Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Dickensian Good Day, Bad Day


This is the last update for 2006 - but I imagine one or two comments may well be coming through over the next day or two. Especially from Barcelona. And Madrid. And most definately Sevilla.

Thanks to everyone for reading and writing in. Keep an eye out on 365 tomorrow, where there should be a review of the week’s actions, including tonight’s big game.

Merry Christmas

Good Day


For many of the three thousand strong away support in the Bernabeu, last night, the famous 3-0 win over Real Madrid was an irrelevance. Before the match, the tragic news had filtered through that a coach carrying Recreativo fans to the capital, had crashed with a lorry, killing four and injuring thirty five.

It would be too simplistic to suggest that the players were inspired by these sad events in their brilliant performance. Recre were not eighth in the league by chance. The manager Marcelino - shouting from the stands due to a two match touchline ban - gave the home team a master class in organisation, energy and desire. Three things that have been lacking at the Bernabeu for too long now.


La Liga Loca has been giving Sevilla far too easy a ride of late. Yes, they are fine side and yes, they deserved their victory over Deportivo, a team in a dreadful mess. However, all of last nights goal came from luck, skulduggery and downright cheating. The first was due to a sloppy spill from the increasingly dodgy Depor ‘keeper, Aouata. Sevilla’s second was a penalty awarded after Luis Fabiano stumbled to the ground. No apparent malice was intended from the striker, but it was a very iffy decision from the referee to give a spot kick.

The third and fourth goals came from free kicks - both of them given after the Santa hat wearing Daniel Alves dived - no question about it. Sevilla are too good a team to resort to these kind of tactics. But, when up against the masters, Barcelona, perhaps it is necessary to fight fire with fire to win the title.

Real Betis

On the subject of cheating, another classic from ‘Diving Dani’ at Real Betis. A leg went out, a good metre in front of the striker and he went for it. Penalty and a 1-0 win against ‘Nastic, a team propping up the league table. Another player who is genuinely too talented for this.

David Villa

Whilst it’s unlikely that all at Valencia will be sitting around a big table at Christmas, Waltons style, they may well sing some carols together to celebrate win number three in December. The perfunctory 3-1 victory over Mallorca saw another goal for David Villa - a striker who knocked in twenty-nine league goals in 2006. Not bad going.

Real Zaragoza

Although they could only squeeze one point from their match with Athletic, they are nicely in contention for a run on the fourth Champions League spot in the new year. Manager, Victor Fernandez says that his team are looking forward to a Christmas break to recharge their batteries and play with their toys. They may have a couple of new Argentinean play mates, too, if the rumours dribbling out of Upton park are true.

Racing Santander, Osasuna

Two teams who started the season shockingly badly, both coming close to losing their respective managers in the process. Today, they are two teams who now sit comfortably a little higher up the table than where they began.


Take it away Paul. And mind your language!

“the goldstone!cold! Vale park is where it's at,only bettered by Boundray park Oldham,now that's cold.

Fuck me we won and deserved to if my biased eyes didn't deceive me.great saves from the keeper(yeah right,i gonna write his name).glad we bounced back against our bogey team.trouble is the xmas fucks us up.we always start slowly.Recre at home is our next game,can't believe i'm actually worried about them.”


Bad Day

Real Madrid

Really didn’t see this one coming. And nor did Fabio Capello - “I don’t know what happened there”, he confessed, “no one was like we normally know them”. Except Raul perhaps, who according to the team sheet, was on the field, somewhere. While it is a little strong to suggest that Real are “living in a state of perpetual institutional crisis”, as ‘AS’s rather hysterical editorial suggests this morning, there is still a lot of work to be done by Capello in the new year, especially in their home performances.

The main rule of thumb with Real Madrid, over the past few years, is that there are never as bad or as good as people say. In just three days, they have apparently turned from a team who defended like giants against Espanyol and grabbed a clinical 1-0 win, to the chumps who were turned over by Recreativo. This isn’t possible. Instead they are perhaps a team somewhere between the two extremes. Real are still not out of title contention, despite playing poorly, which may give some much needed cheer to Real fans, over Christmas.

Fabio Cannavaro

Best player in the world? My arse. If the Italian defender were to come round for tea this afternoon, he wouldn’t even be the best player in La Liga Loca’s living room, at the moment.

Ian Harte’s Levante

Juan Roman Lopez Caro, manager - “the construction of the team is not the job of the coach”. Exactly the problem at so many club’s in the Spanish league. It’s still unknown whether the former Real Madrid boss will still in charge of the side, in 2007, but he deserves more time to dig the club out of their current hole. If it’s actually, possible to dig yourself out of hole, that is.

Barcelona / Atletico Madrid

Depending on whoever loses / draws / drops points tonight.


Bernd Schuster will be hoping that his new Latvian recruit, Maris Verpakovskis, is the answer to their current goal scoring issues.

Mallorca, Deportivo

Happy new year !

Celta Vigo Fans

Twenty Four shots from their team. No goals.

Anyone missed? Just click on comments or email here for your say...


Quotes of the Week

“It’s a great joke if you’re 14 and telling it in the playground”. The legend that is Frank Rijkaard responds to Sevilla president, del Nido, who claimed that he would only put him charge of his club’s second team.

“He’s an international star”, says Atletico president Enrique Cerezo on Sergio Agüero. A quick test reveals La Liga Loca’s Mum has yet to hear of his feats.

“I’m not losing sleep over it” - AC Milan’s Silvio Berlesconi is untroubled by Real Madrid’s ongoing attempts to nick Kaka from his club. Especially when he has more pressing things on his mind. Like going to prison for the rest of his life.

“I wish Barcelona good luck in the final. I am Spanish above anything else” - Sergio Ramos with a heart made of ham and sangria in his blood.

“One thing’s for sure, I certainly don’t feel sad about it” - No sympathy on Barca’s loss from Espanyol president, Daniel Sanchez Llibre.

“I have no doubt at all that he’ll score the thirty goals he promised.” - Espanyol’s Ivan de la Peña manages to keep a very straight face when questioned about the pre season boast of his former team mate, Ronaldo.

“I would only ever go to Mallorca” says Samuel Eto’o on life after Barcelona but before being shown photos of the majesty of Portman Road.

“It was the match that all the players wanted” - Real Madrid’s Ramon Calderon’s words in response to the Bayern Munich Champions League draw. Words that he will be no doubt be hearing again, should they lose in February.

“If Aragones gave me his hand to shake, I would take it” - Thierry Henry.

“From January, we have games on Wednesday and Saturday. I am counting on him” - Fabio Capello on ‘Toni Cassano just days before, “Espanyol-gate”

“If we don’t beat ‘Nastic, things could get a little tricky” - says Real Sociedad’s new hero, Jesuli. Luckily they managed the win.

“It’s my biggest disappointment since becoming manager” - says Frank Rijkaard on Sunday’s InternationalSuperWorldSuperCup defeat to International.

“I didn’t see the penalty incident from my position” Sevilla boss, Juande Ramos, shows he is perfectly matched for the Premiership.

“Peasant” - What Recreativo boss, Marcelino, reportedly said to a referee- a comment which landed him a two game touchline ban.

‘I hope those that criticised me will stop now” - Fabio Cannavaro on his FIFA player of the year award. I doubt it Fabio.

“I would have given it (the award) to Eto’o or Deco” - Ronaldinho.

“To beat Barca you have to play the perfect game” - ‘Or dive more’, Atletico manager, Javier Aguirre, fails to add.

“Nothing surprises me anymore after so many years in football” - Fabio Capello on the Diarra, Cassano tapes.

“I know a drink called Sunny, but apart from that, I’ve never heard of him” - Getafe boss, Bernd Schuster, denies all knowledge of Poli Ejido’s finest.

“We like him a lot” - says Getafe’s director of sport, Santiago Llorente, who clearly forgot to invite his coach to the last meeting.

“I’ve never seen a team win a game, having done so little” - ‘Nastc manager less than impressed by his opponents in their 1-0 home defeat to Real Betis.

“I saw Woodgate play” - T shirt on sale to Real Madrid fans in ‘Marca’.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca 2006.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The 'Bah Humbug' Midweek Preview


Getafe (7th) LDDDL v Espanyol (12th) WDWWL

Not a game that will tempt the locals from their mulled wine and ham. Getafe’s Coliseum stadium is one of the coldest places on earth - after the old Goldstone ground - and an excellent reason why we should be dumping our fridges in pits and spraying aerosols into the sky with gay abandon. The home side are stuck in a bit of a rut at the moment and the visitors will be wary of falling into one after Sunday’s narrow defeat to Real. Home win.

