stands not being built until 40 years later. Eventually, it was demolished and rebuilt on the same site in 1989, with further expansions made heading into the turn of the millennium giving us the stadium as you see it today. Currently, it is the 25th-largest capacity stadium in S ..read more
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Copa del Rey final 2022 - Real Betis vs Valencia: Tactical Analysis
La Liga Lowdown Blog
by Jorge López-Torrecilla
10M ago
Real Betis won their third Copa del Rey title last Saturday after beating Valencia on penalties. It is one of the most celebrated titles in the history of the verdiblanco club, not only because of the importance of the title itself, but also because of the path they took in the competition. Betis had to eliminate Sevilla, their closest rival, Real Sociedad, the 2020 winners, and Rayo Vallecano, one of the surprises in Spanish football earlier on this season, to be able to reach the final. The icing on the cake was that the final was played in Seville, their city, and that they knew that the f ..read more
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Joaquín, el del Betis: The story of a legend
La Liga Lowdown Blog
by Sam Leveridge
10M ago
A 0-0 draw between Compostela and Real Betis in Segunda in September 2000 never seemed likely to go down in history. But for one man, Joaquín Sánchez Rodríguez, it was a day that he would never forget. It was his Betis debut, and the start of one of the most enchanting love stories in Spanish football. “What we often say is that Joaquín is one of the 13 green bars in the crest of Real Betis,” explains Betis fan Enrique Roldán (@enrolcan). To put it simply, “Joaquín encapsulates everything about Real Betis,” says David Whitworth (@DCWh1tw0rth), of RTVBetis. “I’m so Bético that even Sevillistas ..read more
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Stadium Guide: Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán
La Liga Lowdown Blog
by Matt Clark
10M ago
If you are lucky enough to be taking a trip to Seville, two things become clear. One, we are very jealous, and two, you have hit the groundhopping jackpot. Seville is home to not just one, not two, but three grounds with a capacity in excess of 40,000. There is La Cartuja, recent host of Euro 2020 and many Spain games; Estadio Benito Villamarín, the local venue for Real Betis; and last but by no means least, there is the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán, the place Sevilla call home. The smallest of the three with a capacity of just approximately 43,000, don’t let that diminish your excitement or anticip ..read more
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Dani Parejo: A winding journey to the perfect destination
La Liga Lowdown Blog
by Thom Harris
11M ago
For a player who makes the game of football look so effortless, Dani Parejo’s rise to the top has been anything but. A style so languid, a technique so smooth, a talent so prodigious – with four international appearances and two Champions League goals – it all just feels as if it could have been so much more. Yet, as this majestic midfielder approaches the twinkling twilight of a 16-year career – even with the club of his heart in the rear-view mirror – it finally seems as if Dani Parejo has found a place to settle. A peaceful place, just 60 kilometres up the coast, where football comes first ..read more
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Cholismo is back: How Diego Simeone inspired Atlético Madrid’s resurgence
La Liga Lowdown Blog
by Alex Brotherton
11M ago
The scenes of jubilant celebration at Old Trafford were in keeping with those witnessed on countless other great European nights over the past decade. The two-thousand or so away fans, housed in the corner of the revered but decaying temple of football, celebrated wildly at the full-time whistle, serenading their heroes just like they had done in Munich, Liverpool and London. Kept in by the police for over 45 minutes after the game, they sang and they sang until the players re-emerged from the dressing rooms to thank them once more. Special Champions League nights on the road are nothing new ..read more
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Stadium Guide: Estadio Wanda Metropolitano
La Liga Lowdown Blog
by Carla Fernández
11M ago
Inaugurated as recently as 2017 and considered one of Spain’s most modern stadiums, the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano is home to Atlético Madrid. Despite its short history, it’s already hosted a Champions League final and some unforgettable nights for the home fans with a capacity of 68,456, making it Spain’s third-biggest stadium after the Camp Nou and the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu. Where is the Wanda Metropolitano? The home ground of Los Colchoneros is located in Avenida de Luis Aragonés, a street named after the club legend who passed away in 2014. The stadium is on the outskirts of the capit ..read more
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Julen Lopetegui: Road to Redemption
La Liga Lowdown Blog
by Matt Clark
11M ago
For Julen Lopetegui, the best and worst days of his life came just 24 hours apart. This was by his own admission, following a dramatic chain of events which rocked Spanish football to the core. Ever since that moment, he has been fighting the doubters, determined to prove he can excel at the elite level. With Spain already on location and preparing for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the RFEF (Spanish Football Federation) sacked Lopetegui after Real Madrid announced he would be their successor to Zinedine Zidane. The next day, he was in Madrid being unveiled. Spain’s campaign was thrown into di ..read more
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