The season starts now:
With the curtain raiser to the Spanish La liga season now behind us, We can look forward to the new season in Spain with a few new contenders and changes from the previous season. Barcelona strolled to their second straight championship last time, also accumulating a horde of trophies and individual awards. But this time around liga has undergone a makeover and mostly in the Castillon region of Spain. Their two clubs- Real and Atletico- have invested heavily in players but their biggest signings have been that of their coaches. Having said that few would bet against a Barcelona especially after a particularly productive offseason, during which they had taken advantage of the bargain sale at Juventus. The new season has a familiar feeling but the fresh talent makes it very interesting for me, making it easily the best league in the world.
Now for at closer look at the la liga season:
4) Valencia: Valencia have spent big in the summer, welcoming Tavano and Morientes in what will be a talented frontline. They have recently snapped up the talented winger Joaquin from Betis. The problem remains in defence where they have lost Carboni and Aerelio and also have a very disgruntled Ayala to start with. Valencia have added Asier Del horno to make up for the losses but Pablo Aimar has jumped ship to Zaragoza in a total surprise.
Positives: Joaquin, Morientes, Manager Quique Flores and Tavano
Negatives: Defence and an aging goal keeper.
Star player for the season: David Villa
3) Atletico Madrid: I’m expecting big things from Atletico Madrid, mainly because they have signed La Liga’s most underrated coach in Javier Aguirre. He will be the one to watch along with latest Argentine import Sergio Aguero. And although I’m not a big fan of his, Fernando Torres could bag atleast 20 goals this year. What many dont know is that Atletico have the most solid defence in la liga. They have a player who could well be the best defender in the world in Luis Perea. They have added Pernea (scored 10 goals last year for Getafe) as a left back and collectively it is the best defence in la liga.
Positives: Sergio Aguero, Maxi Rodriguez, Luis Perea
Negatives: Midfield not the most creative
Star Player for the season: Sergio Aguero
2)Real Madrid: No club has undergone as big a transition as has Real Madrid. There has been a change in President, coaches and in half the starting lineup. New players in include Emerson and Cannavaro from Juventus and Diarra from Lyon. Also, they have got Van Nistelrooy from United. As we speak, Madrid are still trying to get Kaka to the Bernabeu. The galactico ethos has been abandoned for a more pragmatic approach and that is Capello’s USP. Dont expect the most fluent football, but expect better results from this new outfit.
Negatives: Fans(impatient), Raul(the powers that be wont wont him out though his performances merit that)
Star Player for the season: Ruud Van Nistelrooy
1) Barcelona: In the offseason, The best got better. The Catalans have added Lillian Thuram and Gianluca Zambrotta- both steeled in the rigors of Italian football. The catalans may miss the finishing of Larsson, but the silky skills of Eidur Gudjohnsen may more than compensate. Pre-season form has been ominous, including the most attractive display of attacking football in years in the first half of the Gamper trophy against Bayern Munich (whom they thrashed 4-0). The sky is the limit for this team and at present no team in Europe can match them for flamboyance and productivity.
Positives: Rijkaard, Messi and Ronaldinho
Negatives: Eto’o (his outbursts would annoy even the most passionate cule)
Star Player for the season: Messi
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