The $20 Million Dollar Man: Ever Banega

Ever Banega with Boca

The past year and only 42 appearances in a Boca uniform has seen this young 19-year old Argentinian midfielder – very much in the vein of Javier Mascherano at Liverpool and Fernando Gago at Real Madrid – help Boca Juniors win the Copa Libertadores, while ALSO hoisting the World Cup with the Argentinian U-20s. Valencia has finally won his signature after fending off the challenges of AC Milan and Juventus.

All that’s left is paperwork, but Banega has already left to join his new teammates at the Mestalla. His arrival spells the end for former Spanish international David Albelda who has recently been liked with Everton and Barcelona. Albelda is one of three veterans that have effectively been “dropped” from Valencia’s seventh place squad due to underperformance and inconsistencies – the other two being Miguel Angel Angulo and GK Santiago Canizares. But out with the old and in with the new, but at Boca who replaces the young Banega who in turn had replaced the young Gago? Banega’s deal at Valencia runs for 4 years. Look him up on YouTube if you want to check him out and remember his name as many also peg him to be the future replacement for Riquelme.

Now I ask La Liga specialist Ryan: is Banega a project or he could he be the one to wake a sleeping giant?

Ryan:  I’ll figure I’ll jump in right here instead of making a comment.  I honestly haven’t seen much of Banega to give an opinion of him on the field.  However, Valencia is in a VERY precarious position right now.  They are in all sorts of trouble with Cañizares and now are being taken to court by David Albelda due to Valencia’s new position consisting of ‘Instead of releasing our players, we’ll just have them sit the bench for us’.  That’s not sitting too well for the former captain.  Valencia is simply in a tailspin as of late and maybe Banega is the spark to bring them out of it.

My firm stand on younger players is this: Any young player is always a project.

He will face a different game in La Liga.  Sure, the Clausura isn’t a cakewalk, but you have to adjust to a different system, coach, country, all of the things he currently has in Argentina.  He is also a youngster at only 19 years old.  From the photos he looks as if he will need to mature a bit to not be forced off the ball easily and is still going to grow as a player.  It’s a shame that he couldn’t learn from Riquelme now that he is back at Boca.  A year or two next to Riquelme may have paid large dividends to the young Argentinian.

Koeman won’t waste much time in putting the 19 year old to work at the Mestalla.  There is no better time to give Valencia a boost than the present.   I just hope that Banega is ready for an entire city’s weight to be on his shoulders.  Playing at Valencia is no easy task.

La Liga Wrap Up–Jornada 3

Here is the wrap up for Jornada 3 of La Liga. I don’t have much time to write wrap-ups for the games, so I will attempt to link to a report of each game for you to enjoy. Once I have more time on my hands and an opportunity to watch the games this weekend, I will write my own reports.

Also, the reports are in Spanish. If anyone knows where to get a quality review of the game in English (minus The Offside where I get my Valencia, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletic ones, let me know)

As always we’ll start with the best first.

Sevilla 4-Recreativo 1
Sevilla: Kerzhakov 11′ (1) Kanouté 30′ (2) Kanouté 53′ (3) Kerzhakov 74′ (2)
Recreativo: Aitor 54′ (1)

Pushed on by 2 goals by Kanouté and 2 by Kerzhakov, Sevilla pounded Recre into submission. Kerzhakov had a chance on a penalty to score his second, but missed and netted his second of the game later. Recap with goals Recap

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La Liga Wrap Up–Jornada 2

 Happy Monday to everyone.  After a crazy weekend of moving and such, I’m back up and blogging.

Here are the results for this weekend’s La Liga action.  The Sevilla-Osasuna game was postponed due to Sevilla’s Champions League tie with AEK Athens on Tuesday.  The game will be made up mid week sometime this season.

Villareal 0 – Real Madrid 5
Real Madrid: Raul 38′ (2) Sneijder 48′ (2) Sergio Ramos 49′ (1) Sneijder 72′ (3) Guti 79′ (1)

After coming off of a 3-0 victory over Valencia last week in the Mestala, Villareal got a firm wake up call from the Blancos at home this weekend. Real Madrid pumped in 5 goals, 2 coming courtsey of the Dutchman Sneijder, who is the Pichichi (leading scorer in La Liga)

Real Madrid simply dominated this game from start to finish, never giving Villareal a chance. The attacking style of Real Madrid was too much for them to handle as Villareal never looked to threaten Casillas with any quality chances on goal. Bernrd Schuster looks to have found a winner in Sneijder, who is having a spectacular run in La Liga so far.

Levante 0 – Murcia 0

Both Levante and Murcia played a uber-conservative game in el Ciutat de Valencia, which culmonated into a nil-nil draw. The game was a bore from start to finish, but Murcia did show some signs of life a few times during the match, forcing Levante keeper Storari into making a few good saves.

Murcia may have played a defensive game, but they are looking for points to help them stay up in La Liga one more season, and they are not going to take chances in dropping points. 4 points in 2 games is not bad for them..not bad at all.

Zaragoza 1 – Racing 1
Zaragoza: Oliviera 74′ (2)
Racing: Óscar Serrano 54′ (1)

Zaragoza and Racing both took to the offensive in this meeting, but the keepers were up to the challenge. Racing was the better side throughout the match and attacked through the air on the shorter Zaragoza squad. Serrano netted his goal in the center of the Zaragoza area before the ball could be cleared.

Oliviera took advantage of a bad clear to tie the game at 1-1 and to ensure Zaragoza earned their first point this season.

Getafe 1 – Recreativo 1
Getafe: Manu del Moral 93′ (1)
Recreativo: Sinama Pongolle 84′ (2)

Manu del Moral saved Getafe from their second straight loss of the season by heading in a goal on 93 minutes. Getafe were playing with 10 men after Mario Cotelo was sent off for shoving a Recreativo player.

Sinama Pongolle scored on a brillant solo effort in the area.

The rest of the La Liga scores:

Betis 2 – Espanyol 2
Betis: Fernando 83′ (1) Sobis 84′ (1)
Espanyol: Luis Garcia 32′ 41′ (1, 2)

Valladolid 2 – Deportivo 2
Valladolid: Garcia Calvo 45′ (1), Sisi 71′ (1)
Deportivo: Taborada 53′ (1) Riki 77′ (1)

Almería 1 – Valencia 2
Almería: Negredo 62′ (2)
Valencia: Morientes 45′ (1) Moretti 79′ (1)

Valencia avenged their shutout defeat last week at the hands of Valladolid with a 2-1 victory over newly promoted Almería.

Barcelona 3 – Athletic 1
Barcelona: Ronaldinho 08′ (1) Ronaldinho 34′ (2) Yaya Toure 71′ (1)
Athletic: Markel Susaeta 70′ (1)

Atlético 1- Mallorca 1
Atlético: Güiza 18′ (1)
Mallorca: Pernía 77′ (1)