We’ve all been conditioned to believe that Spanish football represents the pinnacle of the beautiful game in the modern era. England created it, Brazil perfected it, and now Spain have taken over.
We can see how that would’ve been the case back in the day when the Spanish national team won three straight international tournaments with Barca and Real Madrid dictating the conversation in the Champions League.
Now, however, it feels like things are slipping for La Liga – and this week served as further proof of that.
Seven Spanish teams went to war in an attempt to progress into the next round of the UCL and UEL, but not many came away looking good.
Atalanta 0-1 Real Madrid
Given that Atalanta were down to 10 men and Real had a handful of questionable decisions go their way, we can’t say we’d be particularly proud of this one if we were Zinedine Zidane. Sure, they have the lead heading into the second leg, but they’re far less stable than most of us thought in this tie.
Barcelona 1-4 PSG
Everyone knows that Barca have been on a downward trajectory for quite some time now and this just confirmed their decline. They were beaten from pillar to post from Paris Saint-Germain, with the look on Lionel Messi’s face telling the entire story.
Sevilla 2-3 Borussia Dortmund
What happened? Erling Haaland happened.
The masters of the Europa League just can’t seem to go the distance in the competition above, and even though they’re going to have a second bite of the cherry in the return fixture, Dortmund will have a whole load of confidence after this result.
Atletico Madrid 0-1 Chelsea
We knew this was going to be a tight and gritty game, but it seemed up in the air as to who was going to come out on top. Alas, Thomas Tuchel knew how to play Atletico and knew how to outsmart them – which is precisely what they did in an enticing chess match.
Napoli 2-1 Granada (2-3 on agg)
Even though Granada are the ones celebrating after making it through to the next round of the Europa League, there are still warning signs here. Still, we can’t throw too much shade their way – but it’ll be interesting if they can keep this current run of form going.
Villarreal 2-1 RB Salzburg (4-1 on agg)
The most impressive Spanish team in Europe this week can’t buy a win in La Liga. Bizarre.
Salzburg are a tricky team to try and navigate past but Villarreal did it expertly, cruising to a 4-1 aggregate win that could set them on the road to being the most likely silverware-winners for Spain in European competition this season.
Man United 0-0 Real Sociedad (4-0 on agg)
Real Sociedad went from being rising stars in La Liga to being slapped around by Manchester United in the first leg of this tie, and in the second, they never really came close to threatening a comeback. There were signs of life to be seen, sure, but they still fell way short of the mark.