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Asensio's Real Madrid value; Joaquin retires; Pezzolano's Valladolid success: 10 things from this week's LaLiga you must know

What has been going on in LaLiga this past week? Here are 10 of the top stories, from Barça's important victory to Joaquín's retirement.

This past week was a significant one for several clubs, as teams including FC Barcelona and Valencia CF earned important wins in LaLiga Santander and as Real Madrid and Sevilla FC secured their progress in European competition. There was also a big announcement at Real Betis this past week, with all these stories and more discussed below.

FC Barcelona take a huge step towards the title

The FC Barcelona fans had a lot to celebrate at the Spotify Camp Nou on Sunday, as Xavi's side earned a vitally important 1-0 victory against Diego Simeone's impressive Atlético de Madrid. This duel between the two most in-form teams in the country was decided by a Ferran Torres strike just before half-time and by the saves of Marc-André ter Stegen, and the victory means Barça are now 11 points clear at the top.

Sevilla FC thrash Manchester United to reach the Europa League semis

There were also celebrations this past week at Sevilla FC, as the Andalusian club thrashed Manchester United 3-0 in their Europa League quarter-final second leg, progressing to the final four 5-2 on aggregate against the English side. The Sevilla FC faithful created an electric atmosphere at a packed Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán, where José Luis Mendilibar's players put in a superb performance in this competition that Los Nervionenses love so much.

Real Madrid reach an 11th Champions League semi in 13 years

In the Champions League, there will also be Spanish representation in the final four as Real Madrid finished the job against Chelsea, winning 2-0 at Stamford Bridge thanks to a pair of Rodrygo goals. That made it a 4-0 aggregate win for Los Blancos over the Londoners. It means Real Madrid have now reached the Champions League semi-final stage in 11 of the past 13 seasons.

A true legend is hanging up his boots

We learned this past week that a true legend of LaLiga Santander is about to hang up his boots. At the age of 41, Real Betis captain Joaquín has decided to retire at the end of the 2022/23 season, after a glorious career that he spent mostly at his boyhood club. He could even retire with the most LaLiga Santander appearances of all time, as the winger has currently played 616 games in Spain's top division, just six behind the record of Andoni Zubizarreta.

Real Sociedad and Athletic Club close in on their objectives

European football is set to return to the Basque Country next season, with both Real Sociedad and Athletic Club achieving important victories in Matchday 30. La Real defeated Rayo Vallecano 2-1 and that win, combined with results elsewhere, saw the fourth-placed side extend the gap to fifth place to six points. As for Athletic Club, the team from Bilbao defeated UD Almería by the same scoreline to mean they're just one point behind sixth place and firmly in seventh place, should that too become a European berth.


Asensio leads the way for efficiency

Real Madrid won their Matchday 30 fixture at home to RC Celta on Saturday night, defeating the Galician outfit 2-0. Marco Asensio opened the scoring and then assisted Éder Militão from a corner, meaning he now has eight goals and five assists this campaign. He is averaging either a goal or assist every 80 minutes, the best rate in LaLiga Santander for all players with over 300 total minutes.

Valencia CF earn a much-needed three points

They may still be in the relegation zone, but Valencia CF took a much-needed three-point haul from their visit to regional neighbours Elche CF on Sunday. Samuel Lino led the way and opened the scoring for Los Che in their 2-0 win, one which moves them onto 30 points, the same as 17th-placed UD Almería.

Pezzolano has turned Real Valladolid's fortunes around

Paulo Pezzolano's arrival at Real Valladolid has completely turned the Pucela's fortunes around. After earning a draw on his debut, they've won his other two matches, against Villarreal CF and then against Girona FC on Saturday. With seven points from the past three games, Pezzolano's impact has been clear to see.

Iñigo Lekue is staying in Bilbao

Athletic Club announced this past week that they've reached an agreement with Iñigo Lekue for the versatile defender to extend his contract to 2025. His previous deal was expiring this summer, but both the player and the club wanted to stay together.

There is more LaLiga Santander action right around the corner

The good news for LaLiga Santander fans is that there are 10 more fixtures coming up this midweek, with Matchday 31 taking place across Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Following all the goals and drama of Matchday 30, the next round is just around the corner as the business end of the season has truly arrived.

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