ESPN announces LaLiga hosts, commentators, analysts and reporters for debut season

ESPN has assembled an all-star roster of play-by-play commentators, hosts, analysts and reporters for its upcoming English and Spanish-language coverage of LaLiga Santander. The lineup of personalities combines over 30 current ESPN experts with new faces from across Latin America, Europe and the United States, including world-class players who have competed at the highest levels of global football.

English-language play-by-play commentary for LaLiga on ESPN+ and ESPN networks will be led by popular, highly-respected broadcasters Ian Darke, Derek Rae, Adrian Healey, Rob Palmer, and Sebastian Salazar.

Fernando Palomo, Jorge Ramos, Ricardo Ortiz, and Mauricio Pedroza will headline Spanish-language play-by-play coverage on ESPN+ and ESPN Deportes.

Earlier this week, ESPN announced a team of six analysts renowned from their careers as former LaLiga players. Former Atlético Madrid’s Luis Garcίa, Real Madrid’s Steve McManaman, and RCD Espanyol’s Pablo Zabaleta will share lead roles as English-language analysts. Former Atletico Madrid’s Diego Forlán, former Valencia CF’s Mario Kempes, and Real Madrid legend Hugo Sánchez lead the team of Spanish-language analysts. Also joining as Spanish-language analysts will be ESPN Deportes’ versatile voices Andrés Agulla, Carolina De Las Salas, Alex Pareja and Hernán Pereyra, Former U.S. Men’s National Team goalkeeper and the first American goalkeeper to play in LaLiga with Rayo Vallecano Kasey Keller, Former Venezuelan National Team player Alejandro Moreno, and former professional soccer player Stewart Robson, will contribute as English-language analyst.

READ MORE: ESPN selects Kay Murray as co-host of LaLiga coverage on English-language broadcasts

ESPN’s English-language studio hosts are Dan Thomas and Kay Murray. The duo will co-host ESPN FC, ESPN’s signature soccer program with news, analysis and highlights show. Andrés Agulla, Cristina Alexander, and Ricardo Puig will serve as Spanish-language studio voices on Fuera de Juego.

Six Spain-based reporters will handle coverage from site throughout the season, including LaLiga insiders Martin Ainstein, Rodrigo Faez, Moises Llorens, Sid Lowe, Manu Martín, and Gemma Soler. London-based football reporter Alexis Nunes will also report from site.

When LaLiga Santander returns for its 91st season on Friday, August 13, ESPN+ will be the exclusive, new home of coverage in the U.S., with content and select matches appearing throughout the season across ESPN, ESPN Deportes, and ABC platforms. Opening weekend will kick off with Valencia CF at home against Getafe CF on Friday, August 13, with a live pre-show at 2:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+.

On Sunday, August 15, FC Barcelona hosts Real Sociedad at Camp Nou in Barcelona, live on ABC, with coverage beginning with a 30-minute pregame show at 1:30 p.m. It will mark the first time ever that a LaLiga match will air on broadcast television in the U.S. The Spanish-language telecast of the match will be on ESPN Deportes, and ESPN+ will stream the English- and Spanish-language presentations of the match.

LaLiga 2021-22 season-opening weekend will cover four days (Friday, Aug. 13 – Monday, Aug. 16) featuring 10 matches streaming live in English and Spanish on ESPN+.

LaLiga Play-by-Play Commentators

Ian Darke – Joined ESPN in September 2010 as the company’s lead soccer voice in the United States. Darke has commentated on many of the world’s marquee events — FIFA World Cup, UEFA European Football Championship, FIFA Women’s World Cup, Barclays Premier League, Bundesliga, FA Cup Final and more, as well as being the lead commentator for ESPN coverage of the U.S. National Teams (men’s and women’s).

Adrian Healey – Soccer play-by-play commentator for ESPN International’s coverage of several European leagues since 2003, Healey was part of ESPN’s award-winning presentation of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, UEFA EURO 2008, and 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Ricardo Ortiz – Considered one of ESPN Deportes’ most versatile commentators, Ortiz has been with ESPN since 1992. Throughout his career at ESPN, Ortiz has provided play-by-play commentary for ESPN’s coverage in Latin America for UEFA Champions League, Serie A, Argentine soccer, Dutch League, among others. He also co-hosts studio show Fuera de Juego.

