Led by former Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini, Copa del Rey champions Betis are flying. | MIQUEL A. BORRAS


Real Betis and Osasuna are fighting for the top of the LaLiga table after winning both of their first two games of the season.

Led by former Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini, Copa del Rey champions Betis breezed past Elche with a 3-0 win on their season debut and defeated Mallorca 2-1 away on Saturday with two goals from the spot by LaLiga's top-scorer Borja Iglesias.

Juanmi and Nabil Fekir also started the new season where they left off, giving Betis a dynamic offensive trio alongside Iglesias.

Osasuna beat contenders Sevilla last week and followed up with another win on Saturday against Cadiz, in two solid performances by Jagoba Arrasate's squad.

They were in contention for the European competition places for most of last season but went winless in their last six league games on their way to a disappointing 10th-place finish.

Alongside Real Sociedad and Villarreal, they are among the teams that will be hoping to contend for a top-four finish this season.

When Real Madrid signed 18-year-old Brazilian attacking midfielder Reinier Jesus for 30 million euros back in January 2020, expectations were sky-high.

He came from Flamengo, the same club as Vinicius Jr, and was the top scorer at the under-16 club World Cup in 2018, where the Brazilian side beat Real Madrid 4-2 in the final.

But Reinier was unable to find his way with Real and was loaned for two consecutive seasons to Borussia Dortmund where he struggled, managing just one goal and one assist in 393 Bundesliga minutes across 27 appearances - and only two as a starter.

After his return to Spain, it took a while for Real Madrid to find a better fit for him where he could develop his skills.
The choice was newly promoted Girona, meaning Reinier will have the opportunity to play in Spain's first division and, hopefully, more regularly.

Real Madrid thumped Celta Vigo 4-1 away, led by a brilliant Luka Modric and Vinicius Jr.
In their first game without Casemiro after he joined Manchester United on Friday, Modric played alongside youngsters Aurelien Tchouameni and Eduardo Camavinga who also stood out even though fans and media were apprehensive about their ability to replace the club legend.

The French duo were solid as they alternated in the defensive midfielder role, but they also added an extra gear and quality that Carlo Ancelotti's team didn't seem to have with the Brazilian.
They showed great chemistry and linked well with Modric and Federico Valverde, suggesting Real may have found a solid foundation for the years to come.

In another blow for Barcelona, the Spanish giants played their second game of the season without their big summer signing French defender Jules Kounde, who has still not been registered as a player, as the club works to comply with LaLiga's Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.

Reports in the Spanish media at the weekend suggested Kounde is frustrated by the situation and has a clause in his contract that allows him to be a free agent if Barca can't find a way to comply with LaLiga's salary cap rules to register him.

Barca are still some 22 million euros over the cap after taking several steps to increase their revenue in order to offset losses and reduce debt to meet the FFP rules.

The club is hopeful that potential sales of strikers Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Memphis Depay could make this possible, with Chelsea and Juventus reportedly interested.
But until it is official, Kounde will have to wait.