What a year for Netherlands and FC Barcelona winger Lieke Martens. After signing for Barcelona from Sweden’s Rosengard in July, the 25-year-old went on to win the UEFA Women’s Championship on home soil while being named the Player of the Tournament, and her performances for club and country saw her named The Best FIFA Women’s Player of 2017.
Dismayed over Virgil van Dijk’s decision to join Liverpool, Manchester City have gone and broken their own club transfer record (the $77 million paid to Wolfsburg for Kevin De Bruyne in 2015) by signing La Liga’s most promising young defender, 23-year-old center back Aymeric Laporte, from Athletic Bilbao for $80 million.
After weeks of speculation linking Mexican international Miguel Layun with La Liga side Real Betis — where international compatriot Andres Guardado currently plays — derby rival Sevilla has announced the capture of the 29-year-old right back on loan with an option to buy in the summer, pending a medical scheduled for Tuesday.
The narrative of FC Barcelona always highlights their attack, and we all know the reason for that (Paulinho). But this season, Barcelona boast the joint-best defense in La Liga with only nine goals conceded after 20 matches (0.45 per game). The impressive nature of the balance they’ve struck is demonstrated by the fact that they’ve scored 28 more goals than their defensive rivals, Atletico Madrid (57 bulges of the ol’ onion bag versus 29).
Ballou Tabla is making history as the first academy player from the Montreal Impact to make a move to Europe. The 18-year-old attacking midfielder completed a transfer to Barcelona on Thursday. He’ll join Barcelona B.
This Marc-Andre ter Stegen attempt at a La Liga clean sheet record is starting to look serious. Ter Stegen actually has a chance of breaking Deportivo La Coruña goalkeeper Francisco Liaño's 1994 clean sheet record, when he managed to keep his goal unbeaten 26 times in one season.
Currently, Barcelona are leading La Liga with 54 points, 11 more than Atlético Madrid who sit second with 43. An important element to consider in Barcelona's outstanding performance is their defense. Out of 20 league fixtures, Ernesto Valverde's team has managed to keep a clean sheet on 13 occasions.