‘Nastic (20th) LLLWL v Real Betis (18th) WDDLD

On Friday, Real Betis have their annual shareholders meeting where Snr Lopera will have a bit of explaining to do, one might imagine. And blaming a journalist for all the side’s problems, probably isn’t going to do the trick to quell the expected protests. Sadly, all press are barred from the event, so if any Sevilla based readers fancy donning a bushy moustache and sun glasses and sneaking in, go for it. There might even be the possibility of being mistaken for a shifty local mayor and given an envelope shaped Christmas bonus. Away win to help keep Jabo in his job, he clearly wants to be fired from.

Celta Vigo (11th) WDDDD v Real Sociedad (19th) DDDLW

It was party time in San Sebastian over the weekend after La Real won their first game in eighteen years. There is as much chance of the city being devoured by a Godzilla sized clam than Lotina’s - La Liga’s equivalent of Ricky Butcher - team repeating the feat tonight. Celta’s season already seems to have gone down the plug hole. Not good enough to make an impact in the top half of the table and not nearly as bad as their opponents, this evening. Home win.

Osasuna (10th) LWWWW v Ian Harte’s Levante (17th) LDDLD

The last time that Osasuna rounded of the first half of the season with a match, it finished some time past midnight with snow billowing around the frozen to the spot spectators. Those were happier times in Pamplona with the club battling for the league title. Despite a dreadful start to the latest campaign, Osasuna have rediscovered their swaggering form and are looking for win number five. And they will surely get it against lumbering, still Ian Harte’s less, Levante. Home win.

Racing Santander (13th) WLWDL v Villarreal (9th) WLWDL

At first glance, Villarreal and Lindsay Lohan would not appear to have much in common. However, both had such promising years, only for them to finish off 2006 in metaphorical dumpsters, picking lettuce from their hair. Although, Villarreal’s players have not been photographed getting out of cars without their smalls, which must be a good thing, really. Home win. Especially as Riquelme is not playing.

Real Madrid (3rd) WWWLW v Recreativo (8th) WLWLL

“We’re not here to collect autographs”, said Recre’s manager, Marcelino, in preparation for their big visit to the capital. If they were, they would be missing out on the scrawled signatures of Diarra and Cassano - both of whom have been ‘rested’ from the side after their unfortunately televised whining before the Espanyol game. “I completely believe in freedom of speech”, smiled the Italian boss, when questioned if he was annoyed by their comments. Mmm. Home win.

Sevilla (1st) WWLWW v Deportivo (14th) LLDLL

If you were to believe Sevilla president, Jose Marie del Nido - never something to be recommended - then Deportivo might just as well send sandbags in place of their players, such are their chances tonight. Come to think of it, that might be a better option than fielding their players. According to del Nido, Sevilla possess the best manager on the planet and also the best player, Adriano who is “better then Ronaldinho”. Which is bollocks really. Home win.


Barcelona (2nd) WWWDW v Atletico Madrid (5th) WDWLW

For those readers in Spain, there is only one place to be on Thursday evening at 10. Waiting for your Air Madrid flight home. The one from two weeks ago. Or, watching the big tie of the round on La Sexta - and praying that Tiki-Taka man has mistaken bleach for mouth wash in his morning gargle. With the sound turned down, we can all watch a jet-lagged Barca take on an Atletico Madrid in a stadium which is a remarkably happy hunting ground for the ‘rojiblancos’, and especially Fernando Torres who has scored six in their last four encounters. Torres. Scored. Feels weird writing those words again. Home win.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2006

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Is Gago and co the Real Way Forward?

Going Gago?

Over recent weeks Real Madrid have embarked on a global spending spree, picking up what they judge to be the best young talent that South America has to offer. The club has purchased the Brazilian left back, Marcelino, for 8 million euros, the striker Gustavo Higuain for 12 million euros and are currently chasing Boca’s Fernando Gago in a possible 21 million euro deal - negotiations permitting.

The big question is whether Real Madrid are right to be spending or even gambling a significant amount of cash on players, to the detriment of their own ‘cantera’?

The argument to back their pricey policy is that the ‘cantera’ is simply not producing players good enough to be regulars in the Real Madrid first team set up. Out of the current squad, only Guti and Casillas were home grown. Raul, technically, was groomed by Atletico before Jesus Gil foolishly closed down the youth set up and kicked him out.

That’s not to say that there haven't good players coming through the ranks. The league is littered with Real’s cast off's - Luis Garcia at Espanyol, Ruben at Santander, Portillo at ‘Nastic, Soldado at Osasuna, Jurado at Atletico. All of whom are fine players in their own right. However, the argument goes that these are footballers that are of a standard for this level of team, but not for one trying to win championships.

However, is it the case that these players are simply not given the opportunity at Real to prove their worth? Jurado was always in and out of the side without ever really getting a good run of matches. Out of the current crop, Javi Garcia, Balbao and de la Red look very promising, with two of them perhaps capable of reproducing the role that Gago is being brought it for. What motivation do they now have for staying at the club, not to mention encouraging others to join the set up, if their opportunities for progression are being reduced every time the transfer window is opened?

This recent trend from the club has brought criticism from a number of sources including Iker Casillas, who would like to see more chances given to those from Castilla, to Camacho who argued that a great deal of money was being spent on teenagers who won’t be ready for the first team for some time. Former Argentina boss, Jose Pekerman was particularly sceptical of the possible transfer of Gago, a player that “in a club with a double pivot, will never adapt to the another creative midfielder”.

The transfer of Higuain is particularly odd. Real Madrid are in need of a proven striker right now, not in two years time. Van Nistelrooy is always going to have dips in form, or get injured. Ronaldo...well, that’s obvious, Cassano is probably going to be kicked out at some point soon and Raul has given up on the whole scoring business.

But with Real Madrid trophyless for three years, do they have the luxury of time to bring through players from the 'cantera'? Like Manchester United buying Rooney and Ronaldo, Arsenal picking up Wallcott, is the way forward for big clubs poaching the best young talent from smaller sides, who perhaps have more ability to coach them?

Just click on comments or email here for your say...


Great Midweek Preview...Part One


Valencia (6th) LLLWW v Mallorca (14th) WDLLL

Like a chant recently sung at Sevilla president, del Nido, Mallorca may well be ‘going down with Pantoja’. With one victory in seven and having let in ten goals in their last three visits to the Mestalla, it's not looking good for Gregorio Manzano and his Balearic bottlers, tonight. Things are considerably perkier in Valencia. The return of David Albeda and a patched up forward line has inspired the former title chasers into two consecutive victories. “We have our mojo back”, beamed Quique Sanchez Flores whose Mourinho-esque fist pumping at Angulo’s screamer on Saturday was good fun to see. Home win.

Athletic Bilbao (17th) LLLWW v Real Zaragoza (5th) WDLWL

Like an A-Team bad guy, Zaragoza currently lack the ability to shoot straight and kill things off. The defeat to Valencia has rocked the Champions League contenders back on their heels and they are desperate to regain their fourth placed spot before going into the winter break. Athletic fans have cheered up considerably after two straight wins, but should not get too excited yet. The first against Recre was helped along by two own goals and the second, last weekend, was against Depor. ‘Nuff said. Away win.


Why Betis are a bit crap - the truth.

For Betis fans who were pondering how their club has got itself into its current fine mess, then ponder no more. The answer has been revealed by ‘majority shareholder’ Manuel Ruis de Lopera. Rather than than Betis’ malaise being his own fault for selling off the best players, lying about why, buying rubbish, running a good manager out of town, undermining the new one, insulting the current squad and then causing the stadium to be repossessed by not paying off loans for reconstruction work that was never done, it seems that the club’s ills is down to a reporter for ‘Radio Marca’.

The guilty gentleman for those interested is called Andres Ocaña and was confronted by de Lopera yesterday and accused of ‘ruining Real Betis’. The good news is that the errant hack has been banned from the ground, city, province and all players have been prevented from talking to him. Expect a run at the title from January, then.

In other Betis news, nominal president and Smithers-esque lackey, Pepe Leon announced that the club made an 11 million euro loss, this year. But it is no cause for alarm, says the minion, “this is what happens to all clubs in Spain, you go and ask them.” Which is exactly what some writers did. Sevilla were happy to confess that they had made a 30 million euro profit in the same period.


In Other News...

Barca landed at the Nou Camp on Monday with criticism of Sunday’s defeat still ringing in their ears. Most of it, a little unfair considering it was never their idea to travel to the stupid tournament in the first place. However, the loss of their first two finals of the season has knocked a bit of stuffing out of their sails (a fine mixed metaphor), but Frank Rijkaard seems confident that Atletico will feel their wrath on Thursday. “We’ll be back”, he shrugged, whilst being photographed in today’s ‘Sport’ puffing on a cigarette, returning a borrowed lighter to an autograph hunter. Genius.

