La Liga responds
La Liga has issued a statement in response to the proposal for a European Super League, after 12 of football’s most powerful clubs announced plans for a breakaway league that could have far-reaching implications for the game. Three La Liga clubs – Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atlético Madrid – have joined six Premier League teams — Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham — as well as Juventus, Inter Milan and AC Milan from Italy. Here we publish La Liga’s statement in full:
La Liga strongly condemns the recently published proposal for a breakaway, elitist European competition that attacks the principles of open competition and sporting merit which are at the heart of the domestic and European football pyramid.
Today football fans across Europe can dream that their club, no matter the size, may excel, climb to the top and compete at the pinnacle of European football. La Liga defends this European tradition of football for all. The concept proposed by 12 European clubs destroys that dream, shutting the door to the top of European football, allowing in just an elite few.
La Liga has a proud, 90-year history as an open, merit-based competition. Millions of fans around the world follow the 42 clubs of La Liga Santander and La Liga SmartBank. The success of our competitions has helped football to become a key contributor to the Spanish economy, accounting for nearly 1.4% of GDP and providing employment for nearly 200,000 people.
The newly proposed top European competition is nothing more than a selfish, egotistical proposal designed to further enrich the already super rich. It will undermine the appeal of the whole game and have a deeply damaging impact on the immediate and future of La Liga, its member clubs, and all the entire footballing ecosystem.
In addition, the breakaway league threatens the rest of Spanish sports to which, in the current season, La Liga will contribute more than 126 million euros as part of its agreement with the Spanish government and the Spanish FA.
This destruction of the European football ecosystem will also ultimately cause the failure of this new competition and its participating clubs, which have built their success based on the achievement of sports titles and triumphs, which will now be more limited.
We use all measures at our disposal and work with all stakeholders to defend the integrity and future of Spanish football in the best interests of the game.
Spanish football round-up (19 Apr)
Barcelona won the Copa del Rey on Saturday by thrashing Athletic Bilbao 4-0 in the final. The match was goalless at half-time, allowing viewers to think that ‘anything is possible’, despite Barça clearly being the stronger side.
But a 12 minute rampage from the Catalans in the second half resulted in four quick goals, with Antoine Griezmann, Frenkie de Jong and Lionel Messi, twice, getting on the score sheet.
Having lost ground in the title race last weekend by losing to Real Madrid, Ronald Koeman expressed relief at having picked up some silverware and reiterated his desire to keep battling on the league.
‘To win a title is important for me,’ said Koeman. ‘Despite the changes at the club and the young players, at Barça you have to always fight for trophies. We have the first one and now we are going to fight to the last game in La Liga.’
For Athletic Bilbao, the disappointment was double, as they had already lost the delayed Copa del Rey final of 2020 in a 1-0 defeat to Real Sociedad.
In La Liga on Sunday, Atlético Madrid demolished Eibar in a 5-0 home victory with goals from Yannick Carrasco, and a brace each from Angel Correa and Marcos Llorente. It was a much needed comfortable win for the league leaders who have been scraping by in recent weeks, often only winning games by a hair, with many doubting their ability to hang on and go all the way.
An even bigger relief to them than the impressive scoreline was the fact that Real Madrid were held to a 0-0 draw at Getafe on the same day. Whilst many had seen their win over Barcelona last week in El Clásico as perhaps the beginning of a title charge, their result at Getafe instantly changes the landscape.
It was not just the result that was bad for Real Madrid but also the performance. Getafe had the better chances and deserved to win the game, which they would have done if if hadn’t been for a number of key saves from Thibaut Courtios.
On Wednesday night, however, Real Madrid calmly advanced to the semi-finals of the Champions League, eliminating Liverpool with a routine 0-0 draw.
Having won the first-leg by 3-1, there was little left for Zidane’s men to do other than sit it out for 90 minutes, keep their opponents at bay and not make any grave mistakes.
Whilst it is true that defending against Liverpool’s front three of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino is never easy, it is no secret that the Reds have faltered this season in domestic competition, falling miles out of the title race and looking like barely a shadow of their not-so-long-ago former selves.
For Zidane’s side, the match was just a case of staying calm and not taking any risks, in order to maintain their comfortable first-leg lead and sail through without the need for any nervous closing stages.
Liverpool, however, did have some fine opportunities early on that they will undoubtedly regret not taking. But any early moments of excitement fizzled out as the second half arrived and the minutes ticked away so that Real could progress without anyone batting an eye.
Their victory over two legs sets up the exciting prospect of yet another Anglo-Hispanic tie as the Spanish giants were subsequently drawn against Chelsea, who they will face in the semi-finals later this month.
Another Spanish-English semi-final will take place in the Europa League, as Villarreal face Arsenal after having beaten Dynamo Zagreb 2-1 on Thursday, winning 3-1 on aggregate.
First-half goals from Paco Alcácer and Gerard Moreno gave Villarreal the luxury of being able to take their foot off the gas in the second-half. Even when Mislav Orsic pulled one back for the Ukranians, the game was never in doubt.
Villareal facing Arsenal also means that Unai Emery will be going up against his former club as well as his fellow Basque, Mikel Arteta. Both coaches come from the Guipuzcoa region of the Basque Country. Arteta is from San Sebastián whilst Emery is from the nearby village of Hondarribia, just down the road.
Sunday 18 April
Osasuna 2 Elche 0
Real Sociedad 1 Sevilla 2
Alavés 1 Huesca 0
Atlético Madrid 5 Eibar 0
Cádiz 0 Celta Vigo 0
Real Betis 2 Valencia 2
Getafe 0 Real Madrid 0
Levante 1 Villarreal 5
Monday 12 April
Celta Vigo 3 Sevilla 4
Copa del Rey
Saturday 17 April
Athletic Bilbao 0 Barcelona 4
UEFA Champions League
Wednesday 14 April
Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 0 (1-3 aggregate)
Thursday 15 April
Villarreal 2 Dynamo Zagreb 1 (3-1 aggregate)
Manchester United 2 Granada 0 (4-0 aggregate)