Real Madrid’s shocking 2-1 defeat to Girona yesterday marked the fourth occasion in which Los Blancos have failed to capture all three points this season, a worrying trend that’s seen Barcelona open an eight-point gap on their fiercest rivals after only 10 matches. Real’s attack has been uncharacteristically blunt this campaign, and Cristiano Ronaldo’s return of only one goal in 540 minutes of action has garnered the most attention.
After Catalonia declared independence on Friday, everyone knew Real Madrid's away game against Girona, one of three Catalan teams in La Liga, would be interesting.
Boy, was it ever.
Yesterday, Barcelona took care of business against Athletic Bilbao. Real Madrid dropping points in this very embarradding manner puts Barca up eight points in La Liga. Barcelona have 28 points to Real Madrid's 20 through 10 games.
Barcelona maintained their four-point lead atop La Liga following a 2-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao at the San Mames. Lionel Messi scored the first for Barcelona, his 12th of the 10-game La Liga season, in the 36th minute. Paulinho added the second in the 92nd to ensure the three points for Barca.
Remarkably, that’s Paulinho’s third goal of the season for the club, moving him level with Luis Suarez in league play as Barca’s second highest scorer. With Messi in the kind of form he’s currently in, the club hasn’t had any real need for additional marksmen.
Things are happening in Catalonia. Big things. Political things, as you can see from these helpful tweets from the Associated Press:
BREAKING: Catalan separatist lawmakers pass motion to establish a new republic independent of Spain; opposition boycotts vote.— The Associated Press (@AP) October 27, 2017
Some players are just destined for greatness from the moment they step on the pitch, their debuts so magnificent the entire stadium recognizes the kid on display is special. Like a 17-year-old Alan Shearer netting a hat trick against Arsenal in his debut, some introductions are seminal events that will never be forgotten.
Jesús Vallejo did not have such a debut for Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey on Thursday.
According to Spanish football federation president Juan Luis Larrea, La Liga will begin using Video Assistant Referee technology next season if all goes according to plan. Given La Liga’s refusal to use goal-line technology on the grounds of cost concerns, the proposed introduction of VAR in the Spanish top flight represents something of a shock.
Ever wanted to know what a locker room looks like after your favorite stars are done with it? Well, it’s a bit like learning how the sausage is made — probably something you’d rather not see. The Barcelona locker room was left a nauseating mess after the team’s 3-0 win over host Murcia in the Copa del Rey fourth-round match on Tuesday.
Most people remember Simone Zaza for what was probably the worst moment of his life. Left for dead after a pedestrian loan spell with West Ham, the Italian forward is reinventing himself with Valencia, having scored eight goals in nine La Liga appearances this season, second only to Lionel Messi’s 11.
You know how Neymar left Barcelona for PSG? Well, apparently that move was in the works for a long time. As far back as Messi's wedding, if Xavi Hernandez is to be believed.
Here's what Xavi told the BBC World Service:
The18.com goes inside La Liga every week. This week Giselle Cesín talks about how Real Madrid is closing the gap on FC Barcelona.
Hi, I’m Giselle Cesin with The18 and this is your La Liga Update.