Special AS LaLiga Santander: players, teams, tactics ...

The League starts today with the hope of returning us to its true protagonists, the soccer players, after a summer full of conflicts.

The best football in the world. 2 In times of uncertainty, it is convenient to use the classics. The unfailing Helenio Herrera said Italian football was the best in the world from Monday to Friday. Only from Monday to Friday. And so it was. The noisy Italian sports newspapers counted the day to day as if the world ended, with hyperbolic headlines and abundance of exclamation marks, but when the ball rolled, on Saturdays and Sundays, the thing was different: catenaccio and few goals. If we review the Spanish sports newspapers this summer, ours has been the best football in the world: the conflict between the League and the Federation over the schedules of the matches, the anger between Atlético and Barça with FIFA in between Money of the signing of Griezmann, the torments of we will see-if-it-comes-and-how much it costs of Farandulero Neymar in Can Barça, the surreal crisis in the offices of Valencia, the blows of the Oikos operation of match-fixing ... However, football always comes to the rescue with wonderful twists. In the recent final of the European Supercup, an unexpected hero slipped into the last breath. Adrián San Miguel, a 32-year-old Sevillian, stopped the decisive penalty given by the trophy to Liverpool. Two weeks before, the goalkeeper was training with a team from the Andalusian regional waiting to find work. From unemployment to swell the gallery of fame of the reds. All this happened at midnight on a hot Wednesday in August. Glory does not understand schedules. 444444

João Félix, aroma of crac. 2 From what happened these days in the mid-world courts during the preseason games, hopeful details are distilled: the unparalleled aroma of crac by João Félix and the good appearance of the signings of Atleti, the sweet treat with the ball of De Jong and the smile of the front of Barça with Griezmann, the happy return of Espanyol to Europe ... The preseason of Madrid, the worst of the First teams, has been a continuation of the painful end of the season and the confirmation that the team lacks a plan on which to perform so as not to lose heart. There are a couple of flashes of Kubo and Rodrygo, with which Zidane does not seem to count for great feats, and a flash in the form of Hazard's goal. Little thing. Madrid has to decide what it wants to play. The ball begins to roll today with this Athletic-Barça on Friday, a rare day for an always interesting classic clash. No matter. Let's give prominence, finally, to those who deserve it and where they deserve it. To soccer players and on the court, not in the offices or on the beaches. 444444

Neymar, an ex-soccer player? Let's go back to the classics. Another wise man, Johan Cruyff, said that football is a bug sport; that what happens on the field is, in a crushing percentage, a succession of errors. And this is because it is played with the feet. As used to happen with The Prophet, deep truths were hidden behind his seemingly simple reflections. From this reflection we understand what happens to us when we are facing a different, unique, special player, who not only makes fewer mistakes than the others, but also hits differently, breaks the established and finds paths where others only see fog. Of these there are very few. Neymar is one of them. However, something bad happens when the last chronicle, video or photograph dedicated to some genius of the Brazilian on the grass is not remembered. Of his problems with justice, with his girlfriends, with the treasury or with the court of flatterers around him, we are left over. Neymar is touched by the God of football. And that is a lot. Now he has the opportunity, if he signs for Barça or Madrid, to show us that he is not an ex-soccer player. 444444

The fight for the happy story. 2 What happens with Neymar is a good example of the overflow that great football suffers today. A player for whom the PSG came to pay 222 million euros decides that Paris does not fill him. And immediately, two of the five largest football institutions in the world, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, go into combustion to see how to close a signing that, stricto sensu, hardly fits them in football and much less in financial matters. Each club, from its own problems and urgencies, is more afraid that the Brazilian crac will end up in the eternal rival that a real need to have its unparalleled and expensive services. The global village that is football pushes Florentino Pérez and Josep Maria Bartomeu to deal with an excessive operation in all its terms to manage now the future account of what can happen with Neymar if he finally returns to Spain. It is the same with the signings of young and tender players like the Japanese Kubo. The big clubs pay crazy figures for alleged cracs that have only shown good ways to avoidThat the future Messi explodes in the rival club. Legend has it that the editor and writer Carlos Barral rejected the original One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel García Márquez. If the story is true, nobody wants to be Carlos Barral of football. 444444

