Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Sound of Silence?

Matters of Life and Death

A musing Marca considers the possibility of Atletico Madrid’s big cheeses being nominated for a FIFA Fair Play award in today’s edition, in response to their dignified refusal to condemn or discuss the refereeing decision that ruled out their second effort against Real Madrid on Saturday night - one that would surely have won them the game.

In a footballing culture of moaning and groaning, this is a fine stance that the club has adopted and an strong example to all of taking it on the chin and keeping a stiff upper lip. Except for the odd minor detail.

AS - Mon 26th Feb:

“I don’t understand why neither a penalty nor a goal was given” - Enrique Cerezo - Atletico President.

“I always defend ref’s when they make mistakes. But this should never have been a mistake, it’s either a goal or penalty” - Enrique Cerezo - Atletico President.

Radio Marca - Mon 26th Feb

“I know he made a mistake, I just don’t know how” - Enrique Cerezo - Atletico President.

The same way the referee dropped a clanger in allowing Sergio Aguero’s punched effort in the victory over Recreativo, perhaps? Still, such reticence would haver have happened under Jesus Gil, argues Marca, who claim that the squad feel let down by the apparent lack of support from on high.

Someone else getting a little hot under the collar over the weekend - but in a slightly different way - was Celta Vigo defender, Matias Lequi. On Saturday night he was tucked up in bed with a 40 degree fever. Twenty four hours later he was in footballing action as a sixty first minute substitute against Racing Santander. After twenty minutes of delirious sobbing and crawling round the pitch - which cost him a yellow card - he was back on the bench again and under his duvet. “I had to take off a central defender, to put on an attacker,” explained Fernando Vasquez as he desperately tried to explain his peculiar selection decisions and how his side blew a 2-0 lead.

Big trouble continues to brew ahead of Sevilla’s Copa Del Rey clash at Real Betis. Sevilla president, Jose Marie del Nido - lawyer to the rich and famous - caused a bit of a kerfuffle in their recent league encounter by refusing to accept the gift of a Manuel Ruis de Lopera bust - something everyone should have He also refused to take his seat next to an even bigger bust of Manuel Ruis de Lopera in the presidential balcony at the Manuel Ruiz de Lopera stadium. Reports say that del Nido then accused de Lopera’s nephew of being ‘as gay as your uncle’ - an unwise slur against Manuel’s good name that nearly involved him being thrown down some stairs.

Current Betis president, Pepe Leon, has advised his opponents presidential delegation to avoid attending this week’s cup clash in person, warning that they “cannot be responsible for what might happen”.

There have been more rumblings at Real Madrid over Emerson’s alleged refusal to appear as a substitute in the last minutes of their Bayern battle, last week. Oil slick on legs, Pedja Mijatovic, denied that there was a pact between ‘the Puma’ and Capello, that he would not be taking part in the match - while simultaneously picking out tar-soaked sea gulls from behind his ears. The fact that the fifty-two year old Emerson takes a good ten minutes just to stand up, seems to have been overlooked at a possible reason for his no show.

In other news, Marca has dusted of Plan ‘not much happening, so let’s link Real Madrid with Fabregas even though it’s never going to happen”, by revealing that the Arsenal midfielder’s agent was at the Champions League clash, last week, and met with Ramon Calderon. “We never talked about Cesc”, said the Catalan’s Mr 25%.

Barcelona spent Monday being pampered in a health spa and putting their feet up - a normal working day for d’inho - as they looked ahead to a fortnight that could see the team out of the Copa del Rey, Champions League, off the top of the table and losing to Real Madrid. So it's a good job that the club has “refound it’s sense of identity” as Sport claim, in praise of their stunning 3-0 thrashing of a team in the relegation zone with half it’s squad out injured.

The advertisement begins. A car spins out of control. A man is flung out of the front window and lies motionless on the tarmac, blood dribbling from his ear. Another man takes a shower. As he steps out, he slips and breaks his neck, crashing to the floor. Both get up and walk off. “Now is not a good time to die”, says the by-line ominously.

Remarkably, this is the unfortunate campaign being run by Spanish tv channel, La Sexta - demonic home of Andres Montes - to promote their coverage of the forthcoming ‘classic’ between Barcelona and Real. Perhaps, they are hoping people will scrub “fall off balcony” or “smash head with hammer” from their diaries now they realise that the Camp Nou extravaganza is just around the corner.



A Moment of Bliss

For me the best moments of Saturday's game on La Sexta came early in
the first half, when for two glorious minutes, the inane prattlings of
Andrés Montes and Salinas were replaced (I imagine through crossed
lines) by commentary in Euskera.

Much more intelligent and informative commentary, and I don't understand a word of Euskera....



All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Monday, February 26, 2007

Monday's Good Day, Bad Day

Good Day

Antonio Cassano

The latest of Fabio Capello’s ‘forgiven’ to make his Italian coach look more than a little silly. One hundred and five days after being booted out of the squad, having been caught on tv giving an impressive impression of his manager - amongst many other things - the former Roma striker replaced the rubbish Reyes to feed Gonzalo Higuain, for his first goal at the club. It was an unexpected return to the fold for Cassano, as the bandages to protect his recently tattooed arms showed. And it was another fine shot of Capello on the bench, doing his best to look pleased.


Five cup and league wins in a row! Pushing for a European place! What kind or trickery is going on here? Take it away Paul, voice of Espanyol...

““bloody hell,the trip to Pamplona is a long one,seems even longer coming
back. Well what can i say,we seem to have nearly perfected the counter
attack.Both goals came from swift breaks.Jonatas' great run and pass set up"Last Minute hero"Coro and a great finish.Second goal was Pure 100% Tamudo,took on the defender and Powered a shot into the top right hand corner,maybe off the post,couldn't really see.

Overall a decent performance,Osasuna dominated for long period,maybe a draw would have been fairer,but you have to take your chances.and have many games have we deserved the points.......you get my meaning
Lacruz played twice this week,we won both and he even scored,still worse
player i've ever seen,well apart from Martin Palermo and Dave Bamber (One for the kids).

a big shoutout to Osasuna Fans,top drawer. sending this by wi-fi from some ghost down in Aragon.got to love modern technology.I'm amazed they have electricity here”.

Paul Barcelona

Fernando Torres

Probably the only one of Atletico’s line up to come away from the game with a smile on his face, after his first ever goal against Real Madrid.

Javier Lopez Vallejo

And a very welcome back to these pages to Recreativo’s super ‘keeper. Having shut out Real Zaragoza back in January with a virtuoso display, Vallejo proceeded to do the same, on Sunday, with seven blinding blocks against Betis, to lead his team to within three points of safety. What is it with Spain and great keepers?

Ian Harte’s Levante

Another point against tough opponents, another step in their long battle against the drop. Having conceded just one goal in the last four games and with squadron leader Salva, up front,. the odds favour the Valencian team to hang on to their top flight status. Especially if Celta Vigo and Athletic Bilbao keep playing the way they are.

Luis Garcia

Who needs ‘El Pato’ when you have Luis Garcia in goal? Getafe were a little nervous going into Sunday’s match with Sevilla, as they were missing the presence of their talismanic goalkeeper / duck, through suspension. However, they needn't have.

His back up Luis Garcia, made a string of efforts to nullify Sevilla’s scary attack and make it another tough day for the league’s title chasers. Barcelona, Real Madrid, Valencia had all failed to get anything at the Coliseum this season, so Juande Ramos’ men were in good company. The only team to have taken three points from Getafe at home? Espanyol. The world is an odd place sometimes, as anyone who has tried watching ‘Rebeldes’, can tell you.

Michael Keaton

Not the most glamourous of scorelines, or performances from Deportivo in their 0-1 win over Real Sociedad, but it means that Hollywood star, Joaquin Caparros, is probably going to give his bankrupt boys another season of top flight football. However, it seems unlikely that he will be there to see it, if reports of his departure in the summer are correct. “There are no miracles in football, only hard work”, said Caparros before the game. But a little bit of luck may also come into the equation looking at Saturday’s performance.

Samuel Eto’o

To steal from El Pais, “Barcelona will never meet anyone as docile as Athletic again, but Eto’o has reversed the club’s funeral march”. Quite right. The Cameroonian striker may not be able to single handidly turn Barca’s indifferent form on his head, his inclusion in the starting line up is a massive boost. “He gave us depth and created space for others”, said Rijkaard after the game. He also gave the fans a reminder of the brilliance of a very under appreciated player. And he also gave donut ‘dinho a bit of a lift, who was perhaps revealing a little too much of his growing girth to the tv cameras on Sunday.