On a day off from defending some of the most odious characters in Spain during the ‘Operacion Malaya’ trials, Jose Marie del Nido decided to have a poke at title rivals, Barcelona, yesterday. “If Rijkaard was given to me, I would stick him charge of our B team”, said the club’s godfather, when a simple “I respect him as a coach”, would have been sufficient as an answer. “I have Juande Ramos”, exclaimed del Nido. “Not for much longer” replied the rest of Spain, as Ramos is almost certainly off to the Premiership next season, a long held ambition for the Sevilla coach.

As eluded to, in the comments section, Antonio Cassano has been caught out by a tv company who overheard a conversation held with Ronaldo and Diarra concerning Capello’s selection policy. “It’s always the same people in the team”, whined Toni, in between bites of his Cornetto, “it’s always Ruud. If not, it’s Raul, if not then Beckham, if not then Ronaldo, if not then Robinho or Reyes”. Adios ‘Toni.

As soon as the Villarreal players heard the squeak of loafers and the jangle of Jimmy Saville style jewellery approaching their dressing room door, they knew that trouble was just seconds away. Minutes after their home thrashing by Osasuna, the trembling players received a visit from club president Fernando Roig who was not happy at all at the manner of their performance. He gently reminded the players of their recent pay rises, their responsibilities and that he has a lot of friends in the construction industry in possession of quick drying cement (this part is not actually true, legal La Liga Loca).



Can You Help?

I was wondering if you have any info regarding my question which, even though it is related to La Liga, might be a little bit off-topic. Actually, it is more of being a bit old rather than off-topic.

During the time Villar got elected -again- as the LFP President, I'm 100% sure that I've read a piece of news about Laporta turning-on his back to the other clubs Presidents. I think, if I'm recalling correctly, they kind of had an informal agreement to get Villar off his warm chair.

Also, Gaspart being his campaign president and he ended up with a position within the federation after Villar have won, but I can't remember which position it is.

I don't know if you can help me find a link for this.

Would Anyone Believe Me if I Said It was Work? I thought not.

'anyone missed from good day, bad day?'  hope not you, and that some sort of heavy festivity was the reason for no weekend preview last weekend.  we missed it!



All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca 2006

Monday, December 18, 2006

Monday's Good Day, Bad Day

Good Day


Not only did the titan of tapas not have to run around in the cold at the Montjuic, but he didn’t have to warm up either. Overall, it was a good day for his teammates as well, at a ground that has been unlucky for them in the past. The manner of their win still leaves the newspapers a little cold - ‘pure Capello’ and ‘football leaves a lot to be desired’, according to ‘Marca’, but down to ten men and holding onto a lead, Real can hardly be blamed for going on the defensive, something they did well.

The dropping of Diarra and with it, the double pivot, meant that the first half was considerably more open than was expected, however the ludicrous expulsion of Cannavaro by the ref, whose linesman mistook a header for handball, killed the game off as a spectacle. The eventual 1-0 win for Real was harsh on Espanyol, who deserved a point, but Van Nistelrooy’s goal puts to an end their laudable ten match unbeaten league run.

For another perspective, Paul in Barcelona.

“"one shot,one kill"(tony Yayo) just about describes todays match. Great goal from old horse face. Also nice to see the old George Graham Arsenal tactics back in vogue. For once the ref was ok,should have booked Sergio Ramos though.(Cannavaro wasn't enough for you! - Tim) We just didn't do enough to win,a draw would have been a fair result. memo to Robinho(yellow boots=wanker) also part time Real Madrid fans where were you today ?at least 10'000 less of you than would make my christmas though,if when you are on TV RM,you asked them about time wasting.

10 mins to go,fair enough,43 mins to go,pushing it a bit.well at least good news came from Tokyo where Barça were crowned F.I.F.A world's worst losers to go along side their World's worst winners cup,CONGRATULATIONS to them”

Javi Martinez

A good day for the pearl of Osasuna, whose expensive move to Athletic Bilbao was one of reasons Javier Clemente felt the need to openly criticise his old team, over the summer, before being kicked out of the club. The eighteen year old is powerfully built midfielder with a keen eye for goal and his two strikes against Deportivo are a promising indication of what may be to come.

Miguel Angulo

In a close, but entertaining game on Saturday night, it was always going to take something special to break the Zaragoza v Valencia deadlock and that was exactly what happened. Angulo picked up the ball on the right, ran towards the goal and unleashed a swerving whopper to surprise everyone, least of all himself, to fly into the top left hand corner for his second strike in two matches. “Every goal I score will be dedicated to my mother”, said Valencia’s hero after the game, in honour of someone who passed away just two weeks ago. Valencia definitely back in business.

Real Sociedad

A long time waiting, but Diego Rivas’ second half volley gave his team their first win of the season, against relegation rivals ‘Nastic. But with thirty one points needed in the second half of the season to stay up, the win looks like being just a temporary respite for Real.


Taking advantage of Barcelona’s Japanese adventure to pinch the top spot. The down side is that is was aided by the most outrageous dive of the season from Puerta to win the opening penalty. As ‘Marca’ wrote, the midfielder ‘saw the Atlantic and leapt in’.


With the acquisition of money and women not really being a major issue for footballers these days, Osasuna managed used the last remaining incentive to inspire his players - holidays. Ziganda promised in November that if his team won four out of the next five matches, they would be awarded with extra time off over Christmas. This target was achieved in Sunday night, when Osasuna crushed Villarreal 4-1. It was a good day especially for Hector Font - a player chucked out by the opposition over the summer, only to grab three assists in his new club’s rout.

Joao Baiano

A grumpy old sod, but there are few scorers of great goals that are better Celta Vigo’s striker. His blast against Levante was one for eager youtubers to track down and savour.

Atletico Madrid

The first time this season, they didn’t concede the first goal at home. And they won. However, the game has been described as ‘a pile of dogsh*t’ by one person who witnessed the 1-0 win over Getafe. Still to truly convince they are worthy of their fourth placed spot, but a Thursday night date with Barca in the Nou Camp - a very happy hunting ground - would be a good place to change La Liga Loca’s mind.

Bad Day


The World Club competition in Japan was always going to be a no-win situation for Barcelona - quite literally as it turned out. Had they beaten Brazil’s International on Sunday morning, to pick up the trophy, then few plaudits would have come their way. After all, fighting their way through the best that the South Pacific and Central America has to offer should never have been a problem for the European champions.

But by losing against the Libradores holders, Barca have left themselves open to criticism of having failed to take the tournament seriously. This is unfair on the league champions.

Although the performance against the Brazilians was sluggish compared to Thursday’s 4-0 win over Club America, there was no indication either before or during the match that the Catalans were taking it lightly. It was just an off day for Rijkaard’s men.

Unfortunately, their defeat, combined with Liverpool’s last year, means that Sepp Blatter’s ridiculous brain child will continue to be held under the guise that it is a worthy competition. It also means that Barca face their bogey team - Atletico Madrid - on Thursday, with their confidence rocked somewhat. And through no real fault of their own.


To quote the late great Kenneth Williams, the Deportivo centreback was be thinking “infamy, infamy, they’ve all got it in for me”. Sent off for a supposed foul on diving David Villa, last weekend against Valencia, Juanma successfully appealed the decision with the arbitration committee - a move that officially puts the striker into the category of being a cheat -“Villa’s action was simulation”, confirmed the president of the board, on Thursday.

Restored to the line up in Depor’s 2-0 defeat to Athletic, Juanma was again sent from the pitch after picking up two yellow cards - the second being a truly ludicrous one for a sliding tackle that made no contact whatsoever with the opposition player. Looks like Juanma will be back before the board, for the second week in a row.

Deportivo La Coruna

A side in big, big trouble. In the pouring rain and in a half empty stadium, Depor were out muscled and out fought by Athletic Bilbao, opponents who taught them a lesson in commitment. Despite a promising start to the season, baby Depor are on a dreadful run, slipping down the table and it is hard to see them pulling out of it anytime soon. There is no leader in the centre of the pitch or at the back, Aoaute is looking shaky in goal whilst the strikers, Riki and Arizmendi are simply not good enough.

On Saturday night, manager, Joaquin Caparros even resorted to calling up De Guzman - one of the black sheep of the club - in a desperate, but failed throw of the dice. The relationship between manager and president has already been a tempestuous one at Depor. This latest defeat will only but further strain on it.


Their long standing policy of score one and hang on for dear life is being hamstrung by their defence being more than a little rubbish. A home defeat against Racing - and even without Nikola Zigic scoring - is a very worrying development.

Diego Forlan

Why? Diego why?


Manuel Pellegrini, Villarreal coach - “we were lacking in every department, the manager, the players, our tactics....”


Anyone missed? Just click on comments or email here for your say...


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2006

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Quotes of the Week - and Much More

More Crazy Talk

“If Ronaldo had taken his chances, we could have won” - “the big twat”, was what Fabio Cannavero failed to add, after the weekend defeat to Sevilla

“I’m not here to eat canapés” - Resigning Real board member, Juan Mendoza, clearly didn’t read the job description, before taking on his role. It’s somewhere under the paragraph - ‘say yes and nod’.

“If we’re there or there abouts with six games to go, then we have a chance” - Premiership bound (so the rumours say) Sevilla boss Juande Ramos may well be signing off in style in May.

“Whenever we play against Real Madrid, I have to tell my mother, ‘sorry, I’m going to score against your lot’ - Espanyol striker Raul Tamudo hopes to be apologising to his Madrista mother, on Sunday.

“For the second time in a row we have got into the Champions League places and for the second time we have dropped straight out” - Atletico Madrid coach, Javier Aguirre, not quite at the end of his tether, but getting there.

“We don’t know if it will be the last game for Irureta” - Real Betis president, that’s PRESIDENT - a man who needs permission to even go to the toilet, it would appear.

“I would like to remind you that my team were champions in 2000 and runners up in 2001” - Jabo Irureta with a little history lesson at a press conference, this week.

“I’m very unhappy. We really should be more honourable” - Deportivo centre back, Juanma, just wouldn't let it lie, as Vic Reeves once said.

“I think he did what he had to do” - Valencia’s Curro Torres fails to understand the ‘for God’s sake, just tell them, Villa isn’t a diver” plea before facing the press.

“I would have liked to have stayed at Barcelona longer, but Cruyff had other ideas...and made me play on the wing” - Gary Lineker would have liked one of two more additions to his 103 league appearances, a record just bettered by Becks.

“I really don’t know what will happen...but I’m really happy here” - Real Madrid’s Woody on his future - or lack of it perhaps - with his side.

“Barcelona have not been that great for the last three games” - Fabio Capello is getting a little prickly at the growing rise of ‘anti-capellismo’, the ‘latest fashion’, according to the Italian boss.

“They’re a bit like Real Madrid are in Spain. Prestigious, historical and always with the best players” - Barca’s Rafael Marquez better watch himself with the more sensitive elements of the Barcelona fan base.


In Other News...

My Dad’s bigger than your Dad was the message broadcast to the world, on Wednesday, by Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon. The Bernabeu big wig cited a Harvard University study to claim that 270,000 million people a day expressed an interest of some kind in Real Madrid - with just 38 million for Barca. He later went on to announce that the club was in the top twenty list of best known brands in the world - news to Nokia owning, Coke drinking, Nike clad Americans perhaps - and that the tv audiences whip those of his Catalan rivals.

Atletico scraped past Levante in last night’s rescheduled Copa del Rey second leg after an injury time goal from Sergio Agüero cancelled out the home side’s 1-0 first match advantage. The Argentinean then proceeded to score the winning spot kick in the subsequent shoot out - “it was just a penalty, why should I have been nervous?”, said the man of steel after the game.

A good night of UEFA cup action for both Celta and Espanyol.....zzzzzzzz

Bolton Wanderers’ big-haired Basque, Ivan Campo has expressed an interest in returning to the Primera, with Athletic.

Betis looking at Michael Laudrup in the latest round of casting for a new manager...Villarreal targeting a top six berth for the winter break...Higuan to be a Real Madrid striker, this week, for 11 million Euros...Athletic goalkeeper, Lafuente out until more new injuries at Valencia.

And for those of you with Sky Digital - or another cable package - and want to see some of the worst tv punditry broadcast since Ian Wright's World Cup performance, one of La Liga Loca's throng can be seen on 'Extra Time', on Real Madrid tv from Friday night onwards - and repeated many times. Time to fumigate the lucky brown jacket.



An Andalusian Update from Richard in Cadiz

Sergio Ramos - i like the player for his never say die passion BUT this attempted Beckham look alike will never be a true world great because a/ He has no pace whatsoever. he never has the pace to match a speedy winger and when he is played out at fullback the number of fouls he commits by turning across or impeding the winger is an embarrassment. You need pace or at least a Baresi reading of the game to be a great and b/ I think he believes he is a legend already in the game which gives him the automatic right to launch himself two footed or forearm first at any ball aimed in the air in his general direction.

Some of the fouls he has committed recently should have been straight red cards ie when he poleaxed the Kiev keeper in the Champions League. He will mature and settle down and read the game better but he will never ever have the pace to be a true great.

Real Madrid - Five years ago back in England after a heavy friday night out wasn't it great to collapse on the sofa and switch on Sky's La Liga. There was the best Depor team ever, the russian inspired Celta, the mean machine of Valencia, the bandy legs of  Rivaldo plus was it five or six other dutch guys not been so negative - cant manage the dutch accent there - and of course a certain Real Madrid.

Del Bosque, didn't look the part, but he knew the Real way. You score three, its ok cos we will score FOUR. You always seemed to see the game of the season week in week out. Zidane at his imperious best, the youthful Roberto Carlos galloping everywhere at a thousand miles an hour, a hungry young Raul along with Morientes scoring for fun, occasional magic from Solano (most underused player ever, Tim), McManaman, Guti. Makalele bossing the middle and then the arrival of a Figo at the height of his powers - what a team but more importantly what a style of play.

But now, although the majority of my friends are ultra Real's i find it a more exciting proposition to take my siesta on a sunday evening then trape out to watch an Italian inspired negative yawn of a game. With Emerson and normally Diarra along side its hard viewing. And God help Real if they are counting on that prima donna Guti to be the magical inspiration of the team  - hes been a fringe player for years so why suddenly has he the quality to be their chosen playmaker and that's without even questioning what goes through his childlike brain when he thinks he has been impeded in some way.

Seeing Ronaldo run at the Sevilla defence - yes i watched that one secretly hoping Sevilla would put another nail in the negative Real coffin - i was actually saddened to see a once true great on the occasion you mentioned miss that one on one chance but earlier he had the ball on his own lacking support but he just didn't have the energy or motivation or fitness to carry the ball into the Sevilla half, he ran ten metres or so and then seeing two or three defenders converging decided to turn back on himself and wait for help - not the Ronaldo of old!! Come back Del Bosque - your club need you!

Not that the publicity loving President will notice as he is always too busy posing for the cameras making outrageous false promises on which superstar is due next  and then because he always offers silly money way below market value never appear - apart from Reyes who funnily enough my friends have turned on already as they have already spotted his Arsenal trick of three minutes of excellence and eighty seven minutes of absenteeism!! Anyway, i want the old Real back to make me want to watch them again.

And finally, without boring you too much more - Kanoute, ten goals this side of Christmas!!!! The goals must be bigger here in Spain than in England!  

Richard, Cadiz.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca 2006

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Tour of Spain

Angriest man in Spain yesterday must have been Deportivo’s Juanma - the poor bugger sent off after David Villa’s dive / fall / tumble from the centre back’s challenge. Dragged off the pitch on Sunday, after yelling ‘it wasn’t a penalty!’ repeatedly in the face of the ‘I can’t hear you, la la’ Valencia forward, Juanma was back in front of the press, the following morning and as furious as a man who had just dropped his Ipod down the toilet.

In answering the comments of a sheepish Villa, who claimed unconvincingly that “I fell to get out of his way, not to win a penalty”, Juanma fumed,“it’s one thing to dodge a challenge, it’s another to cheat.” “This doesn’t happen in other leagues”, continued the Deportivo defender, a man who clearly doesn’t watch the Premiership very often.

Real Betis have got themselves into another fine mess. Their crazy plan of sacking poor old Jabo Irureta and replacing him with Rayo Vallecano’s Pepe Mel has gone up in smoke when the Madrid club’s ball-busting president Teresa Rivero sent out an ‘over my dead body’ message to the Primera club. “Pepe Mel is our manager and Betis should just leave him in peace”, said the big cheesette of the Segunda ‘B’ club, which is desperately trying to claw its way back into the top flight after a disastrous few years.

Mad Manuel Ruis de Lopera will now need to continue his very public search for a new manager - despite that fact that he already has one of the most experienced coaches in Spain at the helm. The whole process is likened to the Spanish equivalent of Pop Stars - the show that the lovely Edurme was cruelly expelled from, last season, in favour of Sergio - a man wetter than an otter’s pocket.

Just a few kilometres down the road from Betis - well, a few hundred - Recreativo’s high flying manager, Marcelino, was forced to blow the dust of his punishment stick after his side’s self destructing 4-2 defeat to Athletic. “They only won because they’ve never had it so easy,” he said, thinking back to one of the most entertaining own goals scored this season.

Racing Santander coach Miguel Angel Portugal - who still has not forgiven his president for threatening him with the sack a few weeks ago - took a swig of Dutch courage and blamed his boss for their 2-0 defeat at the weekend when Santander were left toothless with both Zigic and Munitis suspended - “I said that I wanted another striker, but he never came”, sniffed Portugal.

Barcelona have arrived in Japan for the World Club championship and were soon buoyed by the news that they will avoid the twin threats of Jeonbuk Motors and Auckland City, after both lost their first round matches. To celebrate their escape, the relieved Barca players headed to the gym, where they were filmed half-heartedly trying to decipher the instructions on exercise bikes, or asleep on crash mats - as in Deco’s case.

Ronaldinho was nowhere to be seen, making Frank Rijkaard regret having lent him his ‘Lost in Translation’ DVD on the flight over - but it was most likely that he was having a nap somewhere, as opposed to roaming the hotel corridors looking hoping to woo his own Scarlet Johansson. Perhaps with that stupid hand gesture he does. A word of thanks must go to today’s ‘Marca’ who helpfully pointed out that one of the symptoms of jet lag - something the Barca team are suffering from - is tiredness.

Real Madrid have had two days holiday - with two sleepless nights for Ronaldo who is reportedly furious with himself over his missed one on one chance against Palop in the second half. “I had the game, I had the game”, was what he was apparently muttering to himself as he trudged towards the dressing room. Although it may have been something about popcorn. Hopefully the big-boned Brazilian won’t be kicking himself, lest he is out for another three months.

‘Marca’ have continued their weird obsession with the popularity of ham with La Liga’s footballers, by reporting with some relief that Real’s new recruit, Marcelino, is a fan of Spain’s staple food and paella. A double celebration all round.

Dope news - and not in the Guti sense - with Valencia, Betis, Barca and Real all strongly denying the accusations of druggy Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, published in l’Equipe, who claimed - or didn’t really - that the named clubs had sought his very particular brand of advice over the years. Should it all be true, at least two of the team’s should be seeking refunds. Instead, the club’s lawyers are looking for a full retraction from the French newspaper. Or else.



Is everyone is Barcelona on the grumpy pills, at the moment?

did you not see the results? rhetoric in true barça style i the column as always but there was one glaring omission.Not only did we deservedly win at atletico,but what a free kick from Luis Garcia,if that had been Ronaldinho....,well you know the rest.

i know you have been praising us recently and thanks for that,but to miss out this one.Much better than Zaragoza or Osasuna. sorry to have a moan,but i know we will get stuffed in both matches next week,actually i 'm more worried about Getafe.So i have to shout when i can.

Paul, Barcelona

Bad Boy Villa

I think Villa should've been added to the "baddys" list. The way he dived to earn his penalty was horrendous. I was looking forward to see the old rivalry between the two sides, especially the baby-Depor and whether they can get back to be a nightmare for Valencia as in not-so-long-time-ago.

Missed the Nou Camp game? Strange enough, Real Sociedad could have got away with a point. I don't know in fact whether this is due to Barca not shifting their gears to the highest level, or Sociedad bettering their own. IMO,
a decent team would have got a draw at least.

I think Capello pulled a tactical masterstroke. Guti was having a bad day. This didn't really help Capello achieve his goal. Alves was great, Ramos too.

Oh, and if I were Atletico's President, I would have asked the LFP to play Barcelona week-in, week-out. Nou Camp is the only place Atletico don't fuck it all up. And they are the only side where Torres can show he actually has balls.

The-Brown-Jacket-admirer: Monter


Barcelona !

They looked completely knackered - either getting their jet lag in first before their ludicrous trip to japan and/or the come down after beating Werder. Either way it was a dull game enlivened only by Giuly's very hard work on the wing (which eventually led to the goal) and some awful offside decisions. Valdes was terrific indeed and his 94th minute save astonishing. one of the games you are glad to have behind you...



All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2006

Monday, December 11, 2006

Monday's Good Day, Bad Day


A cracking night of footballing fun at the Pijzuan on Saturday. Although Sevilla were far from their best, they were good enough to get past the not insignificant challenge of Real Madrid. It certainly helped that they were able to bounce back quickly from Becks’ opening belter with Kanoute’s eleventh strike of the season. The reason for the slightly lacklustre performance - until the last quarter of the game - was perhaps due to nerves, an off colour Poulsen and Jesus Navas returning from injury a little too soon. Daniel Alves is definitely the real deal, though.

For more on the game - copy and paste today’s 365 update.,17033,9405_1767404,00.html

It was also a good day for La Liga Loca who survived (literally) a late night encounter with a certain Snr Jose Marie del Nido whilst having a few post game drinkies. Definitely a blood freezing moment.

Sergio Ramos

Abused incessantly - and quite unfairly, apparently - by the home fans, Ramos took it like a man and did not shirk from a single tackle or challenge. In five years, he will be the best defender in the world if he continues to show such commitment to the cause.


Sunday’s 3-0 win over Mallorca was their third league win in a row with ten goals scored in the same run. All in all, quite a change from the side which could not have started the campaign in worse shape. The reason for the change? Increasing confidence, Milosevic returning to the line up, Soldado pulling his Real Madrid finger out, the midfielders starting to get involved in the action and Ziganda getting a hang of the old managerial business after Javier Aguirre left for Atletico over the summer - something he must already be regretting.


The Valencia winger was returning to the side after the death of his mother, last week, and kicked off the 4-0 rout of Deportivo with the team’s first goal, after nine minutes. Slowly but surely, Valencia’s injured are starting to return to the team and this was reflected by Sunday night’s victory which featured Albeda and Baraja in central midfield with Villa, Vicente and Silva in attack. The starting line up also contained eleven Spaniards - an admirable achievement in the modern game. Welcome back.

Victor Valdes

Because of the timing of the Sevilla match, La Liga Loca was not able to catch the Barcelona game - so all contributions welcome - however it did see Valdes’ point saving injury time save. With the footballing spotlight on ‘dinho and co up front, it has often been overlooked that Valdes has been in fine form this season and much Barca’s recent success stems from his strength between the sticks. The phrase ‘doing a Valdes’ must be consigned to the dust bin of history.

Real Zaragoza

Not a great performance by all accounts but enough to squeeze past Racing 2-0 and back into the Champions League places.

Athletic Bilbao

Eyebrows were raised in surprise by all at the Getafe match - where a sleep deprived La Liga Loca was slipping into a cold induced coma - when news filtered through that Athletic Bilbao had scored four goals. However, they assumed their normal positions, when it turned out that two had been scored by Recreativo. Although, Urzaiz’ twisty turny description defying first effort was a treat to see.


La Liga Loca always applauded the club’s harsh but brave decision to sack their coach after just eleven games in charge. Already it is starting to pay dividends after Sunday’s 2-1 victory over Ian Harte’s Levante - the club’s first top flight win in fifty six years. Not even West Ham are that bad.

David Beckham

His 104 Spanish league appearance against Sevilla broke Gary Lineker’s record set at Barcelona all those long years ago. Many in England would say his spell in Spain has been a trophyless failure, but they would be wrong. He has adapted successfully to a new style of football and is respected widely both as a player and as a professional both by writers and fans. For La Liga Loca, that is more than enough for a salute.

Bad Day

Real Madrid

In the first half, Capello’s Dad’s army did not play too badly. The decision to leave Reyes and Robinho on the bench was a tactic designed to give the side a little more bite in midfield with the aim of frustrating both the players and the home fans. And if hadn’t been for pesky Ronaldo missing a chance that he normally tucks away with some aplomb, Real might have gotten away with it.

Atletico Madrid

As ‘AS’ wrote on Monday morning , Atletico are like a child who has been caught smoking by their parents and has no more excuses left to give. An apt description. The 2-1 defeat by Espanyol means that the ‘rojiblancos’ have now dropped eleven points at home - a shocking statistic for a side with genuine Champions League aspirations. Fernando Torres said they need to play with more confidence, whilst manager Javier Aguirre said he is becoming increasingly frustrated with their performances which he likens to seeing ‘the same film again and again’.

Jabo Irureta

In the press conference at the end of Betis’ 1-1 at Getafe, Irureta looked like a man who no longer cared about whether be remained in charge of his club or not. “Despite the draw, this will be my last game here”. It had been an open secret, that Betis were looking at poaching Rayo Vallecano’s coach. Pepe Mel, to take over from Irureta - not a professional way of doing business, but this is Betis we are talking about, here. On the pitch, the side were not that bad and could have won the game had Dani been paired with Sobis for the entirety of the match, as opposed to the closing minutes.

Joaquin Caparros

The Deportivo manager summed up his Sunday night with the words - “on a day like today, it’s best to just stay in bed.” Quite right.


Still needing far too many chances to score a goal. Bernd Schuster will be hoping for a new striker in his Christmas stocking.

Alaves fans

In their desperate attempt to lash out at their lunatic chairman, Dmitry Piterman, a group of supporters accidentally attacked the car of Cuidad de Murcia’s president - their opponents on Saturday. Not clever.

Anyone missed? Just click on comments or email here for your say...

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Friday, December 08, 2006

The Great Weekend Preview


Barcelona (1st) DWWWD v Real Sociedad (19th) LDDDD

Despite all the rib poking, Barca-fan baiting, mischievousness (if that’s a word) thrown towards the league champions by La Liga Loca, this week, what cannot be denied is that the club are playing some cracking stuff at the moment. Like Frodo and friends bravely battling the mighty Orcs, Barca’s midfield have been laying waste to all who come before them.- with Ian Harte’s Levante the exception. The story will be no different on Saturday, when visitors Real Sociedad will be absolutely creamed by the home team. Especially as their pre match preparations included a fist fight that put one of the players in hospital and out of action for a month with a fractured cheek bone. Home win.

Sevilla (3rd) WDWWL v Real Madrid (2nd) LWWWW

The sun tan creme has been packed and the anti-flamenco ear plugs are ready in preparation for La Liga Loca’s Saturday’s expedition fo Sevilla. Although a fuller more grown up preview can be found on football365, it’s a match that had looked like a comfortable home win. However the added spice of a returning Ronaldo thrown into the mix with the suspension of Diarra - breaking up the double pivot - makes this game a very tough one to call. Home win still.


Getafe (7th) LWLDD v Real Betis (17th) LWDDL

Amazingly for a team riding high in 7th, only Sociedad have scored less goals than Getafe, this season. However, for a team that has the one of the best defensive records in Europe, it isn’t a big problem. Unless, they want to break into the UEFA cup at the end of season. “The lack of goals is something the whole team must work on”, says strike, del Moral - well, he would wouldn’t he, and what better way to boost those scoring stats that with a visit from Real Betis - a team in a mess from top to bottom and with their first choice goal keepers out injured. Home win.

Gimnastic (20th) LDLLL v Ian Harte’s Levante (16th) WLLDD

After last weekend’s exertions against Barcelona when they managed a plucky 1-1 draw against the league champions, it will be interesting to see whether the side can raise their game yet again with fellow promotion team - but now bottom of the table - ‘Nastic. If not, then the home side, under new management, may well fancy their chances in this genuine ‘must win or we’re really screwed, in a that bloke from Seinfeld screwed’ way. Home win.

Celta Vigo (10th) WLWDD v Villarreal (8th) WLWLW

Madrid is supposed to be the highest major capital city in Europe. An interesting a fact as this mid table clash between one team whose players apparently don’t like each other another who can’t play without Riquelme. Draw.

Osasuna (15th) LLLWW v Mallorca (12th) DLLWD

The worm has definitely turned for Osasuna and lady luck is playing the piano in Pamplona. A late, late victory in Zaragoza last weekend - which owed itself to a comedy own goal - has given the home side a spring its step. The two wins may not be enough to resurrect the season, but it should help ensure survival in one may turn out to be a brutal relegation battle this year. Home win.

Racing Santander (14th) DDLWD v Real Zaragoza (5th) WLWDL

After charging out of the blocks at the start of the season, like a British sprinter, Zaragoza have started to tire somewhat. Only one point from six is not good enough for a team with genuine champions league pretensions. Sunday’s trip to the home of the ‘giganton’, Nikola Zigic and his partner Munitis, is suddenly not so daunting as both are suspended for the visit of Zaragoza. The first for two yellow cards and the other for some admirably foul mouthed abuse of the linesman. It’s doubtful that Racing have much left in the goal scoring locker. Away win.

Athletic Bilbao (18th) DDLLL v Recreativo (6th) WWWLW

Despite losing 2-1 to Real Madrid, last week, Athletic did not look that bad at times - although their defence is leaker than a Richard Nixon White House. It should be enough to carry them through against this season’s surprise package, Recreativo, whose four wins from five is title winning form. Should Barca be looking over their shoulder? Probably not. Home win.

Atletico Madrid (4th) DWWDW v Espanyol (13th) DDWDW

Atletico fans - and players - will be breaking into worried sweats about this match, already. Yet again, the side have found themselves in a strong league position and are playing a team that they should beat. Or should they? Espanyol are flying at the moment and beat both Ajax and Sevilla in the space of just four days. As they take to the pitch, just watch the expressions on the faces of the home side as they repeat the mantra ‘don't f*ck this up’, ‘don’t f*ck this up’. Home win.

Valencia (9th) LDDLL v Deportivo (11th) DDLLL

Valencia are like a drunken old man lying in the gutter shouting “I used to be somebody, you know!". A bit like the loon who sits on a bench outside La Liga Loca’s home, every Thursday night. Except he just yells “Ahhcctt Blleerrru” at passers by. Those still fit for duty at the Mestalla, this week, were treated to a session by a sports psychologist to counter fears from some of them that as soon as they set foot on the pitch on Sunday, something Wes Cravenly terrible will happen to them. Home win.

All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2006

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Quotes of the Week - and Much More

Europa, Europa

In the end, it was a disappointingly stress free evening for Barcelona and the fans after the cup holders came away with a 2-0 victory over Werder - ‘or Verde’ according to one of the papers - Bremen. However, the win owed itself to a smidgeon of luck and a couple of questionable refereeing decisions swinging in their favour. And not for the first time, this season.

Ronaldinho’s free kick should never have been given - he won it by flinging himself to the floor like a big Jessie after a gentle tap from the centre back. And Eidur Gudjohnsen? Offside, offside, offside is what La Liga Loca muttered to itself throughout the entire goal scoring move. But, at times, the football was......effulgent.

Real Madrid took their youth team on a school trip to the frozen tundra, in their dead rubber against Dynamo Kiev. Out of the squad of twenty-two, thirteen were from the ‘B’ or ‘C’ teams with three starting (de la Red, Nieto and Torres) alongside Ronaldo, Cassano and Beckham. Despite the game looking dead and buried at 2-0, big Ronie brought the tie level with a penalty and a deflected shot from a corner.

The titan of tapas has now put away three goals from two games - only twenty five to go from his promised target of thirty. Although ‘AS’ is a little premature this morning in declaring “the return of the king’, Ronie is looking fairly sharp. How long he can stay fit, is another question.

Although plucky Valencia went down 1-0 to Roma on Tuesday, they were the only Spanish side to top their Champions League group - something which should help them out in the second round. The bad news on the night was that their injury curse seems to be working just as effectively across the Mediterranean, as in Spain.

Seventeen year old striker, Aaran, only managed twenty six minutes of his debut before being stretchered off injured with a muscle injury. The teenager had put in an innocuous cross - which is all Valencia’s crosses are these days - and promptly collapsed to the floor in agony. Valencia were also missing the services of Angulo, whose mother sadly passed away during the week.

Can anyone go all the way? Just click on comments or email here for your say...
Fight! Fight !

There’s nothing more that the oh-so-childish La Liga Loca enjoys more in football than two players of the same side having a punch up. A proper one. Until yesterday, the number one in the top ten of tiffs was Thomas Gravesen attempting to remove Robinho’s head, on the Real Madrid training ground, over the summer. But that has been kicked of its perch by events in San Sebastian on Wednesday.

What was a normal humdrum training ground session at Real Sociedad - centre taking practice, hands on hip looking lost drills - turned into an enormous scrap between local hero Juanito and Brazilian also-ran Adriano Rossato. Due to the thirteen centimetre height difference between them, the contest was easily won by the Spanish centre back, who hospitalised his team mate with a cracking left hook to fracture his cheek bone and keep him out of action for month.

However, with the threat of a hefty fine and punishment on the cards, he soon apologised publicly for his loss of temper “it was a disgraceful episode”, he mumbled as he stood in the corner of the Sociedad training ground. Now can the club show the same ‘fighting spirit’ and get their first win of the season on Saturday. At the Nou Camp. Probably not.

Favourite bust up? Just click on comments or email here for your say...


In Other News...

In a ‘Marca’ poll, 69% of the 26,997 asked thought that Real Madrid were boring, this season - looks like Atletico fans have discovered the wonders of the telephone.

