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LaLiga Report: Barcelona make shock signing as one of the world's best coaches extends his stay

The LaLiga table is taking shape with the three sides who competed in last year's International Champions Cup doing battle again in their domestic league.

Real Madrid's win against Sevilla and Barcelona's continued dominance is creating a hierarchy within the division as we approach the business end of the campaign.

On top of this we are in the midst of the January transfer window, which always has the potential to throw up some interesting stories and change a team's trajectory.

We round up the some of the latest from last weekend's games as well as the latest goings on off the pitch.

Barça on the bounce

Barcelona have won their last seven in the league and are unbeaten in eight. This is the standard the teams challenging them need to aspire to if they’re to catch the league leaders.

Two of the chasing pack  — both Madrid sides — won this weekend, which keeps the gap between Barça and Real Madrid at ten points, and the gap between the top and second-placed Atlético de Madrid at five.

The defending champions defeated Leganes 3-1 this weekend with goals from Ousmane Dembélé, Luis Suarez, and Lionel Messi. 

The two game-winning goals came in the final quarter of the game after head coach Ernesto Valverde made three substitutions — one of which was Messi. Not a bad player to have in reserve.

Sevilla and Deportivo Alaves both lost at the weekend, to Real Madrid and Getafe respectively, and it seems that the title race will be a three way battle as you can’t rule out a team of Real’s size and quality at this stage, despite the deficit.

Modrić makes Madrid tick

Real’s win at home to Sevilla was not just an important victory in terms of Los Blancos continuing their challenge at the top of the table, but it was also important that they put in a good performance against another top side.

Luka Modrić's influence was key, and though it could be said this has waned recently, this game gave some hope that he is back to his Ballon d’Or winning best.

He scored his second goal in as many games, and contributed to the performance with four key passes, two dribbles, four tackles, two interceptions, and was fouled four times!

It was an all-round midfield display from the Croatian, who will have a big part to play if his side are to plug away at the gap between themselves and rivals Barcelona.

Diego's deal

It is being reported that Diego Simeone is about to sign a new deal with Atlético de Madrid, in what will be another boost for the side from the capital as they chase the league leaders.

There were rumblings earlier in the month about the possibility  of a new deal, and it seems the Argentine coach is now close to signing one.

His current contract expires next year, and when players or managers approach the final 18 months of their deal there are always questions surrounding their future.

Simeone is set to put pen to paper and add an extra year onto his current deal, which will reduce the distractions as the club challenge in LaLiga, and look forward to their mouthwatering clash with Juventus in the Champions League.

Barcelona bring in Boateng

Barcelona have added Ghanaian royalty to their squad by signing Kevin-Prince Boateng from Serie A side Sassuolo.

The flamboyant attacking midfielder joins on loan, with reports stating that there will be an option to make the deal permanent for around $10 million at the end of the season.

It appears to be a left-field move, but maybe it’s just what Barcelona need to add some unpredictability to their play in the areas just behind their world class forward line.

“I'm a bit sad because I'm leaving a professionally-run club in Sassuolo and it was hard to say goodbye to everybody today, even if Barcelona are one of the biggest clubs in the world,” Boateng told Sky Sport Italia.

“It was a testing day, but saying goodbye to my teammates, [sporting director Giovanni] Carnevali and the coach meant so much to me. I've got a lot of respect for this side and that is why I had to say my goodbyes in person.”

READ MORE: WHY HAVE BARÇA SIGNED BOATENG?

 
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