Fernando Palomo – A leading voice on ESPN’s Spanish-language coverage of European soccer in the U.S. and Latin America. Palomo credits include UEFA European Football Championship, Champions League Finals, Serie A, LaLiga, English Premier League, France’s Ligue 1 and German Bundesliga.

Rob Palmer – Widely regarded as “the voice of La Liga” since first commentating on Spanish football in 1996 for Sky Sports and English-speaking outlets around the world. He has covered everything from the Galácticos era to the Messi/Ronaldo years. Before working in media, Palmer was a goalkeeper at Derby County and played NCAA soccer for The New Haven Chargers.

Mauricio Pedroza – One of ESPN Deportes’ most versatile commentators, Pedroza serves as play-by-play commentator for Mexican soccer and MLS. He is co-host of ESPN Deportes’ Ahora o Nunca and regularly appears on Fútbol Picante and Cronómetro.

Derek Rae – International soccer commentator for more than 25 years and currently lead play-by-play voice for Bundesliga on ESPN+ and ESPN networks. Rae is one of the most versatile voices in the game, having provided commentary for virtually every top league and competition, as well as delivering voice work to the popular FIFA video game franchise from EA Sports. Most recently, Rae earned critical acclaim for his commentary during ESPN’s coverage of UEFA EURO 2020.

Sebastian Salazar – A versatile commentator, Salazar is co-host of the new Fútbol Americas show on ESPN+. He covered the Mexican National Team for ESPN during the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and his soccer assignments include MLS, the U.S. Women’s National Team, and hosting UEFA EURO 2020.

Jorge Ramos – One of ESPN Deportes’ lead soccer play-by-play commentator, Ramos hosts Jorge Ramos y Su Banda on ESPN Deportes and ESPN+. In his 30+-year career, Ramos has served as play-by-play commentator for more than 3,000 soccer matches and has covered several FIFA World Cup tournaments, Copa America and European Cup competitions.

LaLiga Analysts

Former LaLiga stars – Diego Forlán, Luís Garcia, Mario Kempes, Steve McManaman, Hugo Sánchez and Pablo Zabaleta – were announced this week as lead analysts ESPN’s coverage of the league.

Andrés Agulla – Brings years of experience covering soccer as co-host of Fuera de Juego and analyst for international soccer matches.

Kasey Keller – Former U.S. Men’s National Team goalkeeper and three-time U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year. He joined ESPN as a soccer analyst in February 2012 and serves as a studio analyst for select MLS and U.S. Men’s National Team matches, as well as international events such as the UEFA European Football Championship. Keller holds the record as the most-capped goalkeeper in the U.S. Men’s National Team with 102 appearances – starting two of three matches in the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France and starting all matches in the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, including a 1-1 tie versus Italy. Keller is the first American goalkeeper to play in LaLiga, with Rayo Vallecano.

Carolina De Las Salas – In 2017, De Las Salas became the first woman on Spanish-language television in the U.S. to serve as analyst for Mexican soccer. She also serves as analyst for MLS, Spain’s Copa de la Reina and co-hosts soccer show Jorge Ramos y Su Banda.

Alejandro Moreno – Joined ESPN as a soccer analyst in March 2013, after an 11-year Major League Soccer career that ended in 2012. Moreno is a former Venezuelan National Team player who won three MLS Cup titles, and has been involved in ESPN’s coverage of global events since joining the network.

Alex Pareja – Joined ESPN Deportes in 2015 and serves as soccer analyst, mostly covering MLS and European football. Pareja regularly appears on European football studio show Fuera de Juego.

Hernán Pereyra – ESPN Deportes football expert and co-host of popular ESPN+ show Jorge Ramos y Su Banda.

Stewart Robson – a former professional soccer player and current television pundit in England, served as a match analyst for ESPN’s production of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. He began his 14-year-professional career with English Premier League club Arsenal at the age of 17 and made 150 appearances, scoring 15 goals over the course of five seasons (1981-1986) with the Gunners.

