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.
The gravitational force that is the World Cup has had most of the news in Spain revolving around it this week, after Spain’s neighbours and a former colony were involved in one of the greatest matches of all time. Amidst the wild celebrations, the taunting from the Argentina squad and the news that Lionel Messi may end up on Argentinian banknotes, the fallout has been seismic.
Five of France’s players on Sunday night hailed from one of Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid or Barcelona. It was thought that France would turn to a Real Madrid and Les Bleus legend following the World Cup, but Zinedine Zidane’s hopes of managing two of his former players look to be on life-support. A consequence of which may be a return to club management sooner than expected.
Present day Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has problems of his own to worry about. Los Blancos are competing in five competitions after the break and there is a good chance they will play 17 times before the next international break. At some point, they will have to find time for contract negotiations, as six players are out of contract at Los Blancos next summer.
Meanwhile Sergio Busquets retired from Spain duty last week, which of course brings about discussion of his successor, both nationally and with Barcelona. His Barcelona future is up in the air, with his deal also expiring this summer. Busquets will have to choose between leaving on a free, extending his deal or perhaps signing a short-term extension through until next December. The assumed move is to MLS and Inter Miami, but the timing of their season means an extra six months would allow him to start afresh with Inter’s preseason.
Xavi Hernandez has his eye on a replacement within La Liga, but after their battles with Chelsea last summer, the Blues may come back to haunt them. With Barcelona likely priced out of the deal, Graham Potter is scouting a key player for Real Sociedad and potentially Spain.
La Liga action returns on the 29th of December as the World Cup participants trickle back to Spain. With his ban to be upheld, Robert Lewandowski will be out of action against Espanyol, Atletico Madrid and Real Betis, which could have a significant impact on the title race.