Newly crowned Spanish champions Real Madrid and runners-up Barcelona have killed the proverbial fatted calf this summer in an attempt to establish preeminence in La Liga next season.
Real have captured German international defender Christoph Metzelder from Dortmund and Pepe from Porto while landing Javier Saviola -- on a free transfer -- from Barca, as well as taking Spanish international forward Roberto Soldado back from his loan at Osasuna.
New coach Bernd Schuster hasn't finished there as Real also try to secure a transfer for Jose Antonio Reyes, who was on loan last season from Arsenal, as well as pluck winger Arjen Robben from Chelsea.
With such an influx defenders Michel Salgado and Ivan Helguera, who has Fabio Cannavaro, Sergio Ramos, Metzelder and Pepe ahead of him in the central defensive pecking order, will be seeking new employers.
Alvaro Mejia is already set to join promoted Murcia for 2 million euros, (US$2.8 million) according to Marca sports daily, and the club are as yet without bidders for misfit Italian striker Antonio Cassano.
Barca, beaten to the wire in the title race, have landed four players to date after agreeing to sign Argentine international Gabriel Milito from Zaragoza for a reported 20 million euros.
Barca had earlier splashed out 24 million euros on Thierry Henry, having chased him for more than a year, though it remains to be seen if he can fit into an attack already comprising Samuel Eto'o, Lionel Messi and Ronaldinho.
Also coming in is French defender Eric Abidal from Lyon for some 15 million euros and Ivory Coast youngster Yaya Toure.
French midfielder Ludovic Giuly has agreed to join AS Roma for an initial 3.2 million euros, rather than the 6 million the Catalan club hoped for, though another 1.2 million could come if he helps the club qualify for the Champions League.
Barca also want to offload Santi Ezquerro to former club Athletic Bilbao, along with Brazilian Thiago Motta and Maxi Lopez, a striker who spent last season on loan with Mallorca.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday said that he had called in the “third umpire” as he announced that recreational cricket would be allowed to resume next weekend. In a radio interview earlier on Friday, Johnson angered thousands of club cricketers by saying that the amateur game was still not safe to play amid the COVID-19 pandemic because of issues surrounding communal teas and dressing rooms. “It’s the teas, it’s the changing rooms and so on and so forth. There are other factors involved that generate proximity which you might not get in a game of tennis,” he said. Johnson had already
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HOTSHOT: Luis Suarez scored his 194th goal for Barca, tying him with Ladislao Kubala as the club’s third-highest scorer, behind Cesar Rodriguez and Lionel Messi With another decisive penalty from Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid on Sunday extended their perfect run after the COVID-19 suspension and moved closer to their first Spanish title in three years. Ramos scored his fifth goal since the season resumed as Madrid defeated Athletic Bilbao 1-0 to maintain a four-point lead over Barcelona, who beat fifth-placed Villarreal 4-1. Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann were among the scorers for Barcelona after assists from Lionel Messi. Ramos converted a 73rd-minute penalty to give Madrid their seventh straight victory and they remain the only team with a perfect record since La Liga resumed. “These three points are very