Terry Venables is gone but not forgotten in Spain, Xavi is under serious pressure at Barcelona ahead of a huge week… and Jude Bellingham scores again! 10 THINGS WE LEARNED IN LALIGA

  • Pressure continues to grow on Barcelona manager Xavi after weekend draw
  • Spanish sports newspapers paid tribute to the late Terry Venables on Monday
  • Big Ange on connecting with his players and why he doesn’t do small talk – It’s All Kicking Off hosts Chris Sutton and Ian Ladyman spoke exclusively to Spurs boss

Barcelona avoided defeat but not talk of a crisis that might end up costing Xavi his job. 

Real Madrid were depleted but not defeated with Bellingham in the goals again. And Mason Greenwood scored his way into La Liga’s team of the weekend. 

Girona can go back to the top of La Liga on Monday evening if they beat Athletic Bilbao here are 10 things we learned from the weekend’s action ahead of their game.

Venables gone but not forgotten in La Liga

There are two sports paper in Barcelona, Diario Sport and El Mundo Deportivo. It’s not often they both produce the same headline but on Monday the words ‘Adios Mister’ were written large across their front pages. 

‘Thank You Terry’ was the headline inside El Mundo Deportivo. In recent times English football has grown used to European coaches innovating in the Premier League. That’s exactly what Venables did in the mid-eighties in Spain. 

He had Barcelona pressing high up the pitch and using set-pieces to score goals not just to prolong possession. He replaced a World Cup winner in Cesar Luis Menotti and did what neither he, nor any coach in the previous decade had done, winning the league with Barcelona.

Venables is fondly remember at Barcelona having ended their league title drought in 1985

‘Thank You Terry’ was the headline inside El Mundo Deportivo following Venables’ passing

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Just a point for Xavi leaves Barcelona coach under pressure

Another poor performance from Barcelona on Saturday in their 1-1 draw with Rayo Vallecano has left Xavi under pressure ahead of a huge week. The team has not won a single game by more than a solitary goal since mid-September when they thrashed Royal Antwerp. 

Next up they face Porto in the Champions League and Atletico Madrid in the league. On Saturday they could only draw with Rayo and on Sunday president Joan Laporta went to watch the B-team coached by Rafa Marquez. 

He doesn’t normally watch the B-team. Marquez would be the replacement if the unthinkable happened and Xavi was not to see out his second season.

A poor display from Barcelona in a 1-1 draw with Rayo Vallecano leaves Xavi under pressure

Ramos sees red for the first time…

That’s just at Sevilla mind! Ramos’ straight red on Sunday against Real Sociedad was his first for his hometown club but his 30th in total. 

When Jesus Navas walked as well another, stranger, record was set. 

It was the first time two players over the age 37 had been sent off in the same game.

Sergio Ramos saw red for Sevilla for the first time to take the defender’s career total to 30

Bellingham in a hurry to beat last season’s record

Jude Bellingham has 14 goals for Real Madrid in 15 games. That’s as many as he scored in 42 games last season for Borussia Dortmund. 

Commentators in Spain keep suggesting he can’t keep up the present rate of scoring, he seems to have other ideas.

Jude Bellingham has 14 goals for Real Madrid in 15 games this season as he maintains his form

The England midfielder scored Real Madrid’s third goal in their weekend win against Cadiz

Greenwood’s ‘golazo’ puts Getafe in the mix for Europe

There were two English players in most people’s teams of the weekend and the second one also scored one of the best goals. 

Mason Greenwood’s screamer helped Getafe beat Almeria and moved them up to eighth in the table. 

They are starting to talk about Europe and the club’s centre-forward Borja Mayoral is being talked about as a candidate for a Spain call-up. 

Greenwood is transforming the humble Madrid-based club’s season.

Mason Greenwood’s screamer helped Getafe beat Almeria and moved them up to eighth in the table

Umar, Oh what a goal!

Greenwood’s wasn’t quite goal of the weekend because Umar Sadiq hit an even more stunning strike on Sunday. 

He’s had a tough time since winning a move to Real Sociedad, missing most of last season with a torn cruciate ligament but he is showing why the club picked him to replace Newcastle-bound Alexander Isak. 

His goal against Sevilla is well worth looking up.

Carlo keeps the faith in Kepa even if fans disagree

‘If he’s fit then he will play against Granada next weekend’ said Carlo Ancelotti of Chelsea loanee keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga. 

The Italian coach has made his mind up about his goalkeeping options despite the fact that most Real Madrid supporters are now wondering if Andriy Lunin should not be allowed to stay in goal. 

He has been faultless since replacing Kepa three games back. Lunin’s contract runs out at the end of the season and it’s time for him to be number one somewhere, regardless of how many more games he plays this season.

Carlo Ancelotti has kept faith in goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga despite his questionable form

Modric: old, gold, and upset with the referee

‘I have not disrespected you, so why are you speaking to me like that,’ said Luka Modric to referee Guiermo Cuadra Fernandez at the restart of Madrid’s win over Cadiz. It was a special game for the Croatian. 

Only Ferenc Puskas played for Real Madrid with more miles on the clock after Luka started Sunday’s game aged 38 years and 78 days. The ‘Galloping Major’ Puskas played aged 38 years and 233 days. Modric was superb again and hit the post in the second half. 

He did come off as a precaution in the second half after feeling his hamstring tighten and is unlikely to play against Napoli.

Only Ferenc Puskas played for Real Madrid with more miles on the clock after Luka Modric started Sunday’s game aged 38 years and 78 days

Respect for Rafa, but still no second win of the season

Valencia will never forget what Rafa Benitez did for them between 2001 and 2004. They welcomed him back on Saturday like a returning hero. 

The two leagues and Uefa Cup that he won during his time in charge are beyond their wildest dreams these days. 

He has more pressing concerns right now – Celta Vigo are still in the bottom three with only one win after the weekend’s draw.

Simeone in good shape to end bad run against Barcelona

Diego Simeone has never beaten Barcelona in the league. 

Next week he will take his team to the Olympic Stadium and thanks to his side’s 1-0 win over Las Palmas they will do so knowing a win will put them above Barcelona in the table and with a game in hand. 

They are many people’s tip for the title – if he finally beats Barça that will be another sign that this could be Atletico’s year.

Diego Simeone will hope to earn a first league win over Barcelona for title chasing Atletico


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