Pablo Maffeo

AP Photo/Manu Fernandez

Girona posts upset for the ages, downs Real Madrid

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Zinedine Zidane has led back-to-back UEFA Champions League title runs and also broke a four-year La Liga title duck for Real last season.

[ MORE: Pep’s Man City makes history ]

That no doubt should earn plenty of good will, but he boasts another kind of history on his resume now after a seismic upset loss to new boys Girona.

Real has slipped eight points behind Barcelona and four behind Valencia after a 2-1 decision at Girona on Sunday (Perhaps just as remarkable, Girona pulls into 11th with the win).

Consider that Girona had never played in the top flight before this season and the incredibly tense political atmosphere between the Spanish capital in Madrid and independence-craving Catalonia. Yep, this is a big, big deal.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola will take special glee in the decision, as the ex-Barcelona manager and big time Catalonia supporter supplied several players to Girona on loan. The status of Sunday’s match was once in question due to Catalan’s desire for a referendum on independence

Guardiola recently supported jailed Catalan separatists in Spain, while Real has long been associated with the Spanish crown since earning its royal moniker in the early 20th century.

Of the Man City bunch, Pablo Maffeo and Aleix Garcia started while Douglas Luiz and Larry Kayode are on the bench.

Isco deposited a first half rebound of a Cristiano Ronaldo shot to make it 1-0, but Girona struck twice in five second half minutes through ex-Middlesbrough attacker Cristhian Stuani and Cristian Portu, the latter assisted by Maffeo.

Real also had a late Lucas Vazquez goal ruled out.

At almost any other club, you’d shrug your shoulders at the bad luck and the hands of time.

At Real Madrid, however, you have to wonder whether mercurial leader Florentino Perez is itching to make a change.

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Man City loan four to Girona, will play friendly at La Liga new boys

Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images
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Girona has not played in Spain’s top flight before this season, and Pep Guardiola just may help the Blanquivermell stay in La Liga for more than a single campaign.

The Manchester City boss has sanctioned the loan of four players to the Catalan club, with Pablo Maffeo, Marlos Moreno, Aleix Garcia, and new signing Douglas Luiz making season-long moves.

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Moreno made 19 appearances on loan for Deportivo de la Coruna last season, so he has La Liga experience, and Garcia played once for Villarreal before moving to Man City in 2015.

Maffeo is Spanish and spent 10 years at Espanyol’s academy, while Luiz moved to Man City just over two weeks ago.

Garcia and Maffeo made 12 combined appearances for City, with the former scoring a goal against Swansea City in the League Cup.

City announced it would play a friendly against Girona during a training camp in the city, the Spanish club’s last match before opening up La Liga play. Guardiola might be a little famous in Catalonia, so it’ll be a fairly memorable occasion.

The top-to-bottom depth of La Liga is hardly as strong as the Premier League or the Bundesliga, so this is a decent opportunity for a quartet of City players to earn meaningful minutes, make their names in Spain, and advance up Guardiola’s pecking order.