A last minute winner from Fuentes from an uncleared free kick, has reduced the pressure a little on Pellegrini , the Yellow Submarines’ manager. But only by a notch. The fact that his team struggled so badly to despatch Mallorca is not a good sign, at all.


Bad Day

Athletic Bilbao

Back in the bottom three, after playing Barcelona at perhaps the worst time of the season.

El Mundo

Excellent stuff from El Mundo today, in an article dedicated to the genius of Florentino Perez and calling for his return to the club. Jesus Alcaide praises the club’s Galactic strategy and marketing tours to Asia as “the model now followed by all the big clubs of Spain” and laments Real Madrid now “going to Cadiz” for their pre season warm ups.

There is high praise indeed for Real’s training camp ‘in the heart of the city centre’ - in the sense that is is located in the middle of the deaert near the airport, - and Perez managing to get the club out of debt. However, it failed to mention that the EU are still investigating the sell off of the old training ground, that enabled him to achieve it.

The highest praise of all is reserved for the man himself. “He works weekends and had his firat holiday in six years, in the summer”. What a man.

Real Madrid

Rubbish, rubbish, rubbish. Which is about as a coherent as Fabio Capello’s post match claim that his side “had the best opportunities of the match” before he cut short the press conference.

Real Sociedad

Miguel Angel Lontina’s call to arms failed to get a result both on an off the pitch, on Saturday night. The problems at La Real is clear - goals, or rather the lack of them. Sociedad have failed to score in 14 of their 24 league games this season and have only managed thirteen, in the entire campaign. During the week, striker, Kovacevic lamented that he had forgotten how to celebrate goals. It's unlikely that he will be handed a reminder any time soon.


Conceding a last minute goal to the side propping up the league, is not big and it certainly isn’t clever. . “Football isn’t like Playstation” said ‘Nastic manager, Paco Flores, after the game. If it was, then Quique would certainly have hurled his controller through the tv screen and stormed off in a huff.


Anyone missed? Just click on comments...


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Peaky Weekend Preview


Real Sociedad (19th) v Deportivo (12th)

Joaquin Caparros, Deportivo manager - “It’s true that people in the street mistake me for Michael Keaten. And there was La Liga Loca, thinking it was going mad. Surely Saturday’s game is a the perfect chance for a job swap. The man who ruined Batman can lead Depor for a game - after all, it’s only against Real Sociedad - and Caparros can star in a god awful romantic comedy. Alongside Drew Barrymore, perhaps. La Real could do the same with Lotina and a bean bag, Draw.

Atletico Madrid (5th) v Real Madrid (4th)

La Sezta's Kiko, partner in crime of devil incarnate, Andres Montes, says that young people love his co-commentator. No. Retards love his co-commentator. It's difficult to know what will be the worse place in Spain to watch this less than classic derby. In front of the tv, being verbally tortured or the in the Vicente Calderon. Draw.


Betis (14th) v Recreativo (7th)

Really starting to have a problem with Betis, this season. On top of the crime of possess diving Dani and the flying Fernando in the squad, they are the most outrageous time wasters in the league. And that's against some pretty stiff competition. Home win.

Villarreal (13th) v Mallorca (16th)

“We don’t do such stupid things at this club”, said Villarreal presi, Fernando Roig, jabbing a podgy finger at the gathered press, in denial that he has given Pellegrini the ultimatum of win on Sunday or bust. The kind of ultimatum that Roig didn’t make to the press that Riquelme had best do what he was told or “he will have trouble with me”. Home win.

Getafe (8th) v Sevilla (2nd)

Bad news for Bernd Schuster. It looks like he may be forced to slip into the Real Madrid ejector seat, next season, after all. This comes after Bayern Munich’s Rumenigge confirmed that the moustachioed maestro was not on their short list, claiming that Getafe were...to paraphrase him...a bit crap. Draw.

Celta Vigo (18th) v Racing Santander (10th)

Good news ham fans. As part of Marca’s ongoing crusade to ensure that every foreigner in Spanish football conforms to the local way of life, the paper has confirmed that Numancia’s japanese player, Fukudu, eats tortilla, likes ham and has siestas. So in no time at all, he'll no doubt look like Antonio Cassano. Joking aside, the same paper once had a full page dedicated to a story that ex Valencia striker, Tavano, didn't like pork products. He was returned to Serie A before his feet could touch the ground. Home win. (Nope, that wasn’t a typo).

Osasuna (11th) v Espanyol (9th)

Wow. The UEFA Cup really is rubbish this season. The fact that Steve McClaren couldn’t even win it, must have given some indication to the English FA that he was a simpleton. Home win.

Ian Harte’s Levante (15th) v Real Zaragoza (6th)

To the good good people of Spain - a couple of questions. When you go into a lift or small shop in Spain, it's obligatory to say ‘hello’ and ‘good-bye’. Preferably in Spanish. But at what point is the shop of sufficient size to make the pleasantry unnecessary? And is it legal to shoot our the tyres of cars who run through red lights - but wave their hand at you as way of apology?

‘Nastic (20th) v Valencia (3rd)

Big baby of the week award goes to David Silva. “He insulted me!”, cried the wingeing winger, as he recalled the memory of a bellowing Marco Matarazzi after an apparent dive. Will Sergio Agüero win back his crown, on Saturday night? Away win.

Barcelona (1st) v Athletic Bilbao (17th)

It’s official. La Liga Loca has gone native. Whilst e-mails and rants from indignant Liverpool fans have complained of Barca’s diving, La Liga Loca didn’t really notice anything particularly untoward. Of course, it does remember $tevie Me’s effort against Sheffield United, earlier this season, though. Home win.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Multi-Media Quotes of the Week

A Quick Word

Before more crazy talk, a warm up for you - keep an eye out in football365.com today, for some rambling podcast thoughts on the Barca v Liverpool Camp Nou dust up....


Quotes of the Week

“If Barcelona are in crisis, then we are on the dark side” - Darth Casillas speaking before his rival’s double defeats to Valencia and Liverpool.

“When the right moment comes, Casanno could return like Beckham” - Beep Beep ! Fabio Capello starts turning the wheel of his latest U-turn.

“Real Sociedad are one of the best organised teams in the league” - Recreativo manager, Marcelino, does his very best to say something complimentary a side he want on to beat.

“I have no doubts at all in him and he’ll keep taking penalties” - Javier Aguirre - the most stubborn man in Europe, apparently - after Torres’ fifth penalty miss of the season, against Sevilla.

“Valencia is not Catalunya” - Placards waved at class warrior, Oleguer, during Barca’s defeat at the Mestalla, last Sunday.

“On Saturday, he’ll be at the Calderon and fulfil his contract” - Walking oil slick Mijatovic, confirms Fabio Capello is going nowhere.

“Friendship isn’t necessary in the dressing room” - Deco paints a rosy picture of the Nou Camp.

“I only really know Adriano from the tv and playstation” - Valencia ‘s Raul Alboil reveals his extensive research ahead of his team's tremendous 2-2 draw at Inter Milan.

“If you can’t pay the ref then you lose” - Real Madrid fan's cheeky accusation to his Barca supportind buddy, on Wednesday night.

“I’m absolutely convinced Barcelona will be in Athens” - Joan ‘Mulder’ Laporta still wants to believe.

“If he doesn’t get the flu, he’ll be at the Atletico game” - Ramon Calderon later denies repeatedly sneezing in the face of his Italian coach.

“If I could sign anyone, it would be Raul” - Bayern boss, Otto Hitzfeld’s words do not seem so insane in retrospect.



No Sympathy for the Devil

must stop laughing for a moment...this figure 7,500.from where?the match is
included in the season ticket.it will be a small crowd and here nearly everyone turns up on the day.

Greatest team in the world........my arse.Were Ronaldinho and Messi
playing? according to the paper this morning Barça fans should start looking for
a hotel in Athens.The only European final they will see is Eurovision. actually looking forward to the excuses tomorrow.it's been eerily quite
here tonight.
1-the referee was a Beatles fan.......
2-we lost to make it interesting in the second leg
3-What match?
4-Espanyol have never won................ad nauseaum
5-it was anti-football
6-Barça as holders should have automatic bye to the final(coming soon)
7.it was a Real Madrid conspiracy
8."I blame Van Gaal"
9-it wasn't over the line,ask Valdes,he was closer than the Ref(this
one i heard in the kebab shop)
10-What have Liverpool ever won?Barça have won it twice not once like
Liverpool......another real one.overheard by a mate yesterday

Paul, Barcelona


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Capello's Last Stand?

