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Girona's man-marking stopped Lionel Messi but didn't stop Barcelona

Aday and Gorka Iraizoz netted own goals in each half as Barcelona walked away from Girona with a comfy 3-0 win.

MONTILIVI, Girona -- The buildup to Barcelona's 3-0 win against Girona on Saturday was dominated by politics. But, even though he didn't score, the focus after the match was all on Lionel Messi. For the week before, it had been on Catalan independence.

This was the first time these two Catalan cities, separated by 100 kilometres, had ever met in Spain's top flight. Barca have played six fellow Catalan sides in the Primera Division -- Espanyol, Europa, Sabadell, Gimnastic, Lleida and Condal --...

John Brewin profile picture  By John Brewin

Why Man City have targeted La Liga newcomers Girona for loan moves

Pep Guardiola feels Sergio Aguero's last minute title-winning goal was the Premier League's best ever moment.

Preseason friendlies are big business these days. So are postseason friendlies. But Manchester City began a new trend this week by playing a friendly when the season had already started.

They will spend much of this week at a warm weather training camp in Spain and on Tuesday, the club took on Girona, three days after a 2-0 win in their Premier League opener at Brighton & Hove Albion.

The newly promoted La Liga side won 1-0 at the Municipal de Montilivi and landed the Costa Brava Trophy thanks to...

 By Sid Lowe

Jonas Ramalho on Girona's La Liga promotion: "The beginning of something"

Girona's promotion should be a turning point for a Catalan club that has been forever in the shadows.

Damned no more, Girona Fútbol Club will be in the first division next season, finally making their debut well into their ninth decade.

"History!" declared Carles Puigdemont, president of the Catalan Generalitat. Closure, too. Girona striker Fran Sandaza likened it to a "wound that hadn't healed." Defender Jonas Ramalho called it a "thorn" in their sides. "Well," he says, "we've removed it now."

Girona has 98,255 residents, boasts a restaurant with three Michelin stars that has been named...

Girona overcome years of heartache to finally win promotion to La Liga

Girona has a football club in the Primera Division for the first time in 87 years.

On Sunday, Girona FC earned promotion to La Liga for the first time in their 87-year history. It was a magical moment for the Catalan town, and a sensational turnaround for a club that was sold for just one euro because of huge debts as recently as 2012.

Girona needed a point in the home fixture against Zaragoza on the Segunda Division's penultimate match day to be certain of finishing second. Their rivals had to draw in order to be mathematically safe from relegation. Perhaps the...