La Liga wrap: Cristiano Ronaldo set to dominate Real Madrid’s focus
Tom Wellman looks back at the weekend's action in La Liga, as Cristiano Ronaldo hinted he is unhappy at Real Madrid
Unhappy Ronaldo scores two as Real pick up first league win
During a post-match interview with Spanish newspaper Marca, Cristiano Ronaldo explained why he refused to celebrate his first two league goals of the season. Ronaldo said that he is “sad for professional reasons” and that only Real Madrid know why he is downbeat. Despite scoring two left-footed goals in the match with Granada, Ronaldo was substituted late on, only the 10th time in his entire Madrid career. Gonzalo Higuaín rounded off the scoring in the 3-0 victory to seal Madrid’s first three points of the season but keeping Ronaldo’s spirits high will dominate the focus of Real until the international break ends.
Barça respond to Supercopa defeat
After his nightmare against Madrid on Wednesday in which he was sent-off, Barcelona right-back Adriano will be feeling a great deal better about himself following a 1-0 victory over Valencia. His wonder-strike secured three points for the Catalans against a stubborn Valencia side yet to pick up their first win of the league campaign. The result could have been greater had Cesc Fàbregas not missed a glorious chance and then a penalty later on in the game. Minus Roberto Soldado and Jonas, both on the bench, Valencia appeared to be lacking their usual edge. Tito Vilanova was suspended from the touchline but will nonetheless be satisfied with another win.
Clean sheet adds gloss to Bilbao’s win
Thoroughly thumped by Atletico Madrid on Monday, Athletic Bilbao struggled against HJK Helsinki in the Europa League in midweek and faced in-form Valladolid. To make matters worse, influential midfield maestro Javi Martínez completed his €40m move to Bayern Munich and Fernando Llorente remains disillusioned with the club. Irrespective of those factors, Bilbao managed to pick up their first points of the season in their 2-0 win thanks to goals from Aritz Aduriz and Markel Susaeta. The Basque side began the game at the foot of the table but the victory should boost morale and more importantly give the troubled defence a platform to build from – 12 goals have been conceded in the last three games as Bielsa’s sporadic positioning in light of significant injury problems made Bilbao look a disorganised wreck.
Third defeat in a row for troubled Espanyol
Forced to sell key players in the summer, Espanyol now appear to be feeling the effects of that after their third loss in succession. Prior to the new season, their president announced that an added reliance on youth players was required if the club were to avoid the drop this year. Considering Barcelona dominate the global youth market, not to mention Cataluña, the impact of these youngsters was predicted to be less spectacular, and after three league defeats, it is starting to show. Espanyol led 2-0 going into half-time only to implode spectacularly and lose 3-2 to Levante. Victor Iborra saw red for Levante but that did not deter the visitors from grabbing a stoppage-time winner and condemn Espanyol to another defeat.
Celta’s ‘40 minutes of soul-searching’ helps them to maiden victory
Paco Hererra locked the dressing room door and refused to allow his squad to leave last week after Celta Vigo’s loss to Real Sociedad. For 40 minutes, the team were blasted by the irate coach after two winless games but the strict actions seem to have paid off as Celta recorded a 2-0 win over Osasuna. Iago Aspas and Mario Bermejo scored the goals and ensured their previously irked boss would be a great deal calmer post-match. Arribas was sent-off for Osasuna with five minutes remaining, and the visitors have yet to record a single point this season. Jose Luis Mendilibar already has a reputation for one of the most unorthodox coaches in La Liga and it would be no shock if he took a page out of Hererra’s coaching manual.