Vinicius confronted racists, Elche, Celta, and Sevilla were all mired in managerial crisis, and Barcelona won La Liga despite all of these issues.
Close, but not quite Camp Nou is available for weddings and barmitzvahs. It was also really alluring. You too might play in the largest stadium for European football for just €300. 60 minutes, a referee, coaches, and Gatorade, there was also medical attention, which was probably for the best. Barcelona needed to find a way to raise money if they were to begin the positive cycle their president had mentioned. They were roughly €1 billion in debt and had a payroll ceiling of less than €144 million. or just the period of time they had the signed players. The problem was that Gerard Piqué sitting on the bench for just one game wouldn’t be covered by even hundreds of people playing hundreds of games. Palancas came into play in this situation.
The phrase that dominated last summer appeared out of nowhere and quickly entered the football vernacular, if not tradition. Although they genuinely tried, selling players wasn’t simple, so Barcelona sold other assets in their place. rights primarily for television. Four levers, or palancas, were pulled in total, adding €777 million to the account and seven additional players to the field. On the evening before La Liga began, at 9.30 p.m., Franck Kessié, Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Andreas Christensen, and Ousmane Dembélé were all officially enrolled. Jules Koundé was forced to wait. Marcos Alonso and Héctor Bellern came next.
The following day, Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano drew 0-0, which was at least an improvement from the previous year, when they failed to earn a point against Andoni Iraola’s squad. This year, they did, and it ended up being sufficient. They concluded it early by hoisting the league trophy and bidding farewell to the old place as champions four years later, even though they started it by pulling levers and arriving very late to everything. “We’ve brought the happiness back,” Joan Laporta declared. “We’re not so bad,” Xavi said.
Barcelona did indeed win the league in March and mathematically won it just outside the city limits with four matches remaining, but you occasionally wondered if they were even that good. Even the Espanyol fans who chased them off the field that night were unable to capture them, despite the fact that they came the closest to doing so. It might not have been very ‘Xavian’ 11 of their victories were by a solitary goal, which prompted Diego Simeone to make a brilliantly subtle remark “These days I hear a lot of strategists who like the beautiful game say that 1-0s are beautiful too” but Xavi won his first league as a manager and he deserved it. His team defeated Real Madrid to win the Super Cup as well.
Barca enjoying the moment but now being chased off pitch by Espanyol fans pic.twitter.com/UfKv78NPOS
— Samuel Marsden (@samuelmarsden) May 14, 2023
Barcelona won 13 of their following 14 games and drew one, putting them five points ahead at the midway stage, despite it seeming unlikely when they dropped the first Clasico to the sound of the Madrid fans breaking into oles and calling for Xavi to stay. Even though Thibaut Courtois said “sometimes it’s nice to be the chaser,” within a month Barcelona had pulled away by 11 points, giving their pursuers only the briefest glimpse of optimism. They also finished the second clasico with a 12 points lead and the job well done. They only allowed two goals at home, both of which were own goals. Marc-André ter Stegen was only prevented from maintaining a perfect record by teammates who were no longer concerned with defense after they had won the league.
The statistics provided little support, but Madrid’s inability to win three straight games after the World Cup and their 4-0 victory against Barcelona in the Copa del Rey semi final made it even more difficult to understand how they had allowed themselves to fall so far behind.
In a season with two halves, Atlético truly only participated in one of them. When Yannick Carrasco missed a 99th-minute penalty after the final whistle, Sal put the rebound off the crossbar, and Reinildo’s follow up somehow went over, they were eliminated from the Champions League. Three days later, a 99th-minute goal caused them to lose 3-2 to Cádiz. Even though Simeone’s team began to play in the spring, it was already over. They had started the season pursuing a runners-up spot and a fifth season in eight in which they finished ahead of their city rivals, but they lost it in the 93rd minute of the final day, which was a rather atlético way to conclude it.
La Liga will request “more sanctioning powers” so it can punish incidents of racism in Spanish football.
Vinicius Jr has been the target of racist abuse multiple times this season.#BBCFootball
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) May 23, 2023
By that point, it was difficult to recall the beginning since the World Cup had cut it off and made it feel so far away. buried beneath everything else, as well. Not to mention the Negreira case and its repercussions, which you knew had gotten really bad when Madrid and Barcelona refused to share a meal together and the old Franco question reappeared, providing a distraction and making everyone a historian all of a sudden. Then, depressingly, there was the racism Vincius was subjected to after he literally stood up for what others had to do.
A season of records was finally put to rest by Joaqun, who retired with 622 first division appearances, which is the joint highest number ever. A lot had happened, some of it really very good and some of it really very bad, and it had all stopped in the middle for Spain’s national team to be both of those things at once and for Lionel Messi to complete football.
Pepe Reina was taking part in his 1,000th game. José Antonio Caro, the goalkeeper for Burgos, didn’t give up a goal all season until a VAR awarded penalty in the 78th minute of his 14th game. Elche didn’t win a single game until February, 20 weeks into the season, allowing defender Carlos Clerc who had gone 39 games without a victory to finally find some solace. Randy Nteka, who won against Villarreal on Monday with Rayo Vallecano, departed, signed for Elche, and defeated them once more five days later, became the first player in La Liga history to overcome the same team twice.
The period before Qatar quickly felt like it belonged to a different time, a different season, and that it didn’t really matter since Spain was just getting going again. Actually, everyone had been waiting for the World Cup at the time, so that is pretty much how it had felt. Barcelona’s retiring captain Sergio Busquets praised everyone who had helped the winners during their champions celebrations, including retired player Piqué.
partly out of necessity. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang played, what? in this year? Unai Emery walked this season, but was that all? Julen Lopetegui left, didn’t he? And that Rino Gattuso was present, making a lot of fuss, declaring himself to be a lion rather than a pussycat, before slinking away in silence. If you can identify all of Elche’s several managers, you’ll win a gift.
Elche was the first team to be relegated and did so weeks before the others by the time the season was through. Despite having the most prolific goal scorer in Spain, who scored two goals in two minutes on his international debut at the age of 32, Espanyol finished second despite having the best goalkeepers in the league. On the last day, when six clubs might still be eliminated, Valladolid was third. Papa Pezzolano observed, “Life hits you hard sometimes,” after they were finally defeated by rivals Getafe.
Coach Quique Sánchez Flores had complained, and Pepe Bordalás soon took over. With just 68 passes on the final day, he had them Bordalasing their way to safety. Almera was in danger of being relegated with three minutes and eight seconds left in the season, but an Adri Embarba penalty allowed them to escape with a 3-3 tie. Coach Carlos Carvalhal of Celta declared that “La Liga is much harder than the Premier League” and then went about proving it by winning just one out of 11, prompting captain Iago Aspas to warn. We’re going to have to squeeze one bollock next to the other. However, they also made it into the last day thanks to a victory over Barcelona. Cádiz is the only team down there that has remained loyal to its coach.
Sergio González, a charming everyman, too managed to get away. Their coach had asked them to sign ”failures and losers,” but crisis hit Valencia didn’t anticipate facing the very real possibility of their first relegation in nearly 40 years. However, in the end, the youngsters saved them, with Javi Guerra, Alberto Mar, and Diego López coming from the B team to keep them up on the final day.
🚨 Julen Lopetegui has been SACKED as manager of Sevilla 😬😳 pic.twitter.com/5TUoecK9vv
— LiveScore (@livescore) October 5, 2022
Sevilla had been there for a very long time, developing as the season’s main narrative. After a disastrous start, they fired Lopetegui, and by the following winter, half of their summer acquisitions had left once more. However, under Jorge Sampaoli, who spent as much time suspended from ceilings as he did pacing the touchline in his tight blue tracksuit and beanie, barking orders that no one could understand, things only got worse.
