An end-of-year review of Spanish football
A LOOK AT LIGA
Few clubs were able to spend the money and brought in local talent
As La Liga clubs reflect on 2021, most will fondly remember the year as the achievements were shared across the country.
Only Barcelona will declare him as “annus horribilis” among the big clubs. but the future looks much brighter at Camp Nou.
Real Madrid will be delighted to be on top by 2022 with Carlo Ancelotti judiciously overseeing the transition and there is the prospect of Kylian Mbappe getting on board this summer.
Atletico may be underperforming right now, but they can look back on a year when they only won the title for the second time in a quarter of a century.
Real Sociedad won their first silver medal in 34 years by beating Basque rivals Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final which took place from 2020. They also got off to a good start in this campaign and have qualified to play against RB Leipzig in the knockout stage of the Europa League.
Even Athletic Bilbao will be happy to play two Copa finals in the space of a fortnight, even though they have lost both.
Villarreal finally won a title after many years of disrupting the big clubs. The night they beat Manchester United in a Europa League final shootout that resulted in the 21st penalty will never be forgotten. They continue the European adventure in the Champions League with Juventus on the calendar.
Both Sevilla and Real Betis have had a great year. Sevilla could improve on their fourth place last year and Real Betis, 6th last season, are also in the equation. Both will represent Andalusia when European football resumes. Betis also have Spain’s top scorer in Juanmi.
The most romantic story belongs to Rayo Vallecano. The humble Madrid club finished sixth in La Segunda, won the play-offs and managed to enter the break in fourth place. Imagine Champions League football in their three-sided stadium off the beaten track in the capital.
As mentioned above, the twelve months have been disastrous for FC Barcelona. The president was removed from his post, his successor exposed a horrible financial situation and they couldn’t offer their greatest player of all time a new contract. Life after Messi has been miserable, but the only way is to go up.
In the face of adversity, Pedri, Gavi and Nico González were accelerated to become regulars in the first team. Uruguayan Ronald Araujo has become a leading center-half, Ansu Fati will be back soon and Ferran Torres is on the radar. The future looks bright for new manager Xavi and the Spanish national team, who can draw on incredible emerging talents who will play together week after week for the same club.
In conclusion, 2021 has been a trying year for Spanish football clubs as they have been financially strained by the pandemic. Not many people have been able to spend the money – but, in many ways, that’s a good thing. Coaches have been forced to bring in local talent and this is proving healthy for Spanish football as the national team reached the Nations League final and the Olympics.
It might not be exactly out of the old, but it sure is out of the new. Happy New Year to you all.