A Real Revival

There are three ways you interpret Real Madrid’s rather nifty first half performance at the Bernabeu, last night. Stories of Fabio Capello’s ghost resignation had inspired the players to never before seen heights; The Italian manager had accidentally stumbled upon his best eleven after seven months; or maybe Bayern Munich were just very, very bad.

Guti had spoken to the press on Monday and demanded, ‘less talk and more action’ from his team-mates and that’s exactly what they served up. Beckham had his best half for years, Gago was the epitome of discipline - except for Van Bommel’s goal. Heck, even Raul managed to wake himself from his stupor with his fifty-fifth and fifty-sixth in Europe. However, Cannavaro was a bit pants, again.

The slight problem was that Real were only able to maintain their relentless, German-baiting pace until the early stages in the second half against a team, Roberto Palomer in ‘Marca’ described as being “full of veterans, ex-players and those on their way to extinction” - at least La Liga Loca think he was talking about the opposition.

An early warning sign of the Bavarian backlash was a shot from Pizarro, saved superbly by Saint Casillas - but it went unheeded as the former Bar;a player, Van Bommel, thumped in a late volley to make it 2-1 and then proceeded to wave a fist at the Bernabeu crowd. Asbo - holding La Liga Loca is a bit of a fan of controversial goal celebrations, so applauds the Dutchman, but it is not a sentiment shared in a grumpy editorial in Marca who feel he should be banned, despite the perpetrator apologising to Raul, after the game.

After the game, Bernd Schuster - wanted by both sides as their next manager - claimed Bayern’s late goal was inevitable whilst dead man walking, Fabio Capello compared his team to a tennis player’s arm wobbling at match point - “fear set in at 3-1”.

On a rare a positive note for Real. “for half an hour it was like the old times”, crowed Marca - who must have very long memories indeed - and Real’s players seem fairly pleased with the result. But on the downside, so do the Germans. “1-0 will be an easy result for us”, said Pizarro. A bold claim, but not necessarily a wrong one.

The attention of most of the world’s media is now focussed on the Camp Nou and Barça’s Scouse extravaganza. However, most commentators appear to be looking in the wrong place in search of the game’s movers and shakers. A large number of column inches are being filled with Spain’s ongoing obsession with ‘gigantones'- Peter Crouch, this time - without noticing that the England striker appears to have a head shaped like Red Dwarf’s Kryton when it comes to aerial play.

The Catalans may, instead, be wanting to focus their attention to Dirk Kuyt a player who will cause confusion to Barcelona’s defence - especially if Belletti is playing - and to the local commentators, who forced Van Bronckhorst to stick his first name on the back of his shirt, after eventually giving up on his last.

The UK press and to an extent, the Spanish, are also fixated on the news that Samuel Eto’o has been left out of the squad for tonight’s game - and without an explanation from the brooding Frank Rijkaard. Attention has since moved to the role Leo Messi will play, but in La Liga Loca’s humble opinion, Javier Saviola may be worth looking out for.

All this Nou Camp talk has left poor old Valencia a little on the sidelines and that is a shame, as they are involved in the most intriguing game of all the ties , against Inter Milan. With their sixteen wins in a row, the Italians are being fated as the best thing in Europe since Miss Kittin - but tonight, they’re taking on a proper team and may well struggle.


In Other News...

‘Nastic manager, Paco Flores, has survived an emergency meeting of their board - the cowardly one who sacked Luis César - and is now said to be praying for eight miracles to save his team from relegation. He’s going to be spending more time on his knees than Paris Hilton, over the next few months.

Villarreal’s bullying big wig, Fernando Roig, has had meetings with both Manuel Pellegrini and the players to express his dismay at the team’s most recent performances. That always works.

Alaves news - Dmitry Piterman fired his second, or maybe even his third coach of the season, last weekend - before reinstating him ninety minutes later having been told by the club’s accountants that they could not afford his pay off. Real Madrid will know how that feels.

Only 7.600 tickets sold for Espanyol’s UEFA cup date with Livorno, on Thursday night...Jesus Navas still not ready for a call up to the national squad...Valencia have offered Deportivo, 12 million euro for Andrade...Zaragoza have began negotiations with Bundesliga outfit Wolfsburg on the permanent transfer of d’Alessandro.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Monday, February 19, 2007

Monday's Good Day, Bad Day

Good Day

Celta Vigo

Whilst a midweek trip to Moscow may not have been everyone’s idea of a good way to shake off a terrible run of three months without a win, it has done the trick for Celta, who got a fine and very much unexpected 0-1 win away to Osasuna, thanks to an first minute goal from Baiano. They are still in deep trouble, though.


A happy day in the life of Paul from Barcelona.

“a horrible grey day was the fitting setting for a horrible grey match. Like
SpanishTV it lacked entertainment and creativity.The few bright patches
were Luis Garcia's Free kick,Riera actually doing something right and
Costa's cameo of nearly decapitating an opponent with his first kick,his goal and his controversial celebration by giving the the"botifarra Catalana" (like sticking two fingers up) to the crowd.

to be fair he has received a lot of abuse,but in return he has been crap
this year.His gesture did not go down well at all.expect an Eto'o style
recantment(like we believed that)or swift departure at the end of the

But for me the hightlight was the revenge of the crowd chanting" La
Segunda"to Mallorca.reference 3 years ago when they beat us and we had
to win our last match to stay up.The Mallorca fans didn't respond for one
reason .there weren't any.Only 3 hours on the ferry,same time for me to
go to Zaragoza.

OVERALL The performance was up to much but three points are very
welcome.and Barça lost,double joy.”

Juande Ramos

Juande Ramos has certainly been doing his homework. Having propped his eyes open watching videos of their past games, he must have noticed Atletico’s snail-like start to games and decided to hammer the ‘rojiblancos’ from the first minute. It worked. Sevilla are back in the Championship hunt, but La Liga Loca still doesn’t feel like they really mean it. However, an away win at Getafe next weekend, may change its mind.

Racing Santander

Although it was just ‘Nastic, that they demolished, you’ll not see two finer strikes this this season than those from Colsa and the ‘giganton’, Zigic - alongside el Pato, the signing of the season.

Real Zaragoza

And so Real Zaragoza’s European bandwagon continues on its merry way. Whilst their away form of just four wins from eleven means that a top four finish may be out of reach, there is enough quality in the team to ensure that anything less than UEFA Cup qualification would be a failure. For a side that was the epitome of mid table mediocrity, last season, that is some achievement.

The downside to Saturday’s 1-0 win was Zaragoza’s inability to convert their obvious dominance into goals and it was left to an offside-looking effort from Diego Milito to secure the win.


Still going strong with another win and now just four points from safety. What happens after that is anyone’s guess, but judging by the way most of the top four are playing, a Champions League spot maybe worth a cheeky punt.

Samuel Eto'o

Judging by the X-rated challenges on display on Sunday - both Albeda and Deco deserved their reds - the Cameroonian striker probably made a wise decision to protect his dicky knee and sit out the Thunderdome blood match.

Silva and Angulo

Although it was a strong performance across the park for Valencia, it was particularly pleasing to see two of their more unheralded players, both on Sunday’s score sheet. Although they have only contributed six goals between them, this season, they have come at crucial times - like last night. Had the game with Barça been lost, Valencia could have written off their title challenge due to a ten point gap. However, in what was a feisty affair - as was the entire weekend in ´La Primera´, in carnival week Valencia are still very much in the chase, but with very little room for manoeuvre.

Atletico Madrid

Six goals conceded in two weeks against top four opponents reflects Atletico’s real standing in the league - and it isn’t fifth. Javier Aguirre has still yet to decide on his favoured centre back pairing and Fernando Torres’ lamentable season stumbled on with yet another penalty miss. Strangely, people seem to be looking forward to the Madrid derby, next weekend. Can’t think why.

Incidentally, La Liga Loca is still very confused as to how Pernia’s challenge on the brilliant Kanouté did not warrant a yellow card when ..... was given a straight red for going into Agüero, just as fiercely.


The biggest disappointment for Superman Frank Rijkaard will be the lack of clear goal scoring chances created, despite good build up play by Iniesta and Deco and possession statistics that reflected 70% for the visitors. The returning Eidur Gudjohnsen lacked sharpness and the introduction of Giuly was an odd decision when the king fox in the box, Saviola may have been a better choice. An bruising encounter was expected and that´s exactly what we got, although it is unlikely any of the players will be feeling half as bad as Liverpool´s Riise, today.

