What has been going on in LaLiga this past week? Here are 10 of the top stories, from a new deal for one of Barça’s brightest young stars to a host of new records across Spanish football.
It has been a busy week for Spanish football, with thrilling LaLiga Santander action and with Real Madrid and Villarreal also competing in European semi-finals. Records have been broken and history has been written over these past seven days, and here’s all you need to know.
🔧 The top three grind out victories
Atlético de Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona all won over this past weekend to keep it as tight as ever at the top of LaLiga Santander, but it wasn’t easy for any of them. They all struggled in different ways but showed great fighting spirit to put three points on the board. It means the top of the table currently sees Atlético de Madrid on 76 points, Real Madrid and Barcelona on 74, while Sevilla remains on 70 following their dramatic defeat to Athletic Club on Monday night.
🐐 Messi extends his Pichichi lead
With his brace in Barcelona’s 3-2 win over Valencia on Sunday night, Lionel Messi has now moved on to 28 LaLiga Santander goals for the season. That puts him seven ahead of Karim Benzema and eight ahead of Gerard Moreno, meaning the Argentine is in an excellent position to win a fifth Pichichi Award in a row.
🟡 Villarreal take one step towards a European final
Villarreal dream of reaching a European final and they moved a step closer to achieving it by defeating Arsenal 2-1 on Thursday night in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final. Against the same opponent who knocked them out at the semi-final stage of the 2005/06 Champions League, the Yellow Submarine secured a crucial victory and take a lead to London for this week’s second leg.
🕰 London Calling for Real Madrid
The Champions League semi-final tie between Real Madrid and Chelsea could hardly be more perfectly poised after the first leg that was held in the Spanish capital on Tuesday. After Chelsea took a lead, Real Madrid fought back and equalised with a wonder goal from Karim Benzema, meaning it’s all to play for in Wednesday’s second leg at Stamford Bridge.
😁 Kiko Olivas is back
Real Valladolid got some good news this past week as veteran centre-back Kiko Olivas returned from a long-term knee injury. The defender had been out since Matchday 37 of last season but returned to action last Wednesday in the Pucela’s 2-2 draw with Athletic Club in Bilbao.
🖊 Óscar Mingueza’s new deal
Barcelona defender Óscar Mingueza signed a new deal this past week, extending his contract until 2023. The 21-year-old only made his first-team debut in November but has already played 36 matches for the Blaugrana as Ronald Koeman has placed his trust in the youngster’s capabilities. He has now been rewarded with this new deal.
😳 Iñaki and Nico Williams make history
History was made in Bilbao this past week, with Nico Williams making his debut for Athletic Club’s first team. The younger brother of Iñaki Williams was on the pitch at the same time as his sibling, making Nico and Iñaki the first brothers to play together for Athletic Club since Patxi and Julio Salinas back in 1986.
🎩 Kike García makes Eibar history
By scoring all three goals in Eibar’s 3-0 victory over Alavés, Kike García wrote his name into the Eibar history books. He is now the Basque club’s top scorer in Spain’s top division, with 35 goals, while the striker also became the first-ever Eibar player to score a top-flight hat-trick.
🧁 Atlético Madrid turn 118
April 26th is the anniversary of Atlético Madrid’s founding, with the capital city club celebrating 118 years of existence this past week. The club was actually about to be founded on April 25th when a meeting was held to discuss the idea of creating a new club back in 1903, but the meeting went on past midnight and that’s why April 26th is considered Atléti's special day.
🟢 Joaquín breaks an all-time Betis record
Nobody has played more official matches for Real Betis than current captain Joaquín after the former academy graduate matched José Ramón Esnaola’s 460 appearances by featuring in Real Betis’ 1-1 draw at Real Valladolid. Next week, he can become the outright leader in the club’s all-time appearances list.
That's all for now. This coming weekend could prove to be a pivotal one in the title race, with defending champions Barcelona hosting league leaders Atlético Madrid on Saturday. Here's are this season's remaining fixtures for the top four:
📲 Follow Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid live