Thursday, March 29, 2007

At Last, the Great Weekend Preview


Real Betis (15th) v Villarreal (11th)

What was already turning out to be a bad week for Betis’ Benjamin looks like getting a lot worse, on Saturday. The striker was busy turning out for his Guinean team, against Rwanda, over the weekend, when he suddenly collapsed and rather worryingly, stopped breathing. Luckily, the timely intervention of local doctor Patrick Mbakale, brought the forward back to life and half an hour later, Benjamin had to be held back by team-mates as he attempted to get back to the game. The cause of the collapse was reported to be fatigue, heat-stroke and stress. But none of them serious enough for Betis to contemplate resting him against Villarreal, due to injuries to Sobis and Pancrate. Draw.

Real Sociedad (20th) v Levante (16th)

La Real are currently putting their fans through the crap-team conundrum. Is it better to be relegated nice and early or have the inevitable dragged out to the very last moment, like a film on Antena 3? The strangely perky Miguel Angel Lotina is going for the latter option. Last week, the Sociedad manager made a bet with the local press, that should his side stay up, he would treat them to a dinner and a trip to the Caribbean. Strangely, no one took him up on the offer. La Liga Loca would already be packing its factor 50, had the same deal come its way. Home win.

Valencia (4th) v Espanyol (10th)

It can´t be easy being Luis Aragonés’ butt monkeys - but it is a duty performed with honour, by Valencia. Six of their players were in the Spanish squad for the Denmark and Iceland games - and the cost has been high. Not only have the footballers had to suffer the emotional trauma of sharing the same air as the simian Seleccionater, but one poor soul, Fernando Morientes, has been knocked out of action for three weeks after a nasty collision with a large stationary object - and it wasn’t Maniche. Home win.

Barcelona (1st) v Deportivo (12th)

With just eleven games left, its commitment all the way from Barcelona’s players, this week, as they tackle a golden opportunity to build up a lead over their rivals. “I won’t put a gun to anyone’s head to stay”, claims Javier Saviola with an astute grasp of the law. “I just want to play football,” grumbled d’inho in response to the continued transfer speculation, “everything else is up to my brother”. Despite such talk worthy of Braveheart himself, Barcelona should find Saturday’s match fairly easy going against a side about to lose their coach and looking to flog Andrade to the opposition over the summer. Home win.


Atletico Madrid (6th) v Mallorca (14th)

Pictures of impoverished looking children on their hands and knees scrubbing floors for no financial reward, would normally be enough to bring the UN in on jetcopters. But not at Atletico Madrid, which proudly publicised its long standing slavery scheme in the pages of AS on Thursday. It appears that the club uses 250 ‘volunteers’ to do all the jobs, that no one else wants to do. Or cost money. Even worse, some are forced to watch the games, as well. “You do all this, for us”, gasped Miguel Angel Gil for the cameras, as he was told stories of how their heroic sacrifice pays for Fernando Torres to ponce about the field like a big ejiit. Home win.

Getafe (9th) v Zaragoza (5th)

Getafe need three more points to stay up, but they can´t seem to get them. Like Ronaldo and his toes, the forty point barrier seems to be unreachable. Sunday’s match against a Zaragoza side hoping to overhaul Valencia is going to be tougher going than chewing on one of Luis Aragones’ now infamous Viagra tortillas. Draw.

‘Nastic (19th) v Recreativo (7th)

During the week, Gimnastic had a bit of a boardroom burnout and changed the leadership of the club, after a share buy out. But it won’t change the ultimate destination of the Catalan club, one iota. Still, any side that boasts the tremendously named Bizarri and Mingo in their side deserves a little bit of La Liga Loca’s support. Draw.

Racing Santander (8th) v Athletic Bilbao (18th)

In the good old days, ‘doing a Charlton’ used to mean getting enough points to stay up by March and then do bugger all else for the rest of the season. Now it means, blow lots of cash, sack two managers and get relegated. Sunday´s match will be a strong indication of whether the home team, will be ‘doing a Charlton’ and putting on their footballing slippers, now they have forty points, or whether they will be inflicting yet more pain on Athletic Bilbao. Home win.

Celta Vigo (17th) v Real Madrid (3rd)

Celta Vigo have come up with a crazy plan to counter the threat of a still dangerous team with the best away record in the the league (true) - lucky charms. “People have been saying that we have been losing at the Balaidos due to bad luck!” squealed the club’s director of marketing, Marian Mouriño. With this in mind, Celta have asked fans to bring in trinkets, Virgins (of the statue variety) and rabbits’ feet to the game on Sunday. It really wouldn’t surprise La Liga Loca if it came across people in Galicia looking behind their televisions for the ‘magic pixies’ that make it work. Away win.

Osasuna (13th) v Sevilla (2nd)

Although, their league position wouldn’t suggest it, there is something about a Sunday visit to Pamplona that brings out fear in most fans. It would not be a sweeping generalisation (well, it would) to suggest that Osasuna supporters pretty much hate everyone who doesn’t come from their mountain kingdom. And they never grow tired of making that clear during to their visitors during games. Sevilla are the latest victims and they will facing the home side with a dicky Freddie Kanouté and a knacked Dani Alvés as they continue their ongoing campaign to hand the league title to Barcelona. Home win.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Deportivo Dumped

Joaquin Away

After months of feverish - well, slightly sweaty speculation - the Spanish papers are reporting that Deportivo boss, Joaquin Caparrós will be quitting his post in the summer to pursue his fading acting career in the States.

Ever since his highs of Batman, the former Sevilla coach has had to put up with romantic comedy fodder and straight-to-DVD jobs that Kevin Bacon turned down - and the Depor man has had enough. On top of of this, Caparrós has also had to manage a football club which can barely afford to pay its players and failed to inform its own coach of the decision to enter the Intertoto cup. Reports claim that the challenge of not staring at President Lendoiro´s hamster-esque barnet and the constant shouts of ´Riki!’ at his misfiring forward - like a demented Frank Butcher - have finally taken their toll on the star of Herbie - Fully Loaded.

Over in Mallorca, Luis Aragonés has displayed his masterful man management skills, yet again, by revealing to an ecstatic journo that Fernando Torres is desperate to leave Atletico Madrid. This comes on top of rumours of squad discontent after Luis criticised the ball-losing properties of Andrés Iniesta and Xabi Alonso after the win against Denmark. But it`s something that Spain´s very own Steve McClaren denies - ¨there was no criticism and I didn’t make any mistakes with the substitutions¨, grumbled Spain`s big cheese.

In a story that very nearly thawed the ice cold heart of La Liga Loca - but not quite - it was revealed that Athletic Bilbao players will be forking out 60,000 euros of their own hard-earned cash to pay for their spectators to travel to Santander, on Sunday. Either through guilt at being so pants this season, or through a sense of duty, the squad will be subsidising the cost of the tickets to the Racing match as well as funding free travel to the city.

It seems that the Alexis to Valencia deal is not yet done and dusted. Getafe president Angel Torres revealed on insane shout-fest El Rondo that no formal agreement had been signed between the two clubs. However, defensive midfielder, Pallardó has put oen to the oaper on his new five year deal with Madrid’s fourth / third club - depending on your Rayo point of view.

AS are still following - some would say stalking - Cristiano Ronaldo in the desperate hope that the Man Utd player declares ‘F*ck you Fergie! Real Madrid’s the place for me!”, into their tape recorders. As this is fairly unlikely to happen, Real are estimating that it could take a whopping 80 million euros to prise him away from the Premiership. Get ready for some fund raising bingo nights at the Bernabeu.

