La Liga to resume from June 8 as Spanish Prime Minister confirms restart date

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has given the go-ahead for La Liga to return as soon as 8 June.

There has been no football played in the country's top division since Eibar's game against Real Sociedad on 10 March, but there is now optimism it can follow the lead of the Bundesliga, with matches set to resume behind closed doors.

Spain has been on of the worst-hit countries in Europe from coronavirus, but with cases now dropping businesses are gradually re-opening, and football looks set for a comeback in the near future.

While Sanchez suggested June 8 as the possible restart date, it appears more likely that June 12 or June 19 will be chosen as the dates for a return.

La Liga president Javier Tebas is set to officially confirm the news in the coming days. 

In response to the news, a statement from La Liga read: "We are very pleased with the decision, it is the result of the great work of clubs, players, coaches, CSD, agents, etc.

"But we cannot lower our guard, it is important to follow health regulations and ensure the pandemic doesn't come back."

La Liga clubs have been back in training since earlier this month, and the Seville derby between Sevilla and Real Betis looks set to be the first game back on the calendar.

Barcelona currently top the table with 58 points after 27 games, with Real Madrid just two points behind them.

Each team has 11 more matches to play, meaning the season could be concluded in theory by the end of July.

Earlier this week Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane said he was confident his side could overtake Barcelona if La Liga is able to return.

Speaking to Real Madrid TV, he said: "We have to think positively.

"The players see that there are 11 games left (in LaLiga) and they want to finish strongly in order to win a trophy. It's in the DNA of the club.

"I'm happy to be back training with my players after 60 days. We're all happy to be back. We planned the physical preparation and they worked really well at home. They were in shape.

"This week has been very good for working, albeit in small groups. But we can work on a little more tactically. The team looks better this week."

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Seven La Liga stars who should be on your club’s list of transfer targets

La Liga is brimming with talent, but often the bargains to be found lie outside the top two of Barcelona and Real Madrid.

The Spanish giants have a huge say in the market and their duopoly over La Liga means you can be forgiven for failing to recognise some of league's other talent.

Release clauses being stipulated in every player’s contract mean that inflation in the market can make expensive price tags become affordable ones in short spaces of time.

Here are seven players outside of the main Spanish spotlight that could soon be in another ambitious club’s transfer crosshairs.

Mauro Arambarri

Age: 24

Club: Getafe

Position: Central midfielder

Mauro Arambarri arrived in Spain as something of an unknown quantity. Now, he stands as one of the poster boys for Getafe’s excellent recruitment policy since their return to La Liga in 2017.

After long being ignored by the Uruguayan national set-up, the 24-year-old was picked for their next round of international fixtures — testament to his improvement.

Arambarri can control the tempo of a game, battle hard and show tenacity when off the ball and has an impressive range of passing.

He has shown that while he has the stereotypical grit of any player hoping to play for Uruguay in their current style, he has a refined side to his game that makes him a must-buy for a club long-established in European competitions — especially with a release clause rumoured to sit at around €20m.

Marc Roca

Age: 23

Club: Espanyol

Position: Central midfielder

Heavily linked with a move to Bayern Munich last summer, Marc Roca still sits at a club which he holds dear but should have aspirations far beyond.

Espanyol have struggled once again this season, despite having some very talented technical players. Roca is one of them, a mainstay for Spain’s Under-21 set-up and built for a possession-hungry, dominant side.

His range of passing, coolness under pressure and ability to play out from deep, crowded areas of the field make him a ready-made purchase for any big club looking to keep the ball on the ground despite opponents pressing high and looking to compromise their style.

Mohamed Salisu

Age: 20

Club: Real Valladolid

Position: Central defender

Mohamed Salisu is one of the revelations of the current La Liga season. Since signing for Real Valladolid from an academy based in Nwasam, Ghana in 2017, Salisu has galloped his way into becoming one of his club’s most important players.

After the sale of Fernando Calero to Espanyol last summer, there were worries as to how Sergio’s side would fare, but Salisu has been immense.

Tall, athletic, physical and tidy on the ball, Salisu is a complete central defender. His inexperience at the top level makes his potential ceiling all the more scary, given that the 20-year-old has slotted into life in the Spanish top flight with ease.

His reported €12m release clause makes him a bargain waiting to happen.

Chimy Avila

Age: 26

Club: Osasuna

Position: Centre forward

Chimy Avila has had some bad luck this season. After impressing on loan at Huesca in 2018/19, where he scored 10 goals for the relegated La Liga side, it was a surprise that newly promoted Osasuna were the team to secure his signature for around £2.5m last summer.

His grit, aggression, work rate and passion for the club has endeared him to the club’s fans, while his nine goals in 20 league appearances before a serious ligament injury this season positioned him as one of the stand-out attacking options in the division.

Chimy can press, show intensity, is great on the ball and possesses a fierce shot. He could easily make the step up to a European club who play front-foot football.

Carlos Fernandez

Age: 23

Club: Granada (on loan from Sevilla)

Position: Centre forward

Carlos Fernandez may not be grabbing the headlines for Granada in terms of his goalscoring firepower, but his all-round play this season has been eye-catching.

The Sevilla loanee can lead the line, hold the ball up and lay it off to those around him, a useful foil for any sides who have pace or direct options in attack.

Eight goals and four assists in all competitions is not a disappointing record for a young striker at a newly promoted club, and Sevilla could well find a use for him at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan next season given that Julen Lopetegui has a penchant for a focal point that can bring others into play — see Luuk de Jong and Youssef En-Nesyri.

Igor Zubeldia

Age: 22

Club: Real Sociedad

Position: Central midfielder

Competent at both centre back and a deep-lying midfield role, Igor Zubeldia’s versatility has proven himself to be very useful for Imanol Alguacil’s Real Sociedad this campaign.

Most adept in midfield, owing to his modest height, Zubeldia is an effective shield for his back four, but also slick in possession.

Still just 22, he already has a solid number of appearances under his belt for the Basque club (68) and shows a calmness and intelligence on the ball that points to a greater maturity than others of his age.

It is no surprise to see Real Sociedad shoot up the table as La Liga’s surprise package for the season, with a talented generation all coming through in San Sebastian.

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