For more..cut and paste here -

David Beckham

As soon as the referee failed to blow for a free kick in response to his injury time tumble, you just knew Beckham’s red mist was about to descend. His immediate hack on Isidoro looked worse than it was, but the referee had no choice to brandish the red card - the eighth of the midfielder’s career. Unless the club are successful with an appeal, then Becks, who had a unspectacular game, looks set to miss out on his last ever Madrid derby.

Nastic, Real Sociedad

Two defeats and two relegation places now fixed. Not even Real Sociedad’s Miguel Angel Lotina is going to dig himself out of this hole.

Real Madrid

At last, the mystery of the root cause of Real Madrid’s ongoing disaster of a season has been revealed. For those under the belief that it was down to an unclear tactical approach, demotivated players, confused team selections, poor transfer purchases and unnecessary off the field antics - you couldn’t be more wrong. “I have the feeling the referees have been against us”, said Fabio Capello on Saturday in response a questing asking for the reason for their failure to produce the goods.

There isn’t really the time, space nor energy to go over Real’s latest Bernabeu blunder. But the clipnotes version is - no movement, no creativity, crowd booing Robinho and Emerson (doesn’t help), an isolated Van Nistelrooy, Gago being taken off at half time, Raul being brought on, Higuain left on the bench...


Villarreal are a peculiar club this season. The Yellow Submarines are able to switch between outstanding, energetic performances, as epitomised by their famous 1-0 win over Real Madrid,three weeks ago, to absolute dross. The weekend’s 0-1 defeat at Zaragoza - their third in row - was described by ‘El Mundo’ as ‘lamentable, sad and forgettable’. Too true. It was only the combination of poor finishing from the opposition and a strong display from Mariano Barbosa, in goal, that prevented a rout.

The problems this season for Villarreal stem from injuries and the old staple in Spanish football - behind the scenes bickering. The loss of Robert Pires, Gonzalo Rodriguez and Nihat were huge blows, hard to recover from. However, the real issue has been the power struggle between the side’s dominating president, Fernando Roig, manager Manuel Pellegrini and the players. It was battle that forced Riquelme to flee to Argentina and the playmaker commented this week that his former Chilean coach was only nominally in charge of affairs and that Roig was the real kingpin.

This week, captain Arruabarrena and Quique Alvarez added weight support to this argument when they announced their own departures from the club at the end of the season, unhappy with the progress of contract renewal talks. “We’ve both been here for many years and the club should show a bit of respect to us”, said Alvarez who revealed poor communication and secrecy was rife at Villarreal.

On Saturday, Pellegrini refused to be drawn on their chances of European qualification after the defeat but said their goal was to pick up as many points as possible until the end of the season. It seems the Yellow Submarines’ season has been well and truly scuttled.


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


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Peaky Weekend Preview


Real Madrid (3rd) v Betis (15th)

La Liga Loca’s fridge has been playing up recently. Strange whirring noises. So when it heard an annoying whining sound on Tuesday, it assumed it was the Whirlpool up to its old tricks again. Instead, it wasn’t a demonic domestic appliance that was the guilty culprit, it was Robinho. “I’m not happy....the manager doesn’t like the way I’m playing...not fair...”. Fabio Capello may have his faults but he certainly cannot been blamed for not appreciating the Brazilian pointless stepovers and tendency to blast easy chances over the bar. Home win.

Zaragoza v Villarreal

Here’s something the Spanish based readers can do whilst tuned into Andres Montes on La Sexta. Try and decide which is the more annoying.
a) The singing.
b) The inability of Montes to distinguish between attacks going nowhere and genuinely threatening play
c) The random shouting.
d) His inability to shut his stupid mouth for literally (and that word is not used loosely) four seconds. Listen out for it. He simply can’t do it.
e) His stupid face on the tv, both before and after the game.
Home win.


Espanyol (10th) v Mallorca (14th)

Paul the Espanyol man.
“Don’t know where to start
1-back to back away victories
2-pandiani goal machine
3-Eto'o,loved the column about this by the way.
4-Oleguer(i missed this one for some reason)something about him being
Super Catalan?
5-the rise and fall of the evil empire
6-VH 1's "the white Rapper show"unmissable.Big brother meets pop idol
with attitude”

Deportivo (12th) v Levante (16th)

So what has been the cause of Levante’s recent mini revival. An inspirational new coach? The arrival of Salva from Malaga, the man who “ has given us courage”, according to one love struck team-mate? Nope. A giant stereo in the dressing room, apparently. Manager, Abel Resino, has used music therapy to drag consecutive wins out of his team. Hits by tone deaf crusty crooner Melendi are played to the team before each match. With the threat of even more, after the game should they fail to win. So it’s going to be more cruel and unusual punishment for poor old Ian Harte on Sunday. Home win.

Recreativo (8th) v Real Sociedad (19th)

For a man with countenance so miserable that a chirpy Tom Cruise would be slashing his wrists after a five minute chat, Real Sociedad coach, Miguel Angel Lotina is strangely positive on one particular point - the chances of La Real staying up. Considering he manages a side so bad even Real Madrid looked half decent against them, he won’t be able to keep up the crazy talk for much longer. Home win.

Athletic Bilbao (17th) v Getafe (7th)

Like a giraffe trying to get out of quicksand, Athletic are slipping back into the mire, after two straight defeats to Betis and, more embarrassingly, Atletico. However, they should be alright in the end. But only if they win games like this one. Draw.

Racing Santander (11th) v ‘Nastic (20th)

Just two weeks after La Liga Loca praised the performances of Racing centre back, Garay. Today, Manchester United were linked with the young Argentinean. Keep an eye out on Monday’s edition for glowing reviews of Maxi Lopez, Emerson, and Fernando Torres. Although the inclusion of the last name, might make Fergie a little suspicious that some mischief is being made. Home win.

Osasuna (9th) v Celta Vigo (19th)

In what is a sweeping generalisation, but what the hell, the Spanish are often fairly reluctant to move too far away from their homes, unless it is to ‘the beach’ or ‘the village’. So for 7,000 people to abandon the city of Pamplona to have occurred, it could only have been one of three things - Andy and Lucas are in town, ham supplies have run out, or there is a UEFA Cup tie in Bordeaux to head to. This time, it was the latter. And they didn’t even see a goal. They certainly should do on Sunday. Home win.

Valencia (4th) v Barcelona (1st)

When the the moment of reconciliation between d’inho and Eto’o finally came, it was truly beautiful. And spontaneous. Well, as spontaneous as a lingering hug in front of the world’s press that took six meetings and a UN negotiator can be. It seems that all is well again on planet Barca. d’inho is Eto’o’s best mate, says Txiki. The squad is stronger then ever before, says Puyol. Of course, if you believe that then you are kind of person who doesn’t believe David Bisbal was sent to us by a vengeful Hell god. Draw.

Sevilla (2nd) v Atletico Madrid (5th)

There could well be some celebrating going in parts of Madrid, this weekend. Just one more point gained would see plucky Atletico safe for another season in the top flight. Last week in the Calderon, they were poor, yet again and they will have to buck their ideas up against a Sevilla side feeling plump and content after their 0-2 UEFA Cup win. Draw.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

The Thoughtful Quotes of the Week

“The first player to score will receive a convertible” - There’s still no confirmation of whether La Real’s Aranburu is bombing around San Sebastian in his new hot top, after this promise from manager, Miguel Angel Lotina

“I want to say good-bye with a title” - Fernando Ayala. Not getting thrashed 3-0 by Getafe would be a good start.

“I had doubts that he wouldn’t train with the same intensity” - Fabio Capello with his cunning theory that Beckham would be quite happy to leave Madrid having won bugger all in four years.

“I don’t have any problem being on the bench” - Atletico’s Luis Perea - the new Winston Bogarde

“I’m always quite serious. It isn’t an act” - Depor ‘keeper, Jose Molina. A serious man.

“Today we played with their style, the Betis style” - Jose Marie del Nido just can’t help himself after Sevilla grab a 0-0 draw against their rivals.

“We suffered unnecessarily” - Javier Aguirre reveals Atletico’s new club motto.

“We love beating the great teams” - Bernd Schuster may soon be the one receiving the beating, according to many reports.

“When you haven’t played for some time, there is anxiety” - Leo Messi defends his team-mate Eto’o not fancying a bit of a run around last Sunday.

