Tagged in: La Liga

Cadiz shock Barcelona despite Lionel Messi’s return for the Catalans

Cadiz pulled off a shock 2-1 victory over Barcelona in La Liga on Saturday night, piling on to the mounting troubles for the Blaugrana in their domestic campaign this season.

Lionel Messi returned to Ronald Koeman’s starting XI after sitting out the midweek Champions League victory over Ferencvaros.

The hosts took a shock lead from a corner kick when Marc-Andre ter Stegen palmed the ball into the path of Alvaro Gimenez, who simply had to tap it into the net to make it 1-0.

The goal seemed to enliven Barca, who were firmly in control for the remainder of the half, but save for a near miss by Martin Braithwaite the visitors could not score and went into the half-time break trailing.

Koeman rang the changes at half-time in an attempt to spark his team, with Pedri replacing Oscar Mingueza and Ousmane Dembele coming on for Philippe Coutinho.

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Barca continued to dominate possession and drew level just before the hour mark when Messi played in Jordi Alba and his shot from a tight angle took a fortuitous deflection to beat Cadiz keeper Jeremias Ledesma.

However, Cadiz took the lead again minutes later when a miscommunication between Clement Lenglet and Ter Stegen following a throw in left Alvaro Negredo alone for a simple tap in to Barcelona’s open net.

Barca poured on the pressure down the stretch and Messi saw two good possibilities go right to Ledesma, but Cadiz were up to the task and saw out the match to take all three points and stay ahead of the Catalans in La Liga.

The victory was Cadiz’s first over Barcelona since 1991 and put them just outside the Champions League places in the table.

The Andalusians also beat champions Real Madrid 1-0 away from home earlier in the campaign.

Barca’s fourth defeat of the season left them seventh in the standings on 14 points after 10 matches and Koeman’s side have failed to win their last four away matches.

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La Liga Clubs told no fans until 2021

La Liga’s clubs have been told that soccer games in Spain will likely be performed behind closed doors until 2021, a number of sources have confirmed to ESPN.

The choice — which is but to be officially introduced — has been made by the Spanish authorities, bearing in mind the anticipated evolution of the coronavirus pandemic.

The expectation is that stadiums will regularly re-open underneath strict security measures from January 2021 to attempt to keep away from a brand new outbreak of COVID-19, and will not function at full capability until a vaccine is obtainable.

The choice will probably be saved underneath overview and could be re-evaluated in the occasion of the virus coming underneath management extra rapidly than anticipated, or the event of profitable remedies.

A date is but to be made public for a return to soccer behind closed doors, with La Liga having been suspended indefinitely since final month.

Spain has been one among Europe’s hardest hit nations, with greater than 210,000 confirmed coronavirus circumstances and over 22,000 deaths.

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Players haven’t returned to coaching, and the most definitely state of affairs at present being contemplated is taking part in the rest of the 2019-20 home season behind closed doors in June and July.

La Liga has now handed the information on to its first and second division clubs, which have been alerted to regulate their budgets for subsequent season consequently.

Clubs are going through a major discount in field workplace receipts for 2020-21, in addition to related losses akin to merchandising gross sales and earnings from stadium excursions.

As ESPN reported earlier this week, Barcelona‘s price range for subsequent season is prone to be lowered by €200 million because of the monetary impression of COVID-19.

The membership was already considering a state of affairs that concerned behind-closed-doors video games at Camp Nou until February 2021.

La Liga is beneficial that clubs try to chop switch spending and focus extra on academy gamers and mortgage signings as they appear to construct squads for subsequent season.

ESPN has been told that the league and its broadcast companions are contemplating various measures, together with larger use of pitchside audio and adjusted digicam angles, to compensate for the dearth of fan ambiance in matchday broadcasts.

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Eden Hazard out for season with broken ankle

Eden Hazard will miss Real Madrid’s Champions League last-16 tie with Manchester City after suffering a broken ankle during Saturday’s La Liga loss at Levante.

The Belgian, who only recently returned from a three-month lay-off due to an ankle problem, was substituted in the second half of the 1-0 loss at the Ciutat de Valencia.

Hazard underwent tests on the injury on Sunday morning, after which Madrid corroborated   1 the extent of the problem.