Ivan Campo says ‘I know nothing’ when questioned on the possibility of a less than tempting, really, winter move to Athletic Bilbao.

Getafe officially have the best defence in Europe. A back six that cost just 5.5 million euros has conceded the least amount of goals in all top flight leagues.

Real Madrid to sign up Fernando Gago next week - but he isn’t coming over to give Cassano someone to talk to - “they need to understand, I’m not coming to play in the second team”. A fate that Brazilian international full back, Marcelino, has to look forward to in January.

Valencia rumoured to be considering a striker swap with Inter Milan - Tavano for Adriano.


Quotes of the Week

“I love it when people criticise me” - Only because he has them beaten up, minutes after (not really). Real Madrid president, Ramon Calderon, shortly before the club’s annual congress.

“People who criticised Cannavaro don’t know anything about football” - Valencia’s, Roberto Ayala, is a paid up member of the centre back union.

“We need to sell the stadium” - Fernando Torres’ idea on how Atletico can improve their financial and sporting fortunes. La Liga Loca can think of a better one.

“Victor Fernandez gave me my freedom” - Aimar has been given an even longer leash by his new coach at Zaragoza.

“Me cago en tu puta madre, me cago en tu padre en tus muertos. Que mis hijos se follen a tus hijos” - Alaves’ team building session didn’t quite go the way everyone hoped after this little outburst from Dmitry Piterman to one of his players. And did not affect their performance at all in the subsequent 6-1 defeat to Las Palmas.

It they repeat the same acts of indiscipline, then the same thing will happen again” - Sorry seems to be the hardest word for Piterman after the players made a protest in front of the press.

“It stops people putting their hand in the till, like others have done” - Billionaire presidential trouble maker and Florentino Perez stooge, Fernando Tapias, on why Real Madrid big cheeses must be unbelievably rich to take on the post.

“The problem with Ronaldo is that he’s carrying too much weight” - Pele - not the best of friends with Ronie before - definitely isn’t now.

“I didn’t come to Barcelona for the tourism” - ‘no it was for the cash’ is what Thuram didn't say after.

“When they count all the votes, I'll be the winner and Calderon will be third” - Villar Mir seems very very certain of the Real Madrid electoral postal vote - which is still under judicial suspension.

“If I returned, then Betis would be league Champions” - Prince of Darkness, Manuel Ruis de Lopera of Real Betis.

“The team is maturing, we would have lost matches like today’s. Now we draw them” - Getafe coach Bernd Schuster sees reasons to be cheerful, despite another 0-0 draw.

“My obligation is defend. But I can still surprise people” - Roberto Carlos is still grumbling about the whole defending business Capello has forced him to do.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2006

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Will Barcelona be Schaaf-ted?

“O Come All Ye Faithful”

The SMS’s have been beamed to the ‘socios’, rousing music has been prepared, videos of the season’s best dives have been made and some suitably rabble rousing banners have been painted. All this, for the sole purpose of tempting Barca’s supposedly loyal, but often lazy-arsed fans from off their comfy Catalan sofas and into the Nou Camp, tonight, for their Werder Bremen date with destiny.

However, it’s going to be a tough battle to win them over. The match will surely to be tense and sweaty with no guarantee of victory; it’s on television and tomorrow is yet another national holiday in Spain, celebrating the fact that there has not been one for about two weeks - and it is the last until Friday. And it may rain. All things that are not in the club’s favour

Even Barca mad ‘Sport’ have been donning a crop top and pom-pom’s and cheerleading like never before - “Tonight, it is all for one!”, it proclaims, with the editorial promising a classic night of action with two teams who don’t know the meaning of defence. Written by someone who is less than au fait with German football over the ages, it seems. But who probably watched the Levante game.

The biggest worry for Barcelona is the same as it was against Chelsea - and look what happened there. Their lack of physical power and the fact that their midfield resemble extras from Charlie and the Chocolate factory. The average side of the team differs by nearly 10 centimetres.

However, their pace may work in their advantage, although the fact the referee will not be Spanish may rule out Barca’s favoured ‘simulation’ tactic. Ronaldinho will be back in business and was yesterday photographed looking more and more like a Nike sponsored cartoon character in wrap around shades and beanie hat predicting a great night ahead for the cup holders.

As for what will happen on the night? La Liga Loca is buggered if it knows. Maybe a draw or home win. Or a defeat.

The only certainty is that Barca must win and are planning to attack from the off - a tactic shared by Werder’s coach Thomas Schaff - “we’re going to go for them. It’s the only way we can get what we want”.

‘Marca’s advise - which is geared towards Real Madrid fans, really - is to sit back and enjoy the spectacle, safe in the knowledge that their team has already qualified. All be it thanks to being paired with some significantly easier groups and a jammy own goal by a poor Steaua Bucharest full back.

Valencia take some time off from their domestic woes to try and a give Roma a hard time in their Champions League group. The Totti-less Italians should fancy their chances against the visitors line up which includes a debut for seventeen year old Aaran Niguez alongside former Empoli striker Francisco Tavano.

Real Madrid play their dead rubber match tomorrow in frosty Kiev and have left most of their big names back in the capital, in lieu of their Saturday night date in Sevilla. So that means Beckham and Ronaldo are on the radioactive express to Russia.


Calderon’s Cauldron

Real Madrid president, Ramon Calderon, survived his first ever General Assembly of members on Sunday and successfully passed the club’s 2006-07 budget through a 669 v 224 majority vote. However, he failed to have his proposed changes to the electoral postal vote system ratified by the remaining ‘socios’, despite leaving the question to the end of the seven hour meeting in an attempt to bore the attendees into submission. Those members that had not since gone to the Irish Rover down the road, voted 192 v 119 against the new proposition.

In what was a fairly stormy affair at times, Calderon confirmed that he had no plans to call new presidential elections but that “if the fans believe they should be held, I would do so tomorrow”. Former president, ‘evil’ Florentino Perez, who is rumoured to making an panto style comeback was represented by his two sons at the ‘gathering of friends’ - the words used by Calderon to describe the annual hot air fest.

‘AS’s Juanma Trueba wrote on Monday that “the approval of the budget was not a clear show of support for the new board, neither was is a punishment”.


In Other News....

Athletic Bilbao’s Orbaiz is set to miss the rest of the season with yet another knee knack - the same he suffered from three years ago. The club are considering making a January ‘swoop’ to lure Ivan Campo from rainy Bolton to rainy Bilbao, despite the former Real Madrid player saying that “I have returned to enjoying my football, in England”.

Deportivo fall out alert - President Lendoiro said to be very unimpressed with manager Joaquin Caparros’ comments over the weekend that survival is the main objective for the club, this season. Expect changes in the summer.

Betis have decided to stick with the under fire Javier Irureta. At least until the Getafe match on Sunday.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2006

Monday, December 04, 2006

Monday's Good Day, Bad Day

Good Day

Florent Sinama-Pongolle

As wise old Adam Fraser once wrote on football365, Liverpool have a tendency to ruin strikers. Fortunately, Sinama-Pongolle has managed to avoid the same fate as Litmanen and co by escaping on-loan to the increasingly miraculous Recreativo - the story of ‘La Primera’ so far.

The Frenchman’s fifth goal of the season, and Recre’s second, in their 2-0 victory over Valencia was a treat. Albiol swatted aside like unwanted ice-cream and Santiago Cañizares made to scrabble around fruitlessly at the feet of the incoming attacker. Recre - officially the new Getafe. (See Getafe)

Carles Puyol, Deco - and Ian Harte’s Levante

The first in this selection was blooming lucky to be on the pitch at the end of Barça’s 1-1 draw with Levante, after his accidental block / WWF body slam on the marauding Kapo. The second filled the shoes of the absent Ronaldinho very well and put in one of his best games for the Catalans - topped off with a cracking free kick, his first goal of the the season. While there was much debate in the Spanish press as to whether Frank Rijkaard wasn’t taking the game seriously by resting his star player ahead of Werder Bremen, the truth is that his chosen eleven was more than capable beating Levante - not the scariest of prospects, in their current form.

The one thing Levante are though, is fast and powerful, from Riga in the middle, to Courtois on the left. It’s a shame they still have one small, but rather crucial problem to overcome as identified by their manager, Juan Roman Lopez Caro with his all too familiar lament - “it’s the same problem. We can’t put away the chances that we create”.

Real Madrid

La Liga Loca still struggles to understand how radio and televisions work. Something to do with waves. Or magic. Or magic waves. It’s the same situation with Real Madrid - they won again, but it is hard to know how. At the Bernabeu, last night, it was all to predictable familiar story - despite the promise of new attacking philosophy from Capello. Start slowly, get slower, allow the opposition to grow in confidence but finally wake up and do enough to win.