How easy it is to make it difficult. 222222 Cruyff also said that nothing is more difficult than easy play. Our football leaders seem determined to meet the maximum of the Dutch, but vice versa: nothing is easier than doing difficult things. Fans want to watch football, the best, in the stadium and on television (who see it from the sofa at home are also fans), and are willing to pay for it. They are, therefore, sovereign in their decisions. They should not be used for what speeches when they interest and despised when they stir. If they really cared about the fan, the rectors of Spanish football would dialogue and agree on the best for an activity of global interest that many live. Fans care little who governs the League or Federation. They just want those people to be efficient to make the tournament the best in the world and with the best players. The rest is noise and personal interests. Without money there is no football. The League must look after it, and the Federation, take care of the garden and protect it. Sometimes, it seems that the latter is willing to tear down the building in order to keep the lot, and that the first one fits badly any contrary opinion. It is a fact that Javier Tebas has taken the Spanish tournament to an unthinkable dimension a few years ago, of which Luis Rubiales should congratulate himself. It would be a disaster that the inability to understand between the two — the courts must be the last resort, not the first — will ruin all the work done. 444444

The role of the media. 2 The place of the fans is the stadium; in the offices there must be professionals. And being professional is also understanding the role of the media. The leaders of our football intend for the press to participate in their battles and position themselves in a matter of minutes about conflicts created by them, which have not been resolved for years and that have just been settled in the courts. And, of course, that this positioning is in favor of each thesis. They forget that the work of the press is another. AS works in favor of the competition, its cleanliness, the show. The desire of AS is to make covers with Messi, Neymar, Cristiano, João Félix, Mbappé, Pogba or Salah; Narrate the best goals, the best matches. And for that, Spanish football needs money, stability, sustainability and shared interests and objectives. The name of who governs the federation or the League interests us justly. Who looks in the back 7 in Madrid or 10 in Barca we are interested in everything. 444444

Yes, Mr. Robinson, it was goal. 2 Another classic, in this case alive and kicking, Michael Robinson, tells, in one of his delicious anecdotes, that during a match of the highest English category, Liverpool conceded a goal that the then red striker considered illegal. Without hesitation he went to the referee. "It was not a goal, referee, it was not a goal," he said. The whistle, very polite and dignified, replied: Wasn't it a goal? Insurance? Buy the newspapers tomorrow and read them, you will see how it has been a goal. "In the huge circus that is football, everyone plays their part. And all are necessary. The referee sanctions the goals, the media report it and leaders ensure that there are stadiums in good condition, well maintained turf, solvent referees, sensible schedules and healthy clubs, but without the players there are no goals, and without goals there are no stadiums, no grass, no referees, no schedules, no clubs When the leaders are going to claim theirs, think of Robinson's anecdote and remember that football is not yours, and that if it belonged to someone it would be Adrian San Miguel, who stopped a historic penalty for Liverpool on a night of summer, and of those who, once again, in the stands or on the couch, got up to celebrate it or put their hands on their heads to regret it.


It's already here. 2 LaLiga hasn't started in the month of September, but every summer we pronounce the same phrase: "Every year football starts earlier." The return to the competition still catches many with the flip flops, the swimsuit or on the beach. This year the take off takes place in San Mamés: on Friday, August 16 with Athletic-Barça. 2 We are far from the Russian League, which started its championship on July 12, but more and more even with the Premier, Serie A or Ligue 1, which began their respective competitions on August 9. Almost 40 years ago this was unthinkable. Like playing on Fridays and Mondays. This last battle is the one that faced LaLiga and the Federation seven days after the inaugurationto the. At the moment, during the first three days, the judge's Solomonic decision: there will be football on Fridays, but not on Mondays. The football industry is a business that feeds the fan, which does not ask for Ebitdas but signings and titles. The calendar is advancing more and more and more days of the week are exploited by the coexistence between club football and team football (this year we have Euro Cup from June 12 to July 12). Also because of the need to attract more income so that our clubs are more competitive in Spain and in Europe. The Champions League final, in Istanbul, will be held on May 30. 2 A week before what begins today will end. That is why in AS we launched this special trailer to the new times. So that on the beach, at work, with the mobile, with the ipad or with the desktop computer, you have all the information that will be held by the 89th edition of LaLiga.


