Focus on big two as gap widens

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Looking at the Spanish sports pages over the typically baking summer months, it would appear the Spanish game was in rude health both on and off the pitch.
In Catalonia, Neymar has dominated attention after his 57 million euro ($74 million, £48.7 million) move from Santos to Barcelona was confirmed in June, whilst, in the capital, Real Madrid backed up their 69 million euro investment in the young Spanish duo of Isco and Asier Illarramendi with an on-going pursuit of the 100 million euro rated Gareth Bale in a saga that looks set to run well into the final days of the transfer window.
But beneath the big two, the game in Spain has continued to reflect the general ailing Spanish economy with even clubs in the Champions League forced to sell their best players.
As a result, the already colossal gap between Real and Barca and the rest continues to increase as do fears that by continuing to use an unbalanced TV deal that greatly favours the big two, La Liga descends further into a turgid two-horse race.
However, whilst both Barca and Real have been active in the transfer market, there are concerns that both have so far failed to bring in the type of players they really needed after falling at the semi-final stage of the Champions League last season.
Neymar’s arrival should certainly ease the scoring burden that Lionel Messi has carried almost single-handedly for the past two seasons, but the Catalans still look very threadbare at the back with captain Carles Puyol having undergone two operations during the close season and not due back till at least September.
Real meanwhile have bolstered an already strong midfield, but haven’t so far replaced Gonzalo Higuain after he joined Napoli last month leaving only Karim Benzema and youngster Alvaro Morata to fill the lone striker’s position.
There is though already a great deal more calm around Los Blancos following the departure of Jose Mourinho with the management team of Carlo Ancelotti and Zinedine Zidane highly-respected by the squad and the players themselves coming together as a unit following the public clashes and fallouts that marked the Portuguese’s final season at the Bernabeu.
Such is their dominance that firstly Real and then Barca amassed 100 points in winning the title in the past two seasons and with the gap only set to widen between them and the rest.

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