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La Liga News: 7 April 2015; Elche, Espanyol Share the Spoils, Real Madrid Linked with Three Players

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Real Madrid 9-1 defeat of Granada a strong first step toward end-of-season goal - ESPN FC
Three down, 27 to go: Real Madrid's crushing 9-1 victory over Granada on Sunday afternoon was the first step towards the club's stated goal of winning the 10 matches remaining in the Liga season -- their play to apply maximum pressure on leaders Barcelona.

Cristiano Ronaldo closes in Lionel Messi's 50-goal mark after five-goal blitz | Sky Sports
Cristiano Ronaldo has every chance of breaking Lionel Messi's 50-goal tally, but retaining the La Liga title is more important, says Sky Sports' Spanish football expert Terry Gibson. The Portuguese superstar registered an eight minute hat-trick on the way to a five-goal haul for the first time in his distinguished career as Madrid continued their pursuit of Barcelona in the title race with a 9-1 thrashing of Granada on Sunday.

Madrid eye Victor Valdes | Football Espana
The European champions are understood to be looking for a new goalkeeper to replace Iker Casillas and have already sounded out David de Gea, Petr Cech and Augusto Batalla. Having received no encouragement so far, they are now set to turn to Valdes, who is currently being kept out of United’s team by De Gea’s fine form this season.

Madrid linked with Ghana left-back | Football Espana
Real Madrid have been linked with a move for Ghana defender Abdul Rahman Baba, according to a report in Bild. The 20-year-old has been in excellent form for Augsburg this season and has attracted interest from a number of Europe’s top clubs, including Atletico Madrid, Manchester United, Chelsea, Borussia Dortmund, Manchester City, Parma and Schalke.

Real Madrid are monitoring Raheem Sterling's Liverpool talks, Zinedine Zidane says - ESPN FC
Zinedine Zidane says Real Madrid are monitoring the progress of Raheem Sterling's stalled contract talks with Liverpool. Sterling has rejected what manager Brendan Rodgers described as an "incredible offer" -- believed to be £100,000-a-week -- as the club look to tie down one of their prize assets.

Zinedine Zidane is the obvious replacement for Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti | Sky Sports
The 42-year-old former France World Cup winner was Ancelotti's assistant when Los Blancos defeated neighbours Atletico to become European champions for the 10th time last season. Zidane has since taken charge of Real's B team, Castilla, and Gibson says he is the perfect choice for the managerial role should Ancelotti be removed from his post in the summer.

Lionel Messi and Barcelona harder to stop than Cristiano Ronaldo - Miranda - ESPN FC
Atletico Madrid centre-back Miranda has said maintaining defensive shape is the key to stopping Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo -- but that it is more difficult to cope with Barcelona and Lionel Messi. Ballon d'Or holder Ronaldo, who endured a frustrating start to 2015, showed he had not lost his goal scoring touch when he scored five times in a 9-1 hammering of Granada at the weekend.

Cult hero David Barral is smiles ahead for Levante in La Liga | Sid Lowe | The Guardian
Thirty-one now, Barral won promotion as a kid at Castilla, where he played alongside Roberto Soldado, Álvaro Negredo, Borja Valero and Esteban Granero, and twice he was called up to Real Madrid’s first team squad but he never played for them. He injured Jonathan Woodgate in an infamous, ill-fated practice game imposed by a president under pressure, pulling away as Woodgate pulled up.

Manchester United may fail to sign Nicolas Otamendi, says Graham Hunter | Sky Sports
The Spanish football expert told Sky Sports: "Manchester United's interest in aquiring Otamendi is well established. Therefore, I would expect them to try to buy him in the summer. If they come in with £50million then Valencia have a decision to make. It is better football sense for Valencia's level to use the good players they have got to earn Champions League revenue."

Goalkeeper Beto signs new contract with Sevilla - ESPN FC
Goalkeeper Beto has signed a new contract with Europa League holders Sevilla to end speculation about his future. The 32-year-old's existing deal was due to expire in the summer, but the Portugal international has agreed a new two-year deal with an option for a further season.

Malaga step up Barral chase | Football Espana
Malaga have made their interest in David Barral known and are stepping up their pursuit of the Levante striker. According to AS, the Andalusians have been tracking the 31-year-old for some time and began talks with his club some weeks ago, with negotiations now having reached an advanced stage.

Elche nudged another point clear of the Primera Division relegation zone | Sky Sports Football
Sergio Garcia gave the hosts a first-half lead but Christian Herrera's header earned Elche a point. The result leaves the visitors two places and three points above the drop zone, with Espanyol a further seven points and four places above them and surely secure in the top flight.

Sergi Barjuan takes charge at Almería and could make his debut at Camp Nou | FC Barcelona
Sergi Barjuan will be the Almería coach until the end of the season. The Andalusian club announced the news on Monday after the sacking of previous boss Juan Ignacio Martínez over the weekend in the wake of his team’s 4-1 home defeat against Levante. Almería also announced that Sergi "could take his place in the dugout as coach on Wednesday at Camp Nou should all the necessary paperwork be completed in time."

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