The biggest news from Monday’s presentation in Miami was that the city had been officially named the site of Major League Soccer’s 25th team, but a close second was Argentina and FC Barcelona star Lionel Messi appearing in a 15-second video clip to say hi, congratulations and commit his future to David Beckham, Miami and
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.
Philippe Coutinho was given his first start for Barcelona vs Alaves on Sunday. It wasn’t until he was subbed off that the Blaugrana really got going, rallying late for a 2-1 victory thanks to some Messi magic at Camp Nou.
Lionel Messi scored on a gorgeous free kick in the 84th minute to secure all three points for Barcelona, which trailed for most of the match after an early Alavés goal. It was another moment of joy from the Argentine maestro, who had a first-half free kick touched onto the post but came through with the match on the line.
The Real Madrid vs. Valencia match delivered a much-desired awakening.
Having been eliminated from the Copa del Rey earlier this week against Leganés, Real Madrid seem to be back in the game after beating Valencia 4-1.
Some players just have an aura about them, a mystique that lifts the play of everyone around them, whether or not they’re on the pitch. The second-most expensive footballer of all time has to fit that bill, probably. How else do you explain Barcelona defeating Espanyol 2-0 to advance 2-1 on aggregate in the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey on Thursday at the Camp Nou?
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.
Is the magic gone at Real Madrid? That’s an impossible thing to say about the back-to-back world champions, but a shocking Copa del Rey quarterfinal elimination at the hands of Leganes (a club from the outskirts of Madrid that plays its home matches in front of 11,000) is the lowest it’s gotten for Zinedine Zidane when coupled with the 19-point gap in La Liga.
The French manager went with an understrength side after defeating Leganes 1-0 away in the first leg, although understrength still means starts for Sergio Ramos, Isco, Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio.
After a long, drawn out process of shoving Javier Mascherano out of the Camp Nou and making sure the door didn't hit him, Barcelona have procured an open squad number suitable for expensive new toy Philippe Coutinho.