Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Great Northern Mid Season Review

Ecky Thump!

It’s time for La Liga Loca to uncover his long buried Northern roots for a quick half time report on the great pigeon race that is La Liga. Flat caps and pies at the ready...

1. Barcelona - all reet
2- Sevilla - smart !
3 - Real Madrid - Grantham on t’ rainy Sunday
4 - Valencia - Nay so bad
5 - Atletico - big girls blouses
6 - Zaragoza - fair do’s
7 - Getafe - better than a bacon buttie with extra lard
5 - Recreativo - as lively as a pair of whippets on catnip
9 - Villarreal - Ilkley Moor, bar t’hat
10 - Osasuna - reet tough buggers
11 - Espanyol - lazy sods
12 - Racing - nay so bad
13 - Mallorca - bag a shiite
14 - Deportivo - like a kebab without the garlic sauce
15 - Athletic - daft
16 - Betis - as good as a match in’t drizzle
17 - Celta - fookin’ useless
18 - Levante - sissies
19 - Real Sociedad - don’t make me laff
20 - ‘Nastic - Hull, but worse.


See You in Court!

“Do you have some kind of problem”, barked the ferocious figure Justice Milagros Aparicio to a besuited lawyer starting to rise from his seat and disturbing the peace of her Madrid court house. The recipient of her curt question was a flunky of Real Madrid head honcho, Ramon Calderon, and the occasion was the first of many hearings to gather testimony on what to do with the uncounted and suspended presidential postal vote, from last summer.

For those without long memories - or better things to think about in their lives - the whole mess started last June, when a judge suspended the postal vote element of the Real Madrid presidential election two days before the official polling day, after claims from two of the candidates, including the eventual winner Ramon Calderon, that it had been rigged by their rivals.

After months of delay, the less than swift wheels of Spanish justice have now began to turn, kicking off the process of what to do next. Calderon contests that the vote was fiddled by Villar Mir - stalking horse of former president, Florentino Perez, so that his candidature would win. This was done, it is alleged, by Mir using communist style block voting from those working in his own companies. The former government minister argues that Calderon knew that he would lose the postal ballot, so pulled some strings to have it shut down.

On Monday, all the squabbling parties and their lawyers gathered together before a judge, charged with the thorny issue of what to do next. An answer is expected in two weeks. Questions were asked to the head of Real’s election board why security cameras were switched off when the postal votes were processed at the stadium. Why the official legal record has 10,511 votes received, when the club are claiming just 6,675 (the police were called in on that one) and why have some members come forward to claim that their vote was counted despite the fact they never sent it.

The stakes in play could not be higher at Real. When the pantomime - as one Real fan described it, yesterday - is finished, sometime in 2015 and it is decided that postal vote is valid and must be counted, then Villar Mir would almost certainly be declared the real winner, being only 2,000 short of Calderon in the official poll and very, very certain of exactly how many votes with his name on are sitting in the unopened boxes.

The fact that he could well be running the club from prison, in this case - the punishment being sought by prosecutors on an unrelated corruption matter - does not seem to be an issue in the Spanish press.

One thing’s for certain is that none of the candidates could give two hoots about Real Madrid or it’s future, or they would not be going through this damaging and somewhat childish process, which, according to Michel Salgado is destabilising the side.

For Calderon and co, the role of Real Madrid president is a status symbol. It’s a chance to show off. The opportunity for some of the old monied families of Spain to lock horns and settle some old scores, even if it means dragging the club’s name through the mud and making it the laughing stock of Spain, in the process.

Can anything good ever come out of this? Just click on comments or email here for your say...



More Good Day, Bad Day

I nominate Betis and Luis Fernandez for a good day. This team is on fire and is one of the true cinderella stories in La Liga this season. Everyone raised eyebrows when they drew with Barca but now they have done a way with a very good Los Che.

This team has a renewed fighting spirit. I am very happy for them. I forgot
to mention that they also did away with Real Madrid in the Copa.
I also nominate Villareal and Matias Fernandez for a good day. Villareal's
slick passing was in full force. At times I thought I was watching Barca.
Riquelme who ?

I also must come to Robinho's defense. It is true he is not playing
well. I have also noticed that the joy is gone. Especially since Ronaldo's
demise. Folks in Spain may not respect Ronaldo but people need to understand that.Ronaldo is a revered figure in the rest of the world and especially among young Brazilian players. The whole situation at Madrid must have had a profound effect on young and impressionable Ronaldo.

One must have a hard heart not to be sympathetic with Robinho. It is
true that the honeymoon is over but he has never been given enough time and stability to develop his game. He has been on and off the bench as Real has gone through coach after coach. Compare his situation with the way Messi and Iniesta have been given time and stability to develop as players. Just look at the playing time that Fabregas, Cristiano Ronaldo and Rooney gets on the field.

All these young players have been given time to develop. They have played under the same manager and been shown confidence. We will see the same happen with young Theo Walcott at Arsenal. For Robinho on the other hand he has had to fight from day one. Witness how hard the experienced players at Madrid have had to battle with adverse circumstances.

Look at what Helguerra has gone through. Its no wonder that Robinho has looked very dull lately. His spark seems to be gone. This crisis after crisis in Madrid must take its toll, and now Ronaldo is also gone. To be sure Robinho will bounce back. This situation will make him a man. But we need to go easy with the criticizing.

All Real Madrid need is stable management, stop firing coaches, and be
willing to accept that the glory days are over, and that they will need to
sweat blood to win the next title.



All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Monday, January 29, 2007

Monday's Grumpy Good Day, Bad Day

Good Day

Alejandro Alfaro

A new star is born. To replace the injured Jesus Navas, Sevilla have found a new creator in chief to put some lead into the club’s championship pencil - Alejandro Alfaro. Responsible for some of the side’s best attacking play, Monchi’s latest starlet set up one and scored Sevilla’s last in their 4-2 thriller. Defence still a little bit wobbly though.

Athletic Bilbao

It looks like there will be at least one Basque club in the top flight next season.


Considerably better stuff from Barca, on Sunday night. Livelier, perkier and as the Aussie part of La Liga Loca would say, spunkier. Although Deco won most of the plaudits, Andres Iniesta definitely deserves a mention for a busy display in the midfield, which started to function as a team again. And look, no mention of another dodgy penalty going in their direction! Oh. Bugger.

Dani Guiza

Two more for Getafe’s new hero, with the second in particular against a flaccid Osasuna being an absolute gem. At the beginning of the year, Getafe were in ‘stickier situation than sticky the stick insect stuck on a sticky bun’ (Blackaddeer) - with a goal scoring problem. Fortunately, Guiza has come along and must surely be La Liga’s player of the month for January. Only a few more wins to go before Getafe reach their safety target.

Iker Casillas

The one positive for Real Madrid was that their defence had been reasonably tight with both Cannavaro and Helguera starting to work well together, since the new year. Until Saturday night, when it was the Spaniard’s turn to have a wobbly spell. Thankfully, the ever reliable Casillas was in good form and exhibited perhaps the finest piece of goal keeping this season. First, a perfect dive at the feet of an attacker to knock away the ball and then a brilliant block seconds later, whilst lying on the floor, to stop the follow up.

Real Mallorca

A good day for Mallorca. A bad day for football


Blimey. Still going down though.

Bad Day

‘AS’ and Cristiano Ronaldo

Shocking behaviour from one of Spain’s daily papers all week, but particularly in today’s edition. Although the rag gave up on the concepts of editorial independence, some time ago, they have truly surpassed themselves with their constant hounding of Cristiano Ronaldo and their insistent unfounded mantra he wants a move to Real Madrid.

Of course, La Liga Loca would never suggest that Real have anything to do with this campaign - after all, that would considered ‘tapping up’ and quite illegal. And why would Ramon Calderon want stories on the front pages claiming that his club will be signing the best player in the world, just at the same time he faces an awkward challenge to his presidency.

But back to ‘AS’. Having spent all week camped out his mansion outside Manchester, the paper finally managed to grab a few words from their target man, as he arrived home from training. “He wants to sign for Real”, says the paper today, without any actually proof from the player, who only admitted that Fergie had banned him from talking about Madrid and yes, the weather was a bit grim in Manchester. As it is in Madrid today, by coincidence.

This latest episode is just the latest in a long line of ‘AS’s brown nosing to both Madrid clubs. Last week in a restaurant - whose name is mentioned only twice in the paper today - the chief writers were seen throwing impartiality out the window - along with their ethics - in a photographed orgy of embracing and back slapping with Atletico’s big cheeses, in one of the most fawning pieces on the club, imaginable.

If Real Madrid are found to have anything to do with their latest Ronaldo scam, then the club should be banned from making transfers for an eternity. Which may actually do them some good.

Atletico Madrid

This is getting silly.


Rant time from Paul...

“well it was a day out if nothing else.I once played for a sunday
morning team that lost 20-2 and we only had 8 players but still showed more heart and commitment than Espanyol today. Inconsistent is a word that has to describe us,also crap.

We topped our worst performance(also against 'nastic)by a mile or should that be 1.6 km. Well done to 'Nastic and Paco Flores,but Valverde celebrated his new contract by picking his Favourite 'Lacruz'.and we get stuffed.Don't know if Torrejon was injured but he came on second half.Why oh why,he plays we lose.You do the math. also noticed everybody's favs' got the seasons dodgiest penalty.They have the top three now.

So Madrid were crap,we were worse and Barça cheat to win.
The year is back on track, a return to normality.”

Paul, Barcelona


For more on his return to Betis..copy and paste here

La Sexta

Andres frickin’ Montes trying to claim that Chelsea v Nottingham bleeding Forest was ‘futbol con patatas’ was really, really, really, pushing La Liga Loca’s patience to the blood vessel bursting limit. Hearing a bunch of Portsmouth songs being sung by Sid Lowe on the Saturday, was excellent fare, though.

Damiano Tomassi

A fine own goal from Levante’s bearded wild man midfielder, who struck the ball sweetly from the outside of the box and past his own ‘keeper.


Two defeats in a row now and there must be concerns from Osasuna fans, that their recent revival is well and truly over. “We were soft and that is something Osasuna can never be”, said Jose Angel Ziganda after the 2-0 defeat to Getafe.

Real Sociedad

“We have to improve, but we can still save ourselves”, said La Real’s boss, Miguel Angel Lotina, after their 0-2 home defeat to Athletic. ‘Bollocks’, says the rest of the world. Sociedad might as well wave a white flag over their stadium, as their relegation goose is well and truly cooked. The club’s second home defeat in a row and third goalless encounter has left Real Sociedad on just thirteen points and, quite frankly, there is more chance of the Spanish learning to drive in the snow than la Real staying up.

Real Zaragoza

Yet again, Zaragoza had their dastardly Champions League plans foiled by a pesky goalkeeper. Last week, it was at Recreativo, this time it was Deportivo’s Dudu Aouate’s turn to put in a rare virtuoso display. “Dudu was magnificent!”, declared Depor manager, Joaquin Caparros after the game. Quite.


It can never be a good thing, when Real Madrid fans are looking forward to both Raul and Guti returning to the line up, but that is probably the best that the club can hop for at the moment. As La Liga Loca wrote in today’s 365 piece, Real are not playing badly, but just to the level that their line up permits.

Goal scoring is still clearly a problem, with five managed in the last nine games - their worst run in fifteen years - which makes one point the finger of blame at the supposed providers, Reyes, but more importantly Robinho. The extended honeymoon period must surely be over now for the Brazilian, who is still to deliver the goods, his much heralded transfer from Brazil promised.


Anybody missed? And any Atletico fans out there? Just click on comments or email here for your say...

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Return of The Haiku Weekend Preview


Atletico Madrid (5th) v Racing Santander (12th)

Cold wind and snow comes,
To Madrid, on Saturday,
A ski hat for ‘Kun’?


Villarreal (11th) v Real Madrid (3rd)

Ronie’s leaving town.
Will Mcdonald’s in Madrid,
Have to lay off staff?



Zaragoza (6th) v Deportivo (13th)

Twelve year old player,
D’Alessandro’s on the bench.
He will surely cry

Home win

Mallorca (15th) v Recreativo (7th)

Arango has said,
‘It’s a bad time for me.’ Try
Watching your team play


Ian Harte’s Levante (17th) v Sevilla (2nd)

Poor old Sevilla,
Wobble, wobble, wobble, splat!
A bit like jelly

Home win

Real Sociedad (19th) v Athletic Bilbao (16th)

On Sunday evening,
More Basques on display than the,
‘Moulin Rouge’ Film Set

Home win

Getafe (8th) v Osasuna (9th)

Can Osasuna,
Manage the game with the team,
Avoiding big fights?

Home win

‘Nastic (20th) v Espanyol (10th)

Ernie Valdverde,
Has new deal at Espanyol,
Means very little.

Barcelona (1st) v Celta Vigo (14th)

Training for Barca,
Was voluntary Thursday,
No Ronaldinho

Home win

Betis (18th) v Valencia (4th)

Remember Joaquin?
Cost quite a lot of money,
Better spent on beer


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Thursday's Quotes of the Week

More Crazy Talk

“In Pamplona it was bad. They spat at us, insulted us and kicked us” - Atletico’s big baby midfielder, Gabi, was straight on the phone to his mummy, after their Copa Del Rey exit to Osasuna, last week.

“He doesn’t go out with women, never smokes, nor drinks” - Atletico Javier Aguirre makes sure La Liga Loca is sure to be crossing Sergio ‘ laugh a minute’ Agüero off his party invitation list.

“Everything that happens at this club is quite complex” - Raul, lays down this marker in the ‘Understatement of the Year’ competition, 2007.

“Real Madrid are paying for not having made enough tough decisions over the summer” - “Like turning down bum-face and employing me!”, Getafe’s Bernd Schuster, failed to add, this week.

“If you have enough confidence in him, he will get you twenty goals a season” - Former Argentina boss, Jose Pekerman, on Barca’s outcast striker, Javier Saviola.

“If there’s one team, this season, that deserves praise, it’s Recreativo” - Zaragoza coach, Victor Fernandez, in a fluffy mood, after Sunday’s goalless draw with this season’s surprise package.

“I’m quite a small keeper, but it doesn’t mean I have to be afraid. I have to risk everything when I rush out, like I did against Droghba” - Tiny Betis goalie, Contreras claims that size isn’t everything in football. Just ask Barca’s ‘Frodo! Frodo!’ midfield.

“We’re running a lot more than before” - Jose Antonio Reyes, carefully deliberates on the tactical changes that have brought Real Madrid two wins in a row.

“At least it went in, this time” - Deportivo’s misfiring Angel Arizmendi on his ‘phantom’ goal, against Espanyol.

“I had to make Matarazzi hold me to make sure I didn’t fall off” - Fabio Cannavaro regrets FIFA’s decision to buy the World Cup final podium from Ikea.

“I won’t become a ‘Betico’. Just for one day” - A small cheer from the Sevilla readers, as Sergio Ramos insists that he was not supporting his old rivals in last night’s 1-1 draw with Barca.

“Anyone who can help us get it back, will have a financial reward” - No, not Joaquin’s form, but it is their stolen supercomputer that Valencia are still looking for, the one that holds the secrets of nearly every player on the planet.

Unfortunately, every day football becomes more of a business than a sport” - Not that Fernando Torres is going to start returning his salary back to the club, anytime soon.

“Atletico fans are more slaves to their feelings than results, than anyone else I have ever known” - Torres adds fuel to the argument, that Atletico fans actually enjoy wallowing in their misery.

“There are only three or four people who do these things. We can’t judge all the fans” - Atletico Madrid’s Perea is a little kind on the Atletico support after the racism aimed at Osasuna’s, Pierre Webo on Saturday. It was literally thousands joining in. Not a handful.

“If Cristiano Ronaldo comes here, you’ll see a bit of this (boxing mime)” - Ruud Van Nistelrooy jokes with the press, on the suggestion that Real Madrid are pursuing his former sparring partner at Manchester United.

“To lead people, you need to tell the truth” - Real Madrid, presidential hopeful Villar Mir. A man facing a jail sentence over financial corruption charges, where he may well be running the club from, should things go his way in next week’s judicial decisions over the suspended postal vote.

“Ask me your questions, as I want something to eat, then go to bed, so I can start getting ready for Sunday’s match” - La Liga Loca’s new favourite manager, Luis Fernandez of Betis, lets the press pack know who wears the trousers.

“They’re signing too many foreigners” - Athletic Bilbao’s Carlos Gurpegui, for whom anyone not from his street is a foreigner, on the root cause of the problems at Real Sociedad.


In Other News...

Real Betis 1 - 1 Barcelona: Due to Wednesday night being La Liga Loca’s whist drive night, it did not catch the game, so it invites any witnesses out there to write in.

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

Tapas King Ronaldo’s move to Milano is still in the air after the Italian club made their final offer of 3 million euros - not enough for Real - and insisted that the Big Boned Brazilian be put through a full medical and dissection before signing with them.


Boring, Boring, Spain?

I just started watching La Liga this year, thanks to my cable carrier picking up GOL TV (I live in the USA). I've now seen the Spanish, English, German, and Italian leagues and I have to say La Liga's my favourite. Each league has its own charms and quirks, sure, but I think anyone would have to be either certifiably insane or suicidally cynical to declare that the Spanish league is "boring."

You want boring? Check out the NFL. Its bad enough that American-style football is entirely set pieces, but the NFL is entirely set pieces played conservatively with a commercial break every five minutes. Here in America the attitude is "lots of scoring = good" but all that attitude has produced is steroids and games that look like a Playstation game playing itself on the lowest difficulty setting. That, too, is boring.

I found the Atletico - Osasuna match entertaining for the wrong reasons, but entertaining nonetheless. Obviously, the best match of the weekend was Man United - Arsenal, so sure, compared to that all of the round 19 matches of La Liga would seem a little pathetic, but as a strict whole, I find nothing wrong with it.

Now then, all that being said, what can we do to keep people from saying Internacional is "the best club in the world" because they beat Barca in a ridiculously meaningless tournament?


An interesting piece. Unfortunately the problem not just Spain's alone. The Premiership too has been drying up on the goals since its inception and the World Cup last year was probably the dullest ever.

With the high stakes involved and the amount of money missed out on if the team looses, modern football philosophy is not about scoring goals but rather to prevent conceding them.

It is no coincidence I think that if you look down the scale of leagues in relation to the money they turnover, the number of goals scored increases.


There may be something to the declaration of La Liga as 'boring'. It's not necessarily boring as it's becoming embarrassingly cynical and 'professional'.

Work rate is still good when compared to the amount of ball play in Spanish futbol. One can see all aspects of the game in La Liga, from long ball, to short passing, to the dribble. Where else can you see players get routinely cheeky with the ball in between hellish counterattacks? So, the calibre of play is still there.

What's frustrating is the sheer amount of time pissed away by Dani-imitations. Players are rolling around like someone poured gasoline on them and lit them up--only to arise like the phoenix reborn upon 'stealing' the free kick. But, this is only half the problem, because players are in fact plowing into each other, likely upon their coaches insistence for 'intensity' and 'aggressiveness'. You'd almost think players are being told to drink 4 expressos in a row five minutes before the match. Given how fit modern players are, this demo-derby style of futbol can last 75 minutes into a game. It all reminds me of English futbol, where everything is done 'fast-forward'. The problem is the English have been playing this way forever, and they've actually gotten quite good at it. The Spanish should stick with what works for them. It's more attractive, in any case.