Meanwhile, Barcelona are continuing their steady backtrack from their pre season hopes of seven trophy year. Just a couple of weeks after Txiki’s “the double would be a great season”, Joan Laporta, back pedalled further, on Monday, with the cryptic - and ever so slightly bottling - claim that “this club always prefers to be the best, rather than the number one”. A comment that Marca seemed to particularly enjoy.

It was bad news for Barça’s title rivals, Sevilla, on Tuesday with AS reporting that Valencia are set to bring their architect of greatness, Monchi to the Mestalla and slot him into Carboni`s soon to be vacant office. The offer, which Monchi, may not be able to refuse, will reportedly see his salary quadrupled.

Real Betis have finally realised that, yes, they will have to go through with their three home games shut out order. Despite two appeals and a cunning attempt to get round the ban, by completely ignoring it, Betis are set to play the first of their matches in the city`s Olympic Stadium.



A Question for Barcelona fans...

Do you have a rough idea what Barcelona might expect to get for Ronaldinho?

I am amazed by the hype he generates, cant anyone see that he is absolute bollocks: if you didnt count penalties and free kicks hes got like 5 goals, 4 of which are headers!!.

On the other hand selling Eto'o would be a tragedy of magnanimous proportions. How do you rate his chances of staying at the Camp Nou? TO see his impact you just have to look at the last calssico and the space Ronaldinho and Messi had when Eto'o was on the pitch...gee he is the most important player even when he doesnt score.

dedo d


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Lies, Damned Lies. And More Lies

Transfer Talk

With little else going on, it’s a good time to dig around in the dumpster, hang with the low life and - most desperate of all - read the Spanish press to round up the highlights of their blatantly made up transfer gossip.

Title bottlers extraordinaire, Valencia, have been busy bees in recent weeks. To replace the revolting Roberto Ayala, who is pitching his footballing tent in the Villarreal camp next season, the club has drafted in Getafe centre back Alexis in a six year deal - and despatched midfielder, Pallardó in the opposite direction. “I hate leaving like this”, said the Argentinean, realising the force had been taken out of his flounce with the swift announcement of his replacement.

Meanwhile there are strong rumours afoot that the natty scarf wearing Quique will no longer be in the Mestalla hot seat, next season, should he fail to deliver a trophy shaped offering - or sacrifice a virgin - to the Valencia uberlord, Juan Bautista Soler. The smart money for the new guy is on big Bernd Schuster, from Getafe, who would be following in his predecessors footsteps, in June, should it all pan out.

Another departure from the club could well be David Albeda, according to the mischievous Barcelona press, on Friday. The mad-tackling midfielder confessed during the week that he was unhappy at his club publishing his current contract details, whilst troubled renewal talks are ongoing. Another fine mess from Carboni it would appear.

Making way for the highlighted hero would be Deco, who has been linked with pretty much every club in the Premiership - but Man Utd would probably be the snuggest fit. Atletico’s Peter Luccin is another who is currently bleeping on the Nou Camp radar like Ronaldo in a rowing boat.

Frank Rijkaard is now hanging onto Ronaldinho with both hands, now that a summer time bidding war has kicked off between the two Milan clubs for the Brazilian’s penalty taking services - “we have no intention of selling him!” declared Joan Laporta, “How much ! Oh. Ok, then”, is what he may be say ing in June, to an offer he cannot refuse from Berlesconi.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid, are still smarting at losing out on Alexis, but they only have themselves to blame, according to Getafe president, Angel Torres. Marca has reported that the Real socio is furious with his neighbours constant refusal to help out their cause with loan or transfer deals for the likes of Arbeloa, Soldado and de la Red, so decided to stiff them by ensuring the much-coveted defender would only be going west.

Having not blown stacks amounts of cash on rubbish for at least two months, Real are set to splurge in the summer to sign a quality centre back - even though they have one in Woodgate - and a number nine - even though they have one in Soldado (La Liga Loca rates him). Names in the frame are Metzhelder, Andrade, Chivu or Mexes for the back four and Fred and Huntelaar up front. Woo - and indeed - woo, say millions of Real Madrid fans in excitement.

Atletico reckon they’ve snared Ricardo Quaresmo after months and months of begging. However, an awful lot is going to depend on whether their football next season will be of a Champions League, UEFA Cup or Intertoto shaped variety. Meanwhile, Maniche - Jurado from a distance, but bigger - looks like being kicked out of Calderon in the summer after declaring on Friday that “everyone says that Atletico are a great, great club...but they’re not at the moment”.

Getafe are making eyes at Recreativo’s Uche - and their manager, Marcelino, should Schuster sail off - as well as Sevilla’s Charlton loanee, Kepa. Esapanyol are confident of hanging onto Ivan de la Peña, despite some reported fallouts during the boldy one’s renewal talks. Villarreal are after a new striker cum midfielder (Forlan to Camp Nou anyone?) and the Yellow Submarines are sailing north to pick up Dutch detective, Rafael van der Vaart, from Hamburg.


Who do you want in and - more importantly - out of your club? Just click on comments or email for your say.

All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Friday, March 23, 2007

Quotes of the Week. Sort of.

Crazy Talk

“This kind of ban is a way of destroying and killing a player” - And so is punching someone on the nose. Valencia’s Emiliano Moretti clearly hasn’t seen Last Boy Scout, as he protests the severity of Dave Navarro’s punishment.

“The league isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon”, says Atletico’s Ze Castro. Which must make the rojiblancos one of those wacky funsters who dress up as trees to do the twenty six miles. Anyone want to sponsor them?

“Look at them, they’re like children” - Michel Salgado comments on the latest performances of Guti, Mejia and Raul Bravo. Testing the new PS3, that is.

“Sevilla are the clear favourites” - José Mariá del Nido responds in typical modest fashion to his club’s Copa Del Rey draw with Deportivo.

“I got a card, even when it wasn’t a foul” - Welcome to Spanish football, Fabio Cannavaro.

“Why isn’t Robinho starting?...Are they always that slow?” - Two questions of many asked by ‘Nastic’s Javier Portillo as he watched Sunday’s game with Marca.

“We can’t keep going over this, every week”, says Barcelona’s Txiki on the d’inho to Italy talk. Although their financial vice president clearly doesn’t agree considering he announced on Wednesday that the club had no plans to improve Ronaldinho's contract.

“We only have fifteen fit players, but we can't feel sorry for ourselves”, says Javier Aguirre, feeling sorry himself.

“What I hate most is the insults at other grounds from people who know I am innocent” - another person feeling a little down is Athletic’s Carlos Gurpegui - banned drug cheat or innocent pawn in a political game - depending on which side your bread is buttered.

“Only 15 or 16 teams have won it and we’re one of them!” - Mallorca’s Gregorio Manzano desperately tries to big up his club’s 2003 Copa del Rey victory. Tim Westwood would be proud.

“There is no time for sentiment in football” - Former Athletic man and current Osasuna coach, José Angel Zigando puts a shot gun to the head of his former club with a 3-0 thrashing.

“I don’t like it. If Calderon wants to talk to us he should do it in the dressing room” - The Spanish Gary Neville, Michel Salgado, as reported in Sport. So it must be true then.

“We’re not friends. We never ate together, nor went to eachothers houses” - La Liga Loca denies any romantic link with Elsa Pataky. Again. Not really. Ronaldo speaks of his big love for Raul.

