Results continue to come easy in the Spanish La Liga for new Valencia coach Nuno Espirito Santo, whose side beat Espanyol 3-1 on Sunday. A close-range finish from Pablo Piatti put them ahead eight minutes in, and second-half strikers from Dani Parejo and Paco Alcacer finished off a Espanyol side, although Sergio Garcia did manage to score a late penalty for the Catalans. Valencia now have seven points and seven goals from their opening three games and are playing with a confidence and fluidity not seen since Unai Emery was in charge.
Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti insisted that his star-laden side needs to find a balance between attack and defence as they were again humbled by local rivals Atletico Madrid 2-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday. Atletico have yet to be beaten by Real in three meetings already this campaign after suffering a heartbreaking Champions League final defeat to Los Blancos back in May as they also won the Spanish Super Cup last month 2-1 on aggregate.
Two stunning pieces of skill by Lionel Messi and two languid finishes from substitute Neymar saw Barcelona beat a resilient Athletic Bilbao side 2-0 to pick up a third consecutive win and stay top of the Primera Division on a night that saw rivals Real Madrid beaten by defending champions Atletico.
Ernesto Valverde’s side had produced a disciplined performance at the Camp Nou and looked to be heading for a point until a moment of brilliance from Messi released Neymar, who broke the deadlock with nine minutes remaining. The Argentinian and Brazilian then combined again for the second goal, Messi cutting the ball back for his team-mate to strike low into the bottom corner and deliver the final blow to Athletic.
Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has said that Cristiano Ronaldo is over the worst of his recent injury problems and is ready to return for the European champions clash against Atletico Madrid on Saturday.
The World Player of the Year missed Real’s 4-2 defeat to Real Sociedad two weeks ago, as well as Portugal’s embarrassing 1-0 loss at home to Albania on Monday due to a hamstring problem, but has trained all week in Madrid ahead of a seventh meeting with La Liga champions Atletico this year.
Barcelona boss Luis Enrique has confirmed that Lionel Messi will be fit to face Athletic Bilbao on Saturday despite skipping Argentina’s FIFA World Cup™ Final rematch with Germany last week due to a groin strain.
“Messi is ready to play. He has trained both on his own and with the group,” Enrique said. “The relationship every player has with his international team is different. What concerns me is his relationship with the club and it has been great so far.”
Manchester City striker Alvaro Negredo has completed an initial loan move to Valencia. The deal with Valencia includes an obligation for Los Che to buy the player, who is currently out with a broken foot, at the end of the season.
The 29-year-old impressed in what proved to be his only season in Manchester, but was reportedly keen to return to his homeland, leaving City manager Manuel Pellegrini with Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic as his options in attack.
Javier Hernandez has expressed his delight at the prospect of playing for Real Madrid after completing his loan move from Manchester United on Monday. The Mexican international has joined the European champions for the 2014/15 season with an option to make his transfer permanent next summer.
The 26-year-old striker was unveiled to the media at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium hours after arriving to the Spanish capital.
“To wear this jersey is a dream come true for any player in the world,” Hernandez said in a press conference. “One knows what this club represents. I am delighted to be here.
Unable to sign AS Monaco striker Radamel Falcao, Real Madrid have instead announced they have signed Mexican forward Javier Hernandez from Manchester United on a season-long loan, with an option to make the deal permanent next summer.
The European champions were looking to reinforce their attacking line following the departure of Alvaro Morata to Juventus this summer.
The 26-year-old Hernandez, who joined the Red Devils in 2010 from Mexican outfit Guadalajara, had grown increasingly frustrated at a lack of first-team opportunities at Old Trafford and was looking for a new challenge.
A statement from Real Madrid read:
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has rung the changes in his first squad list since their disappointing FIFA World Cup™, bringing in five uncapped players among eight new faces.
Among those left out of the 23-man squad for the start of their UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying campaign are Barcelona defender Gerard Pique, Chelsea striker Fernando Torres and Manchester United playmaker Juan Mata. Xavi and Xabi Alonso are also missing after announcing their international retirements following the World Cup, while Jose Reina, David Villa and long-term injury victim Javi Martinez make up those omitted.
Atletico Madrid have agreed a deal to sign Italy forward Alessio Cerci from Torino, the Spanish champions have announced.
The 27-year-old Cerci, who had been linked with a move to Arsenal, will pen a three-year contract with Atletico, pending a successful medical.
A statement on the club’s official website read: “Atletico Madrid and Torino have reached an agreement for the transfer of Alessio Cerci to our club, pending a medical and the signing of the contract. The Italy international will be tied to the club for the next three seasons.”