They were in serious difficulties and actually dreaded returning 20 years later to the second division. But José Luis Mendilibar, the “anti modern” manager who isn’t interested in the nonsense, soon showed up and dragged them away. He led them to Budapest, where they won the Europa Cup, which was even better. “Not bad for a bloke who won this job in a raffle,” he said. 17 years after winning his first, Jess Navas raised the trophy.
This continued the run. In 18 European finals, no Spanish club has ever lost to a team from another nation, and eight teams will return to try to extend that streak to 19 the following year.
The eight does not include Girona, who were entertaining to watch with four 2-2s, three 3-2s, a 4-2, a 6-2, and a 5-3, but were denied making history on the last day when Osasuna defeated them, nor does it include Rayo, who were almost as entertaining. The crowd at Vallecas chants, “Next year, Rayo-Liverpool.” At one time, it appeared like Merseyside, not Madrid, was the problem with this scheme because their club was performing so well. Even though they had a chance to make it to the last day, The last Countdown, which is played after every goal, ended up being their sole contact with Europe.
There is Atlético in it. Excellent post-World Cup and post-Joo Félix, they qualified for the Champions League for the 11th season in a row, joining returning teams Real Sociedad, Barcelona, and Madrid. Coach Imanol Alguacil called what they did “absolute madness” and said that all 19 of the players who led them there were graduates of the program. David Silva, 37, is returning with them.
Below them, Villarreal, led by Quique Setién, who left the youth squad he was coaching in Cantabria to return to the top division and finish fifth, qualified for the Europa League. Despite having the second fewest fouls in Europe while having the most number of players sent off (15), Betis nonetheless finished sixth. Which was a fitting end for everyone’s favorite cheeky scamp, who at the age of 41 ultimately bid farewell and left with them once more in Europe. Osasuna received the Conference League slot, despite having not visited the continent for 16 years.
Additionally, Osasuna made history by reaching the Copa del Rey final for the second time. They eventually made it there courtesy to the first goal Pablo Ibáez ever scored for the team he always supported, a belter at San Mames in the 116th minute. They had somehow made it through extra time four times in a row. The navarros were undefeated despite losing the championship match against Carlo Ancelotti, who finished off his trophy collection by collecting every trophy there is in just fifteen months. In the final, everyone wanted Madrid to triumph so that the team in seventh place would also advance to Europe, but as it turned out, the team in seventh place was actually us, according to coach Jagoba Arrasate. He announced that it was time for a beer.
Except for them, of course. After helping Almera on the last day out of difficulties, Embarba was awarded the golden spade. But nothing compares to Villarreal receiving a real life 127 million year old, 11 meter tall, three meter long spinosaur from the early Cretaceous period named in their honor.
🥇 E M B A R B A🏗
🔝 El futbolista ha sido el que más veces habéis elegido con vuestros comentarios como el más destacado de nuestros partidos.
¡Temporadón! 🔴⚪️ pic.twitter.com/cDNALbNfem
— UD Almería (@U_D_Almeria) June 7, 2023
Most modest club
Burgos, Second Division. Coach Julian Calero stated, “We came here eating Mortadella sandwiches and we’ll keep eating Mortadella sandwiches.” “Caviar is too expensive for this club, and Mortadella is tasty in any case.”
Raul Martn Presa, president of Rayo Vallecano, who is pictured wearing an ostentatious plaster on his nose, denounced the agent of the best negotiator Raul de Tomás to police for allegedly butting him in the face during talks. The sale was finalized four days later.
When Jorge Almirón was fired by Elche in 2021, he had lost his previous 16 games. So they made the decision to bring him back after 18 months. After five games with no victories, he left once more.
Most beloved staff member
Fuenlabrada’s handyman, bettering the miracle of the loaves and fish. A ball leaves the field on a Saturday night in Primera RFEF and soars up onto the adjacent roof. The good news is that there’s a guy with a ladder and a fear of heights who not only gets the ball back, but three of them.
