Author: Ashley Munson
Last time out La Liga was a one-horse race with Real Madrid struggling to get close to runaway Champions Barcelona but a new season looms ever closer and lot has happened over the summer. Here we are going to discuss three things to keep your eyes on throughout the campaign.
3 – ANTOINE GRIEZMANN
The French World Cup winner has been a talking point throughout the off season and his move to Barcelona is set to go further under the microscope. Now Atletico Madrid have formally raised the ‘tapping up’ of the forward who has been their main man for many seasons. Griezmann notched a remarkable 133 goals and 50 assists in 257 games for Atletico before his
controversial £107m move to Barca
. When the two sides face off in December and April you can be sure for an intense atmosphere, especially if both are still gunning for glory in the latter fixture, and a very obvious pantomime villain could prove the difference. Will Griezmann justify his price tag and the hassle of legal proceedings? His record in Madrid suggests he undoubtedly will and a front line of Griezmann, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez are going to be tough to stop for anyone.
2- SUPER ATLETICO MADRID
We’ve already touched on the loss of Griezmann, which leaves a big void to fill but it’s not just him who Diego Simeone has had to replace. Diego Godin, Filipe Luis and Lucas Hernandez, the latter a big money sale to Bayern Munich, have all moved on to weaken what has been a solid defensive unit. Whilst Rodrigo, who joined Manchester City, and Gelson Martins, who has secured a permanent move to Monaco following his loan spell, are other noteworthy losses. It has presented Simeone with the opportunity to rebuild though and Atletico will be a very different proposition in 2019/20. Kieran Trippier has arrived from Champions League finalists Tottenham Hotspur, and he won’t have the chance to see the
NFL playoff favorites
face off in October, at the new stadium of the North London team. The addition of Hector Herrera from Porto on a free look like shrewd business. Fellow Porto man Felipe has also jetted in along with
and Marcos Llorente, who signed from city rivals Real. The biggest signing though is that of Joao Felix from Benfica for a jaw dropping £113m. Felix is definitely one of the
top 5 talents to watch next season
, so let’s see how he and his new look team get on.
1 – WILL THE REAL REAL RETURN?
Real Madrid had a disastrous season in 2018/19 by their own high standards and even the return of Zinedine Zidane didn’t immediately rectify their issues. The window got off to a good start for Real with the high-profile signings of Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, Ferland Mendy and Rodrygo whilst Eder Militao officially joined from Porto, although the deal was actually agreed months ago. Those players will bring a lot to a club who are still reeling from the loss of Ronaldo 12 months ago but the largest issue is their
failure to move on Gareth Bale
. Zidane was quoted just a few days ago that Bale would be leaving and made it clear the player wasn’t wanted, but after a lucrative move to China fell through he looks set to remain in Spain. This not only restricts Zidane’s ability to spend – Paul Pogba is a reported target – but means there is an unhappy player dragging the squad down. Will Zidane look to use a player of Bale’s quality or has the relationship soured too far? We know it is never advisable to read too much into pre-season results but Zidane won’t be happy with what he’s witnessed and the drubbing they received from Atletico is never welcomed by Los Blancos fans. There you have it, three things relating to three title challenges.
La Ligacrown will most likely end up in one of their trophy cabinets, but whose? And who will be the surprise team to watch? Will Sevilla rise to the occasion, with sporting director Monchi return bringing some solid players to the team? Or will their rivals Betis be the ones to surprise, after they secured an impressive deal for Nabil Fekir, formerly targeted by several giants? We have to wait and see, but we can’t wait until the ball starts rolling.