“We don’t like that he’s training with us every day and at the weekend he’s on his own at home” - Buoyed by the player’s success with Beckham, Fabio Cannavaro kicks off the ‘Bring Back Cassano’ campaign.

“I don’t like mummy’s boys” - Tough talk from Athletic’s Unai Exposito on cry baby, Sergio Agüero.

“Some days I have nothing to do as the defence is so good” - ‘el Pato’ on why he often brings a book to Getafe games, these days.

“When he opens a can of spinach it’s a popular image in Portugal” - Mallorca’s Nunes on his ‘Popeye’ goal celebration. Which has probably just been banned by FIFA.

“We were a Champions League team but it was full of liars. They still haven’t paid me from three years ago” - Former Celta player, Mostovoi, on why Celta won’t be going down down this time round.

“If we reopened every decision, the league would last twenty years” - A Spanish referees spokesman dashes plans to review dodgy dives from the likes of Betis’ Fernando.

“Oleguer deserves less respect than dog shit” - Levante new saviour, Salva, is scrubbing the Barcelona defender off his Christmas card list. And likewise, one imagines.

“Agents are the cancer of football” - Getafe president, Angel Torres.

“I’m not happy as I’m not playing” - Robinho is the latest victim in Fabio Capello’s hokey cokey style of management - in out, in out, shake it all about.

“I would go there by bicycle” - Bernd Schuster on his transport plans should Bayern Munich come calling.

“If my leg had been stronger, I would not have been injured” - Valencia’s Edu blames the club’s fitness staff for his latest leg knack.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

St Valentine's Day Massacres

Eto’o Brute?

My, my, Samuel Eto’o certainly got out of bed the wrong side, on Tuesday. As most people will already have heard - and to borrow some tabloid vernacular - the Barcelona striker , yesterday, BLASTED his coach, Frank Rijkaard and SLAMMED his superstar team mate, Ronaldinho, in a BLISTERING one man attack that STUNNED the world.

Even by Eto’o's standards - a walking time bomb at the best of times - it was a superb solo effort showing that his goat had been well and truly got, when his Dutch coach revealed at a post match press conference that Eto’o had declined the offer of playing the last five minutes of the game.

Although the matter looked to have been cleared up in a meeting between Rijkaard, Eto’o and Laporta, the whole affair was clearly praying heavy on Eto’o’s crazy mind. “It was a bad thing to say that I refused to play” shouted the striker in a rant equal of Kevin Keegan’s ‘I’d love it if we beat them' effort a few years back, “I don’t have to give explanations to anyone”, he fumed when asked by a disbelieving but delighted press pack if what Rijkaard had said was true.

Eto’o then ‘revealed’ that there were two distinct rival camps at Barcelona - although La Liga Loca counted at least seventeen, recently. One appears to be lead by Joan Laporta , a father figure to Eto’o and another by Sandro Rossell, his former Vice President. And it was in Rossell’s direction, that the Cameroonian then turned his not inconsiderable fury - “when he was my boss, he never used to greet me” - he fumed, although Rossell himself later denied this allegation and put Eto’o’s outburst down to ‘a burst of adrenaline”.

Ronaldinho, reportedly a Rossell favourite, was next up and Eto’o replied to his team mates post match comments that Eto’o should “think more about the team”.

“I always think of the team”, he ranted, “I have played and trained in the past with injuries. But there are others who don’t think of the team”. Phew.

Before Eto’o’s head exploded he was lead from the room by his advisors who realised their evening was going to be a little busier than they had perhaps intended.

‘AS’ have gleefully called Eto’o’s tantrum “verbal incontinence” and “ a return to his roots” - make of that what you will. Barcelona fanzine ‘Sport’ have declared dramatically that his words the “most brutal declarations in the history of Barcelona”.

So what will - and more importantly - what should the club do next? No one really knows. Joan Laporta refused to comment on the matter and has left it to Rijkaard to manage. An announcement is expected later today which could range from no action at all to Eto'o being exiled from the club, Cassano style, as some papers have called for.

La Liga Loca thinks the club should be lenient. Samuel Eto’o runs on fury and anger. That his why he is one of the best players in the world. Without his tantrums and hissy fits he would be a lesser player. Samuel Eto’o has never been the most popular figure in the dressing room , according to many reports, so his attack on ‘dinho is unlikely to have made things worse at a club where there are now more cracks on show than a busy day at a bikini wax clinic.

All Barcelona must do is contain the situation as they have done with Saviola and Oleguer and possibly move one of their superstars out, in the summer, as Johan Cruyff recommended on Monday.

But what do you think? Is Barca the new Real Madrid ? Just click on comments or email here for your say...


Fight! Fight!

The fallout from the Sevilla derby rumbles on with Real Betis announcing that rival president, Jose Marie del Nido, will be barred from the presidential balcony at their Copa del Rey match, later in the month. The decision comes after del Nido refused to accept the delightful sounding gift of a mini bust of his enemy, Manuel Ruiz de Lopera, and moved from his assigned seat in the balcony to avoid being photographed of an even bigger statue of the majority shareholder.

His work not yet down, del Nido also reportedly insulted the Betis bigwig’s nephew by suggesting that he was ‘as gay as your uncle’. To which del Nido was almost shoved down the stairs, according to one account.

Sevilla have responded by saying that del Nido had every intention of attending the game as it was his legal right and “our President goes to all the games, both home and away”. It is a stance that was condemned by nominal Betis president, Pepe Leon - “they are coming to provoke us and are guilty of whatever will happen.”. This could be good, fight fans.

Childish nonsense bringing the Spanish game into disrepute? Or brilliant stuff? Just click on comments or email here for your say...


More on Beckham...




Another Good Day

victor valdes for the fabulous penalty save

oh yes and the indefatigable iniesta, of whom my friend's eight year old daughter asked 'where does he come from? he's so white!'



All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Monday, February 12, 2007

Monday's Good Day, Bad Day

Good Day

David Beckham

La Liga Loca still isn't entirely certain of the definition of irony - it certainly isn’t rain on your wedding day, though. However, it may have been in evidence on Saturday night in San Sebastian. Just thirty four days after declaring that Becks would never play for Real Madrid, Fabio Capello’s job was saved by the returning midfielder’s third goal of the season.

Before the match the Spanish press were predicting that the Italian would be booted out, if Madrid failed to beat La Real at the weekend, with Castilla’s Michel being lined up a stand in. But thanks to the Englishman, this scenario has been postponed. At least for another week.

Despite the enormous temptation to run up to Capello with his middle fingers raised high into the rainy sky, Beckham behaved like ‘a true gentleman’ according to ‘Marca’, in his celebrations Quite unlike Capello who turned down the chance to thank his new saviour after the match by ‘thanking all the players’.

Real still suck, though.


Their 2-0 against Villarreal was the side’s first away win in nine months and means that Depor remain unbeaten in 2007. Not bad at all considering they’re not very good, really. Verdu’s cracking second half strike has helped return Depor back ito mid table obscurity, where they will probably be very happy to remain after a brief dinner date and sofa fumble with relegation at the back end of last year.


Any day they score a goal, let alone win a game, is good.


More on Bernd Schuster’s latest miracle here....and photos at the bottom.

Jose Molina

Although Levante’s Salva, stole the headlines with two more strikes in his second game for the side, it’s Jose Molina, their goal keeper who deserves the plaudits. Having beaten the twin ordeals of cancer and playing for Atletico Madrid, Molina was playing his 400th game in La Liga - and celebrated it with a clean sheet to give Levante renewed hope of staying up.

Roberto Soldado

To more goals to sink ‘Nastic, makes it eight for the season. And how many for Higuain, Snr Capello?


Looks like he is finally coming out of his hibernation and just in time for the Champions League clash with Liverpool next week. With both Messi and Eto’o (although he didn’t fancy it on Sunday) back in action, the title must surely be Barcelona’s again, especially after the disappointing results for both Sevilla and Valencia.

Sergio Agüero

It was all so predictable in the Calderon for most of the game. Atletico playing with little or no pace and without a clue on how to take on a weakened opposition which had packed its midfield. Shots were more of a danger to passing cars passing on the M30, than the back of the net. But then, up popped ‘el Kun’ with another fine effort to keep Atletico in the Champions League hunt. Which is a miracle, really.

Bad Day

Celta Vigo

Oh dear.