All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

"Probably the Most Boring League in the World"

A Yawning Gap

According to an overheard bit of chit chat yesterday, it was the last day of autumn, in Spain, on Monday. Not that La Liga Loca is into eavesdropping, but sometimes the Malasaña locals have a tendency to yell their conversations from one side of the street to the other. Especially at night.

So, winter has finally here, which might help explain the sudden increase in the sourpuss levels amongst Spain’s native football writers. With snow drifts blocking the door and icy winds threatening to instantly extinguish their cigarettes, it’s no more cosy lunches with club presidents for the hacks of ‘Marca’ and ‘AS’, instead, they are actually being forced to do a bit of investigative work, for once. And what they have found, does not make happy reading for fans of the ‘Primera’.

As the consistently grumpy Roberto Palomer wrote in ‘Marca’ yesterday, Spain now boasts ‘probably the most boring league in the world’. Although his judgement may have been impaired a little having sat through Mallorca v Real Madrid, he may have a point.

Last weekend’s round of action was one of the bleakest in history, according to statisticians, with only nine goals being scored - and just six from open play. For those pondering whether this was just a statistical anomaly, the news gets much worse. La Primera has the second worse goal per game average out of Germany, England, France and, God forbid, Serie A - always seen by the Spanish as akin to staring at paint, without the extra thrill of watching it drying.

Spain’s goal shy strikers are only managing a paltry 2.36 goals a game, still 0.6 ahead of France (thanks to Freddie Kanoute, perhaps), but still quite a way behind those zany Germans in the Bundesliga who are scoring more often that the Brazilian national team tanked up on Viagra. Allegedly.

So what is causing this new trend, which is worsening by the year, despite the best efforts of Rafa Marquez, ‘Nastic and co. Vicente del Bosque - the admirable exponent of ‘we’ll score more than you’, school of football, blames the current crop of scaredy cat managers, overly obsessed with conceding goals at the expense of attacking play at the business end. A viewpoint that poor old Ruud Van Nistelrooy may have sympathy with, right now.

Other factors may be smaller clubs like Getafe and Atletico (only kidding) realising that they are never going to survive if they get a little crazy, to paraphrase Seal and deciding to park the footballing bus in front of the goal every game in the hope of grabbing a cheeky winner, from time to time.

What do you think? A flash in the pan or something more serious? Just click on comments or email here for your say...


A Tour of Spain

We start off in snowy Galicia, where all the players of Deportivo could be found huddled round candles and eating spaghetti hoops out of tins, looted from a nearby fallout shelter. Times are hard at Depor and according to ‘AS’, if an investor willing to throw 60 million euros down a football pitch shaped toilet cannot be found soon, then the club will be forced to go into administration.

With a whopping debt of 146 million around it’s necks - most of that having been paid to Diego Tristan - the club has been forced to miss a payment of 480,000 euros owed to Alaves for the summer transfer of Bodipo. Considering Dmitry Piterman’s behaviour can be a little erratic sometime, La Liga Loca wouldn’t like to be in Depor president Lendoiro’s shoes when the boys with bats come round. And it certainly wouldn’t like to be in the shoes of the poor reporter who was told by Depor’s big cheese that ‘one day, you will pay for all this’ at a press junket after probing a little too deeply into Depor’s affairs.

Another president making the news was Joan ‘Joan’ Laporta at Barcelona who announced plans to do don his overalls and do a little bit of remodelling of the Camp Nou, when he has a couple of free weekends. However, he’s also looking for a bit of help from a couple of mates down the road with his project - “we deserve a bit of special treatment from the city council”. Laporta went on to describe Sunday’s 3-0 win over ‘Nastic as ‘mature’, in contrast to some of the comments from the poor buggers who were also in the stands and have written in to La Liga Loca.

Barca’s buffet king then shared his pain with his counterpart at Real and bleated that Calderon having his stream of insults aimed at his own squad being recorded by a journalist, was ‘an act of betrayal’ from the perpetrator. Quite. Imagine that - a journalist with no links to the club recording and broadcasting ill-advised comments made to several hundred people, on a topic of some public interest.

Not wanting to go an entire day without making some kind of grand announcement, themselves, Real Madrid’s chief enforcer and majority shareholder in Brylcreem, Pedja Mijatovic, revealed that it was almost certainly the end of the road for poor old Ronaldo in Madrid - a big mistake in La Liga Loca’s humble opinion - and ‘Toni Cassano. He confirmed that the club are trying to negiotiate a fee with AC Milan for the former and hire a skip to carry off the latter.

Ramon Calderon, desperately trying to get his face on tv as much as possible before the Pandora’s box of the postal vote issue is opened, next week, has announced that the club will be signing a new shirt deal for ‘unimaginable sums of money’ with a mystery company, after the previous one, BenQ went bankrupt, last year.

Atletico Madrid have dived into the transfer market yet again and surfaced with Brazilian centre back (or left back, depending on who you read) Fabiano Eller between its teeth.

Real Zaragoza are trying to tempt Everton’s Mikel Arteta or Osasuna’s Raul Garcia into joining their European crusade. Osasuna will not appealing any of their sixteen sendings off from last weekend’s Calderon calamity.

Sevilla’s Kepa has been punished by being packed off to West Ham for the rest of the season, whilst their bigwig president, Jose Marie del Nido confidently predicts that they will pick up another 38 points during the second round of the Primera - coincidentally, the same number of points currently sitting on Maniche's driving license.


Why the Barca Booing?

why were they booing?

1) because it was tediously dull. really dull.
2) where was the sparkle? none. it was like watching real madrid
3) because ronnie looked like he didn't give a shit
4) because deco was in psycho mode. taken off before the ref sent him off
5) because frank took saviola off. 5 goals in a week and he gets taken off

best part? my son saying he was feeling ill, a great excuse to leave early.



All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Monday, January 22, 2007

Monday's Good Day, Bad Day

Good Day


La Liga Loca only caught bits and pieces of the second half of this one, but those in the crowd who reportedly booed Barca were being a little harsh, perhaps. You can only beat what is put in front of you, which is exactly what they did to go back to the top of the table.

As well, as yet another goal for Javier Saviola, Sunday night’s match also gave us the worst attempted clearance for some time, when a ‘Nastic defender hoofed the ball off the line and onto the underside of the cross bar - an action which directly lead to the second goal.

David Villa

Having failed to score in 2007, the pressure was on the Valencia striker to produce the goods - and he did not let the side down. His cracking free kick effort in Valencia’s narrow 1-0 win away to Real Sociedad was not only his ninth in the league but also the reason for Valencia’s sixth win in a row. The return to form of the Spanish international must be attributed in part to careful handling of his boss, Quique Sanchez Flores, who used the carrot approach on his sometimes wayward charge to cheer him up, as opposed to his stick. Villa’s goal celebration of running fifty yards to jump into his manager’s arms was a sure sign that all is well in Valencia’s often argumentative camp.


A goal in just forty seconds from Manu del Moral was enough to bring Getafe within thirteen points of their forty two point target. It’s four more than they had at the same time last year and considering they boasted the likes of Riki and Pernia in the side, it has been an incredible effort from the players and Bernd Schuster himself to repeat the feat. If Real need a replacement for Capello, next season, for some reason, then the obvious candidate can be found a few miles down the road - and not at Stamford Bridge.

Ian Harte

Finally returning to the starting line up of Ian Harte’s Levante, although his come back match, a 0-0 v Athletic Bilbao was not a memorable one by all accounts. Still, welcome back.

Javier Lopez Vallejo

Not a name that instantly rings any footballing bells, but Vallejo the name of Recreativo’s incredible goalkeeper and the man who single-handedly won his team point number thirty, in their 0-0 draw at Zaragoza. Amongst a superb string saves, the one that particularly stands out was a fine effort from an overhead strike from the disbelieving Pablo Aimar. “We are competing for a league position with Zaragoza and that is something that I did not expect at the beginning of the season”, said Recre’s manager, Marcelino. And nor did anyone else, to be honest, but long may it continue.

Jose Ze Castro

Although he grabbed Atletico’s winner in their bizarre but entertaining win over Osasuna, the Portuguese centre back has been consistently good all season, so much so that he has forced Pablo from the starting line up. As well as being a fine defender, his distribution of the ball is one of the best in the league.

Real Madrid

Toughness, discipline, fortitude - all these attributes were needed for anyone trying to stay awake during Sunday night’s Balearic borefest. It is also some descriptions that can used to describe Real’s players at the moment. Just when it looked like they would never score in a match against opposition that had not won at home since September, up pops Reyes with a cheeky little number.

Nevertheless, goal scoring is proving to be a problem for Real, at the moment. Van Nistelrooy is their top league striker with 10, with the injured and less than free scoring Raul on three along with cluster of midfielder and defenders on 3. The side have only caused the opposition net to bulge three times in the last six games and have the worst ‘goals for’ tally in sixteen years at this point in the season. However it is also the first time they have been equal top at the midway point in five years - although Barca have to play their game in hand on Wednesday.

What Real need now is a week with no arguments, scandals, speeches, lunches, drinking sessions and most importantly, games. Not an easy feat, their current threadbare but youthful squad which has ground out two 1-0 wins in a row could probably do with a break. They’re not the only one.

If you want to see La Liga Loca desperately trying to recall events from last night’s game, then watch Real Madrid’s ‘Extra Time’ show - repeated all week - on the Sky Digital network.


