Girona's incredible surge to the top of La Liga is a testament to the unpredictability of football. The Blanquivermells have notched 34 of 39 points after 13 La Liga games. Indeed, they are not just lucky.
Their 31 goals are also the highest tally in the league, thanks to a bevy of strikes from Artem Dovbyk (7) and Savio (4). It's no surprise that Girona's underdog success story reminds football fans of Leicester's unexpected triumph.
Under Italian boss Claudio Ranieri, the Foxes stole the Premier League by storm in the 2015/16 season, defying all odds to clinch the title. Bookmakers set the club's odds at an almost unbelievable 5000-1 to win the division as the season commenced.
So, what explains the unbelievable turnaround of the Catalan club? That part is more revealing.
Girona's ties to Pep Guardiola and his brother Pere
Manchester City and Pep Guardiola's younger brother, Pere Guardiola, are involved. The former sports agent took a 16 percent stake in the Catalan club in 2017. City Football Group bought out the club shortly after that, installing Pere as chairman of the team.
You can see where this is going. Ever since the City takeover, Girona experienced years in Segunda B before head coach Michel took over and won promotion to La Liga in the 2022/23 season. Michel plays a similar style to Pep.
During that time, the club brought reinforcements, including Eric Garcia on loan from Barcelona and Daley Blind from Manchester United. These more experienced players and the hot-scoring talents of Tsyhankov and 19-year-old Savio have helped Girona top the table.
Some pooh-pooh the comparison to Leicester City's rise, which seemed more organic than Girona's oil-backed success.
“Girona are top of La Liga, its a #MCFC “B” team you are watching, not a great story like Leichester City, its a story of expansionism,” tweeted FootballCommentator. “Girona are owned by Manchester City Football Group (CFG) network. Girona is a Starbucks. Football will soon look like corporate strip malls.”
That is certainly an interesting take. But Girona, even with an assortment of City players and desired loanees, is leading all of Europe's biggest clubs on points going into the international break.
If Leicester City's 2015/16 triumph is one of the greatest sports stories ever told, what will we make of Girona's silverware?
Girona leads the Spanish giants in La Liga Table 23/24
Here is a table summarizing the current standings in the La Liga for the 2023/2024 season:
|Rank||Team||Played||Wins||Draws||Losses||Goals For||Goals Against||Goal Difference||Points|
|8||UD Las Palmas||13||5||3||5||11||12||-1||18|