Claudio Bravo

Real Sociedad’s keeper was to blame for both of Real’s goals on Saturday night . A bit of a shame after last week’s heroics when he helped to shut out Sevilla. “At that game I was the star, but today I was just bad”, confessed Bravo after the match. Too true. Beckham’s skidded effort should never had slipped past him and his work to defend Van Nistelrooy’s goal was shocking, as he flew out of the box and failed to get anywhere near Torre’s cross. He may have better luck in the Segunda, next season, where La Real must surely be heading, after Saturday’s result.

Fabio Cannavaro

A few weeks ago La Liga Loca had the chance to have a chat with the Italian defender and asked him about why he was so rubbish against Recreativo and Lyon. But not using those exact words. Cannavaro claimed it was a combination of getting used to the pace of the Spanish game, too high expectations, fatigue and losing focus after traipsing around Europe picking up awards. He now no longer has that excuse. On Saturday night, the centre back was lucky that he remained on the pitch for the whole game after giving a virtuoso display of late tackles, unwise forays into the midfield and lapses in concentration. To suggest that he has suddenly become a poor defender in the space of a few months is nonsense, but Real are definitely not seeing the same player as the one watched, last summer.

Maxi Lopez

Although his side, Mallorca, managed to win a game when they beat the increasingly disappointing Real Zaragoza, it was no thanks to Maxi Lopez - probably the worst striker playing in the league at the moment.


Nice defending, lads!


How fickle is the footballing hand of fate. Just one week after a prized appearance in La Liga’s Good Day section, Betis striker, Robert, finds himself on the wrong side of the page after a penalty miss that even Chris Waddle would have been shamed by and for blowing a one on one, in the second half. Two chances that should have given a superior Betis all three points in the Seville derby.


Real Betis coach, Luis Fernandez, brought sweaters into disrepute with his shocking pink effort, on Saturday night. Although it did leave him plenty of room for a fine display of arm waving, pointing and insane gesticulating that at times he resembled an Italian traffic cop on speed.


Quique Sanchez Flores was not a happy bunny at all after their 3-0 defeat to Getafe and he was, perhaps, a little harsh on his team when he accused a few of them of still being on international duty in their heads. Had Joaquin, Angulo and Silva not all missed easy first half efforts, the match could have been very different. But it didn’t and Valencia now face a rather tasty looking match up with Barcelona next Sunday which could make or break their title charge.


Oh dear, oh dear.


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

All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007


Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Great Weekend Preview


Real Sociedad Nil (19th) Real Madrid (4th)

A new sport is developing in Spain. Sadly, it won’t knock handball, the stupidest concept ever, off the tv. But it should do. It’s called ‘let’s see how angry we can make Fabio Capello so he says something he regrets much later’. It goes like this. Real Madrid lose. Capello goes before the press to blame the defeat on the ref, injuries, the lack of Cicinho, the traffic or whatever pops into his head. The press respond with ‘when are you going to resign? Why aren’t you picking Beckham? Why is your team so crap?” Capello responds with “Beckham did nothing in three years here” and “I’d like to thank the Ultras” for their support. It’s the most fun you can have with your clothes on. Home win.

Betis (14th) v Sevilla (2nd)

La Liga Loca really doesn’t have high hopes for this game. Last week’s Copa del Rey dust up was a bit rubbish by all accounts and Luis Fernandez, Betis coach has confessed that he is looking to Sevilla to be doing all the attacking on Saturday. Instead, TVE1 is recommended viewing, where an even bigger freak show than La Sexta’s commentary team can be found. Spain are looking for a new Eurovision song contest entry and it’s the most compulsive viewing imaginable. In recent weeks we have seen a man reinventing the words to ‘New York, New York’ after an attack of nerves, a bizarre hip hop group reminiscent of ‘Colour Me Bad’ and a mad old bag singing an operatic version of ‘Unchained Melody’. Great stuff. Draw.


Mallorca (15th) v Real Zaragoza (6th)

Real Zaragoza have found a new hero. Which is quite lucky considering Aimar, Milito and d’Alessandro appear to have packed up for the season. His name is Sergio Garcia and he says inspirational things like “I really wanted to show everyone that I hadn’t forgotten to score goals”. Which is similar to the line being spun by Diego Tristan, this week. Except people weren’t laughing when Zaragoza’s two goal hero said it. Away win.

Villarreal (10th) v Deportivo (13th)

Looking at the news just in, it appears that the Yellow Submarines have packed Roman Riquelme off to Boca Juniors for the rest of the season...but will be replacing him with another temperamental character, Ayala, in the summer. For much of the squad, Diego Forlan aside, it will now be party time as rumblings from the Villarreal camp suggest that the Argentinean penalty bottler was as welcome as a safety inspector at a Spanish building site . Home win.

Levante (18th) v Recreativo (7th)

Erm. Relegation threatened Levante....Recreativo looking for UEFA cup place...fairy tale season....zzzzz. Draw.

Getafe (8th) v Valencia (3rd)

Weirdest article in the Spanish week comes from ‘Marca’. Not content with a gushing ‘day in the life’ piece on the Recreativo president, the other month - ‘he buys his own newspaper!’, they have really gone for it with ‘48 hours with Angel Torres - Getafe president’. In it we learn that he has a rubbish leather jacket. Talks to real people. Watches games. Eats chorizo ‘like any normal fan’. And does paperwork. Thanks. For. That. Draw.

‘Nastic (20th) v Osasuna (11th)

Looking at the league table, ‘Nastic need to win at least ten more games this season if they are going to stay up. Which is over three times more than they have managed so far. Still, Real Madrid must be coming up for them soon, so there’s always hope. Draw.

Celta Vigo (17th) v Espanyol (12th)

Having broken the world’s longest meeting board meeting award during the week, with a seven hour effort to decide the fate of their coach Fernando Vasquez, the club’s big cheeses are going to have to manage another Herculean effort to stay awake on Sunday. By watching their team play. Draw.

Barcelona (1st) v Racing Santander (9th)

No Zigic. No Munitis. No fun. Home win.

Atletico Madrid (5th) v Athletic Bilbao (16th)

Atletico Madrid’s recipe for home made disaster.
1. Play well for first ten minutes.
2. Give up.
3. Let crowd start whistling.
4. Concede goal.
5. Get one back.
6. Repeat action for next four months.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Quotes of the Week

It's Only Words

“It’s not been the best seven months of my life” - Pity poor old, multimillionaire, chauffeur-driven, ‘I chose to do the job in the first place’ Ramon Calderon as he talks about his election hell.

“He never had confidence in me. I don’t know why. I never asked him” - Ronaldo on feeling unloved by Fabio Capello. But not being arsed enough to find out why.

“Ronaldinho listens to samba on his Ipod, but so loud that I can hear it as well” - Leo Messi, not a samba fan, apparently.

“We are not saints” - Iker Casillas on the allegedly booze-ridden, lager swilling, copa-downing, Real Madrid dressing room.

If we aren’t mentally prepared that we might as well stay in Valencia and eat paella or play cards.” Victorious Levante manager, Abel Resino, does not do a great deal to dispel some widely held stereotypes about the people from the club’s fine city.

“It’s a shame the month only had thirty one days” - Getafe’s Bernd Schuster the day after their brilliant January came to an sudden end in Santander.

“I prefer it when people tell you things to your face” - Fabio Capello. Although that policy didn’t really do Cassano much good, to be fair.

“If I’m not injured now, then I never will be” - Valencia’s Alboil on surviving an almighty clash with Cañizares on Saturday night.

“He’s a great player and I almost can’t believe that he has stayed with us” - And nor can anyone else. Atletico’s sporting director Pitarch on Fernando ‘couldn’t buy a goal at the moment’ Torres.

“We already know what the Champions League is about” - Pepe Leon, Betis President, kicks off the war of words ahead of Saturday’s Sevilla derby.

“I hope Betis won’t be as defensive as they were in the cup” - And Sevilla manger, Juande Ramos, is more than happy to reply.

“I just can’t seem to play more than four games in row” - ‘Sicknote’ Vicente is feeling a little frustrated.

“I’m desperate to be playing again” - David Beckham talks ‘exclusively’ to Marca. Through his car window, apparently.

“The club always pays. But not usually as late as this” - Deportivo spokesman confirms that there have been on or two issues with the player’s January salaries.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A Tour of Spain

What's Going on?

If there’s one thing Spanish gentleman of a certain age and class likes - aside from a Lacoste jersey across the shoulders or a trip to Madrid’s Casa de Campo of a Sunday morning - and that’s a good meeting. And none of your West Wing style thirty second long walking down the corridor efforts, either. No, siree Bob. Meetings in Spain should be long. Very long.