Bad Day

Angel Arizmendi

Getting stranger and stranger, is Angel. Misses the most ridiculous of chances but tucks away the tricky ones with some aplomb. His first ruled out effort in Depor’s 0-0 (of course) encounter with Espanyol came from a volley which clattered the bar and looked like it had just bounced over the line - something the Espanyol ‘keeper Jarque confirmed. It was incorrectly ruled out by the linesman, but the fact that Arizmendi was only about a metre out from an open goal when he blasted the shot, meant that it should never have come a to ‘Russian linesman’ moment, in the first place.

Celta Vigo

Manager, Fernando Vasquez has finally been forced to hit the panic button after yet another defeat - their third in a row. Sadly for him, number four is is surely round the corner as a visit to the Nou Camp is in the offing.

Fernando Torres

Definitely off penalty duties for the foreseeable future.


There is fighting for every point and fighting for every point. Great fun though.

For more on the match, copy and paste here....

Real Sociedadv

It looked like a decent performance against Valencia, but it is three more points lost at home. Going down with the ‘Nastic, it seems.


Due to been tied up at the Calderon - never a good situation to be in - La Liga Loca did not manage to catch much of this encounter, so if there are any Sevilla fans out there with something to say...just click on comments.


Although the referee’s enjoyed cancelling out perfectly legitimate goals all weekend - two for Depor, one for Racing, it was a lousy day for La Liga’s hit men, with just nine on target goals for the entire round. And we have Barcelona - or rather ‘Nastic’s defence - to thank for a third of them.


Anything to add? Just click on comments or email here for your say...

All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Friday, January 19, 2007

The 'Uneducated and Uncultured' Weekend Preview


Atletico Madrid (5th) LWDDW v Osasuna (8th) WWWLW

Saturday night’s match may produce an exciting new twist for the fans of the ‘rojiblancos’. So far, this season, a pattern has been set in home games where poor to average teams have come to the Calderon, expecting a drubbing from their Europe chasing superstars only to face a tepid, edited for tv version of Atleti. It has been like taking candy from a baby - and not from Ronaldo, as it should be. The difference, this time, is that a very good side is coming to town to do the same. Away win.

Villarreal (11th) DLLLW v Sevilla (1st) WWWLL

As so often happens in Spanish football, a pointless battle of egos is currently ripping a team’s chances of success into iddy biddy pieces. In the latest rumble at Villarreal, in the red corner - we have president Fernando Roig, ‘the Ceramic King’. In the blue corner - Roman “The Incredible Sulk” Riquelme. There can be only be one winner and it certainly won’t be the Argentinean play maker. Villarreal have to make a tough decision about Roman’s future, some time soon. On the one hand, his lousy attitude is causing no end of problems with team morale, however, the ‘Yellow Submarines’ cannot do without him - only two won from the nine played in his absence is not a great statistic. Away win.


Getafe (9th) DLLDW v Celta Vigo (13th) DDDLL

This week, Bernd Schuster’s moustache has been twitching away, as if there is a thunderstorm is coming (it is like a hairy barometer apparently). Why? Because his team have scored, seven, yes seven goals in two games - three at ‘Nastic and a further four against Valencia in the cup and in what the German genius has called one of the best performances from his side under his reign. The visitors on Sunday, Celta, could not be having a worse time had they been forced to watch an Argentinean ‘telenovela’ on endless repeat till their brains exploded. Home win.

Real Betis v Racing Santander

So which Betis will turn up on Sunday? The first team which was tonked 5-1 by Osasuna last weekend? Or the supposed reserve side, a time wasting bunch of divers ( a golf cart to carry a player with cramp off! Merciful Zeus!), but who still performed quite well on Thursday night to knock Real out of the cup? Home win.

Real Sociedad (19th) LWDWL v Valencia (4th) WWWWW

And so, the latest round of Valencia’s glorious title winning campaign of 2007, takes place. Yes, La Liga Loca is going to lay his cards on the line (as it were) and claim that its extravagant, pre season two pound Valencia to win La Liga bet will be paid out in June. Why? They have the best squad and starting eleven of all their challenging teams. It may sound like Friday crazy talk, but had Valencia not had a horrific run of injuries, back in 2006, they would have been top by a mile. Luckily though, a remarkable six wins on the trot, combined with a fashion for point dropping from Barca and Sevilla, has let them back into the race again and helped top La Liga Loca’s drinkie fund, just that little bit more. Away win.

Ian Harte’s Levante (17th) LDLWL v Athletic Bilbao (16th) WWDWL

In a fairly pointless gesture, Levante dispensed with the services with Juan Roman Lopez Caro, a man who has completed the praiseworthy achievement of managing four different clubs in just 13 months - Castilla, Real Madrid, Racing, Levante. Will he make it number five? Home win.

Real Zaragoza (6th) WLDWL v Recreativo (7th) LLWWD

La Liga Loca is still in a bit of a tiff with Zaragoza after their failure to be their usual action-packed selves, last Sunday. Don’t really care what they do against Recre (sniff). Home win.

Deportivo (14th) LLLWD v Espanyol (10th) WLWLW

Why are people saying Depor’s Angel Arizmendi is great? He isn’t. Awful in a game La Liga Loca watched him play at Getafe and responsible for two of the worst howlers of the season, at Real Madrid and last week against Recreativo. He’s the new Kezman. Away win.

Barcelona (2nd) DWDDL v ‘Nastic (20th) WLLDL

If ‘Nastic don’t finish the Sunday’s game, crawling around, weeping like girls and begging to put out of their misery, then there is something seriously wrong with Barca at the moment. This match could not have come at a better time for a side as headless as a victim of an Iraqi hanging. Thuram, Saviola, Deco, Iniesta are expected to start, possibly at the expense of Rafael Marquez for one, whose season of great promise is going badly awry at the moment. Home win. And then some.

Mallorca (15th) LLLLW v Real Madrid (3rd) LWLLW

Sometimes you read a match report in a paper and wonder if the writer was actually at the game or perhaps blasted out of skull on Diamond White, at the time. Whilst flicking through ‘El Mundo’ this morning, the headline - “They can’t even beat Betis ‘B’ screamed out at ‘La Liga Loca’, in response to the 1-1 Copa Del Rey draw (defeat really), last night. “This is what happens when you don’t buy players like Figo and Zidane”. WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN THE LAST THREE YEARS, YOU CRAZY MAN! Certainly up Florentino Perez’ behind, at the moment.

The normally hard to please, La Liga Loca is pleased to report to Real fans, that last night’s performance was one of the best seen at the Bernabeu for ages - hence the deserved standing ovation from the fans at the end. The players were hardworking, passionate and inventive and more than a little unlucky not to have gone through. It was also the best atmosphere in the club’s ‘theatre’,for a while, as well. Although things got a little out of hand with bottles being thrown at the linesman and a late pitch invader - a fairly rare event at the Bernabeu.

Unfortunately, the evening was soured by yet more unnecessary bitchiness from the increasingly undignified Fabio Capello - who showed a lack of class that even Jade Goody would be sniffy at - by answering a question of whether Beckham’s free kicks were missed with - “he only ever scored two or three, while he was here”.

On a side note, towards the end of the game, the crowd sitting below Beckham’s box beckoned to him to take a late free kick - one that Ramos spooned over the bar. The midfielder could only shrug helplessly in response. And this is why they will struggle on Sunday. Nieto, the right midfielder for Real ‘C’ is the current understudy for Reyes. It’s not good enough for the hurly burly of the league. Draw.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Quotes of the Week

“We have to grab them by the ear and drag them back to their homes” - Getafe president, Angel Torres, reveals an innovative strategy to combat racist supporters at the Coliseum.

“Ronaldo is the best in the world, but the example for kids is Raul” - Zaragoza midfielder, Zapater, with his sensible trousers on.

“The same eleven wankers” - An old one, but a good one. John Toshack’s famous quote was dusted off this week, from when he was asked who he will be playing in the next game, after a particularly bad defeat.

“When I won seven games, Manzano was the mambo king. Today I am a disaster” - Mallorca manager, Gregorio Manzano - referring to himself in the 3rd person, never good - must surely be the mambo king again after their 2-1 win over Sevilla. Whatever that is.

“I never said I wouldn’t be counting on him” - says Frank Rijkaard of free scoring Javier Saviola whilst pointing at Txiki Begiristain.

“I have never doubted him as a person or as a professional” - Txiki wins this week’s ‘liar, liar pants on fire’ award.

“I will greet him. Politeness is the one thing we should never lose” - Sweeter than honey soaked candy and all round family guy, Daniel Sanchez Llibre, president of Espanyol, on his strategy for the visit of Barca’s Joan Laporta.

“I’m off to get my drinks flask” - Iker Casillas - an odd person really - laughs of rumours that the Real Madrid dressing room contains more boozers than an English stag party.

“I don’t know if the war is over, but we lost a good battle” - the final words of Juan Roman Lopez Caro, before being put before Levante’s firing squad, this week for dereliction of duty.

If they want to get rid of Ronaldo, we’ll have him” - Atletico Madrid’s Peter Luccin has a spare room going too, for Real’s portly poacher. Best put a lock on the fridge, though.

“We’re going to enjoy his goals for the next few months he’s with us” - Raul - unaware that Ramon Calderon has other plans for Mr Beckham.

“He will not be mentally prepared” - Fabio Capello on David Beckham, Saturday 14th Jan.

“I have always said that he is a great professional” - Fabio Capello on David Beckham, Wednesday 17th Jan.

“I don’t think these things should happen to a team-mate who has given so much to the club” - Class warrior, Ivan Helguera, on his English team-mate.

“They know that league well” - Real Betis coach and now most entertaining man in Spain, Luis Fernandez, responds to taunts from Osasuna fans that his team are heading for the second division.