“Sergio Ramos could be a great full back, but not a centre back” - Luis Aragones shows off his legendary man management skills ahead of Spain’s imminent defeat to Denmark.



Are You Suggesting Espanyol Aren't Interesting?!

Well it couldn't have worked out better for Sevilla! They get a semi-final draw against arguably the weakest side left in the competition, Deportivo La Coruna. It's safe to assume that Barca will beat out Getafe, and if all goes well for Sevilla, they will dispatch Deportivo, setting up a rematch of the European Super Cup final!

Could this be what the Copa needs to make it interesting again?



All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A Tour of Spain

All You Need to Know

Like Ronaldo after a sprint for the AC Milan cake trolley, the Spanish league is taking a bit of breather. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t much going on. Well it does. Which is why the Spanish sports papers have been in full ‘blatantly making stuff up’ mode, this week. Marca are hammering away like a persistent chipmunk on the Daniel Alves, Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid theme - as the club try to pack their side with more rampant right wingers than their boardroom.

But unless, cloning technology takes great strides over the next few months - and you can be sure Ramon Calderon is working on it - Real are going to be empty handed. Because Bar;a are going to get there first, according to the clubs spokespapers, Sport and Mundo Deportivo. In the Catalan’s club’s case, a lot will probably depend on the future of Ronaldinho - a player who is ‘addicted the gym’ - according to Monday’s El Pais with a perfectly straight face.

Should the buck toothed Brazilian decide to head to AC Milano - something his Mr 25% seems desperate to see - then Barcelona may be in the market for a new fancy pants midfielder. Then again, Frank Rijkaard and Txiki claimed last week, that the club’s current cycle was by no means complete and nobody would be going anywhere. Except maybe Motta. And Edmilson. And Esquerro.

The unseemly scrap over Dani Alves’ bones is made more intriguing as La Liga Loca feels it would be the wrong time for the defender to move away from Sevilla. Although he is a fine player, already, the Brazilian still needs a little more Gary Neville dour discipline (don't laugh) in his game and a little less Roberto Carlos rampaging. Something that Monchi and co, can help him with. A move to the crazy worlds or the Bernabeu or Camp Nou would only be a hindrance.

The rumblings from Real’s Sunday night plucky 2-0 win over ‘Nastic continue, with criticism for Robinho, after his goal celebrations, which saw him leap into the arms of Emerson - an act that the arthritic athlete could take weeks to recover from. “We were down to ten men and he didn’t need to do what he did,” complained ‘Nastic’s David Garcia, “I didn’t like his attitude”. And nor did Fabio Capello who was photographed scowling at the two Brazilians, from the touchlines. Again.

Meanwhile Marca reports that the rest of the first team were less than happy with being roped into the club’s ‘Together we can do it!’ campaign for ‘Tele Ramon’.

Elsewhere, Sevilla and Betis finally played their Copa Del Rey quarter final second leg, restarted match in Getafe, on Tuesday night. And nothing much happened. The UEFA cup holders held onto their 1-0 advantage and progressed to the semi final draw. later this week, when Depor and Getafe will praying to all the gods of the known universe they draw Barcelona in the two legged affair.

The two week break in play has come at a good time for Athletic Bilbao, according to club president Ana Urkijo, “it's a good time to reflect”. And not get beaten again. Meanwhile Basque battler and spell check nightmare, Joseba Etxeberria, revealed - less than encouragingly - that “the dressing room is worse than ever before”.

Even more worrying is the revelation that Deportivo coach, Michael Keaton, takes asprin before each game to thin his blood and reduce the chance of a heart attack.

Atletico Madrid’s fourth away defeat in a row has got the big cheeses thinking that Javier Aguirre may not be the man for them after all. “My mission is to get Atletico into Europe,” said the Mexican manager, “Our priority is the team and not if we renew our manager or not”, said Enrique Cerezo, in less than supportive mode. La Liga Loca must admit its bias and confess it is a bit of a fan of the flat topped coach. If the rojiblancos were to let him go, then the leadership would prove once and for all that they really don’t know what they’re doing.

Slayers of Atletico on Sunday, Real Zaragoza, are now looking to leap over the limping lamb of Valencia, according to Gaby Milito who also warned that “if we want to get into the top four, we have to do more than we are doing now”. Recreativo boss, Marcelino is still fuming about their 4-0 home spanking to Barcelona - “three of the goals should never have happened” and AS have cheerfully pointed out that Valencia’s David Villa is just thirty seven goalless minutes away from his worse record ever. The words down, man and kick spring to mind.


Emails...Emails...(keep them coming)

Poaching Dani

Well, maybe not the actual poaching, but the rumour mill is in full effect over at Real Madrid ( the other centre of the universe ). It appears that they have set their sights on several players, already under contract at other clubs ( small matter really ). We all know about Cristiano Ronaldo ( the thin Ronie ), but now Madrid is saying they want both Dani Alves and Jesus Navas from Sevilla.

I wonder if Sergio Ramos, Julio Baptista and Reyes are satisfied with their moves? I have to admit that both Ramos and Reyes appear quite happy at Real Madrid, but I never thought Baptista looked comfortable. I figure that Sevilla would demand an astronomical fee for both players, and once paid, both players would horribly underachieve at the big club.



All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Monday, March 19, 2007

Monday's Good Day, Bad Day

Good Day


“The best of Barça has returned” crowed Mundo Deportivo. “It wasn’t a perfect match”, sighed Frank Rijkaard, “Rijkaard to go to AC Milan” claim Marca. A 4-0 away win is a pretty decent result by anyone standards, especially at Recreativo and especially for a team that hasn’t won on their travels for four months. Barcelona will be grateful for Eto’o grabbing an early lead, to settle the nerves, but Recreativo could easily have got back into the match soon after, but missed out due to a horrific sliced effort and another shot smacking the post.

Instead, Barca took advantage of Recre’s profligacy and raced into a 3-0 half time lead - with the second goal from Zambrotta being by far the best of the bunch. Still too many chances being handed to the opposition to suggest that all is sparkly in the Barca camp, but things are definitely looking up.


Not the sexiest of wins, on paper, but one that should ensure they get to miss out on the relegation rumpus, a few places below them. The upcoming suspension to Arizmendi, for flooring a Getafe defender, could cost them dear, though.

José Manuel Pinto

Celta Vigo’s ‘Zamora’ winning ‘keeper shows yet again the depth of talent in Spanish goalkeepers with some spanking efforts that nearly frustrated Sevilla, on Sunday.

Pedro Munitis

A superb goal from the ant-sized attacker. Munitis claimed this week, that he was enjoying his football for the first time in years. Clearly his enthusiasm is rubbing off on the rest of the Racing team. Portugal’s men have now hit the magic forty point barrier, but it’s hard to envisage them pushing on for a UEFA cup spot - it just isn't in their DNA. After dicing with the drop, last year, Racing will probably be content with a comfortably numb mid table spot, come June.


Considering their two hour Ukrainian epic on Thursday night, Sevilla will be happy with any kind of win. They had to wait until the last minute to seal the victory, but it was well deserved, against a side that can be awkward buggers, when they want to be, as Valencia found out recently. "Our objective is to stay close to Barcelona", said a relieved Juande Ramos, after the match. However, a tough test awaits in two weeks, with a visit to Osasuna, whereas Barcelona have a comfy looking encounter at home to Deportivo.


