The stage is, finally, set.
A sense of anticipation about what is to come, and mournful regret about what has been suffered in the interim because of coronavirus’ cruel ravages, will be palpable when La Liga’s stars return to the field after more than three months away.
This truncated sprint to the finish should be defined, for many, by a stuttering title race between imperfect rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Interest in this rich division, however, can be derived from numerous sources. An emerging starlet from outside the inexorable ‘El Clasico’ duopoly is poised to go supernova in the 11-game dash towards July 19’s final day.
Joyously gifted Valencia winger Ferran Torres will provide essential viewing for a phalanx of scouts from Europe’s giants. Regular punters should follow their lead, beginning – if passed fit after a minor knee problem – with this weekend’s derby against Levante.
The uncapped 20-year-old has been presented as a moveable part in the great dance between Borussia Dortmund and Manchester United about Jadon Sancho. Real Madrid, Napoli, Chelsea, Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich have also been serially linked to his coveted signature.
A feeding frenzy, in short, is expected when the summer transfer market belatedly opens. Especially when an unsigned contract extension offer continues to linger over the Mestalla.
Such growing hype is a boon for La Liga watchers. Evidence continues to mount that Torres will justify it in vivid fashion.
A bountiful return of eight assists and six goals from 35 appearances, in all competitions, points to purpose in his play. His 18 key passes, according to Wyscout, is the joint-fourth most in La Liga, while 102 dribbles is the 21st-best.
The Spain Under-21 international skips past full-backs with impunity, be that through technical flashes or a sharp turn of