“It’s not that I intervene, but if I have an opinion and things are not clear, then I make the final decision” - Ramon ‘I promise not to get involved in playing issues” Calderon.

“Athletic is a serious club and needs a professional who knows it’s history. The April Fair and bulls are in Sevilla, after all” - Former Athletic Bilbao coach, Javier Clemente, suggests that the club made the right decision not to employ Luis Fernandez, now at Betis. Welcome back Javier !

“Athletic were interested in me, but too be honest, the offer made was quite ridiculous” - Poverty stricken Bolton midfielder, Ivan Campo, on why he has rejected a move back to the Spanish league.

“Jesus Gil was a fantastic person” - Atletico Madrid president, Enrique Cerezo, on murderer, thief, liar, embezzler and crook, Jesus Gil.

“He hasn’t offered me his number, but he doesn’t have to” - Not at all narked Ivan Helguera - former Real no. 6 - on Diarra, the man wearing his shirt.


Copa del Rey (stop yawning)

And what a thrilling night of action it was, yesterday, with La Liga Loca having finally perfected his pasta sauce after decades of experimentation. Red Pepper and chilli. Can’t go wrong. There was also some Spanish cup action going on.

Atletico Madrid, La Liga Loca’s hot tip to win the blooming thing, this year, crashed out in their usual fine style by losing the second leg 2-0 away at Osasuna, a club they have not beaten away for about twelve years. The other main casualties of the latest round, were Villarreal, beaten at home by second division leaders Valladolid. The other big shock of the night was the 4-2 hammering Getafe gave to Valencia, in the Mestalla.

Quarter Finalists - Zaragoza, Osasuna, Barca, Deportivo, Sevilla, Getafe, Valladolid, Real Madrid or Betis (1-1).



A Real Mess

I don't even know what to say about this club anymore. Now the President has gone mad...or maybe he always was. Real's management is fond of requiring the highest standard of behaviour from their players.

One remembers how they crucified Ronaldo on the Bernabeu pitch for his
untimely comments...while conveniently forgetting that he's led the team in scoring for every season he's been there except this one. Yet, in the mother of all double-standards, it seems that both the
coach and the president, have no self-control either. In one week they both have done further damage to the club's image by their behaviour.

In light of their recent behaviour, maybe they should not be so
self-righteous the next time a player makes a mistake. Capello in particular has shown an intensely vindictive nature against Diarra and Beckham. Not to mention this whole Beckham business has shown both him and Calderon to act like children.

Maybe if Calderon doesn't want the players to behave like stars, the
club should stop chasing after stars in transfer market, like Kaka for
instance. Maybe Cassano, considers himself a bit to highly, but Ronaldo is not without accomplishments. If Raul had scored the goals Ronaldo scored in the last three years he would have been hailed as the greatest ever.

It spite of the fact that everyone loves to insult Ronaldo he has delivered much for the club. Maybe the club feels that its time to part ways but do they really have to be so disrespectful about it. Maybe folks feel Ronaldo didn't work as hard, but I'd take his goals, and leave the hard-work to Raul. The same for Beckham, the Englishman did work hard and made a
contribution. Its not like if they were playing him this season, so why be upset when he leaves. Why must he give away his negotiating position, and tell them he is leaving before the deal is done? They have shown that they cannot keep their mouths shut, so I don't blame Beckham for keeping the lid tight on his impending deal. Again, like Ronaldo, he has earned his star status.

If Real
cannot deal with the celebrity boys, they should stop chasing them down
in the first place. As for Casillas, how can you begrudge the Spanish national keeper his salary? For a long time he didn't even make that kind of money. Also, I am not Guti's biggest fan, but he has fought for the club and given many years of service. This is just plain disrespect.


The Saviola U-Turn

My aren't we two-faced? Txiki is the one who made public statements stating that Saviola was not wanted and was being unreasonable. In fact, the whole Saviola affair showed a clear difference of approach and
attitude, between Txiki and Rijkaard. While the Dutchman, in his careful style, clearly intimated that Saviola was always welcome to train and would be considered part of the team, Txiki was clearly pissed over Saviola's persistence in staying at the Camp Nou.

You can see Rijkaard joy every time Saviola scores and you get the
feeling that the dutchman has never forgotten Saviola's heroics in the
2003-2004 season. It is to Saviola's credit that he continued to work hard for his chance and it is to Rijkaard's credit for at least letting him train
with the squad. Now if Capello would only take example and let Beckham on the field....


To have your say,Just click on comments or email here for your say...


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca 2007

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Calderon in the Cauldron

From Bad to Worse

One of the recommendations given to Real Madrid, last week, was to follow the old saying of when you are in a hole, stop digging. Well, yesterday, club president Ramon Calderon, hired himself a big old JCB and started what appears to be an attempt to tunnel to Australia.

In what ‘Marca’ dramatically refers to as “the storm of the century”, Real’s big cheese decided it would be a fine idea to turn one of his normal dreary speeches being given to a bunch of law students, into a remarkable stand up style rant against his club’s players and fans.

In giving further credence that if you combine a club president, a microphone, an audience and enough time, something disastrous is always bound to happen, Calderon’s unfortunate words soon hit the headlines across the land and have caused of a bit of a kerfuffle.

Although a number of his comments have been taken a little out of context by a mischievous press and ignoring that fact that he makes the occasional bit of sense, it was a very, very bad idea to get his face in the papers , yet again, just when things had started to calm down after the whole Beckham business, you may have read about.

Calderon stunned his audience by revealing the salaries of both his goalkeepers and in a doomed attempt to point out the huge differences in footballers earnings. He claimed Guti had had a wasted career (no argument, there) and referred to his players as ‘vain, egotistical and (people) who consider themselves to be superstars”, unlike those he was giving the speech to who were cultured and educated.

He then proceeded to have yet another pop at Beckham, just as delicate negotiations are taking place with his lawyers over his future - “he will be half an actor in Hollywood” and boasted that the technical staff were right to kick him out seeing as no other serious club signed him up - except Real Madrid, of course, who offered him a two year contract.

Calderon, not satisfied with his day’s work, turned on Real’s fans - “The Calderon is like a theatre. Here the fans don’t cheer like in Italy or England, where there is shouting and singing”. Another fair point, but not one that is going to get the fan base on his side, especially with the possibility of another election on the horizon, once last summer’s postal votes are counted, at the end of January.

The whole business has been a disaster for Calderon, who was forced last night to grovel and beg for forgiveness - “I apologise a thousand times”. Short of kissing the arse of every single Real fan at Thursday’s cup game against Betis on Thursday, there is no coming back from this one.

The players, who by unfortunate coincidence for ‘el Presi” were having a rare lunch together, were said to be furious, when his comments filtered through to them. “It seems our own President is against us”, grumbled one. It’s not known whether the shock was enough to put Cassano off his Spotted Dick, though.

His laughable back track of “when I said the Calderon was like a theatre, it meant something special. Old Trafford is known at the Theatre of Dreams, after all”, is probably not going to do the job in placating the fans. In what must have been an attempt to win a their backing, by some straight talking - the opposite has happened.

As the editorial in ‘Marca’ commented, there is no Calderon the president and Calderon the man. He is both. Twenty four hours a day. And it is something he managed to forget, yesterday, to his enormous cost.

Any Real responses? Just click on comments

Whither Saviola?

Believe it or not, there is a little bit of football being played this week - a crazy notion - in the all action Copa Del Rey. Barcelona took to the field, last night, at a reasonably packed Nou Camp, for the second leg of their clash with the travelling circus disguised as a football club, Alaves. Already 3-0 up, from last week’s first leg, Barca eased themselves into a 3-2 victory to go through to the next round

However, the big news was a hat-trick for the Catalan’s man of the moment, Javier Saviola. The outcast Argentinean has now scored seven goals in just four games - and it is statistic that has given a bit of a headache the club’s management.

Before the campaign started, Saviola, on returning from a loan spell in Sevilla, was reportedly informed by his bosses that his goal scoring services would not be required, although it’s something that Frank ‘you won’t like me when I’m angry’ Rijkaard firmly denied, last week.

But then the injuries to Eto’o and Messi happened and suddenly Barca’s management were forced into a desperate bit of revisionism and recalled Saviola to the team’s squad. His subsequent positive attitude, lack of whining and knack of scoring goals when no one else seems interested in the whole business, has kicked off talk that Saviola may well be signed up for a few more years, yet - something that would have been seen as crazy talk, just a few months ago.

“I’ve never doubted him, either as a person or a professional,” said Txiki, the other week. Interesting stuff from the one many see as responsible for making Saviola feel as unwelcome as a fart in a space suit at the Nou Camp - an approach that the striker is still mystified by - “I’ve not had an answer in two years and I’m still looking for explanations”, he shrugged over the weekend.

But, this may all be pie in the sky thinking. When Messi and Eto’o return to the line up - the latter has started training - it is quite likely that Javier will be put back in his box and stored away in Barca’s attic. Whether it will be also be marked with ‘return to sender’ remains to be seen.

Barca fans...Should he stay or should he go? Just click on comments...

In Other News...

Ian Harte’s Levante’s 3-0 defeat to Valencia was the excuse needed to boot poor old Juan Roman Lopez Caro from his managerial big chair. The side facing relegation, have been itching to be rid of the former Real boss for some time with names such as Santini and le Guen considered. The lucky man to have the dubious honour of managing the club is former Cuidad de Murcia, trainer, Abel Resino, who envisages a “strong, compact team”. Sounds like it will be a lot of fun to watch. Whether the new guy is “abel” to keep his charges up, we’ll see.

Ayala to Villarreal? Riquelme to Bayern Munich? Kepa to Charlton?


