Jan Oblak

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La Liga roundup: Atletico Madrid win, go level on points with Barcelona (video)

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Atletico Madrid’s victory over Athletic Bilbao, inspired by Angel Correa’s genius, highlights La Liga’s Saturday action.

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Atletico Madrid 4-2 Granada

Diego Simeone took what many would consider to be a gamble prior to Saturday’s first whistle: starting Angel Correa over Diego Costa, Atletico’s goal scoring machine.

By the 64th minute, however, everyone at the Wanda Metropolitana and Simeone himself knew that the right choice was made. Correa – a low light coming into Saturday’s game – contributed the assists on both goals that handed Los Colchoneros their fifth win of the season.

Early on, it was Jan Oblak to the rescue, as Athletic’s attack cracked the home side’s backline. Specifically, the Slovenian showed off his impeccable abilities when, Iñigo Martínez’s header from a corner kick set piece, was just tipped over the crossbar.

The Basque’s club dominance wouldn’t last long.

In the 28th minute, following some mesmerizingly quick faints inside the penalty box, Correa laid it off to Saul, who made no mistake and put it into the back of net. It was the start of the Argentine’s special night.

Following a slew of uninterrupted passes, it was Correa again making the penultimate effort. This time, his darting, crossing service within the box found a well-positioned Alvaro Morata, who gently tapped the ball into the back of the net.

With the postponement of El Clasico, which was done because Catalan separatists are planning another large rally in Barcelona, Atletico will share the podium with leaders Barcelona for at least a week after their win against Athletic Bilbao, who host Espanyol next.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Leganes 1-0 RCD Mallorca 

Valladolid 2-0 Eibar

Juventus will court De Gea if keeper doesn’t sign new Man Utd deal

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Last we read, David De Gea was hoping to assume the Manchester United captaincy and was being offered close to a half-million dollars a week to stay at Old Trafford.

Yet the 28-year-old goalkeeper still has not signed the new contract, and is less than four months away from being able to speak with interested suitors.

[ MORE: Watford makes manager switch ]

Clubs may be willing to meet those salary demands without a transfer fee attached, and The Express says Juventus is hoping De Gea reaches Jan. 1 without a new deal in Manchester.

Juve signed Aaron Ramsey on big money last spring, although not as bad as initially reported. The Turin side pays the Welshman around $8.4 million per season.

The same report says United will go in for Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak should De Gea skip town. Oblak is two years younger than De Gea, and under contract through the 2022-23 season.

Oblak may even be an upgrade over De Gea, but he won’t come cheaply. United’s willingness to pay De Gea a lot is well-covered, and Oblak has been named La Liga’s best goalkeeper for each the past four seasons.

Transfermarkt says Oblak’s value is about $40 million more than De Gea. If the Spanish keeper leaves town, he’ll cost the Red Devils plenty.

And would Oblak see value in a move to United? That’s a big question these days, with no guarantee of Champions League and Atleti investing plenty of resources in staying in La Liga’s mix. Plus, Manchester is no closer to home, Slovenia, than Spain.

Messi records 600th career goal as free kick beats Atleti (video)

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Lionel Messi scored his 600th career goal, which is nice, and pushed Barcelona even closer to its 25th La Liga crown in a 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou on Sunday.

The win gives Barca an eight-point lead on second place Atleti with 11 matches to play. Barca has 69 points, 15 better than Real Madrid.

Les Blaugranas have played 35 matches without a loss.

[ MORE: Serie A mourns Astori ]

Barcelona lived in Atleti’s half to start the match, but couldn’t quite challenge Jan Oblak.

Andres Iniesta left the match after 35 minutes with what appeared to be a hamstring strain, suffered in the 22nd minute.

It was Messi who put Barca in front with a 26th minute strike, and it was classy. A swooping free kick from well beyond the 18 defied the paw of a flying Oblak to make it 1-0.

Atleti had a late goal ruled off when Diego Costa was offside before nodding an initial shot on goal that was deposited on the rebound.

Luis Suarez just missed a lofted offering in the first minute of stoppage time.

Messi saw yellow moments later in a challenge with Filipe Luis.

Griezmann wins best player award in Spain for last season

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VALENCIA, Spain (AP) Antoine Griezmann has won the best player award in the Spanish league for last season.

The Atletico Madrid forward was announced as the winner in a ceremony organized by La Liga in Valencia on Monday. The Frenchman was not at the ceremony.

[ MORE: Ballon d’Or omissions ]

Atletico also had Diego Simeone win the best coach award, Diego Godin earn the best defender award, and Jan Oblak clinch best goalkeeper.

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi was selected as the best forward, and Real Madrid’s Luka Modric as the best midfielder.

Team captains voted for the top players in each position, while a data-analysis system generated the best player award.

Barcelona won the Spanish league last season, ahead of Real Madrid and Atletico.