Enjoyed this moment today at Fuenlabrada vs Sanse. Ball flew off the pitch and up onto the roof alongside. Fortunately, a bloke came along with a ladder to go get it. Turns out there were three of them up there.
— Sid Lowe (@sidlowe) April 15, 2023
Taty Castellanos scored three goals against Real Madrid, and Ancelotti threatened to tear up his coaching badge if the Uruguayan didn’t reach 10 goals this season. However, that was a pretty safe bet and was completed by February, so the credit must go to the Catalan radio reporter. He didn’t, which is good news, but he got four, which is horrible news.
Worst justification (and most disappointing reluctance to heed the Jackson Five’s counsel)
Xavi attributed Getafe’s loss on the sun. “Try Nivea,” Quique Sánchez Flores said. The new Spain manager then tries to justify selecting Julián Lvarez for The Best and says, “I wasn’t drunk.”
The best fan
You have a choice of 22 players, but you pick to use your iron fists on the 6′ 3″ and 13 tone goalkeeper.
All you streamers, move aside, Without brakes, I’m down a slope. This is Luis Enrique.
💛 ¡Un sentimiento que llevo dentro! pic.twitter.com/OCxiBmgPGj
— Cádiz Club de Fútbol (@Cadiz_CF) May 19, 2023
Best bedtime story
Little Red Riding Hood, read by Javier Teba
F stands for “fuck off” and the following words: fire, faith, fair play, fantasy, fouls, flow, fans, family, finals, force, future, fiesta, and footballers.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona_es) October 14, 2022
When the first penalty in the shootout at the Europa League final was taken, the coolest player, Lucas Ocampos, didn’t look. Which, if he hadn’t been the one taking it, wouldn’t have been all that strange.
Might be the coolest thing we’ve ever seen https://t.co/CFySXzfqKX
— The Spanish Football Podcast (@tsf_podcast) June 1, 2023
You have to be Juan. Actually, Zuhaitz Gurrutxaga is in charge this time; not the other way around.
Vedat Muriqi, a striker for Mallorca, is a strange beast who makes you cross the street when you see him. He is a massive ugly lump who stands 1m 90cm tall. Javier Aguirre, his coach, claims that at least.
The worst manager
I am unattractive, Aguirre is correct. Muriqi stated, “I believe my wife has an issue with her eyesight. But he’s also not really attractive.
The nicest player on the field
Borja Iglesias, missed his first penalty in primera and Edgar Badia of Elche saved it. Iglesias later said: “I’m glad it was him: he’s a bloody good guy.”
Toni Lato is the greatest player
Although Gattuso’s daughter is only 18 years old, the Valencia manager added, “I think Toni is the ideal man for her.” “Any girl would love to have a boyfriend like Toni.” Sadly, one girl already did, which might have been her as well. In relation to which…
Most dreadful father-in-law
Luis Enrique once more, who publicly announced that his daughter was dating Ferran Torres but also threatened to take him off, stick him in the stands, and never select him for Spain again if the Barcelona forward ever had the audacity to do so.
Most unlikely comparison
Quique Sánchez Flores, the Getafe coach, compared Djene Dakonam to his aunt in the most unlikely way possible. His aunt was the late flamenco performer Lola Flores, which would have been rather strange in and of itself. She was reportedly incapable of singing or dancing, but you didn’t want to miss her. similar to the center back for Getafe.
Most Caring Coach
Football has no place for the kind of humanity displayed by Valladolid coach Pacheta when he advised defender Javi Sánchez not to report to work that weekend in order to attend the birth of his kid. He was unsure about what to do, according to Pacheta. “Go, I said. You must be present. There is nothing quite like seeing the birth of your child, this only happens to you once or twice. There is no debate, move on. It’s just a football game, someone else is playing. In the end, we prevailed, and he is now with his wife and child. This is life.
