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Dovbyk Girona star; Guler Real Madrid debut; Bailly Villarreal return: 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 Dovbyk's Player of the Month award to the first of the January transfers.

Spanish football is well and truly up and running in 2024, with LALIGA EA SPORTS and Copa del Rey all restarting over the past week. Here's all you need to know.

Real Madrid are winter champions

Matchday 19 of the 2023/24 LALIGA EA SPORTS season took place in midweek, meaning we've now reached the halfway stage of the season. By defeating RCD Mallorca 1-0 courtesy of an Antonio Rüdiger goal, Real Madrid have finished the first half of the campaign as the league leaders, and are winter champions. In 25 of the previous 36 seasons in which Los Blancos were winter champions, they went on to seal the title.

Girona FC top title rivals Atleti in a thriller

Although Real Madrid are the current leaders and winter champions, Girona FC are in second place and level on 48 points. The Catalan outfit have put together an incredible first half of the season, which culminated in a dramatic 4-3 win over Atlético de Madrid in Matchday 19.

Barça and Athletic Club round out the top four

Two of the other standout results from Matchday 19 were the away victories of FC Barcelona and Athletic Club. The former won 2-1 at UD Las Palmas thanks to a stoppage time İlkay Gündoğan penalty, while the Basque side defeated Sevilla FC 2-0 on the road. As such, Barça finish the first half of the campaign third and Athletic Club are fourth.

Cádiz CF drop into the relegation zone

Looking further down the standings, the three teams inside the relegation zone at the midway point are UD Almería, Granada CF and Cádiz CF. The latter have just dropped into the bottom three, with RC Celta having climbed up to 17th position courtesy of a 2-1 victory over Real Betis.

Artem Dovbyk is the Player of the Month for December

The winner of the latest LALIGA EA SPORTS Player of the Month prize was announced this past week, with Girona FC striker Artem Dovbyk winning for the month of December. His four goals in four matches helped the team secure three wins and a draw in December, making this a more than deserved prize for the Ukrainian striker.

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The other LALIGA AWARDS winners for December

The winners in the other categories of the 'LALIGA AWARDS, The Pride of our Fútbol' have also been announced for December. The Best Coach was Athletic Club's Ernesto Valverde, the Best U-23 Player was Girona FC's Yan Couto, the Best Goal was Aitor Ruibal's strike against Real Madrid and the Best Play prize recognised Athletic Club duo Iñigo Lekue and Nico Williams for the latter's goal against Atlético de Madrid.

Granada CF bolster their squad

The January transfer window has opened and several LALIGA EA SPORTS clubs have started strengthening their squads ahead of the second half of the season. Granada CF have been one of the busiest clubs so far, signing four players in Kamil Piatkowski, Matías Arezo, Bruno Méndez and Augusto Batalla.

Eric Bailly returns to Villarreal CF

One of the other January signings that stood out was Villarreal CF's move to bring Eric Bailly back to the Estadio de la Cerámica. The centre-back from the Ivory Coast previously played for El Submarino Amarillo between 2015 and 2016, and is now back wearing yellow after arriving from Beşiktaş.

The Copa del Rey reaches the Round of 16

The Copa del Rey Round of 32 was held over the weekend and all but one of the teams to have booked their place in the next phase are LALIGA EA SPORTS clubs, with CD Tenerife from LALIGA HYPERMOTION also making it this far.

Arda Güler makes his Real Madrid debut

One of the major storylines to emerge from the Copa del Rey Round of 32 action was the debut of Arda Güler, who made his first appearance for Real Madrid in their 3-1 win against Arandina CF. The Turkey international had suffered various injuries following his summer transfer to Spain's capital, but was able to make his debut in the cup competition and had a very encouraging performance.

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Carlos Volcano


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