There are a lot of exciting young players in Europe right now, some are already well-known whilst others are about to announce themselves in their respective leagues. On top of that, several rising individuals are prepared to do anything to achieve the opportunity of going to the World Cup.
In Spain, the production line of youngsters being promoted from the youth academy to the first team or are brought for cheap from elsewhere and are developed effectively, remains consistent season by season. This is one of the huge factors to why Spanish football will always be superior.
Here are the four youngsters that are having a wonderful season at a personal level in La Liga...
Unai Nunez – Athletic Club
Athletic Club have proven to be a side that produces many talented individuals and a team that can keep hold of their valuable gems for longer than expected. For sure, Inaki Williams, Kepa Arrizabalaga and Yeray Alvarez are a
Monday 24th April. By Edward Stratmann.
Following Athletic Bilbao's barnstorming 5-1 win over Las Palmas, Ernesto Valverde couldn't have been more pleased with his team, who played with remarkable intensity and purpose throughout.
In what was the perfect way to celebrate his 300th match in charge of Athletic, he noted how "the key has been our aggression in the robbery" which was certainly apt, for his side put on a masterclass in how to press a wonderfully talented Las Palmas outfit. Quique Setien's men were hardly given a moment's peace, as they were placed under duress every time they attempted to implement their usually incisive passing game.
The fact Athletic were successfully able to nullify some of the most press resistant players in La Liga such as Jonathan Viera, Roque Mesa, Vicente Gomez and Tana served as a testament to Valverde's structure. And how well his men adhered to it.
Posted: April 18, 2017
Tuesday 18th April. By Edward Stratmann.
Speaking ahead of a massive week for Athletic Bilbao, which saw them play four games in the space of less than two weeks against Osasuna, Espanyol, Villarreal and Las Palmas, Oscar De Marcos gave an intriguing insight into what an frustrating, interrupted season he's endured. However,Â Athletic Bilbao's right-back, Oscar De Marcos - enjoying a solid season despite injury setbacks.
"It has been strange for me but I have been quite good, I have had some injury setbacks but I have recovered quickly. This dressing room helps you recover and now I do not even remember that I have been injured," he recalled.
The Lions' utility, who's capable of fulfilling multiple roles in midfield and defence but has now settled into the right-back slot, has been forced to miss large chunks of action through irritating ankle and adductor injuries. But his manager's unyielding faith in him has been
Posted: October 28, 2016
28th October 2016. By Edward Stratmann.
Whenever Mikel Rico steps out onto the pitch, you can guarantee the tigerish enforcer will do absolutely everything in his power to help his team.
And in Athletic Bilbao's pulsating clash with Real Madrid, this was most definitely the case. Even though the Basque outfit unfortunately succumbed to a late Alvaro Morata strike to lose the match 2-1, Rico's relentless work rate, insatiable appetite for the contest and unheralded intelligence saw him cut an instrumental figure throughout.
From his central midfield position, alongside Mikel San Jose, whom he's developed a terrific understanding with, the 31-year-old's determination, intensity and aggression ensured life was extremely challenging for their highly fancied opponents.
In a match where
28th March 2016.
Could Sevilla be on a crash course for a third consecutive title in the UEFA Europa League? Will Jurgen Klopp be able to coach a victory out of Liverpool as his new team faces his former club? These are just two of the fascinating narratives that are at play as the Europa League barrels into the quarterfinal round.
This year's UEL round of 16 was a bloodbath for many of the tournament's most promising performers. Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United both fell out of contention, putting a huge dent in the chances of a Premier League team winning some European silverware this year. Lazio, following a nine-game undefeated run in this tournament, lost big in their second-leg match against Sparta Prague. That defeat, coupled with an early Champions League loss for Juventus, means that no Serie A squads are still active in either UEFA tournament. And Valencia, after a remarkable 10-0 aggregate against Rapid Wien
By Greg Lea.
It was a rule change that, in hindsight, should really have been introduced sooner. When Uefa decided in 2014 that future winners of the Europa League would automatically qualify for the following season's Champions League, the tournament was given a new dimension and its participants another incentive to take it seriously.
Sevilla were the first club to benefit from the amendment, with their 3-2 triumph over Ukranian outfit Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in the final last May allowing them to enter the group stage of Europe's primary club competition this term despite only finishing fifth in La Liga. The Rojiblancos, who have won the tournament in each of the last two years and four times since 2006, are in a similar position this time around, too: ahead of the first leg of their round of 32 tie with Molde on Thursday, Sevilla's best chance of qualifying for the Champions League is by winning the Europa League once again.
In that respect, Unai Emery's
We're only just reaching the quarterfinals for the 2015/16 Copa del Rey, but the tournament has already brought its fair share of surprises. From the controversial disqualification of Real Madrid in the middle of the round of 32 (for fielding an ineligible player) to the surprisingly great showing from some of Barcelona's up-and-coming young talents, this year's Copa del Rey has offered entertainment and discussion in equal measure. Now, with the slate for the quarterfinal officially announced, we're checking back in with the tournament to assess the likely outcomes of the next run and whether or not FC Barcelona are a shoe-in to win the CDR title once more in 2016.
The Quarterfinal Draw
As is customary for the Copa del Rey, most
Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur have both had their ups and downs so far in the 2015 2016 season, with the former replacing their coach and the latter going through an early dry spell that saw star striker Harry Kane playing at a lower-than-expected level. However, after week five both teams have secured spots in the Europa League 201516 knockout phase, marking a turn in the fortunes of both clubs.
The Reds and the Spurs are two of the 15 teams in this year's Europa League that, with just one game day remaining in the group stage, have officially earned advancement into the knockouts. That statistic leaves nine slots up for grabs, with the remaining eight to be filled by third-place squads from the Champions League.
A Solid Premier League Showing
Liverpool secured their
Three times in little over a week Spanish football hosts Athletic Bilbao V FC Barcelona. The first two of those fixtures were in the Spanish Super Cup, and just like that, Barca's campaign to win six trophies in a single calendar year has come to an end. Following their remarkable treble win during the 2014 2015 season, followed by a UEFA Super Cup victory over Sevilla last week, it looked like FC Barcelona were going to replicate the six-trophy feat that the club managed back in 2009. Unfortunately for fans in the Barcelona football shirt, it just wasn't meant to be. But, will the Super Cup result impact upon the third meeting of these two clubs in the first game of the 2015 - 2016 La Liga season?
Barca's 2009 Hall-of-Fame Year
Posted: July 28, 2015
Athletic Club Bilbao have not won a La Liga title since clinching back-to-back titles in 1983 and 1984. Still, even though the Lions have not often been title contenders in recent years, they are still considered one of the greatest football clubs in Spanish history. They are one of only three Spanish soccer squads-the others being Real Madrid and Barcelona-that have never been relegated from the top-flight division, having participated in every La Liga season since the league's inception in 1929. Needless to say, most Lions fans believe adamantly that their soccer team's return to the top is coming-even if it's been over three decades since their last title. So we ask can Athletic Bilbao finish in the La Liga top 5 during the 2015 - 2016 season?
A year ago, it looked as if Athletic Bilbao