With goal kicks that were directed directly into the spider cam, Unai Simon, Ivo Gribic, and Alex Remiro all delivered blows to the forces of evil. Chris Ramos became the first person born in the city to score for them in thirty years as well. The sight of Cádiz keeper Conan Ledesma sprinting across the field with a defibrillator in hand still gets you every time. And then there’s Lucas Perez, who quit them and joined Deportivo de La Coruna, the side he grew up supporting in the city where he was born, forgoing a position at a first division club where he was top scorer. a third division.
62 minutes… Come here, Antoine.
Basically any Girona game. Betis 3-4 Celta, which featured some excellent goals, especially the first by Gabri Veiga (two headers taking the ball over the defender before nudging it beyond the keeper with his right foot, with a hint of the Le Tissiers about it), a horrible Aspas performance, a red card (obviously), and a potential equalizer that was headed just wide on 101 minutes and 35 seconds. Then there was Valladolid and Getafe. Normally not known for their ability to entertain, Spain put on the biggest spectacle at the Coliseum since AD325, winning 3-2 with to goals from Antonio Plano and Damián Suárez.
Simeone. Manuel Pellegrini, perhaps?
Select that one from your living room, if I may.
¿Te imaginas que un balón chutado por Fede Valverde entre por tu terraza y acaba en tu salón?
Ayer ocurrió. Hamza estaba viendo el Rayo – Real Madrid desde su balcón y…
Entramos en su casa para que nos lo cuente él mismo. 👇
— Relevo (@relevo) November 8, 2022
Move onward. Moreno, Gerard. No, not at all.
— Fútbol en Movistar Plus+ (@MovistarFutbol) December 31, 2022
Rodrygo Goes claimed, “It was the only way out for me. This is an escape route.
“If they had scored, that would have been brilliant, but…” With the “but” hanging heavily, Rayo coach Andoni Iraola spoke. The Cruyff penalty attempt by Isi Palazón and Scar Trejo was unsuccessful when Isi ran in and put the ball over the crossbar. However, these were. Valverde claimed, “I saw red shirts, and I started to run.” Before he knew it, he had advanced 67 meters, reached 30 km/h, overtaken three opponents, and slammed the ball against Mallorca into the top corner. “Isn’t this a crazy golazo?” After Samu Chukwueze scored a similarly comical goal to defeat Madrid 3-2, he said, laughing. His first had also been quite good. If you haven’t seen Martin Braithwaite’s first goal, Espanyol’s game winning strike against Athletic, it was reminiscent of Compostela and his idol Ronaldo.
Imagine doing this after playing 116 games without scoring in Spain. Then this happened, even throughout the derby. Oh, and after that, this, scoring three goals from a total distance of 100 yards. Nemanja Gudelj, gents and ladies. However, Youseff En Nesyri’s goal in that most recent game might have been even superior. Joselu at Getafe and José Luis Morales at Osasuna are two players you should watch if you appreciate goals from the halfway line. Memphis, I’m entering. How about Abde’s suggestion to win a Cup match?
But Ibiza was by far the greatest. We honor you, Ivan Morante.
— Fútbol en Movistar Plus+ (@MovistarFutbol) March 25, 2023
Or it would be if Atlético’s ngel Correa hadn’t scored a goal while sitting on the bench thanks to a referee who initially ruled it out for offside and took so long to rule it back in again that by the time he had, Correa had left. Correa is a footballer so magical, so capable of the impossible, that he managed to get a goal while he was sitting on the bench. It’s common for a goal scorer to sprint to the bench to join his teammates in celebrating; however, this time, it was the goal scorer’s teammates who ran to the bench, making everyone laugh as they ran together.
It was excellent. In the Copa del Rey championship, Rodrygo also performed a “i” for Ignacio. Nothing was funnier than watching lvaro Morata fall to the ground, complain about a foul, and then lie face away while his deflected shot looped towards the goal, only to leap up and celebrate when he heard the cheers for a goal he didn’t know was his, with teammates attempting to persuade the doubtful striker that, yes, it had come off him last.