Nevertheless, the board of Celta Vigo pushed this rule to the absolute limit on Monday, with a seven hour long effort. In between solving the Middle East peace crisis, creating an earth evacuation plan in case of a cataclysmic asteroid hit and trying to reform the Stone Roses, Celta’s bigwigs took the time to think long and hard over the future of their manager, Fernando Vasquez - (imagine Harry Potter with the mouth of a drunken sailor).

The reason for the marathon session was Celta’s performance this season, which has not really met expectations, especially after last year’s UEFA qualifying effort. With just five wins all season and the club lying fourth from bottom of the table, the 1-1 home draw with ‘Nastic on Sunday was a disastrous result for the side and prompted the swift ordering of some buffet supplies.

However, the club’s leadership were in merciful mood and came out blinking into the media spotlight at half past midnight - having first grilled Vasquez for an hour - to announce that he would remain as the team’s manager until the end of the season, at least. Which gives him more time to experiment with more crazy ideas like inviting supporters into the dressing room to talk to the players during the week - in an inspirational way, ideally - “It gives us a great boost”, said Nene, before their ‘Nastic nasty.

Real Madrid also decided to get in on the action -what with them not having had a meeting or press conference for at least, oh, forty minutes. They decided to throw Pedja Mijatovic to the baying press pack to express the board’s half-hearted support for Fabio Capello - last seen losing it on Sunday night’s press conference.

Shifting in his seat and staring at the ground, wishing he could be anywhere else but there, the Serbian was unable to confirm if Capello would be remaining at the club after the summer or not, but instead insisted that the club’s current mess was in no way the fault of his boss, Ramon Calderon. He also took the time to put the boot into Beckham a little more by criticising his decision to sign for another club, thus adding to Capello’s revisionist “he has been here three years and the results have not been so good”, effort from the weekend.

Fairly quiet over in Barcelona aside from the ecstatic cheering from Frank Rijkaard over the return to training of Leo Messi, who will soon be joining Samuel Eto’o back in the first team squad, possibly in time for the Liverpool game in a few weeks.

‘Nastic players have obviously been on the cat nip again with the declaration from Pinilla that “nothing in beyond saving”. In about three months, he is due for a nasty surprise. Another positive pants is Fernando Morientes who has started to realise that yes, Valencia do have a shot at the title - “we believe that we can be champions”, declared the former Liverpool waste of space before dismissing the usual bickering nonsense at the club as something that the players tend to ignore, “Valencia has always been like that”.

Diego Tristan has been back in the news - older readers will remember him from the late 70’s when he was once a half decent striker. However, since moving to Mallorca over the summer, the former Deportivo forward has done very little to justify this moniker. But all that is about to change, according to the man himself - “I can assure the fans that I haven’t forgotten how to play football and score goals”, claimed Tristan on Monday.

Villarreal’s Arruabarrena will miss out of his team’s next match after having been sent off for abusing the fourth official while sitting on the bench in their weekend defeat to Recreativo.

And finally, Atletic Madrid’s Maniche has has his own name tattooed down his spine. There are no details as to whether an arrow pointing downwards, rounds it off.

Monday's Belated Good Day, Bad Day

Good Day

Ezequiel Garay

It took a lofted free kick and a header from a towering figure to beat ‘el Pato’ in the Getafe goal on Sunday - but it wasn’t from the ‘giganton’ Nikola Zigic, but instead, centre back Ezequiel Garay who has been popping up with goals at very handy times, all season, when Racing’s little and large front line has had an off day. With both Munitis and Zigic suspended for the second time this season, for Sunday’s visit to Racing, he will surely be called upon again to pop in a cheeky one.

Fernando Morientes

Goal numbers eight and nine for Morientes in their drubbing of Atletico on Saturday night. It’s now seven wins in eight for Valencia, who just seem to be getting better and better at the moment. If things go their way, they will get themselves knocked out by Inter Milan in the Champions League - although their opponents may be a little ring rusty, by then - to leave them free for a proper stab at the title.

The one worry now for the club, is the usual internal bickering - this time over the contract renewal of captain David Albeda. Amedeo Carboni - a disastrous appointment - is rocking the Mestalla boat, yet again, by playing hardball with the midfielder - and former team mate - and Albeda is not a happy bunny - “these negotiations have really opened my eyes to where I stand with the club.” Hold onto your duvets and prepare for another Mestalla meltdown.

Ian Harte’s Levante

Really didn’t see that coming and nor did Levante, probably. Their coach, Abel Resino, was the epitome of grumpiness after their 1-0 win at the Bernabeu, on Sunday night, but he must have at least cracked a small smile after grabbing three points in a game where only two chances were created by his team. However, Levante are still in the bottom three and as the debutante goal scorer Salva observed, if they do not win their home match with Recreativo on Sunday, their famous victory will mean bugger all.

Ikechuckwo Uche

A superbly taken goal from Recreativo’s player of the season - and one they are probably losing to Getafe in the summer, where he looks like heading on a free. Just eight more points for survival for the team of the season, so far.

Robert de Pinho Souza

Betis’ Brazilian striker, Robert, arrived in town from PSV a year ago promising goals and good times. Until recently, he hasn’t been much of evidence of either. But all that has changed, two strikes against Valencia the other week and another in the 2-1 defeat of relegation rivals Athletic - and it was an absolute belter - has put Robert on six goals for the season. This helps keep up Betis’ decent run since the arrival of the normally chirpy chappy, Luis Fernandez, whose demeanour changed on Sunday when he grumbled that the encounter was more akin to a boxing match.

Samuel Eto’o

He may only have played ten minutes and possibly not touched the ball on Sunday night against Osasuna, but it was a great moment seeing La Liga Loca’s World Player of the Year, 2006 back in action again. Over all, it was a good night for Barca as well in a match, they could easily have lost.

Bad Day

Atletico Madrid

Last week, Javier Aguirre had secret training sessions to prepare a cunning plan to beat Valencia on Saturday night. Clearly, marking Vicente and Morientes was out of scope of whatever crazy scheme he concocted. All in all, the ‘rojiblancos’ were a bit rubbish, really. Especially up front, where it was left to poor old Mista - one of the few players in La Liga who actually looks like a proper footballer - to score against his own club.

Celta Vigo

If he hasn’t gone already, then Celta’s manager Fernando Vasquez must be hanging on to his job by his finger nails. A home match against bottom of the table ‘Nastic was one they really, really, really, really, had to win. But they didn’t.


Take it away Paul from Barcelona

“What a load of of rubbish!two distinctly average teams played a well
below average"game of football".Dull doesn't even come close.A draw was
probably a fairer result,thank god Aimar didn't play,otherwise i dread to
think........three cheers to the bloke in front of me,who said after the
equaliser"watch us go on and win this"he was right.But what was a Zaragoza supporter doing in my section.

Note..after the events in Italy was nice to see the Mossos(Catalan
Police)be extremely heavy handed with people coming into the stadium.This is what happens when you take wannabe "hardmen"and give them a uniform.Wonder what team most of them support.Usually you only get searched if you have a bag,i was searched twice in 20 meters,once by private security and once by the Police who had seen me being searched before.

One kid was hit by a baton for trying to bring in a can of coke. God knows what will happen when England play Andorra here.You have Basically
a new Police force who are trying to get themselves a reputation.

Remember you read it here first.

footnote-after the bit of violence at last weeks away match,a banner
unfurled by the Espanyol Ultras said "The playes absolved,The Ultas to
blame for the result 4-0"mmmm”.

Real Madrid

Iker Casillas was probably having a better time here...(youtube Casillas Amaral) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nw8k64jxxR4 than at the moment.

For more on Real...copy and paste here


Or catch overtime working La Liga Loca on the midweek edition of ‘Extra Time’, available and repeated on Real Madrid tv (english channel) on Sky digital, free to air. And looking a bit scruffy, in retrospect.

Sebastian Viera

When Recreativo’s Juanma booted the ball towards goal from somewhere near the halfway line, he probably didn’t expect to be celebrating a goal a few seconds later, but that’s exactly what happened after Villarreal’s ‘keeper Viera decided to let in drop over his head, uncontested, and dribble into the back of the net. Muppet.


Just five points from their last five games now. Get a grip ! At least Jose Marie Del Nido’s has shut his trap about the club being the best in the world for a couple of weeks. Saturdays night’s date at Real Betis has now become a must win if Sevilla are going to both keep up with Barcelona and stop Valencia overhauling them.


