Euro soccer recap
Guardiola returns to the Camp Nou, Real and Atleti still on top

Another week, another week of the status quo in the Spanish top flight soccer league. Sometimes the Spanish league can be boring, or at least as boring as a league featuring names like Leo Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Neymar could ever be. 

Though it is boring in the sense that there are three teams that are all but guaranteed to absolutely whallop their opponents unless it's one of the teams in the top five of the table. And that's exactly what happened over the weekend for Barcelona, Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid.

All three played last Sunday, with Barcelona playing Deportivo de la Coruña, winning 4-0. Messi scored yet again in his first match back from an injury that came just three minutes after he took the field after three matches away. Rafinha continued his brilliance scoring a brace for the home side.

Atlético Madrid's Belgian international took a huge step forward into the spotlight by notching a hat trick for los rojiblancos while hosting Granada at the Vicente Calderon. Carrasco's performance was the first hat trick in his quickly budding career, helping his side win 7-1, keeping them ahead of Real Madrid on goal differential. Diego Simeone trotted out a starting XI that was uncharacteristically attack heavy, with Koke in central midfield and Carrasco and Angel Correa out wide to flank Antoine Griezemann and Kevin Gameiro. That's the second match in a row Simeone has gone attack heavy, could it be a sign of times to come?

Second place Real Madrid traveled to Sevilla to play the town's second team Real Betis, winning 6-1 to stay level on points with Atleti. Isco starred for los blancos, netting two goals, with the second one of the more impressive scores of the weekend.

Raphael Varane opened the scoring with a header to score his first goal in over a year. His countryman Karim Benzema scored as well, as did Marcelo and Ronaldo. It was a welcome sight to see after four consecutive draws that saw their confidence dip a bit, not to mention the lead atop the league table vanish.

In Champions League news, Pep Guardiola made his return to the Camp Nou as a visitor against Barça. Lionel Messi gave him a welcome back gift by scoring a hat trick against his former manager, and Guardiola's goal keeper didn't help matters when he was shown a red card. Claudio Bravo - also making a return to the Camp Nou - was sent off after grabbing the ball outside the area with his hands, he immediately took the blame for the 4-0 loss after the match.

Photo: Flickr/Nazionale Calcio


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