La Liga

Published on February 5th, 2018 | by Paco Polit


La Liga: Real Madrid letdown at Levante as Pique picks a fight

Real Madrid’s renaissance ends after just the single game as a spiky Gerard Pique continues his feud with the Espanyol nation

Piqué’s feud with Espanyol will be forever (1-1)

The game was being played in a noble manner by everybody involved, even though the persistent rain and cold made the fixture not the prettiest. The occasional sliding tackle, a few pushes and hits here and there…nothing to see here, folks.

However, things quickly went out of control after Gerard Piqué’s header in the 82nd minute. The centre-back had been dealing with constant booing and swearing from the crowd in the stands, aimed directly at himself and his family. So what better way of answering than scoring and pressing his finger into his lips, telling them to shut up.

Bad idea. The remaining minutes were a carousel of risky challenges, loads of tension and a few full-fledged brawls between players of both teams, while the atmosphere supercharged into a rainy boxing ring. Ultimately there were no more incidents, but it is sure that the Espanyol faithful’s ongoing beef with the defender is here to stay.

Real Madrid enjoy going back to their usual antics (1-1)

In the umpteenth example of apathy and simply not caring, Real Madrid stumbled again and lost two points in the 90th minute against a rowdy Levante, a side currently fighting to avoid relegation. Zinedine Zidane lined-up everything he had, a dress rehearsal for the starting XI he will probably use against PSG in two weeks. After seeing the outcome, things are not looking so pretty for Los Blancos.

Possibly the biggest criticism can be pointed at their lack of hunger and desire to close a very tight game, although the awful defending in both goals allowed could be another bullet point in the list. Levante, meanwhile, did their best, never gave up and hit the jackpot thanks to Gianpaolo Pazzini in the nick of time. A nice reward for the Granotas, who seem back from the dead after a few bad performances in a row.

Atleti are the only alternative to Barça (1-0)

In the epic showdown between the second and third teams in the standings, Atletico came away with the three points thanks to a spectacular goal by Angel Correa, with a missile straight into the corner.

The attacker managed to strike down a subdued Valencia with a single blow, in the same way goalkeeper Neto Murara knocked a couple of teeth from Diego Godín’s jaw after an ill-advised clearance that could have easily been a penalty for the local side.

Valencia, on the other hand, weren’t able to manage even a single shot on target. Now Atleti are nine points away from Barça, and have widened the gap to nine points from third.

Deportivo like to shoot themselves in the foot (5-0)

Depor were dragged across the mud in a harsh thrashing by Real Sociedad, in the Txuri-urdin’s first game without former player Íñigo Martínez. With a cute, inoffensive side up front, Asier Illarrament (with a brace) and his team mates feasted upon a dead team.

So tough was the loss that Depor took their awful season one step further with the sacking of manager Cristobal… and the signing, if there are no last-minute changes, of Clarence Seedorf (a coach with zero experience on LaLiga’s sidelines) as their new boss.

Loren Morón (Betis) is a youngster to watch (2-1)

Real Betis trumped Villarreal in a delightful game with plenty of excitement, a horrible challenge by Bonega who kicked all of the wind out of Rubén Castro and an excellent debut by young Loren Morón, who scored twice and has that ‘special’ aura that defines great players.

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About the Author


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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