Not a great performance, according to reports, but a handy way to celebrate their 75th birthday. The team are now within shooting distance of both Real Madrid and Valencia in the Champions League spots. A smug La Liga Loca predicted a fourth place for them, before the start of the season and the bet still looks good, especially if Diego Milito can add to his eighteen league goals, this season.

Bad Day

Athletic Bilbao

Oh dear. La Liga Loca suggested on Friday, that the Basque bottlers may want to consider defending properly as a way of getting out of their current hole - and it proved right. Three goals conceded to Osasuna and all avoidable. The first was a triple trip on Soldado which lead to a penalty. The other two were down to bone headed clearances and Keystone cop style antics from the back four. Last season, Javier Clemente saved Athletic’s Basque bacon by constructing a tough tackling back line. This year, the best option Mané identified for beating Osasuna was to “hope they are tired”. A bad day too, for two hundred Athletic fans who attacked their own players as they attempted to board the bus from the stadium.

Atletico Madrid

Another side in the Spanish capital who are all talk and no trousers. “We are playing our season at La Romardeda”, said Gil Marin to the manager and players, on Friday. A fine way to both point out the bleeding obvious and set yourself up for an almighty fall, if it all goes wrong. Atletico have now lost four in a row away from home - although the latest at Champions League rivals, Zaragoza, was unfair, complains Javier Aguirre. “We didn’t have enough luck to get the draw”, said the Mexican. Fernando Torres’ value must be plummeting by the minute. A special note must be made of the ever charming Atletico ultras who destroyed a bar before the match and threw bottles onto the pitch. And how weird is it to see Atletico playing in daylight?

Real Betis

A good performance according to some of the papers. Aside from conceding two headers from two corners in two minutes.


“We talked about not conceding in the opening minutes”, scowled a grumpy Marcelino.


Take it away Paul from Barcelona...

“Espanyol 1 Some Pub Team 1

this match will be remembered for three things
1)For being the worst match i've seen since Wolves vs Huddersfield in the early 80's (that was 1-1 too)
2)the slowest substitution in history,No it wasn't with 10 mins to go in the world cup final,it was in the 53 min of a crap La Liga game ,Ettien took forever to leave the pitch,not a yellow in sight.
3)The return of Howard Wilkinson's Sheffield Wednesday,Long Ball and tactical fouls,didn't Lee Chapman play for Levante?

Espanyol-obviously tired after midweek,but no excuse for a poor performance; and again with Lacruz. Levante-The dirtiest,Biggest Time-wasters i've seen in Spain.Basically a team of Nightclub Bouncers Masquerading as a Football team. La Segunda! also bad ref and yet again even worse linesman

Paul, Barcelona.


No wins in five now and Getafe seem to be having trouble getting over the 40 point barrier. Reports say they dominated the encounter against Deportivo, but it was a lack of goals which cost them in the end. The side are now five points from a UEFA cup spot and badly need a win against Zaragoza in two weeks, to make sure they don’t slip into mid table obscurity.

Gonzalo Higuain

Rather like Diarra, it’s hard to know exactly why Real Madrid bought the Argentinean striker. One goal in his three months at the club and he seems to lack the ability to shoot, cross or run with the ball. And he definitely isn’t a winger as Capello, seems to think. As for the performance of the rest of the side? Unfortunately, for want of a more lyrical description, it was absolute bollocks. AS likened the watching experience to eating sand. The promises of ‘a display to send people home proud of the team’ which Raul predicted, failed to arrive yet again at the Bernabeu, where the well of goodwill is running very, very low.


“This is a very bad time for Aragones to pick Valencia players”, warned El Pais, in response to the six called up by Spain’s simian trainer on Friday. Quite right. The wheels may not quite be Valencia’s championship wagon, but they are squeaking. Saturday’s 0-2 home defeat to Racing has left Valencia six points off Barcelona - not an insurmountable gap, but the grand total of one point from the last two games, suggests that there there is little left in the mounting tank at the Mestalla.

The problem? Goals. David Villa has not scored in 6 league games now. While it was fine during a similar drought, earlier in the season when the deficit was filled by the goals of Silva and Angulo, it isn't this time. Both players should have stuck away easy chances on Saturday night, but failed to. Instead, Racing delivered two knock out punches. “We lacked emotion”, said Quique after the game, “we need to put more energy into our games”. And goals would help too.


A good day for the returning Robert Pires but a stinker for Villarreal who look like they are waving the white flag on the idea of a late European surge. “It was a big step back”, said Manuel Pellegrini somewhat flatteringly, considering how poor Villarreal have been this season. It was more like another step sideways.


Anyone missed? Just click on comments and post for your say


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Cheeky Weekend Preview


Valencia (3rd) v Racing Santander (10th)

Amedeo Carboni appears to be in a mood to push his luck. Having reportedly been very close to being sacked for upsetting just about everyone in the club, over the past eight months, the Italian has now decided to pick a brand new fight - with UEFA. Carboni is unhappy with the punishments dished out to Marchena and Navarro for their antagonistic antics against Inter Milan. Despite the latter having committed an act that would normally result with a spell in jail, Valencia’s director of sport feels the sentence was unjust - “what happened on the pitch, wasn’t so serious,” explained Carboni, “it was just UEFA showing their power”. Home win.

Mallorca (15th) v Real Betis (14th)

Real Mallorca coach, Gregorio Manzano may be heading into his second century as a football manager, but he still has all his marbles. “The rival for Mallorca, on Saturday, is not Juan Arango, but it's Betis”, he proclaimed proudly from his easy chair, to the press. However, it‘s entirely likely that his team would lose, no matter who turned up to face them. Away win.

Recreativo (7th) v Barcelona (1st)

Ruud Van Nistelrooy was not the only one with a long face at the Camp Nou last weekend - Thiago Motta was there too. The maudlin midfielder went AWOL last week and failed to turn up for training, without an explanation. A very different scenario to d’inho, who just fails to turn up for training. However, Motta was up in front of the cameras on Wednesday, to offer the excuse that “things weren’t going so well for me” as the reason for his absence. And things are unlikely to improve any time soon, considering the incredible sulk is set to be booted out of the club, in the summer, along with the likes of Eaquerro and Giuly. Away win.

Athletic Bilbao (18th) v Osasuna (13th)

To any Athletic fans out there, worried about their side dropping out of the top flight for the first time in their history, you can turn that frown upside down. Athletic have a cunning plan. Rather than launching ‘Operation Defending Properly’, the club has announced that the club’s anthem will be played before Sunday’s match and has asked everyone there to sing along. The words deck chair and Titanic spring to mind. Home win.


Espanyol (9th) v Ian Harte’s Levante (17th)

Sometimes, things don’t quite turn out as you plan them. La Liga Loca didn’t think it would be up at one in the morning, on Thursday night, trying to coax a frigging hamster out from behind a fridge, before it either electrocuted itself, or was melted. And Espanyol, probably didn’t expect to be going into March still in the UEFA cup and with genuine pretensions of qualifying for the prestigious tournament for the third year in a row. And nor did anyone else, quite frankly. Home win.

Villarreal (11th) v Real Sociedad (20th)

Robert Pires was wheeled out (almost literally) before the press this week - and apparently on fairly strong medication. The crocked former Arsenal midfielder is predicting that the real Yellow Submarines will resurface next season and torpedo the title chances of all their opponents. Why? The arrival of Capdevila, Ayala and the return of Nihat, apparently. To borrow from When Harry Met Sally, La Liga Loca will have what he’s having. Home win.

