Inside Spain: Jude Bellingham concern and Manchester City in the eyes of the double-headed beast

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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.

Atletico Madrid head to Barcelona this weekend on Sunday night (on ITV4), with Diego Simeone looking for his first ever league win away to the Catalans, in spite of all he has achieved. He might not get too many better opportunities.
While Barcelona beat Porto and made the knockouts of the Champions League for the first time in three years, there is still a shaky side in there. Xavi Hernandez faced the first real doubts over his job this week since he took over, and defeat to Atletico, who are level on points with a game in hand could raise more questions.
It is assured to be a fiery encounter, with Antoine Griezmann criticising Joao Felix for being unable to make it at the Metropolitano, and being met with a fairly blunt response from the Portuguese. Barcelona look as if they will be able to sign Vitor Roque in January now, but already the questions over next summer have begun. How, if they want to, do they retain Felix and Joao Cancelo? They seem to think they can persuade City into another bargain deal.

Real Madrid’s injury list is almost one in, one out. Jude Bellingham retired from training after just 10 minutes on Friday with an ankle problem, although Carlo Ancelotti says he will play this weekend. Kepa Arrizabalaga is back, but they are still nursing seven injuries. Bellingham, who has missed just three matches, two due to a dislocated shoulder, is being worked overtime though, and Ancelotti will have to rest him at some point, with a big season ahead and of course the Euros at the end of it with England.

The big question regarding reinforcements is for next summer, and there is increasing debate as to whether it should be Kylian Mbappe, or an approach for Manchester City’s Erling Haaland.

Meanwhile Sevilla manager Diego Alonso has been in charge for just nine games, but already they are on the hunt for his replacement, after just one win in that time over lower league Quintanar in the Copa del Rey. That tells you how much pressure both Sporting Director Victor Orta and the board are under – a new manager would be a sixth in two seasons, for what was once a model club. Granada have jettisoned Paco Lopez, who guided them to the Segunda title last year, but one win in 14 games has persuaded them to move onto Alexander Medina, a relatively low-profile Uruguayan – what could go wrong? Don’t ask Diego Alonso.


More Stories Antoine Griezmann Atletico Madrid CF Diego Alonso Erling Haaland FC Barcelona Granada CF Joao Cancelo Joao Felix Kylian Mbappe Manchester City FC Real Madrid CF Sevilla FC