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.
La Liga has had its Christmas ‘break’ already – a luxurious ten days between the World Cup final and the return to action – but swung back into action on Thursday night.
The star of the show was, curiously, Joao Felix. Despite CEO Miguel Angel Gil Marin admitting the Portuguese wants to leave the club, Felix was given his first La Liga start since mid-September. Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone told reporters that there was a way he could be important for Atleti going forward, amid relentless speculation about his destination. After scoring the opening goal and receiving the man of the match award in their 2-0 win over Elche, it’s worth wondering if the door to a happily ever after has cracked open just a little bit.
Meanwhile across the city, Toni Kroos’ ears were burning when he bizarrely found himself denigrated as one of the disappointments of the World Cup. Even though he retired from international duty after the 2018 edition. Here was his response on Twitter.
Kroos has mentioned retirement at the end of the season, but Real Madrid intend on persuading him to keep going after an impressive start to the season. Manager Carlo Ancelotti has stated that he will retire when he leaves Real Madrid. His deal expires in 2024 but it reports in Madrid say they have already found their successor – one Davide Ancelotti.
On the Costa Brava, near Barcelona, the accountants are working out just how far their budget will stretch next summer. It seems clear that Barcelona will try and compete with the likes of Chelsea for Borussia Dortmund starlet Youssoufa Moukoko, but they will do so employing a particular strategy that worked with Ousmane Dembele last season.
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