Ferran Torres celebrates a goal scored against Italy. / EP

Christmas in La Liga: who has been naughty and nice?

Despite the annual festive break, Spanish football is offering a lot of talking points

Rob Palmer

Ferran Torres is driving home for Christmas, Real Madrid sit top of the tree, Diego Simeone is under rare scrutiny, Rayo continue to disrupt, and Jorge Molina defies science.

There may be a festive break from Spanish football action, but there are still so many talking points.

Is Ferran Torres really leaving Manchester City for FC Barcelona? The news bulletins confirmed a €55 million deal has been done and he’s packing his cases.

Anyone who has ever moved home will know that things may not be so simple if there is a chain involved. Basically, Barça don’t have 55 million euros and wage structure to welcome Torres.

To sign they must sell; Phillipe Coutinho, Samuel Umtiti and possibly Sergiño Dest need to move on to accommodate any new signing. The issue for Barça is that few clubs have the money to invest and know that they can cut a mean deal with a desperate club.

If Torres does move, it all makes sense. He’s been excellent for the Spain national team but surplus at City. He’d be elevated from bit-part to star status and playing alongside his international teammates of the future.

As Barça struggle, Real Madrid roll on. Twelve games unbeaten, leaders by a distance, advanced in Europe and with a pool of players so deep, the loss of eight players for the last two games made little difference.

Contrast the calm at Real Madrid to the unrest at Atlético. Diego Simeone has the safest seat in football management. For the first time in a decade, he’s sitting uncomfortably in that seat after enduring his fourth straight defeat. Those who suggest that his position may be under threat don’t know the man or the club.

The player who did the damage is the Christmas miracle Jorge Molina. The 39-year-old followed up a hat trick against Mallorca with the decisive goal to knock the champions down into fifth position.

It’s a joy to see Rayo Vallecano sitting a point and a place above them. They are the Tranmere to the Mersey giants, the Leyton Orient to the London clubs. It’s not the first time they’ve performed the role of “disrupters”, but if they managed to make it into the Champions League it would be so romantic.

Can you imagine the faces of the European elite as they tried to find the humble home which definitely isn’t on a tourist map and then discovered the three-sided stadium with a block of flats overlooking one goal?

¡Viva Rayo! And Merry Christmas.