Real Zaragoza (5th) v Atletico Madrid (6th)

Spring is in the air in Spain’s sunny capital. With temperatures touching 18 degrees, the time has come for Spain’s ferocious old biddies to wear just the one fur coat and for the biggest girl’s blouse in the land, Sergio Agüero, to stop wearing his gloves. However, Atletico’s attacker was allowed to acclimatise to his new mitten less existence, two weeks ago, when a referee ordered him to take off his winter wear during the Recreativo match - “I asked him why and he told me it wasn’t cold”, said the tearful Argentinean as he brought up the painful memory. Home win.

Deportivo (12th) v Getafe (8th)

Deportivo left back, Capdevila, has decided that he had grown tired of life in permanent mid table obscurity and going nowhere. He has decided to get out of Dodge. But he didn’t quite make it. Instead, he has reportedly signed a pre contract agreement with Villarreal, a side so bland and sleep inducing, they have become the footballing equivalent of Norah Jones. Not wholly unlike Deportivo, who are more like Coldplay. But without the success. Draw.

Real Madrid (4th) v ‘Nastic (19th)

“If we win all twenty one points at home, we’ll win the league”, trumpeted an overexcited Ramon Calderon, this week. “We will be champions if we win our next 12 games”, claims Guti, boldly. Oh dear. Both are overlooking some teeny tiny facts. Real Madrid have both sucked and blown in the Bernabeu, this season, and Sevilla and Valencia are due to visit. Two matches, where Real will not be able to use their current favoured tactic of winning games - making sure the opposition can’t use their best players, as in the case of Javier Portillo. If Real Madrid don’t win this match, then Calderon and co won’t just have to eat their words, they will have to regurgitate and reconsume them till the end of time, like something from a scene from Seven. Home win.

Sevilla (2nd) v Celta Vigo (16th)

For a while, it was looking like being a very bad week for Sevilla. Plastic against a fantastic Gimnastic; Jose Marie del Nido losing his appeal - in many ways - and about be dumped from the UEFA Cup. On Thursday night, the cup holders were 2-1 down to Shakhtar Donesk with just one minute on the clock. Until goalkeeper Andres Palop headed home a last minute corner, to take the game into extra time, where Chevanton did the rest. “It was a gift from God”, said Palop, in an interesting description of Daniel Alves. However, it is unclear whether battling the likes of Espanyol and Spurs to become Europe’s 33rd best team is going to have detrimental affect on their spluttering league campaign. On Sunday night, we’ll find out, perhaps. Home win.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Pablo Garcia - Not Just a Pretty Face

Pablo's Money

There's something a little odd about Celta Vigo’s nut case midfielder Pablo Garcia - and it isn’t his unnerving resemblance to Janice Joplin. Instead, it’s his honesty. “We drew the match and it was completely my fault”, confessed the on loan Madridista, as he reflected on Sunday’s match day misdemeanour. An act that saw him clothes line an opposition player and receive his marching orders, leading to the eventual 1-1 scoreline against Athletic Bilbao.

“It was one second when I wasn’t thinking and I made a mistake,” continued the Uruguayan as he flogged himself with a dog lead, “it was the act of a coward”. Not really. It was the act of Pablo Garcia - a fantastically brutal player who was a little raw for the delicate tastes of Real Madrid, the club that signed Garcia in 2005, on a bit of whim and without ever really knowing what to do with him. Aside from loaning him out to Celta, that is.

However, their distaste for Garcia has not stopped Real ensuring that his loan deal prevents the frenetic footballer taking to the field against his former side. “They forced this shitty clause on me and it’s going to be another game that I miss”, moaned the Uruguayan, as he contemplated his imminent suspension against Sevilla, this weekend. Still, he will have plenty of time now, to think of wacky money making schemes to make up for the 200.000 euros he forfeits by missing both games - “perhaps they can have a collection for me”, he joked.

But poor Pablo Garcia is not the only player facing a Bernabeu ban. He is joined by ‘Nastic’s Javier Portillo - despite the fact that the former Real Madrid player is no longer tied to his old club. However, as part of the deal that saw the king of all mullets return to Spain after spells at Fiorentina and Bruges, 'Nastic were forced to accept a cowardly clause that the striker would be barred from playing in their games, this season. “It’s not fair,” steamed a clearly unhappy Portillo, “I’m not even on loan.” Considering the striker is the only ‘Nastic player with even the vaguest concept of what a goal is, this lamentable loophole is quite a blow for Sunday’s visitors to Madrid.

When Raul decides to retire from top flight football - properly - he will have no worries at all about finding future employment, as a career in the world of spin, surely awaits. This week, Real Madrid's captain somehow managed to make their Champions League exit into a bit of a good thing. “Now, we’re only playing from Sunday to Sunday and that’s positive”, bullshitted the striker in front of a disbelieving press pack - thus trumping, by some distance, Barcelona’s revisionist claim that a league / cup double - and a victory in the local darts league - would constitute ‘a great season’.

If, as many now believe, Raul requires some kind of mental help, then he may want to head to Sevilla. In today’s AS, the paper revealed that the club has a grand total of thirteen psychologists on the books. And they’re not all there to keep Jose Maria del Nido the right side of sane either.

Instead, it is one of the Andalusian innovations that Sevilla believe will give them an edge against their title-chasing contenders. However, considering that - in the slightly altered words of Juande Ramos - “each time we have a chance to strengthen our lead, we brick it”, Sevilla may want to consider trying a new strategy.

Atletico Madrid’s bosses spent Monday with mathematicians and mystics. Normally that can only mean their annual accounts were being calculated - but not this time. Instead they were gathered at the Calderon to work out how many points the side would need, to breach the gates of Europe, at the end of the campaign. The answer they received was sixty.

“Neither the league title, nor the Champions places have owners”, mused president, Enrique Cerezo, “and we’re going for both. At least until we screw up against Zaragoza this weekend”, he failed to add.

Unfortunately, the rojiblancos are going to have to continue on their march to glory without reserve right back, Valera, who was carried off on Sunday and will miss the rest of the season. “We can’t think about what happened anymore”, said the only other right back, Seitaridis, sympathetically.

The normally reticent Johan Cruyff has given his opinion on Saturday’s classico derby, which La Liga Loca considered to have been a roaring success. But incorrectly, according to the hanger on from Holland - “it wasn’t football, it was like watching the NBA All Stars,” stormed Cruyff in his weekly Vanguardia rant.

Next week the Dutchman will give his thoughts on the Mona Lisa 'tits not big enough' and his admiration of the music of James Blunt.



Sevilla - All Grown Up

Let me be the first to welcome Sevilla to the "big boys" club. When you're the up and coming club its easy to be a "giant killer" as they have proved. But now that they are one of the leaders in La Liga they must be finding out just how difficult it is
to juggle European duties and still battle the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Valencia for the title.

No matter how brilliant your team may be, it is very difficult to maintain consistency every week. When you are a top team, clubs like 'Nastic have a special motivation to embarrass you. This is what it means to be a top team. Welcome to Rijkaard's world.



All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca 2007

La Liga Loser

What's Going On?

Now this is starting to get silly. The Spanish league now resembles two overly polite Englishmen going through a doorway - “Please after you! No I insist, after you!”. Nobody seems to want to win the blinking Primera, this year.

Barcelona are currently sitting top of the tree, despite having only picked up four points from nine and playing like “a bad imitation of the Dream Team”, according to a sniffy El Pais.