Your Emails....

Baby Depor - a bit late (sorry)

I don't know why I like Baby Depor so much. But they totally won me
over with that performance against Real last weekend. Maybe its wishful thinking on my part but...I'll wager that last weekend was the beginning of the new Super Depor. I'm going out on a limb and predicting a win against Recreativo this weekend.

Also it seems to me that Levante are a way better team than the level
they are playing at. I do like Lopez Caro as a coach though. Maybe he just needs more time. Finally, here's hoping that Zaragoza flattens Real Madrid this weekend.It seems to me that Real chose the easy way out and got rid of the players who played least this season.I think they need to look at the players that are usually on the pitch.

what's up with Nistelrooy all of a sudden.
Did he go to sleep on the field ? Let's see if he wakes up this

Raul, The Class A Drug

ts just funny how much power a player can harness when he picks up 429 games for a club and is idolised by the fans. im a Real fan and i dont idolise him one bit, he is the jedi that turned to the dark side and to be honest...one that can no longer wield a lightsaber! i think capello has to realise that the bad players are the ones that are power hungry, raul/guti, i think carlos is just a joker and one couldnt imagine him being THAT bad. Ronaldo doesnt try because he is unhappy and cassano and robinho adore ronnie, so theres a bit of logic there. its just a domino effect really.
so sell raul to liverpool so they look even more spanish and sell guti too...and maybe buy gerrard while ur at it calderon!
so heres the starting eleven:

casillas; torres,Cannavaro,ramos,carlos; diarra,gago; reyes/cassano,higuain,robinho; van the man
bench: ronaldo, emerson, reyes/cassano,salgado,bravo, adan



All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Monday, January 15, 2007

Monday's Good Day, Bad Day

Good day

Real Madrid

At last. They make it onto the right side of the section. I’m sure Fabio Capello is doing a Snoopy Dance as you read this at the news. When one puts aside the whole ‘he said, she said’ Beckham business, the news was generally quite positive from the Bernabeu on Sunday night, after their 1-0 win over Zaragoza - a team that failed to come out and play.

It wasn’t a mind blowing performance from Real that sent their fans home whistling a happy tune and skipping down the street like Gene Kelly, but it was ‘correct’ as the Spanish might say. The lucky break of Raul limping off in the first half lead to lively a midfield of Diarra, Gago, Robinho and Reyes - exactly the one La Liga Loca recommended last week (smug grin). Out of this quartet, Gago impressed the most. The overpriced Argentinean wanted the ball at every opportunity and was in constant movement - something lacking from the Real team, for most of the season.

Up front, Higuain looks like he could be fairly handy, although perhaps no better than Soldado, Real’s on loan striker currently banging them in Osasuna. Thanks to Barca and Sevilla both slipping up, Real are still in the title chase, a miracle in itself. How long can they can stay in it once their clear out has run its course, is the big question.

Valencia’s Foreigners

Another victory for Valencia, this time over Ian Harte’s Levante. One more win and they are well and truly back in the title race. Quite an achievement considering they looked dead and buried back in November. For this revival, the club owes a great debt to its Spanish contingent, especially Angulo and the returning Baraja and Albeda. However, on Saturday night it was a turn of a couple foreign types, Viana and Ayala, to help Valencia’s cause with a brace of goals to add to Morientes' effort.

Dani Guiza

Unless you happen to be related to him, or follow Getafe very closely, then you may never have heard of Dani Guiza, however, he’s the current hero of Bernd Schuster’s merry band of footballing men. His one goal against Barcelona, last weekend, added to another and an assist in his team’s 3-1 away win over ‘Nastic, on Sunday, means that the forward is single handedly making Getafe’s goal shy tendency, a distant memory.

Fernando Torres

Due to business at the Bernabeu, La Liga Loca did not catch this game, but eyebrows are always raised when Torres gets on the score sheet, these days. Never mind twice. If anyone can shed more light on Atletico’s 3-1 win away to Celta, then just click on the comments box and write away.


With a grand total of zero goals to show for his year and half spell at Barcelona, Maxi Lopez is positively free scoring at his new club, Real Mallorca, where he has now managed two. Few will be more important than his one metre tap in (how else could he score), the second in Mallorca’s unbelievable win over a flagging Sevilla.


La Liga Loca wrote on Friday, that Osasuna were mightily peed off after their limp, referee assisted 2-1 defeat at Real Sociedad, last weekend, and were looking for some pay back. Unfortunately for Betis, they were on the receiving of it. Two shots in the first thirty four seconds of the game signalled Osasuna’s intent, on Sunday, in their eventual 5-1 rout.


Take it away, Paul

“It's a long way to fall when you are so high. for them and me. we have played better than that but they just didn't perform,Ronaldinho hates it when a full back gets at him so close.To be honest we caught them on a bad day.some strange substitutions from them,taking off Guily and Motta entered way too late and the ultimate, bringing on a defender to keep the score down .on any other day "el rifle"would have buried those.nevermind the whole world got to see us stuff them.”

Paul, Barcelona

And for more...http://www.football365.com/spanish_thing/0,17033,9405_1838205,00.html


Bad Day


A lot of hand wringing and ponderous chin stroking in the Spanish press concerning the cause of Barca’s current sticky patch, with reasons for their rubbishness coming thick and fast. Edmilson says the players lack motivation, Marquez blames a lack of aggression (and himself, he failed to add). Valdes says that there’s nothing to worry about, possibly because he’s being made to look good, at the moment. In a fan’s poll in ‘Sport’, 31% put the malaise down to a lack of ambition from the players whilst a whopping 61% say that the Plexiglass-punching Frank Rijkaard needs to be considerably tougher on his pampered players.


Another team having a bit of footballing bother. Beaten (up) by Zaragoza last week, the league leaders missed a second opportunity to put some distance between themselves and the chasing pack, when they crashed to a horrendous 2-1 home defeat to Real Mallorca of all teams, a side that previously couldn’t hit a cow’s arse with a banjo. The cause for this particular defeat is very simple - some truly diabolical defending from the home side, with Dani Alves being the most guily culprit. Interesting, the Brazilian leads the charts in Spain for most balls given away and it was easy to see how on Sunday evening. Get a grip, man !

Real Zaragoza

La Liga Loca was looking forward to seeing Zaragoza on Sunday, but they were a huge disappointment. Aimar and D’Alessandro vanished from sight, the full backs were sluggish whilst Milito and Emerson barely got a touch. Such is life.

Real Betis

Already liking, Luis Fernandez, the new Betis manager. Especially after their 5-1 thumping by Osasuna, when he came up with this gem - “It’s better to concede five in one game, than lose 1-0 five times.



Real Sociedad,'Nastic


Anyone missed? Just click on comments for your say...

More Christmas Pressie Snap Shots from Real v Zaragoza

Friday, January 12, 2007

The Drinkin' in LA Weekend Preview


Valencia (5th) LWWWW v Ian Harte’s Levante (16th) DLDLW

A most peculiar noise was heard from the Mestalla, this week. So peculiar, in fact, that birds flying overhead, landed to cock an ear. Traffic ground to a halt and thousands of citizens stood in rapt silence. The noise was laughter. For a city accustomed to the shattering of tea cups, screams of rage and the slamming of doors from their leading football club, the sound of Quique Sanchez Flores laughing until he nearly peed himself was a minor miracle. For some reason, the Valencia coach seemed to find the whole business of a press conference, hilarious. He was unable to answer a simple question without collapsing into giggles. It was a wonderful sight. No such frolicking over at Levante, though, with their manager Juan Roman Lopez Caro’s facing the chop any day now. Why, is not entirely clear. Home win.

cut and paste - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NbpLr_0oYk and enjoy the moment again and again.

Espanyol (10th) WWLWL v Barcelona (2nd) WDWDD

(Putting serious BBC voice on) Unless the local constabulary are on their guard at the Montjuic this weekend - which is quite unlikely - there may well be a bit of fisticuffs at this less than friendly derby. On Thursday, ‘AS’ published screen shots of the Barca Ultras’ newly built web site - one of them can operate a computer apparently - where threats against the Espanyol fans have been made and calls for violence were published. If anything is to be thrown on Saturday, people should make sure it is in the general direction of La Sexta’s commentary box. Go for the annoying small man shouting ‘tikki’ f**king ‘takka’ every two minutes. Away win.

‘Nastic (20th) LWLLD v Getafe (9th) DDLLD

Talk about a personality change. It looks like Operacion Triunfo’s Moritz has got a little too big for his lederhosen. Last week, we were complaining about his ever present grin and stupid hair. This week, he responded to such taunts by attacking the musical team for butchering ‘We Will Rock You’ - a crap song anyway - confessing that his marriage proposal to his girlfriend was staged, speaking German so the crowd could not understand and then arguing with the Simon Cowell type evil judge. Great stuff. He lost though. Like ‘Nastic will. Away win.


Osasuna (8th) WWWL v Real Betis (18th) DLDWW

Osasuna were well and truly stitched up like a kipper and fitted up like a good ‘un, las weekend, as Dick Van Dyke might say. Were he on disco biscuits. Osasuna were punished with another dodgy penalty, had coach Ziganda sent off for trapping the ball - admittedly it was still in play - and were beaten by a late, late goal by Real Sociedad in a 2-1 defeat. And by golly, they’re mad as well. Home win.

Racing Santander (13th) DLWWL v Real Sociedad (19th) DLWDW

A worrying week in Santander. For the first time in aeons, their miraculous little and large duo of Zigic and Munitis (Cuatro are already penning the sitcom) failed to click, sending them to a rather embarrassing 2-0 defeat at Levante. If Sociedad are to stand any chance of survival - which is still slim despite a force of new defenders being brought in from South America - then they will need to pick up points here. But they won’t. Home win.