LaLiga Hosts

Cristina Alexander – ESPN Deportes SportsCenter anchor and co-host for Fútbol Center, ESPN FC and Fuera de Juego. Prior to ESPN, Alexander served as a reporter for TDN.

Kay Murray – Two-time co-host of FIFA Ballon d’Or (2011 and 2012), football’s most prestigious awards ceremony, Murray joined ESPN in February as a presenter for English-language editions of SportsCenter after seven years as studio host at beIN SPORTS USA. She is a former Real Madrid TV presenter.

Ricardo Puig – ESPN Deportes’ SportsCenter anchor and Fútbol Picante and Fútbol Center co-host. Prior to ESPN, Puig worked at CNI Canal 40, HBO Latinoamerica, and served as sports co-editor of the Mexican newspaper Diario Milenio.

Dan Thomas – Joined ESPN in 2010 as a soccer studio host. This assignment marks Thomas’ return to LaLiga where he was English-language presenter for Real Madrid TV from 2005- 2010. He is the lead host for ESPN FC, the signature daily news and information program exclusively on ESPN+.

LaLiga Reporters

Martin Ainstein – Since joining ESPN Deportes in 2005, Ainstein has become the network’s Real Madrid Insiders. He has also produced and narrated multiple ESPN Deportes original series, including Liga Confidencial, Último Tren a Rusia, Último Tren a Tokio, Destino Fútbol, and Galácticos.

Rodrigo Faez – ESPN Deportes’ Spain-based Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid correspondent, a role he has held since 2019. Prior to ESPN, Faez worked as a reporter for Gol TV, beIN SPORTS, and Movistar.

Moises Llorens – ESPN Deportes’ Spain-based FC Barcelona Insider – a club he has covered for more than 25 years. Llorens appears regularly on ESPN Deportes’ studio shows, including SportsCenter, Fuera de Juego, and ESPN FC. He is also a regular contributor for ESPNDeportes.com. Prior to ESPN Deportes, Llorens covered LaLiga at beIn Sports and was a LaLiga beat writer – mainly covering FC Barcelona – at the Spanish newspaper AS.

Sid Lowe – ESPN.Com’s Spain-based writer. In addition to covering European football for ESPN.Com, Lowe regularly appears on ESPNFC.

Manu Martín – Serves as a Spain-based correspondent for ESPN Deportes, regularly appearing on studio shows, including Fuera de Juego, SportsCenter, among others. His 30-plus year career spans roles at Spanish newspaper AS, Eurosport, Movistar and Canal Plus, among others.

Alexis Nunes – London-based soccer and cricket reporter, Nunes is ESPN FC co-host. She covers major events, including the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, the 2019 Pan American Games, multiple Cricket World Cups, 2019 FA Cup Final, ICC Women’s T20 Cricket World Cup, and more.

Gemma Soler – ESPN Deportes’ Spain-based bilingual football correspondent. Soler regularly appears on ESPN Deportes’ studio shows, including SportsCenter, Fuera de Juego, Jorge Ramos y Su Banda and ESPNFC. Prior to joining ESPN, Soler served as a correspondent for beInSports, sports producer for Al Jazeera, and was a host and producer for Barça TV.

 

La Liga TV schedule

All times Eastern.

 

Monday, September 27

03:00 pm EDT
Celta Vigo vs. Granada
ESPN+

Friday, October 1

03:00 pm EDT
Athletic Bilbao vs. Alavés
ESPN+

Saturday, October 2

08:00 am EDT
Osasuna vs. Rayo Vallecano
ESPN+
10:15 am EDT
Mallorca vs. Levante
ESPN+
12:30 pm EDT
Cádiz vs. Valencia
ESPN+
03:00 pm EDT
Atletico Madrid vs. Barcelona
ESPN+

Sunday, October 3

08:00 am EDT
Elche vs. Celta Vigo
ESPN+
10:15 am EDT
Espanyol vs. Real Madrid
ESPN+
12:30 pm EDT
Villarreal vs. Real Betis
ESPN+
12:30 pm EDT
Getafe vs. Real Sociedad
ESPN+
03:00 pm EDT
Granada vs. Sevilla FC
ESPN+

 

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