Another week another chance to shine for Barça players around the world. Here is a glance at Barça main prospects (on-loan players and buy-back transfer options) and at how they performed this weekend.
Adama Traoré - Aston Villa - Buy-Back Transfer
Did not play
Premier League - Day 34 - Manchester United 1-0 Aston Villa (16/4)
There is no turning back, Aston Villa are officially relegated to the Championship, a league in which they will evolve for the first time in 18 years. There wasn't any more room for a miracle, and the visit at Old Trafford sealed the deal. It wasn't the greatest of games for Louis van Gaal's men, but it is still a win. Young Red Devils' sensation Marcus Rashford scored the winner in the 32nd minute and condemned the Villains. Adama Traoré, who had just gone back from injury the week before, wasn't called by his coach Eric Black this time to face United. He could only witness the tragedy on tv, as he wasn't even on the bench. Without his long-term injury, maybe things would have been slightly different, but it is hard to imagine that one man would have changed it all. Aston Villa have been struggling for several seasons now, and this outcome is only the logical consequence of a bad management.
Gerard Deulofeu - Everton - Buy-Back Transfer
Played 63 minutes
Premier League - Day 34 - Everton 1-1 Southampton (16/4)
When things don't go your way, there is not much you can do. That's the story of Everton this seasons. The takeover of a British-Iranian billionaire, Farhad Moshiri, maybe put too much pressure on Roberto Martinez's shoulders. Indeed, the Spanish coach said he wanted to reach the top 4 to play the Champion's League next season. That was a few months before Everton entered their current slump. On the weekend, the Tofees conceded another draw at home, their 14th draw of the season, against a good side of Southampton. Ramiro Funes Mori had scored the opener in the 68th minute but on a Tosic assist, Sadio Mané drew the game and got a point for the Saints. Gerard Deulofeu played an hour, like he usually does, but couldn't disturb Southampton's solid defence enough to make the difference. 4 games to go and the season will be over, that is about the only goal right now for Everton.
Alen Halilovic – Sporting Gijón – On Loan
Liga BBVA - Day 33 - Las Palmas 1-1 Sporting (16/4)
Played 45 minutes
Another decisive game for Sporting in the perspective of avoiding relegation. La Liga BBVA is probably the most tense league regarding that specific zone of the table. With 5 teams in 6 points and only a one-point margin between the 17th and the 18th, the decision should be made at the very end of the season. Therefore, every direct opposition is a fight for survival. The game between Las Palmas wasn't necessarily one of those, as the Canarians seem now almost safe with 40 points, but still a very important match. It started off really bad for the Asturians, as Pedro Bigas scored in the 3rd minute for the locals. But Jony reacted just after half-time (48th minute) to get Sporting back in it and dream about a precious win. But no more goals were scored and the game ended on a 1-1 draw. Subbed in at half-time, Alen Halilovic didn't find the key to unlock Las Palmas' safe and steal the win. Sporting remain in a relegation position, the 18th, just one point behind Granada.
Martín Montoya - Real Betis - On Loan
Liga BBVA - Day 33 - Celta Vigo 1-1 Real Betis (16/4)
Played 90 minutes
Salvation is almost there. At least, the kind of performances Real Betis produced against Celta Vigo, in Balaídos Stadium is very encouraging. Although Celta dominated the game, thanks to their fluid collective game and great technique, Betis had immense chances on the break, that Rubén Castro couldn't convert. The most incredible one was probably at the beginning of the second half, when the forward had a clear path on the counter towards the goal, chipping the ball over the goalkeeper, but missing the target for a few centimetres. Then, Betis were leading 0-1 thanks to N'Diaye, and could have made it 0-2 against a team that looked for the win, to remain in the race for the Champion's League, and put pressure on Villarreal. Unfortunately, Martin Montoya and his teammates could not avoid the equaliser by Hernández in the 78th minute. With a 9-point margin over Sporting, Real Betis are almost safe.
Alex Song - West Ham - On Loan
Did not play
Premier League - Day 33 - Leicester 2-2 West Ham (17/4)
Definitely, where there is West Ham playing, there is a lot of show. The theory proved right once again at the King Power Stadium, in which West Ham faced the leaders Leicester. It all seemed to go smoothly for the Foxes, who were leading 1-0 thanks to the inevitable Jamie Vardy (18th minute). But a few decisions from referee Jonathan Moss and the big heart of the Hammers completely turned the game over. Carroll first converted a penalty kick after Winston Reid was arguably fouled in Leicester's box. Then, it was Aaron Cresswell who smashed the ball in with a superb volley Schmeichel couldn't do anything about. Finally, Jonathan Moss awarded a second penalty, this time for Leicester and Ulloa converted it to make it 2-2 and keep distances with Tottenham, who play tonight in Stoke City's stadium. Alex Song was, once again, not in the group.
Cristian Tello – Fiorentina – On Loan
Played 90 minutes
Serie A - Day 33 - Fiorentina 3-1 Sassuolo (17/4)
Scoring fest in Artemio Franchi as Fiorentina beat Sassuolo 3-1. Although he participated in the show, Cristian Tello wasn't decisive on any on the goals. Still, his activity helped his team dominating the possession and bringing danger on the opponent's goal. Leading 1-0 thanks to Rodríguez after just 10 minutes, La Viola reach half-time with that same score. However, Domenico Berardi equalised soon after the break (55th minute). But Fiorentina gathered their forces to make the decision in the last third of the game. Iličić scored the 2-1 (57th minute) before Consigli offered Fiorentina the secured win in the 83rd minute on a own goal. Fiorentina haven't quite given up on Champion's League football for next season, but with 5 games to play and 6 points less than 3rd place Roma, it will be very difficult to achieve.
Denis Suárez - Villarreal CF - Buy-Back Transfer
Played 65 + 71 minutes
Europa League - Quarter-finals 2nd leg - Sparta Praha 2-4 Villarreal (14/4) & Liga BBVA - Day 33 - Rayo Vallecano 2-1 Villarreal (17/4)
The goal conceded at home in the first leg of the Europa League quarter-finals could have been a problem, if Sparta Praha had started to play sooner in the 2nd leg in Prague. But the first half was an exhibition for Denis Suárez and his teammates. At half-time, the Yellow Submarine was leading 0-3 thanks to goals from Bakambu (5th minute), Samu Castillejo (43rd) and Lafata in his own goal (45+1th). Second half seemed to go equally as bad for the Czech, as Suárez offered the fourth goal to Cédric Bakambu. But unconsciously, the Valencians let go off the intensity and let Sparta get back into the game, after scoring 2 goals by Dočkal (65th minute) and Krejčí (71st). But nothing more was scored. Villarreal will face Liverpool in the semi-finals.
The result was not so great in last weekend's La Liga game. Rayo Vallecano are trying to get clear off the relegation zone, and they were on the right track after just 6 minutes, when Javi Guerra scored the opener, with Aréola not doing great to save the shot. Not too long afterwards, in the 20th minute, Adrián scored the equaliser and enabled his teammates to get back in it. But Denis Suárez and Marcelino's men conceded a second goal that turned out to be the winner for Rayo (Fedor, 81th minute). Villarreal now only have 6 points more than Athletic Club, that could dispute the qualification for the Champion's League Playoffs to them. As for Rayo, they now have a 5-point margin on Sporting, a breath of air before the last 5 games of the season.