Athletic Bilbao (15h) LWWDW v Villarreal (11th) WDLLL

“So Mr Mane, new manager of Athletic, to what do you owe your side’s tremendously good run of results? What have you changed, since, your arrival at the club?” Mane thinks for a moment as his moustache twitches - “they’re playing the same way as before. Or similar anyway”. So talks one of the few modest men in Spanish football. Home win.

Sevilla (1st) LWWWL v Mallorca (17th) DLLLL

At least one mystery solved this week. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the one concerning, how Sevilla were planning to win their appeal to Luis Fabiano’s five match ban, by claiming that he had nothing to do with the pillow fight. No, it was how their reserve keeper narrowly avoided being hit by oranges and chips, was playing in front the empty side of the Rayo Vallecano’s stadium, during the Copa del Rey match. It seems, some local rascals are to blame, some Vallecas scamps who were seen launching sed objects from the windows of the block of flats behind the ground. Beats an evening with the PS2 and Gears of War.

Recreativo (7th) WLLWW v Deportivo (14th) DLLLW

As Ronaldo has always maintained, the proof of a pudding is in the eating. Does the side’s 2-0 battering of Real Madrid signify that ‘Baby Depor’ is back in toddling mode? Or was it just a momentary bout of gurgling wind being emitted before the club goes back to sleep and continues it slide down the table. A bit of both. Draw.

Celta Vigo (12th) DDDDL v Atletico Madrid (6th) WLWDD

Celt.....Cel...no. Can’t do it. Cannot write that team’s name without falling into a stupor of boredom and despair. Watching the pride of Galicia is akin to listening to the Manic Street Preachers’ ‘Holy Bible’ on repeat mode. After ninety minutes you genuinely believe there is nothing in this miserable world worth living for. Away win.

Real Madrid (3rd) WLWLL v Zaragoza (4th) LWLDW

...Except what escapades Real Madrid will get up to next, of course. Beckham on his way out. Possibly being followed by Ronaldo. Higuain looking half decent on his debut, last night, no right backs in the squad. Who knows what will happen against Zaragoza on Sunday night. Apart from another defeat against a really good side. Away win.

And more on Beck’s departure...http://www.football365.com/spanish_thing/0,17033,9405_1830958,00.html


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire

Quotes of the Week

“It they tell you their grandmother isn’t well or their aunt injured herself buying oranges, it’s impossible to do anything about it” - Getafe boss, Bernd Schuster, on the strange tendency for Brazilian players to have family emergencies, roughly at the same time as their supposed returns to Spain after the winter break.

“At the moment, we’re playing better than Barcelona” - Jose Antonio Reyes, 28th December. Insert own comment.

“I’m proud that the Barca fans hate me so much, if we were 14th in the table, they wouldn’t bother about me” - a strangely logical point from Sevilla President, Jose Marie del Nido, who had claimed that Frank Rijkaard would only be good enough to manage his club’s ‘B’ team.

“I don’t have to explain myself to the fans” - Deco, ever the gent, refuses to explain his late arrival from the winter break to the people who support him every week and pay his wages.

“We have to think that ‘Nastic are Barcelona” - And that’s exactly what happened, although not in the way that ‘rojiblanco’ defender, Pablo intended. Barcelona 1 - 1 Atletico. Atletico 1 - 1 ‘Nastic.

“I signed for them because they gave me four flats, five coaches and 3,000 air tickets” - The eternally cheerful (let’s see how long that lasts) new boss of Betis, Luis Fernandez denies reports that he was given a budget that wouldn’t even cover Sobis’ peroxide bill, when joining the club.

“It’s money that can change life for both you and your family” - Boca Juniors president, Macci, is a little more sympathetic to Fernando Gago’s decision for joining the good ship Real Madrid, than booing Boca fans.

“The game was an absolute disaster” - Fabio Cannavaro after the 3-0 defeat to Recreativo. Or was it Getafe, or Steaua, or Celta, or Depor...?

“They’ve had very little confidence in the ‘cantera’ over the past four years” - Deportivo winger type thing, Riki, reflects on his humble beginnings in the capital.

“It’s the players who are responsible” - Is Raul about to get out his punishment stick? Probably not.

“From what I can see, they have not improved in a single aspect” - Bernd Schuster puts his boot in to the neighbours up the road

“What happened was that he spent the whole day joking around” - Reyes explains why Cassano was forced to sit out a practice game in one of Real’s laugh a minute training sessions.

“We need an investor to help Depor get back to being what it was” - if you have 146.3 million euros going spare, then give President Lendoiro a call, and help clear the club’s debt. Better still, give it to me.

“I’m like Giuly. But with more goals” - was the odd way that Betis striker Rafael Sobis introduced himself to his new manager, Luis Fernandez

.“I need affection and respect. I need to feel loved” And donuts, Antonio Cassano fails to add. La Liga Loca would be amazed if there was anyone out their with arms long enough to give him a big hug.

“For me the best trainer in the world is ours, Pepe Mel” - mad Rayo Vallecano president, Teresa Rivero, wouldn’t swap her man for anyone.

“Not for one moment did Luis provoke his opponent” - apart from giving him a head butt and grabbing him by the throat, Sevilla’s spokesman should have added after announcing that the club will appeal his five match suspension for the crumble in the jungle on Saturday night.


A Roman Holiday?

Long term iffy relations between Roman Riquelme and his Villarreal manager, Manuel Pellegrini, reached a low point, last weekend, when the moody midfielder was left out of Villarreal’s squad and forced to watch their 1-0 home defeat to Valencia, from the stands. Apparently, the Argentinean was not in the ‘right condition’ to play. However, there was more to his omission than meets the eye.

It seems that the Riquelme’s tendency to wander around the club with a face like thunder and disappear to South America at regular intervals has pushed the patience of Villarreal’s big cheeses to the limit. Just before Christmas, the club’s prickly president, Fernando Roig, warned the player in the press that “unless he does what he is told, he’s going to have a lot of problems with me”.

This less than inspirational pep talk seems to have pushed the midfielder into an even deeper gloom - and in the process, peeing off one of two of his long suffering team mates. “Roman tries to defend himself a lot, but there are a lot things going on that most people don’t know”, said Guille Franco, the side’s blubbering striker, this week,who went on to reveal that Villarreal have had problems with him for the past year.

Next up to add his fuel to the fire, was Pellegrini, who dropped a piano-sized hint to the root cause of the current malaise at the club - “all I ask for from my players is a bit of respect (just a little bit!). Not just from Riquelme, but from all of them.”

In truth, the midfielder has not been the same since infamously bottling the last minute penalty against Arsenal in the Champions League, last season. Since, then he appears to have given up the Spanish ghost, a view shared by a Boca Juniors fan La Liga Loca spoke to last night, who says that the perception in Argentina is that Riquelme wants a move back home and will do anything to get it.

Villarreal fans, whose season has pretty much sucked so far, must wait and see how far their former favourite is prepared to go to have his wicked way.


Copa del Re....ally, Does Anyone Care?

Excitement and thrills in Spain last night. Well. Not really. It was the latest action packed instalment of the Copa del Rey and now that the tv channel La Sexta have started to broadcast the FA Cup games - which included Liverpool v Arsenal - the Spanish press and fans are even more hacked off about the own two-legged version.

On Tuesday, Atletico squeezed out a 1-1 draw with Osasuna, a result the ‘rojiblancos’ seemed to be fairly pleased with. Last night, La Liga Loca headed down the hill to Vallecas - the best place to catch a game in Madrid - to see Rayo v Sevilla ‘B’ in what turned out to be a fairly uneventful 0-0 draw. Still, Juande Ramos, on his return to his old club where he was greeted as a hero, seemed to enjoy himself - “it was a pleasure to come back here, again”, said the manager who is supposedly bound for Chelsea at the end of the season, according to new reports.

Barcelona beat Alaves 0-2 in a game where the home fans was more interested in lynching Dmitry Piterman than beating the league champions. “It was not as hard as I thought it might be”, mused Frank Rijkaard after the match. Elsewhere, Villarreal slumped to a 2-1 defeat away to Valladolid and Mallorca were beaten 2-1 at home by Deportivo.

Kudos to ‘AS’ today who highlighted the racist abuse received by Valencia’s Miguel by sections of Getafe’s home support in the 1-1 draw. “In general, the people in Getafe are very good, but there is a group of idiots here”, said former coach, Quique Flores after the game.

Tonight at 21.00, the small matter of Betis v Real Madrid - the latter missing Salgado, Ronaldo, Beckham and Cassano. A strong indication of the current sporting direction of the club according to the Spanish press, but not according to Fabio Capello.


Good points you make there - might I add an 11th step?

It would only work if Madrid were a well-known Redmond-based operating
1. Start
2. Control panel
3. Performance
4. Restore system
5. Choose a date before they sold Makalele.

Madrid would then start winning games again and playing attractive football.

Humbly, Martin in Zaragoza

.Thrills and Spills from Rayo v Sevilla!.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Real Madrid's 10 Step Road to Recovery

Doctor in the House

Three defeats in four. Players moaning. Press banned from training. Things aren’t looking good on planet Galactico at the moment. But it isn’t all bad at the Bernabeu. If Real Madrid want to get themselves out of the newest hole they are in, then the first order from Dr La Liga Loca is to stop digging. The second? Follow these instructions.

