If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past twenty four hours you’d be aware of the fact that Spain have once again been crowned champions of Europe after an awe-inspiring 4-0 victory over Italy in last night’s Euro 2012 final. In spite of arduous comments from the media that their ‘Tiki-Taka’ style of football had become boring, La Roja silenced their critics once again by retaining their European Championship under the lights of Kiev’s Olympic stadium with a quite dazzling display of football. Here’s five important things we learned about Spain after the successful defence of their European title.
In football terms, few would argue that the 21st century has so far belonged to Spain. The national side has risen from the ranks of perennial under-achievers to become undeniably the dominant force in the international game, winning the European Championship and World Cup tournaments in succession.
European football fans have drooled over the sublime technical skills of Spanish clubs featuring stellar line-ups of home-grown talent mixed with modern greats of the game. Catalan giants FC Barcelona developed a side which has not only won every possible major honour in club football, but they’ve done it with the kind of entertaining style and flair which will ensure their place as one of the great club sides of all time.
The dominance which these two teams have inflicted on the beautiful game is evident in the media shock waves created when either side suffers a rare loss. But to pin the hopes and fears of Spanish football purely on Barca and the national squad would do a huge disservice to La Liga.
Tickets may not have completely sold out for the Olympic Football event, but once the hype gears into full throttle then you can be sure to see queues from as far away as Cristiano Ronaldo believes he can score from. Accumulating players from 4 countries is no easy feat and a draft of nearly 200 players have been murmured so it’s unsurprising for us Brits to be perplexed as to what will materialise come August without a known squad as yet.
Spain don’t have to deal with that dilemma, and with their Under 21 squad winning the European Championships last year, the country [Read more...]
With the recent trend of top sides putting out weakened teams for their domestic cup competition, an act claimed to be devaluing the prize and taking away that cup magic. It couldn’t be more different in Spain where last year’s Copa del Rey final was fiercely fought in Valencia’s Mestalla stadium by the giants of Spanish football Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Fuelled by Jose Mourinho’s desire to wrestle some trophies away from Pep Guardiola’s Barca, who it seems just want to win every prize put in front of them, a new found competitiveness had revitalised the Copa del Rey.
While England has always laid claim to being the home of football, in the last few years the beautiful game has definitely taken a holiday home in sunny Spain. The two countries’ footballing histories have a lot in common. Great league and cup competitions, big-spending clubs, world-renound players, and one glorious international tournament triumph followed by years of expectation and disappointment – that is until recently. During the last five years, Spanish football has truly made its mark on the game.
The current period belongs, and will forever belong, to Spain. The international side has won successive European Cup and World Cup tournaments and is tipped by many to make it three in a row this summer. La Liga has produced more Champions League finalists and winners this century than any other country. And nine of the twelve FIFA World Player of the Year awards since 2000 have been won by La Liga players.
A 1-1 draw meant Barcelona surrendered yet another valuable two points at the hands of their local rivals Espanyol on Monday night making it already their fifth draw of the domestic season with four of them being away from home. The gap between Barcelona and Real Madrid at the top of the table has now stretched to a worrying five points for Pepe Guardiola’s men and with games coming thick and fast and time seemingly running out for the Catalonians, we ask the much debated question; exactly why have Barcelona struggled to break teams down on the road this season?
Cristiano Ronaldo refused to celebrate his goal against Granada during the weekend rout in a reaction to jeering from the Madrid crowd who were unhappy with his recent performances. The Portuguese striker has been under fire since his below-par showing in the Clasico and some fans feel that he can be quite selfish at times.
Scoring his 21st La Liga goal of the season and Madrid’s 5th in the 5-1 victory, Ronaldo simply bowed his head and trudged back to the halfway line almost as though he’d put it in the wrong net, refusing to acknowledge his team mates whatsoever. Madrid based sports paper, Marca. [Read more...]
As 2011 draws to a close and all is quiet on the La Liga front until matches resume again in 2012, we’ve taken the chance to look back at a selection of our favourite goals from the year gone by. We’ve selected what we believe in our opinion are the best 5 goals from the La Liga Primera division in 2011. So why not check them out and let us know what you think by commenting below?
For years now, football fans across the globe have reminisced about David Beckham’s debut season in the Premier League and that infamous goal he scored from the half way line against Wimbledon. It seems Spain after all these years now finally have their own answer to the long-range heroics of David Beckham in the form of novice Real Sociedad defender Inigo Martinez, who has already netted two stunning long-range goals from the half way line this season against both Athletic Bilbao and Real Betis respectively.
The first thing you usually hear when someone mentions La Liga to you is the response: “oh, well, it’s just Barcelona and Real Madrid competing every year for the title”. And while those two teams are undoubtedly the best in the planet, most football fans would agree that La Liga is not the deepest league. Serie A and the English Premier league have more teams capable of doing well in Europe and going after world class players. Outside of Malaga and the Big Two, we don’t see great players going into other teams. Instead we see players like Juan Mata, David Villa, David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Diego Forlan all leaving either for Barcelona or other teams not in La Liga. Neither Valencia or Villarreal could qualify for the Champions League knockout stages – and Villarreal were catastrophically bad in their group finishing on an unflattering 0 points. Spain develops the best talent but that talent usually either goes on to play for Real Madrid, Barcelona or a team outside of Spain.
After seeing Lionel Messi rip apart yet another Champions League defence with tantalising ease a couple of years ago,the wise, old pundit Andy Gray once remarked that he’d love to see how the Argentine would fair on a dark, damp, dreary night under the floodlights of Britannia Stadium. This question has almost been turned into cliche it has been bounded about that much recently by the media and whilst Barcelona being demoted to the Europa League was never really a possibility, we will get to feast our eyes on arguably the next best thing as Aver Banega, Jordi Alba, Roberto Soldado and Adil Rami amongst others look set to make their first footballing appearance in Stoke-on-Trent in the Europa League in February. With Valencia currently sitting in third in the La Liga table, Stoke look set to have their work cut out but if there’s any team that can stop a side full of Spanish starlets playing to their potential, it’s Tony Pulis’ men. Below La Liga Blog analyses some of the key battles to look out for in two month’s time. [Read more...]