Five things we learned from La Liga


Real Madrid and Barcelona remain neck and neck at the top of La Liga after they blew away Granada and Villarreal with four-goal showings on Saturday.

However, elsewhere in La Liga plenty of other issues were resolved this weekend with just two full rounds of fixtures of the season to go.

Here, AFP Sports looks at five things we learned.

Hernandez delivers on the hype

There may not be a player in Europe with a more impressive array of suitors this summer than Theo Hernandez.

The 19-year-old French full-back has had a stellar season on loan at Alaves from Atletico Madrid.

However, he may not be headed back to Atletico but rather across Madrid to Real or even Barcelona next season with both willing to meet his 24 million euro buyout clause.

And his first professional goal showed why on Sunday with a sensational rising volley from the edge of the area to win a Basque derby 1-0 over Athletic Bilbao.

‘MSN’ dance their way through 100 mark

For the third consecutive season since they were united, Barca’s ‘MSN’ front three of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar have scored more than 100 goals.

Their total for the campaign now stands at 102 as Messi’s double took his tally to 51, while Suarez and Neymar netted their 35th and 16th of the season respectively against Villarreal.

Despite scoring the fewest goals this season, it was Neymar who drew most of the plaudits this weekend with coach Luis Enrique claiming his style “seems much more like ballet than football.”

“It is exceptional, beautiful, effective and spectacular,” he added.

Atletico reap rewards of consistency

After another week of Champions League heartache at the hands of cross city rivals Real, Atletico must wonder why they put themselves through the same pain every year.

Unless they overturn a 3-0 semifinal, first leg deficit on Wednesday, they will bow out for the fourth straight year in the Champions League to the 11-time winners.

However, they will be back for more next season after a 1-0 win over Eibar guaranteed a top-four finish for a fifth straight year.

With the club set for an expensive move to a new 67 000 capacity stadium next season, the finances gained from Champions League football are a must for Atletico to keep competing and maybe one day even overcome the might of Madrid and Barca.

Are Malaga Barca’s last hope?

To win the league, Barca need to win their remaining two games and hope Madrid lose one of their last three.

And despite doubts in Catalonia being raised over former Madrid favourite and Malaga coach Michel’s desire to do damage to his former club on the final day of the season, Malaga right now look Barca’s best bet.

They claimed a sixth win in seven games over Celta Vigo on Sunday.

Real’s other two opponents to come in Celta and Sevilla are, by contrast, in wretched form.

Should Valencia have kept Voro?

Valencia’s constant caretaker boss Voro confirmed this weekend he will again not he given the job on a permanent basis for next season.

Given Valencia’s track record of sacking coaches, he may even be back for a sixth temporary spell in charge in the future.

Yet, his record suggests he deserved more consideration from under-fire Singaporean owner Peter Lim.

A 4-1 thrashing of Osasuna on Sunday took Voro’s tally to 37 points from 24 La Liga games this season, whereas they picked up just six from 12 matches under the dismissed Cesare Prandelli and Pako Ayestaran.


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