As we approach May, the sun in Spain is beginning to soar and the football intensifies. Today we will look at the major headlines in Spain and what the future holds.
Barcelona are set to become the Spanish Champions for the 26th time unless some miraculous recovery by former winners Real Madrid. This is highly unlikely due to the Galactico’s focus on the Champions League. Barcelona have been excellent this season under Xavi, they play fast-attacking football with star striker Lewandowski there to finish off the chances.
Real Madrid’s inconstant season
Real Madrid would argue that they have bigger fish to fry in trying to retain their champions league medal. However, in the league, they have just been blown away by Barcelona’s consistency. There is no doubt that Europe has been a distraction, but Barcelona had the same distraction for a large part of the season.
Madrid will be looking to challenge Barcelona for the title back and possibly win the treble. Madrid’s Vinicius Junior has been incredible this season and is now regarded as one of the best wingers in the world. This is an incredible turnaround for a man who looked doomed after Benzema was caught saying “Don’t pass to him, I swear he playing for the other team”. Now the duo is one of the best striking partnerships in world football.
The fight for European Spots
Atletico Madrid are just behind their rivals Real; they will hope to easily achieve Champions League places. This is the standard year in year out for Simeone’s men. The Argentine manager has been at the club for over 12 years now, although, in November he was under severe pressure after some very poor performances. Since the World Cup Simeone has got his team playing well again with star man Griezmann who has been brilliant. Interestingly, Simeone is the highest-paid manager in the world, but he has offered to lower his salary until the end of his contract. This is due to himself doing what he can to mitigate the unexpected loss of income from European Football.
Real Sociedad has an incredible footballing philosophy very similar to Athletic Bilbao. Their clubs’ philosophy dictates a focus on their immediate surroundings. They have found incredible success with this over the years since their return to La Liga 13 years ago. Sociedad is on course for a champion’s league spot which is an incredible achievement as San Sebastian is a city of just 187,000 people. They are run by more than 14,000 socios, who helped keep the club afloat when they were relegated, Iraola says Real Sociedad “belongs to everybody” and their values remain entwined with the community. This is a fascinating club; they will hope to make their mark on Europe further by qualifying for the Champions League.
The two teams behind them who will also be fighting for an outside chance of Champions League qualification are Villarreal and Real Betis. Both teams will realise that the champions league is a tough ask. However, they both will be fighting for a chance of playing in the Europa League. One team will get to play in the Europa League while the team who finishes 6th place will play in the Europa Conference League. Villarreal not so long ago created a huge upset as they beat Manchester United in the final to lift the Europa League. They will hope to be challenging again next year if they keep hold of their 5th-place finish.
Valencia could be in real danger, due to poor ownership and lack of investment they have fallen from one of the best teams in Spain to now fighting to stay in the top division.
In 2014 there was much optimism when Peter Lim arrived as Valencia’s new owner in October 2014, he was greeted with glee by fans who hoped the Singaporean businessman would rescue their club from a perilous financial position caused by years of over-ambitious spending. This has not been the case; the owner has not attended a game since 2018. He has been accused of neglecting the club. To sum up his attentions, The Valencia boss stated in 2021 that he regarded the club as a “trophy asset” which has been “incredibly good for networking”. This is incredibly insulting for the Valencia fans; they will hope for a change in fortunes in the future. However, this does not look promising, you would believe they will eventually get relegated, but it could come this year as the league table is looking very bleak for them.
Sevilla’s Poor Form
Sevilla will most likely survive the drop; this does not mean success for this club. Between 2019 and 2022, Sevilla looked like a challenger to the ‘big three’ of La Liga: Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Atletico Madrid.
This season there has been a massive change in fortunes. The huge demise down the table has been due to poor reinvestment after a haul of top talent leaving in the summer of 2022. This included players such as Kounde and Carlos. They failed to reinvest this money in an efficient way, they spent less than half of the profit made on players that many deem not good enough to be challenging at the top end of La Liga.
Sevilla has dismissed two managers this season including Julen Lopetegui who is now doing a good job of steering Wolves away from relegation. All these factors have made a cocktail for disaster, a turn in results has saved them from fighting for their lives however, they will still be looking over their shoulders. Sevilla still has some top players and will hope next season they will be able to rise up to where they belong.
Despite their unfortunate season in Spain, they have had a large success in the European Cup once again. They are currently in the Quarterfinals against Manchester United, Sevilla may be in bad form but every time they have reached this stage in the competition, they have gone on to win.