On Saturday, they well have taken part in a barnstorming match with Real Madrid, but Frank Rijkaard should be very alarmed indeed that his team conceded three against previously sterile opponents and needed a minor miracle from Messi to avoid a double defeat to their royal rivals.

Instead, the Catalan press have been brushing over the inconvenient result by declaring Leo ‘the flea’ Messi to be the greatest thing since the invention of the car horn. “I needed a game like that”, said the Argentinean, on Monday, as the Catalan club shoved their new hero before every news organisation in the known universe.

Up on Castle Greyskull in mountainous Madrid, feelings were rather similar, with a confused press not knowing whether to laugh or cry about Saturday night’s events. Yes, the side did knock three past Barca and played considerably better than they have been doing - not hard - but they also blew a lead on three separate occasions and have only managed three points from the last nine. Perhaps it was the ever honest Diarra who best summed up the Madridista feeling with his “at least we played some good football” line.

Madrid are still five points of Barcelona, but with ‘Nastic visiting next Sunday and the league leaders facing a sticky one away to Recreativo, there might - repeat - might be a chance for Real to catch up. However, considering even Maxi Lopez would fancy his chances of a goal in the Bernabeu, there is just as much chance of Fabio Capello receiving his fortnightly sacking threat from Pedja Mijatovic, instead.

Speaking of losers, the biggest ones of all, over the weekend were Sevilla, who should have been made to crawl home from Catalonia, after their 0-1 defeat to nearly dead 'Nastic. Like the rest of the world, Juande Ramos was left scratching his head - the non sore bit - wondering just how his side can boss Barca about one week and then slump to relegation fodder, the next. “A team this high in the table should not miss such clear chances,” said the confused coach, “it’s a little worrying”.

Sevilla have arguably been the best side in the league, this season, but, like a Betis fan, they quickly turn into bottlers when the going gets tough. Unfortunately, the side are also cursed with having Jose Marie del Nido in charge. Instead of regrouping ahead of a midweek UEFA cup date and a very winnable league game with Celta, next Sunday, the grumbling godfather is currently picking a fight with the Spanish footballing federation.

Del Nido is refusing to participate in next week’s rescheduled Copa Del Rey match with Betis, unless three preconditions are agreed to. One - the match should be played at midday, so all their internationals can be played. Two - Betis and Sevilla’s games on the preceding weekend should kick off at the same time. Three - the club should not have to pick up any of the cost of their move to Madrid.

Under normal circumstance, one could have sympathy with his position, but considering he and his cohorts were partly to blame for the whole god awful affair in the first place, del Nido should just keep quiet and play along.

The last of the weekend’s lucky losers were Valencia who appear to be showing considerably more fight off the pitch, than on it. Over recent weeks they have contrived to throw away two points to ‘Nastic and only just beat Celta Vigo. On Sunday, it took a late effort from Morientes against Osasuna to give Valencia a single point. “It’s good for us”, claimed the former Liverpool striker - a comment as convincing as the visiting Jose Mourinho insisting that “I’ve got a lot to think about. I won’t be sleeping much tonight”.

Which is a situation that won’t be a problem for anyone possessing a replay of Getafe’s 1-1 draw with Recreativo, by all accounts. “I won’t be watching it on tv again”, muttered a very unhappy Bernd Schuster who claimed his side “lacked ambition”.

Real Zaragoza and Atletico Madrid are still sniffing around the Champions League places, after the former managed a 1-1 draw at Racing and the latter a 2-0 win over Deportivo. “The game wasn’t pretty to watch,” admitted Javier Aguirre to the press afterwards, as a warning of the fare that could well be served up at the likes of Old Trafford, next season, unless the top four get their act together.

At the bottom, ‘Nastic and Real Sociedad are still going down, despite their weekend victories. But who will join them is still fairly open. Athletic are currently in the drop zone after an away draw at Celta Vigo. Levante are fourth from bottom, one ahead of the Galicians.

Real Betis
got around their supposed stadium ban in classic Spanish fashion - by completely ignoring it. Instead, a crowd of happy fans watched a 1-1 draw with Zaragoza, after the the club complained that they were unable to find an available venue to play the match. Considering they only started looking last Thursday, that’s not surprising. If the Spanish authorities have any sense, they will slap another match onto their punishment. But they haven’t so they won’t.


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Thursday, March 08, 2007

And Then There was One

A Quck Word

La Liga Loca is packing its bags for its annual descaling, but will be back early next week. Please feel free to send in your Monday rants and raves...


The Running Man

Until Tuesday night the only David Navarro of note, knocking around planet Earth, was the legendary lead guitarist of Jane’s Addiction - we ignore his RHCP phase, ‘Been Caught Stealing’ can never be bettered. But not any more. Now we have David ‘Scardey Cat’ Navarro.

“I’ve never behaved like this before”, protested the punch drunk midfielder as he peered out of the Valencia laundry basket, “I know my family will be so disappointed.” What is not yet clear is whether Navarro is talking about his nose breaking of Inter player, Burdisso, or the way he ran like a girl when faced with the wrath of the Argentinean's irate team-mates. And he isn't even a proper Spaniard either. Why else didn't he tumble over one of the many outstretched legs, whilst waving an imaginary card, as his natural instincts would have told him to do?

Despite the huge enjoyment of the incident from the watching world, it seems that UEFA are less than impressed with Navarro's antics. On March 22nd, the organisation is due to throw the a ten match ban at him along with pay back for four other players caught up in the brawl. Killjoys.

Unfortunately, the whole shebang has overshadowed a fine result for Valencia - now the only Spanish participants left in the Champions League. Unless, UEFA decide to take further action that is. They are said to be unhappy at the ‘Vendetta’ placards that were on display in the stadium - a reference to previous fiery encounters - and the lack of police control that allowed the Inter team bus to be attacked after the game.

However, it seems that the on pitch rumpus may help to divert attention away - “we behaved like the Ultra’s”, said an apologetic Moretti as he legged it from an enraged Toldo.

Today, it’s reported that the distraught Navarro has been in contact with Burdisso by way of SMS “I hope you can forgive me, I’m sorry”, typed the Spaniard from his bunker. “Don’t worry, everything is ok” was the reply. We’ll see.

While the battle of the Mestalla was going on, Barcelona were busy getting themselves knocked out of Europe somewhat earlier than a grumpy looking Laporta had originally intended. Despite Liverpool hitting the bar more often than Keith Chegwin in his hayday, at least one Barcelona player thought their Scouse shaped boot from Europe was unjust. “It’s not fair”, blubbed Xavi, “we played better football than them”.

Never down for more than a few days, local Barca comic Sport has been rallying the troops by calling for the side to claim the real prize in world football - the cup and league double. “If we win these it ‘ll be a great year”, said Txiki, in the biggest climb down seen since Xavi got off a bar stool. With the promise of a seven trophy campaign now a distant memory, the latest stage of the club’s new quest for the holy grail begins on Saturday with the donkey derby against Real Madrid.

Ah Real Madrid. “Show Europe who you are !” screamed Marca, on Wednesday morning. “I think the match will be decided in the first twenty minutes”, mused Iker Casillas. In their own ways, both were right. Real Madrid’s hopes of sneaking past Bayern Munich lasted as long as it took for a White’s fan to say “well, I think if we can keep it tight in the first half and....oh.”

“Ten seconds. From your own kick off!”, screamed the world, “the pitch was not so good!”, said Roberto Carlos, as excuse for his stumble. “You tit!”, said Fabio Capello, to his full back.