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


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Friday, February 02, 2007

The Flustered Weekend Preview


Espanyol (11th) v Real Zaragoza (6th)

This is a match that could well decide which of these two teams will be heading onto into the big wide world of La Primera clutching a double latte frappacino in one hand and a Blackberry in the other, shouting “I’m gonna be somebody!” at everyone, and which is going to be doing the footballing equivalent of sitting in their skanky underwear on the sofa watching game shows for the rest of the season, knowing they are probably quite safe. Draw.

Deportivo (14th) v Mallorca (13th)

There are some things that should be banned. Immediately. Like people who insist on sitting on the floor of the metro train during the rush hour. And people who walk and read at the same time. And Mallorca. Home win.

Valencia (4th) v Atletico Madrid (5th)

The papers are saying that Fernando Torres is set to be restored to the Spanish line up for the England match, after being dropped for their last round of matches - although no one is entirely sure why that happened in the first place. Looking at the mulletted one’s penalty taking skills, Rio Ferdinand and co may perhaps want to consider booting him around for 90 minutes next week, safe in the knowledge that any subsequent spot kick would only be troubling the poor photographers that happen to be in the ball’s eventual path. Home win.


Recreativo (8th) v Villarreal (9th)

Something illicit must have put into the Yellow Submarine’s pre match tea, last weekend, in their 1-0 win over Real Madrid. Either that or a hefty bonus. There can be no other explanation for a display that was at least 78 times more competent and energetic that most of their other lamentable efforts, this season. And the one we will surely see on Sunday. Home win.

Sevilla (2nd) v Real Sociedad (19th)

“Boring, tedious, rubbish”. No not a description of ‘Babel’, currently doing the cinema rounds, but Marca’s assessment of last night’s less than thrilling Copa del Rey derby day encounter with Betis, which ended 0-0 and was dull enough to put even Manuel Ruiz de Lopera’s favourite husky, ‘Hugo’ to sleep. It should be a bit better on Sunday as Sevilla tear Sociedad a new one. Home win.

Athletic Bilbao (15th) v Real Betis (16th)

Betis manager, Luis Fernandez said that he had a brother in law called Hugo. A fact that is possibly more interesting that this potential scrappy encounter between two teams trying to avoid filling the last remaining Celta Vigo shaped relegation spot. Home win

Racing Santander (12th) v Getafe (7th)

There isn’t that much to do in Getafe. Gaze at the shiny new metro and train stations. Count pylons or enjoying breathing in the fume-filled air of Madrid’s bedroom. Which make the fact that the club’s attendances have actually dropped twenty percent this season, a shocking statistic considering the side lie 7th in the table and more than matching the likes of Real and Barca at the Coliseum. After thrashing Osasuna 3-0 in the Copa del Rey first leg, on Wednesday night (just 4.000 lazy buggers turned up), they’re not that far from a famous cup final appearance, either. Draw.

Celta Vigo (17th) v ‘Nastic (20th)

All week, the news dribbling out of Celta Vigo’s camp has been declarations of support for their beleaguered manager, Fernando Vasquez. However, should they lose at home to bottom of the table ‘Nastic, then this backing will disappear quicker than Jade Goody’s career.

Real Madrid (3rd) v Ian Harte’s Levante (18th)

The ‘Hola’ reading side of La Liga Loca noticed this week that there was quite a to-do when English actress, Sienna Millar, decided to go about her business dressed in tights and a big Superman style pants. Which made one think whether Raul should do the same on his return to the Real line up on Sunday night? With a big ‘R’ on his chest. For rubbish. Home win.

For more serious - possibly - comment on this week’s goings on at Real, then you can catch the slightly tipsy (9.30 recording time on Friday night) La Liga Loca on the Real Madrid tv channel, over the weekend on ‘Extra time’. If you have it. And nothing better to do.

Osasuna (10th) v Barcelona (1st)

Lock up your daughters, hens (if you are reading this in Andalusia), best china...in fact lock up everything. This match is going to be tasty. Osasuna have had a bit of rotten spell of late - four sent off at Atletico and then two consecutive drubbings by Getafe and this can only make them madder than they are anyway. Ronaldinho had better bring his titanium enforced shin pads. He’ll need them. Home win.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Quotes of the Week

More Crazy Talk

“I have no idea” - Ruud Van Nistelrooy is not alone in his views on the Real Madrid’s postal vote palaver

“I’m more Kaka than Cristiano Ronaldo” - ah...the ‘Kaka’ jokes will never die on this blog. And Atletico’s new summer striker, midfielder thingy Diego just added to them.

“I watched the Barcelona training and it was incredible. They do practically nothing” - Ronaldo ordered his private jet be diverted to Catalunya when he heard this comment from former Udinese coach, Giovanni Galeone.

“When you pull too much on a string, it will break” - Jose Manuel Llanzeza, director general of Villarreal, won’t be giving Riquelme a quick tug any time soon, it seems.

“I’ve not got anything personal against any player” - Fabio Capello. That splattering sound you just heard was Ronaldo, Becks, Diarra, Cassano and Guti collectively spitting out their tea.

“Why can’t we think of something higher than just European places?” says Atletico Madrid coach Javier Aguirre. Insert your own joke here.

“Next week, we’ll have a better bench” - That’s fine Fabio Capello, but what about the players sitting on it?

“Just leave him in peace” - Frank Rijkaard getting cross over the Ronaldinho flack.

“At home, our numbers are not so bad” Pablo Ibañez, Atletico Madrid. Sober, apparently.

“Sometimes night time can mess players up” - Former wild child and current Getafe hero Dani Guiza on another footballing pitfall.

“I always say thanks to my coaches. Except one” - a handbags ‘miaaaaw’ moment there from the departing Ronaldo.

“I’m going to watch it with my dog, Hugo” - Betis president, Manuel de Lopera on his viewing plans for tonight’s Copa del Rey match up with Sevilla.

“It’s a disappointment, but not a defeat” - Frank Rijkaard redefines a 1-0 loss - last night’s result against Zaragoza in their first leg Copa Del Rey match.

“Here, I decide when you leave training, not you!” - Fabio Capello yells at Guti for leaving the field after picking up an injury during a Wednesday practice game. Guti, naturally, gave as good as he got.


Transfer Action!

The biggest - in all possible ways - move of the January window was the lord of the pies, the titan of tapas, a man described by Pete Jenson in ‘the Times’ as a ‘legend in his own lunchtime’, Mr Ronaldo and his departure to Milano. The big boned Brazilian will be hoping to regain his football appetite and forget his last few months in Madrid, which were certainly no cake walk. Real failed to put together a deal that would have brought ex Betis’ rather handy striker, Ricardo Oliveira to Madrid, which leaves their attack a little lightweight.

Another Spaniard joining Rafa Benitez’ Liverpool, which is starting to resemble a branch of Zara on a sales day, is Deportivo’s former Real defender, Alvaro Albeloa. “My team-mates thought it was a joke”, said the 3 million euro signing, as he packed his bags for Merseyside. And having seen him play a couple of times, this season, they were not the only ones.

And Real Zaragoza signed a left back.



Spaced Out

Andy's right!
Robinho's mentor was Ronaldo. He needs someone who is better than him who he can look up to.The trouble is, for all Ronaldo's brilliance, a lot of the attitude must have rubbed off on The Prince. But the latter must be strong, and he will be.In my opinion, Real need Mir Spacecraft guy.
If hes another Perez, then he will be one with the experience that a squad matters and so does a solid defence...and so does having a good manager with 100% control of sporting descisions.Im pretty sure he'd get rid of the very useless Raul and the inconsistent Guti.

Mir spacecraft was in the search for c.ronaldo, now that is the sort of player Real are lacking. Hes young and hes Robinho's sort of player.
Robinho, C.Ronaldo and Reyes would be plenty of competition for two wings (Nieto is good, but no Primera to four good) and Soldado coming back from Osasuna would make for a good partner for either Ruud/Higuain. The departure of Emerson is anticipated as well as that of Salgado. Of interest would be the replacement he would have in mind for Guti.

So heres what will happen if Mir spacecraft comes in,
Real will look a bit more like Real of old, maybe with Del Bosque at the reigns. If Calderon and Capello stay, we could well see the sale of robinho for a poxy non-flair player - like ruud - and we would probably witness Real draw the team they sold robinho to in the CL and get slaughtered by a formidable brazilian on steroids.



All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007