“Following the tests carried out today by the Real Madrid medical department, he has been diagnosed with a fracture to his right distal fibula,” read a club statement. “His recovery will continue to be assessed.”

Madrid have not said how long they expect Hazard to be sidelined for but reports in Spain suggest he could be out for another two months. That would rule the former Chelsea player out of both Champions League matches versus City, the first of which takes place at the Bernabéu on Wednesday.

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It would also see him miss next weekend’s clásico showdown versus title rivals Barcelona, as well as a host of other matches for Zinedine Zidane’s men.

Hazard has started nine games in the league this season and has one goal, failing to make the expected impact after arriving from Chelsea in the summer.

Hazard suffered a hamstring injury in pre-season, which disrupted his preparations for the season and he missed the first three games of the campaign.

Perhaps as a result of that, he struggled to produce his best form early on. His performances were picking up, before he suffered the microfracture versus Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League on November 26.

Real signed the 29-year-old from Chelsea last summer for an initial €100 million, and they could pay the Blues more than half that fee again in potential add-ons.

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Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez out of Sevilla, signs with L.A Galaxy

The Los Angeles Galaxy have signed Javier “Chicharito” Hernández from Sevilla, according to a report from Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl.

According to Wahl, the Galaxy will make Hernández the highest-paid player in Major League Soccer. That distinction is currently held by Toronto FC and USMNT star Michael Bradley, who makes a reported $6 million a year.

The previous highest-paid player in MLS was Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who left the Galaxy in November and re-joined AC Milan. Hernández, whose “Chicharito” nickname was given to him by his father and means “Little Pea”, will be counted on to substitute Ibrahimovic’s star power goal-scoring output.

Hernández has spent nearly a decade playing in Europe since joining Manchester United from Guadalajara in 2010.

He scored 59 goals for United and won two Premier League titles before moving to Bayer Leverkusen in 2015, and he also played for Real Madrid (on loan) and West Ham United before joining Sevilla last summer.

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But he reportedly was told he doesn’t factor into Sevilla’s future plans, and he didn’t train Thursday and was held out of manager Julen Lopetegui’s squad to face Real Madrid this weekend.

The 31-year-old Hernández is the latest international star to sign with the Galaxy, who have counted Ibrahimovic, David Beckham, Steven Gerrard, Robbie Keane and Ashley Cole among their ranks.

Hernández is also Mexico’s all-time leading scorer with 52 goals in 109 appearances.

The Galaxy had been in negotiations with Hernandez for some time and met with him earlier this week to close the deal. The meeting went well, according to ESPN Mexico and the LA Times, but it took three more days to iron out details.

A report from Spanish newspaper Marca put the transfer fee being negotiated for Chicharito at around $10 million.

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Costa sidelined for three months by slipped disc

Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa has suffered a neck injury that could require surgery and sideline him for around three months.

Costa had been feeling discomfort in the neck and upper back area in recent days.

The former Chelsea forward, 31, appeared in Atletico training earlier this week after featuring on Sunday for 10 minutes off the bench in the 3-1 La Liga victory over Espanyol.

Atletico Madrid say that X-rays on Thursday showed Costa has a herniated cervical disc, adding that he will be assessed by neurosurgery specialists to determine what treatment he will undergo.

If surgery is needed, Costa, who has two goals in 15 appearances for the Spanish club this term. He will be out of action until February 2020 regardless of whether he has an operation.

“The medical services of the club have conducted radiological tests of Diego Costa to assess the cervical discomfort suffered in recent days,” an Atletico announcement read.

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“These tests have determined that the forward suffers a cervical disc herniation.

“In the next few days, he will be evaluated by specialists in neurosurgery to establish the definitive treatment.”

Diego Simeone’s team are presently third in the La Liga table, one point behind Real Madrid and Barcelona who are level at the top of the league.

Atletico are also second in Champions League Group D, and can book their place in the last 16 with a victory over Juventus on November 26.

The injury will further complicate Costa’s hopes of returning to the Spain squad and playing at Euro 2020. He has not featured for La Roja since July 2018.

Sources have told ESPN FC that Atletico have no intention of going into the transfer market to find a temporary substitute for Costa or anyone else, with the club having already reached its salary cap limit set by La Liga.

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