Year II after Cristiano for the Real Madrid players. 222222 No longer It's Mariano who looks 7. It's Hazard. For the Culés, life remains the same. With Messi there is paradise, reinforced with Griezmann and oranje class like De Jong. The distribution of the last ten leagues were seven for Barça, two for Madrid and one for Atlético. You almost have to go back to the time when the League started in September to find a team different from these three: Valencia (2004 and 2002) and Deportivo (2000). The most expensive signing in Spain was for "the team of the people", as Diego Pablo Simeone would say. The heart has 'millions' that reason does not understand. Joao Felix lands with more than a wild card to fight to be the best player in the competition. His transfer exceeds the budget of at least 13 First Division teams. 444444

Pushing for the throne of LaLiga is a matter of millions. 2 We already experienced it last season. The four teams that occupied the Champions League were the four with the highest budget. That is why Getafe was the revelation team. Despite the budget (14th) he fought until the last day to get into the top continental competition. This year, for example, Athletic or Villarreal have reduced their investment in signings precisely because they did not qualify for Europe. And below the same denominator is met. Two of the three worst budgets ended up in LaLiga SmartBank. Osasuna, Granada and Mallorca return this year to the highest category. The fate of a dozen teams in LaLiga depends on the investment of its star (which does not reach even a tenth of what Hazard costs) is that no frog comes out. We know well the leaders of our clubs and the fans when they put on the manager's suit playing in Biwenger. Come in and enjoy. Football returns.

This special comes to light with the possibility that in the next 18 days there will be a market movement that will cause the arrival or departure of an unexpected crack and that could trigger a domino effect. Sometimes it does not give time or recover from a signing touching the 'deadline'. "It is an inconvenience. It is not logical. Normally, when the League starts, the market will stop," said Ernesto Valverde yesterday. In Spain the teams can be reinforced until September 2. 2 In England, however, it was closed on August 8. In Italy it will be in three days. And in Germany, France and the Netherlands, on August 31, 444444

Three of the five most expensive signings of the summer market have fallen for LaLiga: Joao Felix (€ 126M), Griezmann (120) and Hazard (100) . Behind come Maguire (87), to United, and de Ligt (85), to Juventus. The 75 million by De Jong serve to enter the top ten, but not the 60 from Jovic (12th). Therefore, sometimes the best signing is to avoid a trip abroad as our clubs have managed to maintain Oblak, Oyarzabal, Iñaki Williams, Borja Iglesias, Marc Roca Brais Méndez, Canales, Banega, Portu, Djené or En Nesyri. 222222 It is also a triumph to continue enjoying classics like Parejo, Raúl García, Joaquín, Cazorla, Iago Aspas, Morales, Enrich, Manu García, Jorge Molina or Sergio Asenjo. Or contemplate the evolution of future stars such as Vinicius, Óscar Melendo, Bryan Gil, Diego Lainez, Chukwueze, Barrenetxea, Cucurella or Maxi Gómez. 2 And welcome some of our illustrious emigrants like Raúl Albiol, Soldier, Alberto Moreno, Lucas Pérez, Joselu, Adrián López or Sandro. 222222 For all these reasons LaLiga can boast of a limited escape of talent: Lucas Hernández (€ 80M at Bayern), Rodri (€ 70M at City), Ben Yedder (€ 40M at Monaco) Fornals (€ 25M at West Ham), Pau López (€ 23.5M at Rome), Sarabia (€ 20M to PSG), De Tomás (€ 20M to Benfica) or LoCelso (€ 16M to Tottenham) .

