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Mallorca v. Barcelona preview
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La Liga preview: Mallorca v. Barcelona

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Barcelona’s first match back from the coronavirus pause is straight-forward on paper, but hosts Mallorca have been a tricky out at the Son Moix.

The club owned by Americans including former NBA star Steve Nash has scored some memorable results this year, beating Real Madrid 1-0, hammering Valencia 4-1, and toppling Villarreal 3-1.

Barcelona clobbered Mallorca in their first meeting. Lionel Messi had a hat trick with Antoine Griezmann and Luis Suarez added goals. Suarez is back from injury and Messi is well-rested for the title fight.

[ MORE: New PL schedule ]

The league leaders have a two-point advantage on Real and may not be able to hold it but matches like this are too big of an ask. Even if Barca’s not tight at the back, it’ll be fresh up front.

No one’s doomed yet in La Liga’s relegation scrap and Mallorca’s 18th-place position is a win shy of 15th.

Croatian forward Ante Budimir leads Mallorca in goals with nine, and no teammate has added more than five.

Real Madrid loanee Takefusa Kubo, 19, has impressed in his first full season in Europe. The club also has Ki Sung-yueng, a major add who made his debut just before the coronavirus pause.

La Liga score, how to watch

  • TV Channels: beIN Sports USA
  • Stream LiveVia beinSports
  • When: 4 p.m. ET Saturday

La Liga state of play, schedule for remainder of 2019-20 season

La Liga schedule
Photo by Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
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La Liga will return on June 11 and El Clasico’s heated rivals will restart a battle for the top of Spain’s top flight.

The full schedule has been released and is included below as the league builds to a July 19 final day which will feature two battles of current top seven sides.

Catalan clubs face drama at both ends of the table with Barcelona in first and Espanyol in 20th. Between there is mayhem.

MORE: Premier League remaining fixtures ]

Barca holds a two-point edge on Real Madrid in its bid for a third-straight La Liga crown and fifth in six seasons. Real will need a slip-up from Quique Setien’s men as there is not a Clasico to be found on the fixture list.

The other two Champions League spots will be hotly-contested with four sides within two points between third and sixth, especially considering the side bringing up the rear is powerful Atletico Madrid (45 points). Sevilla currently sits third with 47 points, with fourth-place Real Sociedad and fifth-place Getafe on 46.

Valencia is also in the picture with 42, and seventh-place will be a Europa League spot should Real Sociedad win the Copa del Rey or rivals Athletic Bilbao (37 points) win it and climb into sixth.

[ Bundesliga: Live scores | Week 29 preview, predictions  ] 

The bottom half of the table is a relegation picture, even if 11th-place Osasuna counts a nine-point lead on the bottom three of Mallorca (25 points), Leganes (23), and Espanyol (20).

The matches will, of course, be played behind closed doors, though Spanish authorities have hope for fans in the 2020-21 season.

Matchweek 28 will be played from June 12 to June 15 with the full La Liga schedule below, while there are also details on how you can watch on TV in the USA.

La Liga schedule

  • TV Channels: beIN Sports USA
  • Stream LiveVia beinSports
  • When: From June 11 to July 17

June 11
Sevilla v. Real Betis

June 12
Granada v. Getafe
Valencia v. Levante

June 13
Espanyol v. Alaves
Celta Vigo v. Villarreal
Leganes v. Valladolid
Mallorca v. Barcelona

June 14
Athletic Bilbao v. Atletico Madrid
Real Madrid v. Eibar
Real Sociedad v. Osasuna

June 15
Levante v. Sevilla
Real Betis v. Granada

June 16
Getafe v. Espanyol
Villarreal v. Mallorca
Barcelona v. Leganes

June 17
Valladolid v. Celta Vigo
Eibar v. Athletic Bilbao
Osasuna v. Atletico Madrid

June 18
Alaves v. Real Sociedad
Real Madrid v. Valencia

June 21
Mallorca v. Leganes
Athletic Bilbao v. Real Betis
Granada v. Villarreal
Sevilla v. Barcelona
Getafe v. Eibar
Atletico Madrid v. Valladolid
Real Sociedad v. Real Madrid
Valencia v. Osasuna
Espanyol v. Levante
Celta Vigo v. Alaves

June 24
Real Betis v. Espanyol
Villarreal v. Sevilla
Real Madrid v. Mallorca
Valladolid v. Getafe
Alaves v. Osasuna
Real Sociedad v. Celta Vigo
Eibar v. Valencia
Barcelona v. Athletic Bilbao
Leganes v. Granada
Levante v. Atletico Madrid

June 28
Levante v. Real Betis
Osasuna v. Leganes
Celta Vigo v. Barcelona
Villarreal v. Valencia
Athletic Bilbao v. Mallorca
Granada v. Eibar
Atletico Madrid v. Alaves
Espanyol v. Real Madrid
Sevilla v. Valladolid
Getafe v. Real Sociedad

July 1
Mallorca v. Celta Vigo
Leganes v. Sevilla
Alaves v. Granada
Valladolid v. Levante
Real Sociedad v. Espanyol
Real Betis v. Villarreal
Valencia v. Athletic Bilbao
Real Madrid v. Getafe
Eibar v. Osasuna
Barcelona v. Atletico Madrid

July 5
Athletic Bilbao v. Real Madrid
Villarreal v. Barcelona
Osasuna v. Getafe
Celta Vigo v. Real Betis
Levante v. Real Sociedad
Sevilla v. Eibar
Atletico Madrid v. Mallorca
Granada v. Valencia
Valladolid v. Alaves
Espanyol v. Leganes

July 8
Getafe v. Villarreal
Athletic Bilbao v. Sevilla
Mallorca v. Levante
Real Madrid v. Alaves
Celta Vigo v. Atletico Madrid
Eibar v. Leganes
Real Sociedad v. Granada
Barcelona v. Espanyol
Valencia v. Valladolid
Real Betis v. Osasuna

July 12
Granada v. Real Madrid
Sevilla v. Mallorca
Villarreal v. Real Sociedad
Espanyol v. Eibar
Alaves v. Getafe
Valladolid v. Barcelona
Atletico Madrid v. Real Betis
Levante v. Athletic Bilbao
Leganes v. Valencia
Osasuna v. Celta Vigo

July 15
Barcelona v. Osasuna
Mallorca v. Granada
Celta Vigo v. Levante
Real Sociedad v. Sevilla
Real Betis v. Alaves
Valencia v. Espanyol
Getafe v. Atletico Madrid
Eibar v. Valladolid
Real Madrid v. Villarreal
Athletic Bilbao v. Leganes

July 19
Osasuna v. Mallorca
Atletico Madrid v. Real Sociedad
Villarreal v. Eibar
Levante v. Getafe
Granada v. Athletic Bilbao
Espanyol v. Celta Vigo
Alaves v. Barcelona
Valladolid v. Real Betis
Leganes v. Real Madrid
Sevilla v. Valencia

Standings

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Barcelona 27 18 4 5 63 31 32 13-1-0 5-3-5 58
 Real Madrid 27 16 8 3 49 19 30 9-4-0 7-4-3 56
 Sevilla 27 13 8 6 39 29 10 6-5-2 7-3-4 47
 Real Sociedad 27 14 4 9 45 33 12 8-2-3 6-2-6 46
 Getafe 27 13 7 7 37 25 12 7-4-3 6-3-4 46
 Atlético Madrid 27 11 12 4 31 21 10 8-5-1 3-7-3 45
 València 27 11 9 7 38 39 -1 8-6-0 3-3-7 42
 Villarreal 27 11 5 11 44 38 6 6-4-3 5-1-8 38
 Granada 27 11 5 11 33 32 1 8-2-3 3-3-8 38
 Athletic Club 27 9 10 8 29 23 6 7-3-3 2-7-5 37
 Osasuna 27 8 10 9 34 38 -4 5-5-4 3-5-5 34
 Betis 27 8 9 10 38 43 -5 7-3-4 1-6-6 33
 Levante 27 10 3 14 32 40 -8 7-3-3 3-0-11 33
 Alavés 27 8 8 11 29 37 -8 6-5-3 2-3-8 32
 Valladolid 27 6 11 10 23 33 -10 3-7-3 3-4-7 29
 Eibar 27 7 6 14 27 41 -14 6-1-7 1-5-7 27
 Celta Vigo 27 5 11 11 22 34 -12 4-5-4 1-6-7 26
 Mallorca 27 7 4 16 28 44 -16 6-2-6 1-2-10 25
 Leganés 27 5 8 14 21 39 -18 4-3-7 1-5-7 23
 Espanyol 27 4 8 15 23 46 -23 1-5-7 3-3-8 20

Giovani Dos Santos being pursued by LA Galaxy?

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This wouldn’t be the first time a Major League Soccer team has been connected to Mexico’s Giovani Dos Santos. Three years ago, links between the current Mallorca man and the Houston Dynamo captivated a few orange minds. Now, thanks to Mallorca’s relegation from the Spain’s La Liga, it’s no surprise “Gio” has hit the MLS rumor mill again, this time with a team and a price that might be a little more enticing to the 24-year-old attacker.

Nothing against the Dynamo, who we all know are a great organization, but for people outside Major League Soccer, there’s one team that outshines them all. Add in a rumored $8 million offer and you can see Dos Santos softening his reluctance to move closer to home, perhaps acquiescing to what would be one of the more notable deals in Major League Soccer history:

[tweet https://twitter.com/Tomas_ESPN/statuses/342398699311362048]

Translated roughly: Gio has an offer from the Galaxy and MLS for $8 million – greater than offers from Valencia and Queretaro (the same Queretaro that will be playing second-division soccer next season).

It’s unlikely that money is a per season number (is that his wages, a transfer fee – what?), but on a relegated team after failing to cement spots at Barcelona and Tottenham Hotspur, it’s unclear Dos Santos is going to have a ton of better options. He could take less playing time and maybe less money to go to Valencia, or he could look at a two-to-three year stint in Major League Soccer as a way to position himself for a big return to Europe. And  if he does so while playing for the best team in the league on a lucrative deal, all that’s left is overcoming any type of stigma youhemay personally attach to ditching Europe for Major League Soccer.

And at this point, that stigma is all in a player’s mind. If you’re getting good money to play in the post-Beckham Major League Soccer, nobody’s going to begrudge your decision. If it’s good enough for Thierry Henry and Alessandro Nesta, most will see it as good enough for anybody, and while those players are at a markedly different point in their careers than Dos Santos, players will apply the same logic. When you hear random players (think Phil Neville) say they watch Major League Soccer, see improving quality, and note they could see themselves playing in the league, it’s often more than lip service. Whether you agree with it or not, that’s often how they actually feel.

If Giovani Dos Santos can get over the opposing (and still fervent) idea that MLS is a retirement league for European stars, Major League Soccer makes a lot of sense. Especially because he’s not a European star. In CONCACAF, we know what Dos Santos can do, and if he came to Major League Soccer, he would be one of the league’s best players from day one, but at 24 years old, he’s yet to make a major impact in Europe. He showed flashes (well, in one game) at Barcelona, was good at Racing Santander, and was decent enough for Mallorca this year, but he’s not exactly an established difference-maker. He’s not leaving an Bechkam-, Henry-, Di Vaio-esque career behind.

I’m a little more interested in how this would work for LA. In theory, he could play either behind Robbie Keane or wide while Landon Donovan moves into that counter attack-orchestrating role that tore teams apart in last year’s playoffs. And if Donovan doesn’t re-sign after the season, Dos Santos becomes a great option to build an MLS attack around. But I could also see Dos Santos dropped into this year’s team, being a bit of a stylistic mismatch, and aimlessly floating (particularly, in defense) as he fails to find in a team with a very specific ethos.

In that sense, there’s some risk to this move on both sides, although Dos Santos does meet some bigger picture goals. As was discussed when the Kaká-to-Los Angeles rumors were at their peak, the Galaxy’s local deal with Time Warner has kapt them conscious of their market demographics. That means giving Latino and Latina customers reason to identify with the team, whether that translates at the turnstiles or in broadcast viewers.

Dos Santos would check that box, and he does so while providing the Galaxy with what would be one of the league’s bigger talents. Considering the salary and the place Dos Santos finds himself in his career,  this rumor makes sense for all involved. That’s not to say there wouldn’t be notable risks, but there are certainly enough positives for each side to justify the deal.

Apparently Giovani Dos Santos is still not in shape

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While I was tempted to find a post from 2009 that would work for this one, I’m going to have a crack at giving the ‘Giovani Dos Santos is out of shape’ story a new twist. Because apparently, the Mexican international is still nowhere near his peak condition, with his new manager (Mallorca’s Joaquin Caparros) euphemistically saying the 23-year-old needs to get “leaner” to increase his “explosiveness.”

I know. I’m totally shocked by this news, too.

For every second of his professional career, Dos Santos has needed to get leaner to increase explosiveness. Most people have saved their breath and just called him out of shape. While he’s obviously improved his fitness over the last two years (no longer showing up for international duty visibly overweight), his fitness is clearly not up to his coach’s standards.

In fairness, it is a high standard, though it’s one you accept by being a professional soccer player. You find very few perpetually out of shape footballers. The game is far too demanding to play with marginal fitness, particularly at Premier League and La Liga levels.

Ever since moving to Tottenham Hotspur from Barcelona in 2008, the attacker has failed to give himself the best chance of earning playing time. Bolstered by occasional spectacular performances for Mexico, Dos Santos has been given reason to believe he doesn’t need to be in prime condition to contribute. That approach might work in CONCACAF, but it’s not good enough for England or Spain, part of the reason he made only 31 all-competition appearances for Spurs before being sold to Mallorca.

Thus far, Dos Santos has only made three appearances for Mallorca, though he showed his potential value in creating two goals earlier this year against Sevilla. Since, injuries have kept him from contributing regularly, and if you read between the Spanish lines of Caparros’s comments, you see see concern that Dos Santos’s lack of fitness is contributing to his slow recovery.

At some point, though, this annual “Gio’s out of shape” revelation becomes a non-story. It’s relevant now because Dos Santos just moved to Mallorca, was supposed to have a new start, and was going to show Spurs had been sitting on a gem. Perhaps predictably, it took only a few months to be reminded Dos Santos’s problems transcend Tottenham.

He is the most talented player in CONCACAF, and over the last few years, Dos Santos has also been the region’s best player. But success at club level demands more than the short bursts needed to succeed on the international stage.

Only 23, he still has time to adapt, but in the seventh year of his professional career, Dos Santos may just be what he is. We talk as if his fitness issues are inhibiting his potential, but maybe this is his potential. Maybe Dos Santos is destined to be a hypothetical.

Deadline day snapshot: Giovani dos Santos moves to Mallorca from Tottenham

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After years of being ignored by Harry Redknapp at Tottenham, Mexican international Giovani dos Santos has made his way back to Spain, completing a permanent move to Mallorca on Friday. This will be dos Santos’ third stretch in La Liga.

Who is he: It seems like he’s been around forever, but dos Santos is only 23 years old. He was recruited to North London as 19-year-old in 2008, having scored three goals (all in one game) in 28 appearances at Barcelona. Shortly after moving to Spurs, head coach Juande Ramos was dismissed, leaving Redknapp in charge of the young attacker’s career. Often battling fitness concerns and the lack of a natural place in Redknapp’s preferred 4-4-2 formation, dos Santos made only 17 league appearances in four seasons, being sent out on loan three times.

Along the way, dos Santos established himself as the best player in Mexico;s setup, winning two Gold Cups and a gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics. In 59 appearances for El Tri, dos Santos has 14 goals.

What does he do: Dos Santos’s best role is in support of a No. 9, though he can also drift wide if given no defensive responsibilities.  He’s quick though not necessarily fast with on-the-ball skills that are near world class. He is the best creator in CONCACAF but lacks the all-around skill set to take up a complementary role. Like Rafael van der Vaart, he is best utilized in a team that will allow him to play exclusively in attack, even if his size (5’8″) and lack of physical strength tempts coaches to use him wide.

How much did he cost: Only £1 million, but Spurs are said to have retained 50 percent of his sell-on price. As usual, not a bad bit of business by Daniel Levy.

How does he fit: Very well. He’ll get a chance to play every match in the role he wants. He goes back to a league that offer plays at a slower pace (most leagues do, compared to England), where a decreased tolerance for physical defending will play to his strengths. Establishing a relationship with striker Tomer Hemed will determine how quickly he can improve Mallorca.

More deadline day snapshots? Click here. We’ll be cranking them out all day.