1 - Stop Buying Players

Heaven’s above, has the 300 million euros spend over the past three years not taught the club anything? Out of the nineteen footballers brought in over this period, only one, Sergio Ramos, can be considered a success. Cassano, Owen, Baptista, Robinho, Gravesen, Pablo Garcia, Cicinho, Diogo, Samuel, Diarra, Woodgate, Cannavaro....just some of the names of the players who have been brought in at great expense and made very little difference. And as for the latest winter arrivals? Is Higuain really that much better than Soldado, currently on loan to Osasuna? Is Fernando Gago, eleven times more better than de la Red - another highly rated ‘cantera’ product reportedly about to move onto pastures new, like Jurado before him?

2 - Stop Sacking Managers

All the talk in the papers today suggests that Fabio Capello will be replaced by Vicente del Bosque if his team fails to beat Betis in the Copa del Rey, on Thursday night. This would be folly of the highest order. And one costing 15 million euros - the pay off required to dispense with Capello’s services, a unbelievably successful manager that has never been sacked in his career.

It would not be the smartest move for Real’s president, Ramon Calderon either. His hold on power is already seen as illegitimate by many supporters, because of the suspension of the electoral postal vote back in July. If he were to fire his flagship Italian coach after just seven months in charge, the pressure on his leadership could become too much to bear.

3 - Run !

There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the players Real Madrid have. Sunday night’s bench contained Cassano, Ronaldo, Beckham, Marcelo and Diarra - with Robinho absent. Where Real are going badly wrong is on the basics - hard work and movement, things that the great pretender himself, del Bosque pointed out yesterday - “there are players there not applying themselves”.

There is no movement in the Real side and very few players seem to want the ball - with Gago being the notable exception, on his debut. Deep in the second half against Deportivo, the problem became self evident. Helguera came out of defence, looked up to find no passing options on and tried to chip the ball over Riki’s head to a midfielder. Possession was immediately lost and another counter attack launched. The lamentable lack of shots on target over the past four games - eleven - is testament to where Real are going wrong. Feed Ruud and Ronie enough balls and they will score.

4 - Recall Robinho and Diarra

Although people have struggled to find kind things to say about Diarra’s play since his arrival at the club from Lyon - Real were, at least, winning matches when he was in the team. Ever since being dropped against Sevilla, the side have gone downhill. Capello needs to lose his addiction to Emerson and bring back the midfielder Capello said could win the title for Real.

And as for Robinho? He was starting to show some of the promise that the club went to enormous expense to get hold of when they brought him over from Santos. Out of the squad for the Deportivo game, reportedly because of his attitude during training, it’s time to bring him in from the cold. Literally.

5 - Make Some Decisions

Sell Cassano and Ronaldo or play them. Whatever. Just make a decision one way or the other.

6 - Boot Out the Old Cuard

Sadly, neither Guti nor Raul have anything to offer a new Real Madrid. The former has been performing abysmally over the past few games - coinciding with the renewal of his contract. The latter, well, where do we start? Three measly goals this season is simply not good enough. His strike against Barca was just another false dawn.

7 - Renew Beckham’s Contract

La Liga Loca is admittedly very biased on this subject. Always has been. Give him whatever he wants and make him sign. A happy, energised and focussed David Beckham still has a lot to offer the club. His yellow card on Sunday - another one of his tempestuous tackles - shows that the former England player is one of the few who still seem to care.

8 - Bring back Cambiaso and Solari

Although at least one may be a bit old now.

9 - Don’t Shut Out the Press.

The club have decided this week to ban tv and new reporters from their training sessions, aside from the opening fifteen minutes. In response, the media boycotted a conference given by Diego Lopez. With papers like ‘AS’ and ‘Marca’, Real Madrid have some of the most fawning press coverage imaginable. Lose their support and the club would be in very big trouble.

10 - The First Eleven

Injuries, suspensions and hangovers permitting -

Roberto Carlos
Van Nistelrooy

Javi Garcia
De la Red
Raul Bravo

To paraphrase the Prodigy, Real have the poison, have you got the remedy? Just click on comments or email here for your say...


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Monday, January 08, 2007

Monday's Good Day, Bad Day

Good Day


His dreadful miss from two yards was proof enough that Depor’s young striker is still miles away from being good enough for the full Spanish squad, but it was a stirring performance from him and his team-mates on Sunday night to beat Real Madrid. Although all the talk after the game was of their opponents shambolic display, Depor deserve plaudits for a game that was strong in the tackle, industrious without the ball and incisive on the counter attack. Joaquin Caparros must be asking himself why his side couldn’t have been that way for the first part of the season.


Not a bad way for the thirty five year old to celebrate 400 games in the league. Two nicely taken goals in the 3-1 thrashing of Mallorca makes a career total of 134 in a match where they really had to beat their opponents to keep the spectre of relegation out of harms way. “We knew we had to win here, especially after the results of the teams below us”, said the hero of the day.

Real Sociedad

For once the gods appear to be on Sociedad’s side having peed on them from a great height for the past twelve months or so. Their first goal in the 2-1 win was a ‘laughable’ penalty according to Roberto Soldado and it took a late winner to grab the victory, but they deserve a little luck. The win was made all the more crucial when all their relegation rivals bar ‘Nastic matched their result. With just thirteen points in the bag, there is still a very long way to go for La Real. But hope lives.

Real Zaragoza

Now that was a team that really wanted to win. A master class in fast, furious and physical football to beat Sevilla. In retrospect, it was a little too physical judging by Diogo’s right hook that left Luis Fabiano ‘a little groggy’ on the way home. Still, the Sevilla striker started it, although del Nido disagrees. One can imagine only imagine how much Zaragoza and its fans must be looking forward to their visit to the Bernabeu on Sunday night.


A team following the Getafe’s mantra of modesty, judging by manager Marcelino’s words yesterday - “Our target is 42 points, lets see what happens if we get that”. Now in seventh place, with just four more wins until they reach their target, back to back victories over Real Madrid and now Espanyol means that the current team of the season must surely have secured another year in Spain’s top flight. And played some very nice football along the way.

Rafael Sobis

The highlighted Brazilian was always a good striker hidden away in an odd team. Although he is only worth “a few thousand pesetas” according to Manuel Ruis de Lopera, his goal against Celta Vigo on Sunday night means that his team have now picked up seven points from the past nine. How much the new manager, Luis Fernandez has to do with it is debatable as their mini recovery started under Irureta at Getafe, but there is easily enough quality in the side with Dani and Assunçao, to get themselves out of trouble.


Fourth win on the trot and another goal for Angulo. Nice going.

Bad Day

Atletico Madrid

“A great atmosphere, 50,000 fans, Champions League euphoria and the last placed team as visitors. In Atletico’s hands, this combination is like a Molotov Cocktail”. So writes Iñaki Diaz-Guerra in ‘AS’ and he’s quite right - apart from the bit about the atmosphere. A visit to the Calderon is like being in ‘Groundhog day’. Atletico start brightly, fade and allow the opposition to grow in confidence. Javier Aguirre needs to find the solution to their current malaise quickly if the ‘rojiblancos’ are to have any chance of landing a Champions League spot.


My word, Barca had given up on this match even before they took to field against Getafe. With their complaints of missing both Deco and d’inho (entirely their fault considering their suspensions came from dissent), the visitors to the Coliseum could still field Gudjohnsen, Giuly, Saviola, Iniesta, Xavi, Puyol and Marquez - although they would probably have been better off without the latter . These are all players that Getafe could probably squeeze into their starting line up. Rijkaard seemed fairly satisfied with the result - as he was with the draw to Atletico Madrid - but this nonchalance seems to be the problem for the league champions. Perhaps a bit of shouting and tea cup throwing is needed by the Dutchman if his team are to pull themselves out of their slump anytime soon.


Take it away Paul in Barcelona...

"Espanyol are notorious slow starters so the xmas break left us with another start,which went to form.Recre played some lovely one touch football and defended very well,good luck to them . Hows abot this for poetic justice.The crowd were celebrating Getafe's goal when Ivan (i'll be injured for next week) De La Peña did one of his trademark crap passes and Recre scored.Never mind,bring them on next week."


A word of advice. Learn to defend set pieces.


Suspended for Atletico’s match with ‘Nastic, the Portuguese midfielder managed to get himself arrested for drink driving over the New Year period and arrived forty minutes late for yesterday’s training session and looks even more out of shape, than before. Nice work.

Real Madrid

Oh dear. Why was Sergio Ramos played at left back in the absence of Roberto Carlos - a tactical move that lead to nearly every Depor attack being launched down that flank? If Capello didn’t want to play both Gago and Marcelo, then why not Raul Bravo? Why did no one in the Real team seem to want the ball? Why did Real wait until the 42nd minute for their first shot at goal against a notoriously dodgy keeper? Why was Robinho left out of the squad when Cassano was in? Why is Cannavaro played when the manager confessed he was in dreadful form? Was has happened to Ruud Van Nistelrooy? Why are we still asking ‘is Raul playing?’

And more from Andy

"Arizmendi was absolutely sublime for Deportivo. The FIFA World Player of the Year and the reigning Ballon D'Or couldn't contain him. As for Real Madrid, I won't do the typical thing and blame the players this week. I believe there are some issues with the coaching. Even when the team works, they never quite look like Real Madrid. The sublime touches have disappeared. The complete domination of play has all but gone. This is anti-football. I know we are not supposed to criticize Capello but...something is missing here.

I also want to give kudos to one of La Liga's overlooked players, Marcos Assuncao. Fabulous game from him and Raphael Sorbis fought hard till he scored. I am happy to see Betis notch a victory. I also feel like Villareal was unlucky not to at least score. Their new Chilean import looked very good."

José Ángel Ziganda

A mad moment on Sunday when the Osasuna manager’s footballing instincts lead to him receiving a red card. With the ball heading in his direction as he stood on the touchline, Ziganda trapped the ball superbly as it landed at his feet. The trouble being that it was still in play.


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


Some Atletico Action...


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca 2006