There are days left before the market closes, but it is increasingly difficult for large operations to take place under the horn closuremarket. Rare would be that Florentino undertook a signing on the last day like Modric (2014), Bale (2013), Sergio Ramos (2005) or Ronaldo (2004). "The signing of Hazard is a work of years," said the president in his presentation. The arrival of Mbappé will have to continue waiting, at least, until the summer of 2020. That of Pogba seems to be also for more than Zidane requests. That is why Neymar has been one of the names of summer. Madrid does not dispute , but he doesn't want to risk Mbappé's dream. And Barça is not worth it with Griezmann to crown the new Valverde project. Its march in 2017 caused the current price inflation that the market is experiencing. 222222 The Brazilian's 222 million clause was invested in Coutinho (145) and Dembélé (125). For the Brazilian to return to Camp Nou, the Catalans need to sell to one of those two players.

The spending in the transfer market shows that League at two speeds. 2 Atlético is the third club that has invested the most, with 243, 5 million euros, behind Barça (255) and Real Madrid (305). But if the rojiblancos close Rodrigo's (thus weakening his most immediate pursuer, Valencia), they would occupy pole position. This triumvirate supports LaLiga's financial muscle in signings (€ 1,266M), which exceeds the expenses of Series A (€ 1,075M), Bundesliga (€ 678M), Ligue 1 (€ 434M) and Liga NOS (€ 137M), but still ahead of the Premier (€ 1,549M). Far behind are Sevilla (124), Betis (88) and Valencia (63). "The goal is what you pay most in football," says Sergio Ramos. 222222 But sometimes even with these modest teams are not saved from suffering. Aspas was the top Spanish scorer last year and fourth in the championship (20 goals) and Celta suffered to stay in First. And Stuani finished with 19 goals with Girona, but finished in Second. 2

Each time you start earlier and each time the calendar appears more compressed. This year, for the first time in history, the Spanish Super Cup will be played in winter, between January 8 and 12 abroad. The summer has run out of dates and more if possible with a Eurocup hovering at the end of the season. LaLiga takes off without mythical summer tournaments such as the Bernabéu Trophy or the Joan Gamper. Some teams like Espanyol open the official course with only two friendlies because since July 25 they compete in the previous Europa League. LaLiga is launched today until May 24. 283 days of official competition. In the air there is still, as every year, the date of the Cup final when in the European major leagues they have already assigned day and time: France (April 25), Italy (May 13), Germany and England ( May 23) .

In 1981 LaLiga started on Saturday, September 19 with a single game, an Athletic-Athletic. The next day, in unified hours (17:00 hours), the rest of the day of a competition that ended up winning the Real Sociedad. Almost 40 years later it seems that we were remembering prehistory. Other different times and customs. For the second time in the history of LaLiga we will have an asymmetric calendar with numerous conditions to give more excitement to the championship and not reach the end with everything decided. The fight between the Federation and LaLiga is still open for Monday's games, for the moment suspended and for which the clubs announce millionaire losses in their television contracts. And the next battlefield will be the famous match in the United States ...

The Classics will be held on October 27 (Camp Nou) and March 1 (Bernabéu). And on the last day of the League there is an attractive Sevilla-Valencia that could define more than a place in the Champions League. Interesting also for the fan is how to square his Holy Week. 222222 Eye to the data. This year falls from April 5 (day 30) to 12 (day 31) and in between will be played the first leg of the quarterfinals of the Champions League, where we hope they still follow Barcelona, Atlético, Real Madrid and Valencia. And a little later, just before the first leg of the Champions League semifinals (April 28 or 29), a Barcelona-Atlético appears, corresponding to day 33 (April 26) .

Barça was proclaimed champion in the two last editions on April 28 and 30, respectively. 2 In that month there have been 34 alirones in the history of the competition (38% of the time). May has hosted 47 celebrations of the title (52%) and June there were eight alirones (8%). The dream of every fan is that LaLiga could be decided on a final day. Only in 36 of 89 championships has it happened (40%). The last time was with the Atlético title in 2014, on May 17 with the goal of Godín at the Camp Nou.