The word on the footballing street now says than Capello will be kicked out of the club should his team lose on Saturday, no matter the cost of his pay off. “My future depends on the president, I don’t know if I will be carrying on”, said the soon to be unemployed Italian. “For the moment, he’ll be on the bench at the Nou Camp”, said Pedja Mijatovic - who reportedly went onto the team coach to cheer the squad up after the defeat. By pretending to resign, perhaps.

In Other News...

With affairs of Europe not really being an issue for Atletico Madrid, the club has had a bit of time on its hands, to make mischief. Club president, Enrique Cerezo was caught complaining that “our matches only last fouty five minutes”. “If only”, says La Liga Loca. "Can I have my money back, then" say Atletico's socios. Meanwhile, newly signed centre back Fabiano Eller is set to make his debut to Depor on Sunday, with both Perea and Pablo out injured.

Athletic Bilbao have revealed plans to build a 60,000 super stadium - all the better to enjoy the visits of Malaga B and Albacete. It will resemble Bayern Munich’s ground and light up every time a goal is scored. Basque power station officials are said to be ‘unconcerned’ by any potential surges.

And finally, with just four days to go to the next round of matches, the Spanish FA have still to come to a decision as to where Betis will be playing the first of their ‘away’ matches, against Zaragoza, on Sunday. But it certainly won’t be at the Manuel Ruiz de Lopera considering the club had their appeal against their stadium ban, laughed out of a disbelieving court.


Fight! Fight! Part 1

Just wondering if you knew when we are going to hear bitter little Paul's vitriolic view on Barcelona's exit from the champions league.

Forca Barca !


Fight! Fight! Part 2

Barcelona winger Lionel Messi says Liverpool won their Champions League
clash by playing "ugly and dirty". (The Sun)

Barcelona winger Lionel Messi is a "totally one footed,diving ,cheating, one-trick pony who can't shoot and goes missing when the going get's tough"(My Brain)
Told you they always use this "anti-football excuse and what good losers they are.

Saw the Valencia fight yesterday David Navarrro should be banned for at
least a year,that was common assault. Under Spanish Law,he should do time.The amount depends on The injury suffered by the victim it's on a scale of 1-5.It's about a 4.(don't ask how i know)

Paul, Barcelona


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca 2007

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

It's the Quotes of the Week

'That Night in Sevilla'

“What happened was terrible but it wasn’t a serious act” - Betis legal flunky didn’t receive the ‘we're sorry’ memo after the club received their three match home ban.

“It's a political decision, not a legal one” - And nor did Manuel Castaño, Betis spokesman.

“First we're going to deal with the allegations, then play Zaragoza at home” - Betis board member on their cunning plan to get round the banning order - by ignoring it. Almost genius in its simplicity.

“Someone threw a mobile at me, but he didn’t represent all Real Madrid fans” - Betis ‘keeper Doblas has a point. Then again, most Real Madrid fans wouldn't have made the effort to throw the thing, in the first place

“Congratulations. It was a lesson from both teams on how to ignite a match” - Marca’s Roberto Palomer writes from his ivory tower after the Betis derby disaster.

“You can’t punish 50,000 just on one incident" - Sevilla president, Jose Maria del Nido, lawyer and humanitarian, launches the concept of the pre-emptive defence.

And All the Rest...

“It depends on how you take the photos...the light...the proximity” - Frank Rijkaard does his best to defend d'inho's less than flattering exposure after the first Liverpool game.

“People in the street tell me to eat less, but I look in the mirror and I look ok” - Who hasn’t had days like Ronaldinho's? Oh.

“I don’t think he's afraid of the Bernabeu” - Fabio Capello denies that he has a pact with Emerson, that the turbo-charged midfielder will play no part in home games.

“Every day I become more certain that I’ll be staying here for many more years” - Ronaldinho’s Camp Nou incantation. Incidentally, his brother / agent is due to attend the Milan derby at the weekend. Guest of Berlesconi. Rude to say no, of course.

“Who doesn’t look good in an Atletico shirt?” - Maniche for starters. Over excited club president Enrique Cerezo makes eyes at visiting Botox Queen and Madrid city bigwig, Esperanza Aguirre.

“Stop recording or I’ll smash your cameras” - Samuel Eto’o’s brave attempts to prevent the world seeing Barca’s Champions League exit. Not really. Samu’s barney with a local camera man becomes very public.

“I don’t know if I would do it again” - Sergio Agüero still undecided as to whether he would punch a ball into the back of the net, should the opportunity arise. Classy bloke.

“We’ll probably play with eleven players” - Another gem of genius from Frank Rijkaard ahead of the Sevilla match, when quizzed on his tactical plans.

“Shrek v the Asparagus” - Rare wit from Sport in their preview of Liverpool vs Man Utd

“We're never going to throw in the towel” - Either ‘Nastic manager, Paco Flores, is discussing his laundry plans or is a crazed loon.

“You didn’t shout when Dauden cancelled Perea’s goal” - Overheard comment from the Getafe bench to Fabio Capello after the Italian gave some stick to the referee, last Sunday. But probably with the swearing taken out.

“A great opportunity for a company to benefit from the profile of the fans and club” - A sample of Atletico Madrid’s new sponsor attracting branding blurb. So which fan profile would that be? The racists, fascists or baseball bat carrying thugs?

“I want to compete in the Champions League with a big club and I know they are all watching” - Juande Ramos words as reported in The Times. And comments swiftly denied by Sevilla as being ‘from a foreign paper’ and therefore untrustworthy.

“I must confess, I’m not ambitious. Each to his own pace” - Mmm. Lack of ambition - check, a bit slow - check, disinterested in success - check. Looks like Recreativo manager, Marcelino can expect a call from Ramon Calderon, any day now.

“There has never been a line up where I’ve not had the last word” - And Alaves president, Dmitty Piterman, with the ‘no shit Sherlock’ award for the week.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Monday, March 05, 2007

Monday's Good Day, Bad Day

Good Day

Dani Alves

A tad lucky with the match winning free kick, but diving Dani Alves had a corker of a game, on Saturday night. A constant pain in the neck to Barca’s defence and a never-ending pain in the arse to their attack. The two key aspects to his game. That and the theatrics, of course.

Frank Rijkaard - complete with bad blazer - was right when he claimed that Sevilla deserved to win the match on the night, but that result did not have a bearing on the league. Nevertheless, Sevilla are happily in the driving seat. Their next four matches are against ‘Nastic, Celta, Osasuna and Racing - all very winnable. Barca’s next four include Real Madrid, Recreativo and Real Zaragoza - all very loseable.


When cries of ‘Schuster stay’ rang out across Bernabeu on Sunday night. a mischievous journo asked big Bernd if he thought the appeals were from the away support or the home faithful. For the first half, Getafe were by far the better team. The fearsome foursome of Guiza, Cotelo, Albin and Nacho had pushed right up on Real’s back line and had made their lives miseries.

But as Schuster confessed after the game, the midweek trip to Osasuna had tired the squad and they were unable to keep up the ferocious pace. Although the German coach admitted he was happy with result, there must have been one small part of him that felt another famous victory against Getafe’s big brothers had been within his teutonic grasp.


For one moment of madness when the 3-1 scoreline came through of Mallorca’s victory over Levante, La Liga Loca had the image of a Maxi Lopez hat trick.. But no. Instead, it wa a festival of goal scoring guile in the Balearics with three cracking strikes - and a decent effort from Levante’s Kapo, thrown in. It looks like Mallorca are stuck in eternal limbo - neither good enough to challenge for Europe, nor interesting enough to go down.

