BBC BLOGS - Phil Minshull
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Levante bring breath of fresh air to La Liga

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Phil Minshull | 15:54 UK time, Friday, 28 October 2011

The blue and claret shirts of the current La Liga leaders have a familiar look about them but, rather than belonging to Spanish giants Barcelona - champions for the last three seasons - the apparel is that of modest Levante.

With seven wins and two draws, the Valencia-based side are one point ahead of Real Madrid - having inflicted a 1-0 defeat on Jose Mourinho's men at home last month - and another point clear of third-placed Barca.

Shock and surprise are just two of the words that have been regularly used in the last week at this unprecedented state of affairs, with Levante topping La Liga for the first time in their 102-year history.

How did they get there? Where have they come from? And can they stay there?

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Barcelona and Real Madrid set to battle for supremacy again

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Phil Minshull | 20:16 UK time, Thursday, 25 August 2011

Madrid

Finally, there will be football in La Liga this weekend after the players’ union and the top two division’s clubs worked out some of their differences and the strike was called off.

Now, we can concentrate on what’s happening on the pitch rather than behind-the-scenes but once again it looks like being a two-horse race in Spain between current champions Barcelona and their eternal rivals Real Madrid.

Long gone are the days when the likes of Valencia, Atletico Madrid and Deportivo La Coruna, the only other teams apart from the two Spanish giants to triumph in the last 20 years, could contemplate upsetting the status quo.

The only time in the last seven years when anybody has eased themselves between Barca and Real was when Villarreal finished second in 2007-08.

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What now for Cesc when he gets to Barca?

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Phil Minshull | 20:04 UK time, Thursday, 11 August 2011

The four-year soap opera of Cesc Fabregas returning to his boyhood club Barcelona looks finally to be coming to an end.

It now seems pertinent to ask: what happens once he's signed on the dotted line for last season's winners of La Liga and the Champions League?

Going from being Arsenal captain to sitting on the Barca bench seems the most likely answer.

Despite his eagerness to secure his exit from the Emirates Stadium ever since Spain lifted the World Cup last summer, with the image of him donning a Barca shirt in the victory parade having haunted him for the last 12 months, most pundits in Spain believe that his price tag of around 40 million euros (£35m) will still not make him an automatic first choice at the Nou Camp.

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