La Liga round-up: Iker Casillas retires, Barcelona-Atletico Madrid make Lisbon entry
A look at some of the top announcements and events in La Liga in the past week
Fromâ¯action in the Champions League to promotion playoffs to determine the third and final side promoted to the top flight, here are some of the top news headlines to come out of La Liga this week.â¯
Two La Liga teams head to Lisbon
Luis Suarez (rear R) celebrates with teammates after scoring penalty kick during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg football match between FC Barcelona and Napoli at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on August 8, 2020.
Two La Liga sides will be in the Champions League quarter-finals this week in Lisbon. Atlético de Madrid already booked their place in the final eight in March with their win over defending champions Liverpool, before Barcelona eliminated Napoli on Friday with a 3-1 second leg result that secured a 4-2 aggregate win. Barça will meet Bayern Munich in the next round, while Atleti have a date with RB Leipzig.
Sevilla’s Europa League hopes are still alive
Sevilla players walk off the pitch after the UEFA Europa League quarter-final football match Wolverhampton Wanderers v Sevilla at the MSV Arena on August 11, 2020
Sevilla’s bid for a record sixth Europe League title is still alive, after Los Nervionenses overcame AS Roma 2-0 to book their place in the final eight, where they’ll meet English side Wolverhampton Wanderers at the neutral MSV-Arena in Germany. Getafe, meanwhile, fell in the round of 16 to Inter Milan.
Alavés unveil their new coach
Pablo Machín is back in La Liga Santander, with the former Girona, Sevilla and Espanyol coach now taking over at Alavés. He has signed on a one-year deal with the Basque club and will now take charge for the club’s centenary season in Spain’s top division.
A La Liga legend retires
Iker Casillas has hung up his gloves at the age of 39. The former Spain captain suffered a heart attack at the end of the 2018/19 season and hasn’t been able to return to action, officially announcing this past week that he is retiring. After joining Real Madrid’s academy aged nine, he stayed there until he was 34, eventually leaving in 2015 after multiple titles to spend the final years of his career at Porto. He has enjoyed a stellar career and has the second-most LaLiga Santander wins ever with 334.
Martin Merquelanz’s new deal
Real Sociedad have signed Martin Merquelanz to a new deal, renewing the academy graduate to 2025. The winger spent last season on loan with Mirandés and impressed at the Estadio Municipal de Anduva. He now returns to the Reale Arena to fight for first-team minutes with Real Sociedad’s senior side.
Barcelona complete the signing of Gustavo Maia
19-year-old Brazilian forward Gustavo Maia has joined Barcelona, arriving from São Paulo FC for a deal that’ll cost the Catalan club €4.5m. Although the coronavirus pandemic prevented Maia from ever playing a first team match for the Brazilian side, Maia is so highly rated that Barça have jumped to secure his signing and slapped a €300 million release clause in his contract.
Pedro León extends his Eibar contract
Eibar and Pedro León have reached an agreement for the winger to extend his stay at Ipurua. Leon has been a star for the side since joining in 2016 and will continue to dazzle the fans in the Basque Country for at least another season until the summer of 2021.
The relegated sides appoint new coaches
The three teams relegated from LaLiga Santander at the end of the 2019/20 campaign have appointed new coaches as they prepare to spend next year in LaLiga SmartBank. RCD Espanyol have signed Vicente Moreno from fellow relegated side RCD Mallorca, who have appointed former Villarreal, Getafe and Levante coach Luis Garcia. CD Leganes, meanwhile, have chosen former Girona and RC Deportivo coach Jose Luis Marti as the man to lead them back to LaLiga Santander.
The La Liga SmartBank promotion playoffs are set
The La Liga SmartBank promotion playoffs will get under way this week, with Elche CF confirmed as the sixth and final participant following CD Fuenlabrada’s loss to RC Deportivo. The semi-finals will be contested over two legs, with the first legs on Thursday August 13th and the second legs on Sunday August 16th. Real Zaragoza will face Elche at this stage, while UD Almería and Girona FC will battle for the other spot in the promotion playoffs final to determine who joins SD Huesca and Cadiz CF in LaLiga Santander.
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