Dad of styles is one of LaLiga's main riches. Every football philosophy has a place in the competition. The wear strategy of Getafe de Bordalás or Mallorca de Vicente Moreno, the unique pressure of Eibar de Mendilibar, the transitions of the Levante de Paco López or the search for greater effectiveness by Rubi in the Betis possession game represent some of the trends more marked. The value and concepts of Spanish coaches are imposed, with the almost testimonial presence of foreign technicians - Zidane in Madrid, Simeone in Atlético and Pellegrino in Leganés - and stability as a dominant tonic - only four benches have changed tenants this summer-. The season announces the tactical evolution of the clubs called to occupy the noble zone of the classification. 444444 The reconstruction of Zidane

The blank year of Madrid forces it to be renewed. Although at the beginning of his stormy preseason he maintained a certain immobilistic air, the last two friendlies against the Red Bull Salzburg and Rome indicated the beginning of a revolution that seemed to never come. Zidane decided on an unusual 1-3-5-2, but it was shown that this scheme also does not camouflage the recurring problems of his team and at the Olympic break he rectified to put a 1-4-4-2. Before, he had alternated 1-4-3-3, 1-4-2-3-1 or 1-4-4-1-1. The idea prevails over the drawing. The offensive validity of the laterals or lanes, the creativity -mongue- of Modric and Kroos in the core, the acceleration to counterattack and the connection between Hazard and Benzema now appear as their main arguments in the possession phase. It seems necessary at least one midfielder with Van de Beek at the head of the futures. The defensive structure supports even more uncertainties. The decompensation after loss, the erratic retreat and the doubtful defensive continuations of the attack players are the biggest challenge for Zidane. For this Madrid it is almost more important what he does without the ball than with him.

Griezmann's lace

Champion with Valverde in the last two Leagues, the main tactical concern in Barcelona lies in the role of Griezmann. The usual 1-4-3-3 that he has been using can mutate in a 1-4-3-1-2 to favor the inner virtues of the French player and adjust his position ahead of Messi and near Luis Suarez, although Valverde always You can bet on attaching Griezmann as the extreme left as he acted in his beginnings with the Royal Society. It can also be aligned in parallel to the Argentine in a 1-4-3-2-1. The arrival of Frenkie De Jong reinforces the football personality of a dominating Barcelona with the ball and more and more incisive in counterattacks. In the defensive phase, Barcelona will pick up in a 1-4-4-2, will advocate for the advanced pressure and will try to minimize its dysfunctions between the lines. The equilibrium of Busquets, the anticipation of Piqué and the balance of Semedo and Jordi Alba will be transcendental symptoms for the proper functioning of the Valverde team. Ter Stegen cannot always with everything ...

The transition of Simeone

The birth of a new era is perceived in Atlético de Madrid. The goodbye of old heavyweights and the advance of the preseason augur a more attacking vocation and greater control of possession, without losing its attachment to verticality. Simeone does not seem to give up its characteristic 1-4-4-2, but it has given it a more offensive touch, supporting even the rhombus at some stage of the matches. The location of Joao Félix in the band, the symbol of illusion, along with the alignment of Lemar (or Vitolo) on the other side and a double nine formed by Morata and Diego Costa stage this new reality. Simeone can also opt for a more conservative system with Koke, Herrera, Llorente and Saúl in the center of the field. The specific work with the 1-4-3-3 that he has done in this summer's training is added as another non-disposable possibility. The back line is the one that is most subject to movements. The process of defensive awareness of Trippier and Lodi, laterals more lucid in rival field than in the field itself, and the hierarchy of the centrals that follow –Giménez and Savic- and those that come –Felipe and Mario Hermoso- must support the Oblak area , although the collective spirit that instills Simeone to its players remains the main red and white guarantee. Atlético will mix moments of high pressure with its traditional withdrawal in medium-low block. 444444 Marcelino's classic 1-4-4-2

