Inside Spain: Xabi Alonso future, more disgraceful racism and Gerard Pique under investigation

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.

Less than a week after Vinicius Junior was reduced to tears in a press conference talking about the racism he has suffered in La Liga, Spain was rocked by two more grave incidents. Sevilla’s Argentine left-back Marcos Acuna was racially abused, as was Senegalese goalkeeper Cheikh Sarr in the third division, playing for Rayo Majadahonda.

The absurd thing was that Sarr was hit with a two-game ban for going into the stands and confronting his abuser, and with the investigation into the fan still ongoing, Sarr has suffered more punishment so far. Rayo walked off and forfeited the game in a 3-0 defeat and were docked three points too. Another grim episode for Spanish football.

Meanwhile former Spanish Federation President Luis Rubiales returned from the Dominican Republic and was taken off for questioning by the anti-corruption department and later released, as he faces an investigation. He’s already awaiting a day in court for the sexual assault and coercion of Jenni Hermoso that he has been accused of. Interestingly, Gerard Pique is now part of the corruption investigation, as his company brought a deal to the Spanish Federation to hold the Spanish Supercup in Saudi Arabia – he has not been accused of any wrongdoing as things stand.

Meanwhile Xabi Alonso surprised many by announcing that he would be staying at Bayer Leverkusen, when he had the pick of the jobs in Europe. That might be because he has the pick of the job he really wants at the end of his Leverkusen deal, as Matteo Moretto revealed.

Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid are now preparing for their Champions League quarter-finals, with doubts over whether Eder Militao will be used against Manchester City, although it appears that he will be reserved for the second leg as he makes his way back from an anterior cruciate ligament injury. Barcelona are sweating on the fitness of Pedri and Frenkie de Jong, who are likely to begin from the bench against Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg, and Atletico Madrid are mostly fit, but are lacking a defence to rely upon this season.

All three have the weekend off beforehand, as it’s Copa del Rey final weekend. Athletic Club are looking to end a 40-year drought in the competition against Real Mallorca, having lost their last six finals they’ve been in since. Mallorca are back for the first time since 2003, when Samuel Eto’o and Walter Pandiani guided them to the most famous day in their history.


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