Real Betis

A happy end to a rotten week for Betis with this unexpected 0-1 away win at Deportivo. In recent days, manager Luis Fernandez has been grumbling at the way the media have been portraying his club as ‘the bad guys in a film’, but it ‘s something he's going to have to deal with. Along with playing the next three home games at a neutral venue - the inevitable appeals, permitting, of course.


Revenge at last for Recre over Atletico Madrid. Having been robbed at the Calderon earlier in the season, by a punched effort from Sergio Agüero, the Andalusians grabbed a 1-0 win on Sunday night in front of 20,000 very happy glove wearing fans.

But it could have been so much better, had Sinama not disobeyed orders by taking - and missing - his second penalty of the night. Had it gone in, Recre would have been above the rojiblancos, this week. Instead, they are in seventh, with forty points. Not bad going, considering.

Santiago Cañizares

Now that was a painful experience. Possibly worse that sitting through Alatriste - but, unlike the poor man´s Master and Commander, Saturday night’s snore fest had some kind of meaningful conclusion. Valencia really are pushing their league winning luck at the moment. Quique`s men blew a 1-0 lead at ‘Nastic, last weekend, and for sixty odd minutes they were threatening to bugger everything again, against the less than mighty Celta Vigo.

With the oppositions’s Baiano as isolated and lonely as vegetarian at a bullfight - Valencia should have had a comfortable night at the Mestalla. Instead,there was much pointless fannying around with the ball, on display, until Morientes converted a lovely Hugo Viana chip, midway through the second half. Although David Villa was on the wrong side of two dreadful offside decisions - really dreadful - Valencia owed their narrow win to Cañizares who celebrated his 400th league game with some fine stops. With more thana one eye on their midweek Champions League clash, maybe the only way Valencia can win the domestic league is to get themselves knocked out by Inter?

Bad Day

Athletic, Levante, Celta, Sociedad

Go to 365 for visual pleasure...,17033,9405_1961261,00.html


For just a few seconds, the future of the league was in Ronaldbinho’s hands. Well, his boots. 1-0 up, opposition down to ten men and with a simple penalty to take, it would surely the end for their Andalusian opponents. But no. Perhaps it was the shock of Barca winning a penalty without cheating. Perhaps it was a rumble of his expanding stomach to rival that anything Juanma Chaos could produce - but something put Ronie off his spot kick.

And the rest is history. Eto’o and Saviola could only watch helplessly from the bench as their team-mates lost the plot with Giuly and Zambrotta being booted from the game - all be it, the former harshly. Barca’s next two ties against Anfield and Real are really really really big.


Come on..a draw against Villarreal must be a bad day. Take it away Paul from Barcelona

“"CANI MISS IT?YES HE CAN!" thanks to one of the best/worst misses of the season we got a probably undeserved point. Kameni made 3 world class saves inside a minute,then we scored a great goal,a quick free kick and a great volley from Tamudo.

Second half saw a fantastic goal from Forlan,best goal scored against
us this season.look for it on Youtube. then we had a goal disallowed for offside?yet to see it on t,v.then thanks to Riera and Lacruz (espanyol's comedy double act,think Cannon and Ball but with Laughs)Villarreal could and should have won.Then Cani came to our rescue.

I know refs in Spain are Crap/Bent(Hi Barça fans)but they are not helped by assistants who are no better than useless.P.s Yes the Guily decision was unlucky,but the Messi dive midweek!,live by the ref,die by the ref

Paul, Barcelona

Real Madrid

What the referee giveth, he doth taketh away. Having been on the end of a fortuitous decision at the Calderon, last weekend, it was time for the reverse spin. Antonio Cassano’s clumsily brought down run was a penalty cert, but it is not the White’s year for spot kicks decisions - having only been given two, this season - the amount that Sevilla and Barca seem to average in a single game.

On the positive side, it was a better second half performance for Real, all be it against a tiring Getafe side. However, seventeen dropped points, at home has left Real with a lot to do if they are going to somehow overhaul the leaders - especially without Becks for a month


Probably made a bit of a meal against a relegation threatened opponents, but still plodding along nicely. Despite a training ground ounch up, during the week.


Anyone missed...just click to have your say....

And click here for a DVD bnous


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Friday, March 02, 2007

The Cheeky Weekend Preview


Valencia (3rd) v Celta Vigo (16th)

“It’s strange”, grumbled David Villa, this week “since that day, we haven’t been given anything”. The infamous day he is complaining about is when the Valencia striker took a tumble against Deportivo, got Juanma sent off and was branded a cheat by the head of the referee’s federation. Looks like he’s going to have to get his goals the old fashioned way, from now on. Home win.

Sevilla (2nd) v Barcelona (1st)

Such is the nature of Spanish football and the media, that you are either up or down. About a week ago, Barcelona were dead men walking and as useless as a chocolate teapot. Or James Blunt. After back to back wins against Athletic and Zaragoza, it appears that the Dream Team itself, is has been reformed, according to the press. Although Juande Ramos cannot remember Wednesday’s second half against Betis, Sevilla fans will be hoping he can recall how to beat Barca - something he managed in the Supercup and at the Nou Camp, earlier this season (although the scoreline does not exactly support this theory). Home win.


Espanyol (9th) v Villarreal (12th)

This looks like a bit of a drab affair but it is a crucial encounter for the home side that could define their season. A win will give them a genuine shot at a European spot, but anything else may signal the players’ intentions to sit back with a pot noodle and plough through a Prison Break box set, for the rest of the year, free from the threat of relegation. Home win.

Mallorca (17th) v Levante (15th)

Levante are the new Mallorca - not the most flattering of comments, admittedly. Last season, Gregorio Manzano saved the home side’s bacon by making them very hard to beat. Their game plan was to grab a goal - if they were lucky , park the team’s bus in front of goal and bore all watching into submission. It wasn’t pretty, but it was effective. Levante have only conceded one goal in the last four matches, which has given them a bit of hope, that they will not be joining their promotion partners, ‘Nastic, in a swift return to the Segunda. A fate that may well be heading Mallorca’s way. Draw.

Real Zaragoza (6th) v Real Sociedad (19th)

Oh dear. The pigeons have not just come home to roost for Real Sociedad, they have taken out second mortgages. La Real are officially doomed. The fans know it, the soon to be sacked board know it and so, it seems, does Miguel Angel Lotina, the happy go lucky coach of Zaragoza’s visitors on Sunday evening. “Football can be hard and unfair”, were his words as he stared forlornly into his post match pint, last weekend. Still, the one thing that can help to turn that smile upside down is the support of the fans, who cried “Lotina, stay!” throughout their defeat to Deportivo. Home win.

Athletic Bilbao (18th) v ‘Nastic (20th)

‘Nastic could be becoming La Liga’s loose cannon. Having stopped Valencia in their tracks, last week, with a last minute equaliser, their near certain relegation, may well be transforming the side into one that can cause others a bit of grief. But not on Sunday at Athletic, who really, really, really need to win this one. Home win.

Racing Santander (10th) v Osasuna (13th)

Erm. Home win.

Real Madrid (4th) v Getafe (8th)

He loves Eminem, dances to Bob Marley, eats paella by the truck load and looks like a porn star - and he is Real Madrid’s most wanted. Big Bernd Schuster returns to the Bernabeu on Sunday - to a stadium where he may be becoming a lot more familiar with next season, if 43% of Real Madrid fans polled in ