Barcelona Real Madrid renew close-run title race
BARCELONA, June 9: Barcelona Real Madrid resume one of many tightest title races in current reminiscence when La Liga kicks again into motion this week in empty stadiums, after a three-month pause as a result of coronavirus pemic.
Just earlier than the season was postponed on March 10, former Real nice Jorge Valdano had likened the 2 groups’ inconsistent kind to a race between two limping males, however each side are set to be refreshed stronger after the lengthy break.
Barca are boosted by the return of Luis Suarez from a knee damage that appeared set to rule him out for the season, his aggression energy ought to assist them ease their issues in breaking down sides.
Real will once more benefit from the providers of Eden Hazard after he was sidelined with a fractured ankle in February. Also again is Spain ahead Marcos Asensio, who ought to ease the burden on Karim Benzema, their runaway main scorer with 14 strikes.
Barca, focusing on a 3rd consecutive Spanish title, led Real by two factors when the season was postponed.
The break has additionally given their ageing squad some much-needed relaxation, whereas the additional time on the coaching floor ought to assist them additional adapt to the concepts of coach Quique Setien, who succeeded Ernesto Valverde in January.
With no followers allowed into venues Real taking part in their residence video games on the 6,000-capacity Alfredo Di Stefano stadium whereas the Santiago Bernabeu is being refurbished, it is going to be a title race in contrast to some other.
“We will miss that increase assist you get from the gang, who’ve an enormous affect,” mentioned Setien.
Barca have a barely extra comfy run-in of their remaining 11 fixtures within the area of 5 weeks, with residence video games in opposition to Athletic Bilbao Atletico Madrid plus journeys to Sevilla Villarreal wanting like their hardest video games.
Real, who beat Barca in March solely to blow their lead on the prime by dropping to Real Betis, have 5 probably difficult fixtures: Valencia, Getafe Villarreal at residence, plus journeys to Real Sociedad Athletic Bilbao.
“It could be unusual to say we’re worse than Barca after we beat them simply earlier than we went into confinement,” mentioned Real goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
“Even although we then misplaced to Betis, I believe we’re in good condition. We’re all actually enthusiastic about beginning the league season once more preventing for the championship profitable it.”