This Week in La Liga: Players pay respect to COVID victims; Messi extends goals

Updated: 19 June, 2020 11:30 IST | mid-day online correspondent | Mumbai

From Messi's extended goal scoring to footballers supporting Black Lives Matter and paying respect to COVID victims, here's all that happened in La Liga

Lionel Messi extended his lead in the top of La Liga goalscorer standings
Lionel Messi extended his lead in the top of La Liga goalscorer standings

From the first matches back to the amazing gestures from clubs and players, here’s a round-up of the big news out of LaLiga this week.

Football returns with the Gran Derbi
It was at the Ramon Sánchez-Pizjuán stadium that LaLiga got up and running again, with Sevilla entertaining Real Betis in the Seville derby – El Gran Derbi – and taking home the bragging rights. The hosts won 2-0 thanks to goals from Lucas Ocampos and Fernando, keeping Julen Lopetegui’s men very much in the chase for third spot.

Clubs pay their respects to COVID-19 victims
As football returned across Spain, those who have passed away during the coronavirus crisis and their grieving family members were remembered. A minute of silence was held before every match, while clubs came up with their own initiatives too, from banners to bouquets of flowers placed on seats.

La Liga match silence

Players pay their respects ahead of a La Liga match

Support for the Black Lives Matter movement
Clubs across LaLiga have been expressing their support for the now global Black Lives Matter movement over the past few weeks, from club statements and social media posts to players taking a knee at training and even during games. Real Madrid’s Marcelo, for example, took a knee and pointed to the sky after scoring against Eibar on Sunday night.

The title challengers come back with a bang
Barcelona and Real Madrid sit first and second respectively in LaLiga Santander and both hit the ground running in their first games back. Arturo Vidal scored for Barcelona in just the second minute of their Saturday night game at RCD Mallorca, while Toni Kroos put Real Madrid one up just four minutes into their game against Eibar. Barcelona went on to win 4-0 and Real Madrid 3-1, with both the teams at the top adding three points to the collection.

Messi extends his lead in the goalscoring standings
Lionel Messi extended his lead at the top of the goalscoring charts this weekend, netting Barcelona’s fourth against Mallorca on Saturday night. The Argentine has now hit 20 LaLiga goals this season, making him the only player in history to score at least 20 goals in 12 consecutive seasons, and sits six goals ahead of Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema in second.

Returns for Eden Hazard and Luis Suárez
Both Real Madrid and Barcelona had further cause to celebrate this weekend as they welcomed back star players from injury. Eden Hazard and Luis Suárez both thought their 2019/20 campaigns were over when they underwent surgery at the beginning of 2020 on ankle and knee issues respectively, but with the season delayed the Belgian and Uruguayan forwards have made it back in time for the run-in.

No change down at the bottom
The three teams in the LaLiga Santander drop zone remain the same as before Matchday 28, with Mallorca, Leganés and Espanyol still occupying the relegation spots. Espanyol did, however, pick up a good win over Alaves on Saturday afternoon, sparking some optimism around the Catalan capital that they could launch a late survival push.

Real Sociedad tie up Andoni Gorosabel to a long-term deal
Andoni Gorosabel has signed a new deal with Real Sociedad, the club whose academy he progressed through all the way to the point where he is now a regular first-team starter. The right-back put pen to paper on a contract extension that ties him to the Basque club until 2024.

Matchday 32 kick-off times confirmed
LaLiga have announced the kick-off times for Matchday 32, starting with Sevilla vs Real Valladolid on June 26th and ending with Getafe vs Real Sociedad on June 29th.

The Visit Mallorca Estadi
Mallorca have renamed their stadium until 2021 to help boost the return of tourism in the Balearic Islands following the coronavirus pandemic. Previously known as Son Moix, the ground is now the Visit Mallorca Estadi. “It’s the best way to tell the world that we’re here,” CEO of Commercial Operations Alfonso Díaz said.

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First Published: 19 June, 2020 11:20 IST

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