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Spanish league keeps growing star power

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 19, 2014 at 1:30 pm •  Published: August 19, 2014
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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Two months after Spain's national team flopped at the World Cup, the country's domestic league is ready to shine with even more star power.

Already boasting the sport's two biggest names in Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, the Spanish league got even richer in individual talent with the addition of several players who stood out at the tournament in Brazil, including James Rodriguez and Luis Suarez.

The league will also hope to build on an entertaining finale last season, which saw Atletico Madrid clinch the title in a winner-take-all showdown at Barcelona, and its dominance of European competitions when Real Madrid beat Atletico in the all-Spanish Champions League final. Sevilla won the Europa League.

Madrid has again flexed its monetary muscle as the world's richest sports club by gobbling up three of the World Cup's most impactful players.

The club spent about 115 million euros ($154 million) for Rodriguez, the Colombian who led the World Cup in scoring, Germany midfielder Toni Kroos and Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas.

"This could be the beginning of an important era because I am lucky enough to coach a fantastic squad," said Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti, who led the team to its 10th European Cup title last season.

But the most talked-about move of the off-season was Barcelona's deal with Liverpool to add the gifted and volatile Suarez to an attack already featuring Messi and Neymar.

Besides Germany's 7-1 win over Brazil in the semifinals, perhaps the most memorable moment of the World Cup will likely be Suarez's ignominious bite of an Italian opponent that led to the Uruguay forward receiving his third suspension for sinking his teeth into another player. This most recent ban was softened to let him practice and play friendlies with Barcelona, but Suarez cannot play a competitive match until Oct. 25.

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