If La Liga’s new season follows the drama of the past few months, surprises are possible.
The 2021/22 season starts today, Friday, although Spanish football is still affected by the departure of Argentina’s Lionel Messi from Barcelona.
After Messi’s move to Paris Saint-Germain, he became one of the oldest clubs without his traditional star, while Barcelona’s traditional rival Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos left for the French capital on a free transfer deal.
However, Barcelona still have many world-class players and this season will rely on Petrie, Frenzy de Jong and Antoine Griezmann, and hope that team will rely on Memphis Debay.
But it is difficult to escape the shock of Messi’s departure.
Messi played in half of Barcelona’s half-season last season, his efforts or his work – and he only missed three games – so coach Ronald Koeman must change the way he plays.
Barcelona have felt the absence of a player due to injury – Barcelona have won three-quarters of the nearly 520 league games they have played for Messi, but have won only 57 per cent of the 120 games they have not played – and this crisis is now unresolved.
Madrid also have less money, but Real Madrid have faced this reality, slashed costs and agreed to leave high-paying players such as Sergio Ramos and Rafael Varane.
Despite the departure of Zinedine Zidane, the team performed well on the pitch ahead of the new season.
Madrid lost 18 games last season, the best results of the tournament, and disappointing draws in the last rounds against Getafe, Real Betis and Sevilla – all in five games – Real Atletico Madrid, captains, only two points
With the return of 2014 Champions League winner Carlo Ancelotti to Real Madrid, club officials were well aware of his strong record after Zidane.
In an event unique to the Atletico Madrid team, Atletico Madrid were in the lead and their players were not targeted for transfer from the team.
Atletico Madrid players are unlikely to be targeted when Barcelona and Real Madrid are hit by the financial crisis, with Barcelona reportedly trying to bring Chrisman back to Atletico Madrid.
However, the progress of Messi’s exit seems to have put an end to this notion, instead Atletico Madrid spent a week extending their defensive stars’ contracts just before the start of the season.
After Europa League winner Villarreal scored 23 goals, clubs outside the title seemed to be living in unprecedented comfort as they retained the best rivals, including the league’s second goal scorer, Gerard Mourinho. Enter the new season with the same team that finished fifth last season.
If Ancelotti could not restore the pride of the aging Real Madrid team, the competition for the top spot in the table would be open to all teams.
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