All is to play for at the top of the table in La Liga. Real Madrid remain in first place despite a 1-1 draw against neighbouring Atlético Madrid last weekend, after a fantastic equaliser in extra time from Marcos Llorente. They face an all-important clash on Saturday against Girona, who remain close at their heels, just two points behind. The underdogs from Catalonia have lost just one game in their miracle 2023/24 season – a 3-0 defeat against Real Madrid, who will surely be hoping to replicate the result at home. With both teams out of the Spanish Cup, all hope for domestic honours rests on the league, and this match will no doubt be critical for both Ancelotti and Míchel’s sides.
Defending League champions Barcelona have also crashed out of the Cup and sit at eight points off the top of the table following a shaky run of form that has seen manager Xavi tender his resignation from the end of the season. But while many seem to have written off Barcelona from a consecutive title, a Girona victory this weekend, paired with an expected win from Barcelona against relegation-zone Granada at home, could see them jump to just five points behind their rivals. Given Girona’s propensity to surprise this season, it could just work out in Barcelona’s favour, especially considering Real Madrid star boy Jude Bellingham has been under pressure for failing to score from open play for eight matches now and is at the centre of controversy after being reported to La Liga for allegedly calling Getafe loanee Mason Greenwood a ‘rapist’, which could result in a ten-match ban.
Elsewhere, struggling Sevilla saw their first league victory of 2024 last week in a 2-1 win against Rayo Vallecano, winning three crucial points and keeping them out of the relegation zone. Cádiz remain in the bottom three, though they are just three points away from danger with a home match against Real Betis next. At the rock bottom of the league is Almería, who have secured themselves just six points the entire season and face a tricky match against an in-form, fifth-place Athletic Club.
Meanwhile, the January transfer window has officially closed in what was a relatively quiet market for La Liga clubs in terms of big-name signings. Real Madrid conducted no transfer business at all, while Granada had their hands full, bringing in ten new faces. However, the big news this week regards a potential high-profile summer signing, with journalist Fabrizio Romano reporting that PSG’s Kylian Mbappe is in the middle of negotiating a move to Real Madrid after having selected them as his club of choice after years of speculation about where the Ballon d’Or nominee might end up. The move would undoubtedly be the signing of the summer and confirm La Liga’s star power by tempting another major name away from joining the Premier League.
Finally, the Champions League returns next week, with all four La Liga teams—Atlético Madrid, Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Real Sociedad—still in the competition.