by Michelle Ackermann
It may still be early in the La Liga season, but after yet another weekend of ups and down, surprises and upsets, and even an electrical interruption, the La Liga race is closer than ever…and is still everyone’s game. Barça remains atop the league after a late turnaround against Granada, but second place, currently shared by Mallorca, Malaga and Sevilla, only 4 points shy of the Blaugrana, opens the table to just one mistake to throw the La Liga standings into disarray. Can Barcelona hold onto their lead, and unbeaten streak, with the help of Chilean international, Alexis Sanchez?
In a press conference held earlier today at Ciutat Esportiva, Barcelona’s training grounds, Chilean international, Alexis Sanchez opened up and spoke candidly about his role in the Barça squad. It appears that Barcelona fans the world around are set to expect a stellar season from Alexis, who stated, “The best Alexis hasn’t arrived yet”. The Barcelona forward, who has had 7 assists in La Liga and 2 in the Champions League surely wasn’t having a bad start for someone who joined the club merely one season ago. When asked to grade his play, Alexis gave a humble reply, ”I would give myself a 5, I can give so much more, that’s why I came to Barça”. Vowing to score goals this year, he may be just what the Blaugrana needs, alongside Messi, Villa and Alba, to hold onto their 4-point lead.
After an array of upsets during the weekend, Barça rivals, Real Madrid found themselves in 16th position, fully aware that another loss would make the rest of the season more than just “difficult”. An electric interruption that forced their match against Rayo Vallecano to be postponed may have been just what CR7 and the Madridistas needed, as they secured a 2-0 victory to put them back in the 7th spot, still 8 points shy of Barcelona. Unless Real Madrid management gives into the demands of Ronaldo, the rest of the season could be a disastrous one for Mourinho and the squad. And with Barcelona already looking to renew Messi’s contract, which doesn’t run out until 2016, the pressure is on…it may be time for Real Madrid to face the music and pay Ronaldo what his worth, or face the humiliation of a disgraceful season…
FC Barcelona President, Sandro Rosell, who is currently in New York in talks regarding a FCB Development Club in the Big Apple, spoke to press members earlier today and praised two of Barcelona’s most important players, Xavi and Puyol. Rosell stated that these “two historic stars will be difficult to match”, but we would like them to see out their professional careers with FC Barcelona. Praising Xavi, Rosell further added, “He (Xavi) is an example, a historic player that has beaten every record in appearances for the Club…I think he wants to end his career at Barça too, and I have no doubt that that will be the case”.
With tensions rising in the Catalan capital, as Catalonia keeps pushing for independence, even Vicente del Bosque decided to weigh in on the topic. The coach of the World Cup champs, Spain, spoke early this week and stated, “I talk about football. Maybe it’s utopian, but if we could help relations (between Catalonia of Spain) get better and more cordial, I’d feel as happy as I was after winning the World Cup”. He also opened up about the prospect of Pep Guardiola taking over the reigns as the coach of the Spanish National Team, something Pep had mentioned. “I think he has many qualities and is part of what Spanish football is about. He is a man committed to the Spanish national team.”
As the squad prepares for their next La Liga match against Sevilla to be played on Sunday, all eyes will be on the backline to see just how Tito will go about ensuring that Barça doesn’t concede any goals as the backline is still sans Puyol and Pique. With only one match remaining before their next Champions League fixture against Benfica, Tito has no time to experiment. A solid solution needs to be in place before the squad heads to Portugal. Can Tito find the right formula, or will Blaugrana fans once again be forced to wait for a late save from the Messi-ah?
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