La Liga

Published on January 23rd, 2018 | by Paco Polit

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La Liga: Messi still magnificent and Ronaldo’s FaceTime finish

🕓 Reading time:3 minutes

La Liga was restored to its old order with huge wins for Barcelona and Real Madrid but mere mortals slipping up in their matches

Barcelona make the gap even wider against Real Betis (0-5)

Why even bother? This season’s LaLiga will be 99% Barça’s trophy. In fact, increase that to a full 100%, because people who believe that Valverde’s men will throw away an 11-point lead on second are out of their collective minds. 54 points out of a maximum of 60 to date. Only three draws in twenty. Zero games lost. Numbers that would blow anyone out of the water.

Against a vastly improved Betis, Barça slow-cooked the game in the first half and feasted upon its prey in the second. The team’s final half-hour was a rousing example of why they are at the top of the league: that Rakitic clinical finish, that Messi uncanny play, that Suarez impossible strike… Talking about Leo isn’t just worth it any more: even he might not be ‘The Best’ for FIFA, he is THE BEST for anyone with two eyes and a taste for football.

Real Madrid bounce back against Depor and Cristiano is still a good-looking lad (7-1)

Deportivo’s opening goal only managed to faze Zinedine Zidane slightly on the bench and generate a few whistles from the Bernabeu stands. Soon enough, Real were trouncing the opposition with the usual power plays and effective finishing in the box.

An easy game for Los Blancos, with only a few highlights which include Cristiano Ronaldo’s injury to the head: the striker scored the sixth goal with an impressive header, got a boot in the face and, while being subbed, quickly snatched a smartphone from a doctor to use the selfie-camera and confirm that, even bloodied, he’s as fancy and handsome as ever.

Taking too many risks made Atlético fall from the tightrope (1-1)

It was the typical Atlético game for most of the evening: a 1-0 narrow fixture, with the usual defending proficiency from the Colchoneros and the usual hapless team up front, unable to knock down Simeone’s defending übermachine.

However, Cholo got cocky. He had to get Diego Costa off the pitch due to an injury, OK, but he didn’t need to withdraw Antoine Griezmann from the fray. Atlético took two steps back inside the pitch, one too many towards securing the three points. Girona only had to press on a little harder and Portu (who else?) scored the equalizer and sent Simeone’s house of cards crashing to the ground.

Gabriel Paulista’s idiotic red card doomed Valencia (2-1)

Santi Mina took advantage of a dizzy Las Palmas in the opening minutes and scored early to give his team the lead. Under regular conditions, a 0-1 scoreline against the last team in the standings would be an absolute treat for Valencia’s fast paced, counter-attacking playbook. However, something seemed ‘off’ about the Bats: Jonathan Viera’s equalizer confirmed that Marcelino’s men weren’t as focused as they needed to be.

Then, in the first few minutes of the second half, experienced Gabriel Paulista was responsible for a rookie penalty inside the box and an even stupider rant in the face of the ref, who refused to book him for the second time but couldn’t ignore the player’s complaining forever.

A red it was, a 2-1 game it was (Calleri scored the penalty) and Marcelino couldn’t be more pissed on the bench: “What the f- are you doing?”, he shouted to his center-back once he left the pitch.

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About the Author

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Paco Polit is a Valencia-based journalist with over ten years experience reporting La Liga, covering both Valencia CF and Levante's news, signings, ups and downs. Madrid and Barcelona are huge, indeed, but the Spanish La Liga is much, much more: regarded as the top football competition in the world, he enjoys explaining why to every reader from abroad.



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