Another look back at some classic goals, players and moments from this week in LaLiga history…
November 23, 2003: Jesus Navas makes his LaLiga debut
Not many present at Espanyol’s Montjuic stadium on 23 November 2003, especially the few Sevilla fans who had made the long journey to the Catalan capital, paid that much attention when a skinny young winger entered as a late substitute in a game los rojiblancos lost 1-0.
However, Jesus’ Navas LaLiga debut that day is now a standout date for Sevilla fans; the local hero is now generally recognised as the outstanding player in the club’s entire 116 year history, having won three UEFA Cups/Europa Leagues, two Copas del Rey, a European Super Cup and Spanish Super Cup, in addition to winning the 2010 World Cup and 2012 European Championships with the Spanish national team. Such is his status that the stadium at Sevilla’s training ground has been known as the Estadio Jesus Navas since 2018. 36 this month, Navas is still going strong.
November 23, 2013: Carlos Vela scores a four-goal ‘poker’ against RC Celta
Real Sociedad fans at the Reale Arena on 23 November 2013 cheered when cult hero Carlos Vela put his side 1-0 ahead vs Celta with an early crisp close-range strike, only for the visitors to turn the game around and go 3-1 up early in the second half.
Enter again Vela, who headed his side back into the game from Chory Castro’s cross, soon scrambled in an equaliser, and then calmly slotted his fourth from Antoine Griezmann’s assist to complete the comeback.
The 24-year-old’s ‘poker’ cemented his status as one of the most important Mexican players in LaLiga history, and he provided a total of 69 goals and 46 assists in 252 LaLiga games between joining La Real from Arsenal in 2011 and leaving for LA Galaxy in January 2018.
November 24, 2018: Eibar beat Real Madrid in LaLiga for the first time ever
Everyone at Eibar’s atmospheric Ipurua stadium knew they were witnessing history on 24 November 2018 when the small Basque team made history with their first ever LaLiga victory over Real Madrid. After Welsh superstar Gareth Bale had a 25-yard goal of season contender ruled out for offside, Eibar deservedly went ahead midway through the first half when midfielder Gonzalo Escalante finished off a counter-attack.
Their dominance was further emphasised after the break when Marc Cucurella set up Sergi Enrich for 2-0, and Kike Garcia made it 3-0 from close range. Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was easily Real Madrid’s best player on a day when the team was struggling for form, with new coach Santi Solari having replaced Julen Lopetegui on the bench just a few weeks before. Eibar’s fans did not care about that, though – they had a date to remember forever.
November 27, 2019: Messi marks his 700th Barcelona game
Lionel Messi marked his 700th appearance for Barcelona in all competitions the way he usually marks such occasions – by scoring as the Catalan club beat Borussia Dortmund to confirm their place in the knock-out stages of the 2019-20 Champions League.
Messi was as usual the game’s outstanding performer. A deft pass set up teammate Luis Suarez for the opener, and he quicky doubled his side’s lead with a short range finish for his 613th goal for the club before assisting Antoine Griezmann to complete a 3-1 victory.
Another game, another landmark for the Argentine all-time great.