Solved the fire conato in the hierarchical ranks of the club, Valencia appeals to the bosses that have differentiated since the incorporation as a coach of Marcelino. True to its classic 1-4-4-2, it will be a team led by the baton of Parejo and very dangerous for the power of their bands and their proven ability in the open field plays with players like Soer, Guedes or Gameiro. The appearance of Maxi Gómez in the area fattens offensive resources. Marcelino's Valencia is distinguished by its defensive firmness, with a perfectly worked aid system and few cracks between the lines. In the previous two seasons he has been the second least thrashed team behind Atlético. Coquelin and Kondogbia, play who plays, strengthen the core and the centrals stand out for their air safety. A rival always tall. 444444 The formula of Monchi and Lopetegui

The bumpy course of Seville led to the return of Monchi and the hiring of Lopetegui as coach. The Basque coach has insisted on several basic premises during this summer: associative football, the use of long wings and the massive arrival of players to the finishing zone. His proposal is developed from 1-4-3-3, although Lopetegui does not cling only to this structure and has also been supported by 1-4-4-2, 1-4-1-4-1 and 1-4-2-3-1 in summer meetings. Gudelj, Jordán and Óliver Torres offer different alternatives in the midfield and De Jong is a more striking profile in the final meters. Banega retains its gallons. Pressure after loss will be one of the differential elements of this Seville. Lopetegui demands the rapid activation for the recovery of the ball and the orderly balance in case that first push has no effect to end the defensive inconsistency that caused so many disorders during the past season. The positional intelligence of the veteran Fernando will help in this purpose. 444444

Before addressing the beginning of Laliga that today starts today. Can we make plans on Mondays beyond football or not give up the League that day? The big leagues play on Mondays, including the Premier League. We can't quit We would lose a lot of competitiveness. Monday night is the day of the week that more people, and therefore more fans, are watching TV. 444444

How do you see your Madrid? Getting done. Is not easy. There are many changes. You always have to be patient. 444444

As you think a lot about the football industry ... What could be better for LaLiga: Pogba coming, Bale or James not leaving or Kubo leading? Pogba coming and not Nobody leaves. That would be the best. But the important thing is the competition of 20 clubs every weekend and with 10 months a year that makes it the best league in the world.

Let's go to Barça. Neymar seems to be closer to returning to Camp Nou. Are you happy or still don't like it? I'm glad, provided your behavior is appropriate. Neymar is one of the best players in the world. 444444

Atlético has also scratched his pocket. Can we stop seeing it as the team of the people? I have never considered it that way. It is one of the great clubs in Spain and the world. 444444

* Click here to read the full interview

The VAR has come to football to stay and seeks to establish itself in its second season in LaLiga Santander. You will have to do it with a remarkable change: this campaign will be Hawk-Eye, and not Mediapro as until now, the new provider of this technology for all Spanish competitions. It is the same company that handles VAR in FIFA, UEFA and some of the major European leagues. In addition, this tool will also land this season in LaLiga 1 | 2 | 3. Spain, together with the Bundesliga 2, will be a pioneer in implementing it in a second division. 444444

The video arbitration checked the last championship 4,293 plays (12 per game) in the 380 matches played, intervening in 121 actions (one every 3.14 clashes) . Of these, 114 were corrections to the referees and in seven the members maintained their decision. This figure of 121 irruptions leaves a more interventionist VAR in LaLiga than in the last World Cup (one every 3.20 games), although that of the Champions League has a lower average of performance: one every 2.14 games.

effects that this technology has had on the development of the game. The arbitration error in actions within the area has been reduced by 5.42%, outside the game by 1.08% and has had a 9.5% incidence in the goals. In addition, the VAR has contributed to the simulations being significantly reduced (68%), as well as the protests: they went from 266 in 17-18 to 220 in 18-19 (a 17.3% reduction ) .

Among the four cases in which the VAR can intervene, 1112 VAR interventions were distributed as follows: 60 were related to goals, 49 in penalties, nine times the braid was notified of a possible card action red (in two of them the referee only showed yellow) and 3 identity errors. In addition, they were more ls notices from the VAR to the collegiate to recommend that he go to check the monitor at field level: he went 66 times for the 55 that were of geographical plays (that it is not necessary to go to the screen to be a factual fact) .

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