What’s been going down in LaLiga this week? Here are 10 of the top stories, from Granada’s remarkable start to the season to LaLiga’s Ballon d’Or candidates.
😳 Newly promoted Granada go top
The Granada fairy tale story continues. The newly-promoted club has gone to the very top of the LaLiga Santander table, having won their Andalusian derby against Real Betis on Sunday by a 1-0 scoreline in front of their home fans. While most would have expected Granada to be nowhere near the top end of the standings, they sit above everyone else as the first team to reach 20 points.
👔 A change in coach brings a first victory for CD Leganes
Leganés remain bottom of the table but they secured their first victory of the season on Saturday for a much-needed three-point haul, overcoming RCD Mallorca 1-0. After Mauricio Pellegrino resigned as coach, Luis Cembranos took interim charge of the team and had an immediate effect. The search for their next permanent coach continues.
🏟 Osasuna make it 30 home league matches without losing
By defeating Valencia 3-1 on Sunday night, Osasuna extended their unbeaten run in league matches at El Sadar to 30 matches, with 25 of them coming in LaLiga SmartBank (the second tier) and five in LaLiga Santander. Of those 30, 23 were wins and seven were draws. A remarkable achievement and a clear example of how making a fortress of your home stadium is a clear recipe for success.
💯 An undefeated round of Champions League action
We’ve reached the midway point of the Champions League group stages and it was a generally positive week for the Spanish sides. Real Madrid and Atlético de Madrid both won by 1-0 scorelines on the Tuesday, defeating Galatasaray and Bayer Leverkusen respectively, while Barcelona also got a win as they beat Slavia Prague 2-1 on the Wednesday. Valencia earned a point from their trip to Lille, although they’ll be a little frustrated as they were leading until stoppage time before ultimately drawing 1-1.
🏆 All three Spanish teams are on course to reach the Europa League knockouts
There were also some positive Spanish results in the Europa League. Although Getafe lost 1-0 to FC Basel, Sevilla conquered Dudelange 3-0 and Espanyol won 1-0 against Ludogorets. The results so far from the first three rounds mean that all three Spanish clubs in the Europa League are currently on course to make the knockouts. Sevilla and Espanyol lead their groups, while Getafe is second in theirs.
⚽️ A new football arrives in LaLiga Santander
LaLiga has presented the new PUMA football that will be used during the winter months. The bold pink ball made its debut this past weekend and will be the matchday ball of choice in cases of inclement weather until mid-February.
🇪🇸 Iker Muniain hits 300
Despite the disappointment of losing 2-0 away at Atlético de Madrid on Saturday night, it was a special match for Athletic Club’s Iker Muniain as he made his 300th appearance in LaLiga Santander. He made his debut way back in 2009 as a 16-year-old and is now club captain.
🥇 Seven LaLiga players make the Ballon d’Or shortlist
France Football, the magazine behind the Ballon d’Or award, has released its 30-man shortlist for the 2019 edition of the prestigious individual prize. Seven LaLiga players made the cut: Marc-André ter Stegen, Karim Benzema, Frenkie de Jong, João Félix, Antoine Griezmann, Eden Hazard and Lionel Messi.
🌚 Eibar’s sporting director speaks at Wembley
Fran Garagarza, Eibar’s Sporting Director and the man behind one of football’s most incredible fairy tale stories, was invited to speak at Wembley to students at the University Campus of Football Business. He discussed the Basque club’s methodology and some of the reasons behind their success.
💫 Spain-based players begin their U17s World Cup adventure
The Under-17s World Cup in Brazil began on Saturday and all but one of the 21 players in Spain’s squad are based in Spain. There are some really impressive talents in the team, including Pedri, who plays for Las Palmas’ first team and who already has three LaLiga SmartBank goals this season. He has agreed to a transfer to Barcelona for next summer, so expect to hear a lot more about the youngster in the near future.