Iaki Williams’ wonderful celebration after beating Espanyol included sprinting through the bench to embrace his younger brother Nico, who had been benched three days earlier after missing two clear-cut opportunities in the cup semifinal. Nico had been left out to give Iaki “a bit of breathing room” after Nico had squandered two chances to score. After coming on to score the second goal himself, Nico commented, “It was emotional; Iaki knows better than anyone what a bad time I’ve had: that hug helped me believe in myself.”
And then there was the time Real Sociedad captain Mikel Oyarzabal, who had recently undergone surgery to repair a torn knee ligament, scored from the spot to win the Basque derby. Oyarzabal ran towards the stands, sobbed in front of the crowd, and then went in search of the medical staff, including Jon, Jon, Unai, Virigina, Imanol, Javi, and the rest. It’s crucial that people realize how many individuals care for us on a daily basis, he remarked.
And then we come to unquestionably the most poignant moment of them all.
Coach Jorge Sampaoli brought full back Gudelj on with specific instructions with five minutes left and Sevilla behind and relegation nipping at their heels for the second time this season. Marcos Acua made the decision that enough was enough. Gudelj and Liver Torres were standing there studying it like a pair of Homer Simpsons wondering what the heck le grille was when Acua stormed over, ripped it from their hands, messed it up, and hurled it to the ground. It was more of an Ordnance Survey map than a set of Ikea instructions.
The perplexity and crisis symbolized by that piece of paper, as if Sampaoli himself had been thrown out, were shown by him urging them to stop playing around and shaking his head in disgust. This was both an act of defiance and a need for assistance. Which he quickly became, with Mendilibar emerging as the managerial culmination of the uprising Acua started.
Manager of the year
Despite all the odds, Xavi managed to win a league that never appeared conceivable. Mchel, who was consistently as decent and entertaining as his squad at Girona, came very close to making history there. The same can be said of Iraola. Aguirre has done an outstanding job at Mallorca, where mid-table is clearly not mediocrity. He claims that Manuel Pellegrini still has work to do but does it so effectively. And what Jagoba Arrasate accomplished in Osasuna is truly remarkable. At Real Sociedad, it should ideally be either him or Imanol Alguacil. But how is it possible after what Mendilibar did?
Player of the year
It had the potential to be Valverde for a while. Lewandowski also briefly. Vincius was the most electrifying football player around. Ter Stegen played in this league. But Griezmann ultimately came out on top, despite the fact that he lost everything. Even though the World Cup was four days away, Simeone recalled, “I’ll always remember him running around in the 90th minute like he was an 18-year-old kid who had just made his debut: not everyone has that, but he does.”
Griezmann had been excellent back then, but by the time he returned, he had lost all credibility. 16 goal scorer, 15 assist provider, and so much more, with no assigned position and the duty to go wherever the game required, which frequently seemed to be almost everywhere. Rodrigo de Paul referred to him as Atletico’s Messi, and he ultimately became everything. Simeone stated, “He can be whatever he wants when he’s at his best.
Team of the season
G: Barcelona’s Marc-André ter Stegen. RB: Girona’s Arnau Martnez. Ronald Araujo of Barcelona is the CB. Robin Le Normand of Real Sociedad is the CB. Fran Garca (Rayo), LB. M: Rayo’s Isi Palazon. M: Real Sociedad’s Mikel Merino. M: Real Madrid’s Eduardo Camavinga. F: Madrid native Vincius Jnior. F: Barcelona’s Robert Lewandowski. F: Atlético’s Antoine Griezmann.
Subs: Take Kubo, David Silva (Real Sociedad), David García, Moi Gómez (Osasuna), Kroos, Modric, Rodrygo, Militão (Madrid), Raphinha, De Jong (Barcelona), Baena, Chukwueze (Villarreal), Gabri Veiga (Celta), Aleix, Tsygankov (Girona), Álvaro García (Rayo), Muriqi, Kang-in (Mallorca), Unal (Getafe), Darder, Joselu (Espanyol), Pacha (Cádiz), Montiel (Sevilla, coming on for the shootout).