Real Madrid, high in Europe, host Celta Vigo and look forward to defending the “La Liga” title.
Saturday – 1 Shawwal 1444 AH – 22 April 2023 AD Issue no 
Madrid: “Asharq Al-Awsad”
Spanish Football League leaders Barcelona will welcome their hosts Atletico Madrid to the Camp Nou tomorrow, Sunday, as part of the thirtieth round of matches, and will need to take an important step towards regaining their balance. On to the topic. With their 11-point advantage over second-placed Real Madrid, Barcelona put their first hand on the title but lost some momentum with two consecutive negative draws against Girona and Getafe. Coach Xavi Hernandez’s side are crawling towards the finish line rather than sprinting, Real Madrid suffered a major blow to morale as they thrashed Real Madrid 4-0 in the semi-finals of the Kings Cup. month.
Matters outside the stadium were in the spotlight as chairman Joan Laborda held a press conference to clarify the club’s denial of any wrongdoing in the “Negrera case” scandal and the return of Argentine Lionel Messi from Paris Saint-Germain. Laporta said he wanted to renew Xavi’s contract, but the coach wanted his team to finish the job by winning the league before discussing a new contract or summer deals. Xavi insisted earlier this month: “If we win (La Liga), we will celebrate the title, but we haven’t won anything yet. We have to win it.”
Poland striker Robert Lewandowski has scored two goals in his last seven games in all competitions. His goalscoring drought was one of the factors in Barcelona’s two consecutive goalless draws in the league since 2005, but Xavi said: “Lewandowski is the top scorer in the league with 17 goals and he will soon be back in the team. Net. Still top scorer, first half of season fantastic. There was. His numbers are good in the second half, but not so good in the first half. The goals will keep coming for Robert and the team. Barcelona realize that the task is not easy for the third-placed team, just two points from Real and recently the most brilliant team in the league.
Griezmann performs exceptionally well with Atletico (EPA).
Since the resumption of competitions after the World Cup, Argentina coach Diego Simeone’s side have won their last six matches in “La Liga” and put up a good run. Atletico Madrid are too late to claim any titles this season with their exit from Europe and the Spanish Cup, and they are 13 points adrift of Barcelona, but leapfrogging rivals Real Madrid in the standings will provide some consolation. A key player for Atletico, perhaps the best player in La Liga this season, is former Barcelona striker Antoine Griezmann.
The French striker, who was on loan at Atletico from the Catalan club until signing a permanent deal with the capital club in October, impressed in his country’s run to the World Cup final, losing on penalties to Argentina. He transferred this formula to his club, and delivered levels with the capital team that he had not achieved during his disappointing spell with Barcelona. The 32-year-old has scored 11 goals and provided nine assists for Atlético this season in the league and is at the peak of his career despite insisting he could do better. “I’m very happy with my performance this year, but I think I haven’t reached my peak yet,” he said after scoring a brace against Almeria last week.
As for Real Madrid, its focus is on the Champions League and local cup finals, but it wants to at least maintain its second place. After reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League, they entered the final at home on Tuesday with a 2-0 win over England’s Chelsea, renewing their win against Chelsea in their match against their visitors Celta Vigo this Saturday. The result of the first leg match. The European champions set up a final square date with England’s Manchester City in last season’s semi-final and will face Osasuna in the local cup final. Real Madrid offers fluctuating positions in the league after losing two of its last four matches against Barcelona (1-2 in position 26) and at home against Villarreal (2-3 in position 28).
Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti yesterday insisted that something had to be changed to protect the players, complaining about the crowded football schedule. Three days after the match against Osasuna in the local cup final, the Royal Club will play the first leg of the semi-final. Speaking at a press conference ahead of his team’s match against Celta Vigo, Ancelotti said: “The schedule is something we have said many times, in an objective way, that it is unfair.” He added: “It’s very crowded, there’s a lot of competition. The Spanish league thinks about itself, the (Spanish) confederation thinks about itself, the European Union (UEFA) thinks about itself, the international confederation thinks about itself, nobody thinks about the players.
And, “It’s not a good path for football. Something has to change. There’s a lot of competition.” Ancelotti confirmed that his squad will not have to change between matches, despite the May 6th cup final date approaching and Manchester City visiting the Santiago Bernabeu on the 9th. The Italian coach insisted: “I think (I can use the same players), we have to change the routine we follow after matches,” and I’m not worried about this.
In other games, Osasuna will face Real Betis, Almeria, Athletic Bilbao, Valladolid Girona, Real Sociedad Rayo Vallecano, Else Valencia, Real Mallorca – Getafe and Sevilla tomorrow, Sunday. Will be a guest at Villarreal.
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