Luckily, Athletic Bilbao’s Keystone Cop defence were obliging enough to allow the returning Ronaldo slip through for one more of his promised thirty goals and gave Roberto Carlos all the time he needed to line up a shot.

Real Madrid are not playing well - and even the most hardcore of fans will admit that - but they are winning. And after three trophyless years that’s all that matters. Doesn’t make it any easier watching them, though.


Truly living the La Liga Loca. Even Ricky Martin let lose in a Turkish Bath would have trouble keeping up. Invincible in Europe, slayers of Ajax and now conquerers of Sevilla. The highlight of their 2-1 win must surely be Raul Tamudo’s effort which saw him spin past the centre back and chip past Palop.

Here’s more from Paul, who was lucky enough to see the miracle at the Montjuic take place.

“What a match!It had everything,a dodgy penalty,a good one turned down,a great save(Palop),a fantastic goal,crap refereeing and a bloke playing in yellow boots.What more could you ask for. Tamudo's goal was something special,a back heel to beat the defenders and a cool finish,if it had been Ronaldinho the press would be demanding a commemorative holiday.

Also saw the best player i've seen for a while Dani Alves.This boy can play.Liverpool should have paid whatever it cost.A big shout out must go to the 50 or so Werder Bremen supporters who turned up with Espanyol scarves and sang for most of the game,Hope their team does them proud on tuesday.iknow you mock the attendances sometimes,but the atmosphere was great today,yet another one for this half (25%)of the city.”


Back in business, with their second - although somewhat jammy - win in a row.

Guille Franco

The Mexican misser was so shocked by actually scoring a goal for Villarreal, he looked like he was going to burst into tears.

Bad Day


Someone in the Valencia camp must have done something very, very bad in a past life. Not only did the side lose yet another squad player in the shape of Regueiro, midweek, but were also hit by the loss of twentieth choice central midfielder, Pallardo, who fell to gastro-enteritis shortly before the game. This was just one day after one paper reported somewhat cruelly that the team had managed to get through a training session without the need of an air ambulance.

On Saturday night, Valencia crashed to their third consecutive defeat with a 2-0 loss to Recreativo. While their case was not helped by conceding a goal after just thirty-four seconds, it was a side without Morientes or Villa, without Marchena or Albeda and many, many more. Instead, their forward line was lead by Angulo and Silva - two wide men - supported by a returning from injury Vicente and a hopeless Joaquin. Valencia are now twelve points off the top and hurtling down the league at an alarming rate. A sad end to what what was such a promising domestic season.


Pop ! Hiss...

Fernando Torres

Rubbish. Rubbish. Rubbish. Rubbish. Rubbish. Rubbish. Rubbish. Rubbish. Rubbish. Rubbish. Rubbish. Rubbish. Rubbish. Rubbish. Rubbish. Rubbish. Rubbish. Rubbish. Rubbish. Rubbish. Rubbish. Rubbish. Rubbish. Rubbish. Rubbish.


A bizarre own goal from the Zaragoza defender with the unfortunate name in English. A rather tame last minute pull back from Osasuna’s David Lopez hit the back peddling Ponzio and bounced into the back of his own net - but not before the centre back performed a spectacular tumble, supposedly at the force of the shot.


Still tighter than a nun’s thingy in defence, but three goalless games in a row suggests that Bernd Schuster needs to repeat the striking demonstration he was seen giving his players, last week. Or sign himself up in January.


New manager. Same result.

Real Sociedad

Thirteen games in and still without a win.

Real Betis

See more on this week’s 365 column.

Racing’s Strikers

Both Zigic and Munitis managed to get themselves sent off against Deportivo. A team who apparently played worse against nine men, according to ‘AS’.


Anyone missed? Just click on comments or email here for your say...


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2006

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Big Weekend Preview


Ian Harte’s Levante (15th) DWLLD v Barcelona (1st) WDWWW

“I don’t think Ronaldinho will be playing on Saturday”, said Juan Roman Lopez Caro with a knowing look in his eye. He may be right, with Barca facing a must win game at Werder Bremen on Tuesday to keep then in the Champions League. However, even the absence of Jah-Jah and company, won’t be enough to save Levante on Saturday against a team who have been scoring more freely than Ronaldo on his Christmas break. Allegedly. The big question, though, is who will be converting the penalties from cheaty Eidur Gudjohnsen’s dives? Away win.

Recreativo (7th) LWWWL v Valencia (8th) LDDLL

“This is madness”, said Valencia’s trainer , Paco de Miguel yesterday, as he watched yet another of his players carted off to hospital. Another day at the Mestalla and another injury. This time, Regueiro is the victim of a run of bad luck that Atletico Madrid would be proud of. The midfield / attacker is set to miss out for six months after knackering his knee. With both Morientes and Villa both out of action this weekend, Recreativo will more than fancy their chances of making it four wins out of five. Home win.

Real Betis (17th) LLWDD v Atletico Madrid (5th) LDWWD

After pictures were published of a training ground scrap and news then leaked of a huge dressing room dust, the Betis players decided to cut of contact with the press for the near future. What remains to be seen is whether this will make a blind bit of difference, on Saturday, as they take on their visitors, Atletico Madrid. Quite frankly, this game is impossible to predict. The ‘rojiblancos’ are a little better away from home than at the Calderon, whereas Betis are in desperate need of three points. Draw.


Real Sociedad (19th) LLDDD v Getafe (6th) WLWLD

Like Toni Cassano on an escalator on Madrid’s metro, Getafe are wobbling a little at the moment. A less than convincing display and two dropped points, last week, to Levante means that the wind was taken a little out of their sails. But, with twenty points in the bag - “half the job done” according to centre back Alexis - Getafe can perhaps afford to have a more of a pop at opponents, on their travels. And there are few more poppable than Real Sociedad. Away win.

Villarreal (9th) WWLWL v ‘Nastic (20th) LLDLL

La Liga Loca has already ranted long and hard on ‘Nastic’s decision to part company with Luis Cesar and bring in a replacement, so early into the season. So now it’s time to taste the custard and skim the milk and see if the change will have an immediate impact on the Catalan minnows. Their opponents, Villarreal, are having a really, really, really weird season, even by their standards. Panned 4-0 by Barca last week, they will be looking to give someone a paddling. Bend over ‘Nastic. Home win.

Mallorca (12th) WDLLW v Celta Vigo (10th)

After managing three whole away goals, last weekend against ‘Nastic, Mallorca have temporarily lost their ‘most boring team on the planet’ tag. But for how long? With the visit of Celta, fresh from their 1-0 win over Fenebahce and replete with their constantly bickering, moaning squad, a very very narrow home win looks on the cards. Home win.

Deportivo (11th) LDDLL v Racing Santander (13th) WDDLW

Whilst the footballing world has had its beady eyes on the battle at the top of the table, not a great deal of attention has been paid to poor old Depor, who have been going down faster than Paris Hilton at a frat party. Allegedly. Racing, on the other hand have gone from being the dullest team in the league, last season, to rock and roll legends (although not quite up their with Zaragoza). All eyes will again be on Nikola Zigic, the ‘giganton’ who has had a hand in eleven of the twelve goals that Racing have scored since his arrival from Red Star Belgrade. Away win.

Espanyol (14th) DDDWD v Sevilla (2nd) WWDWW

Montjuic, Barcelona, 3rd Dec 2006. Remember this day, as will be the moment that Sevilla’s bubble finally bursts. But bear in mind that this is the fourth time that La Liga Loca has predicted this, with little sign of being vaguely close to being right. Espanyol are the form at the moment - especially when you consider how dreadful they were earlier in the season. Another Walter Pandiani goal, on Thursday, gave them a superb 2-0 away victory in the UEFA cup at Ajax and there is more of the same to come Sevilla’s way, this weekend. Maybe. Home win.

Real Madrid (3rd) WLWWW v Athletic Bilbao (18th) DDDLL

La Liga Loca was not the only one unhappy at Athletic’s decision to part company with their fourth manager in eighteen months - so was Fabio Capello. “They’ve changed the trainer and now it’s a mystery what they will do”, joked the Italian Stallian. Probably not much different to what they were doing before, according to Friday’s papers. Big news at the Bernabeu is that both David Beckham and Ronaldo may both start in Sunday’s game. Home win.

Real Zaragoza (4th) WWLWD v Osasuna (16th) DLLLW

Apparently, bees have been trained to detect explosives, like dogs. When they get a whiff of something toxic, they stick their tongues out. A movement which is then picked up by tiny cameras around their tiny cage, which in turn sets off an alarm. Rather like these bees, Zaragoza’s players have been trained to score goals. Sort of. Home win.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2006