Inside Spain: Gerard Pique destroyed, Real Madrid struggling and Diego Simeone out?

Inside Spain is a weekly instalment brought to you by Football España, providing an insight into all of the major stories coming out of the rich and intense climes of La Liga and beyond.

Without doubt the news that has made the most people wince in Spanish football this week has been the destruction of Gerard Pique. The Barcelona central defender has retired, but former partner Shakira’s new song lyrics have ruined him in ways he was never done on the pitch.

Back in La Liga itself, Barcelona secured a dramatic but important 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid to move three points clear at the top of the table in Joao Felix’s last game before moving to Chelsea. The backline was at the heart of that effort, but Eric Garcia wasn’t in it. Despite his lack of minutes, he supposedly wants to fight for his place, even if Mikel Arteta is interested in a reunion.

It may be that Felix has played his last game for Los Colchoneros, but perhaps there is a return route. It was reported earlier in the week that Diego Simeone has told the club he will leave at the end of the season. With Chelsea supposedly struggling to stump up all of the money for the Portuguese, it opens up the possibility that a new manager convinces him to make it work in Madrid.

Diego Simeone has built Atletico Madrid into what they are today.

Meanwhile Real Madrid have been sputtering along since they came back from the World Cup. They beat Valencia on penalties to make it through to the Spanish Supercup final on Sunday against one of Real Betis or Barcelona, but were taken apart by Villarreal in a 2-1 defeat at the weekend. Carlo Ancelotti has been as critical of his side as he has been since returning to the job. That is no surprise when they have won just two of their last five in La Liga, which will make pleasant reading for Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool.

That Supercup is taking place in Saudi Arabia – it is a big earner for the Spanish FA – and Xavi Hernandez has gotten himself into trouble back in Spain for comparing the two countries. Both ‘have things to change and improve’ he noted at a press conference, although as was pointed out, nobody is hung for going to a protest in Spain. Xavi himself is yet to commit any crimes that we are aware of, but Cristiano Ronaldo and wife Georgina Rodriguez have been flouting Saudi law. Fortunately, we do not foresee him being pulled up for it.

 

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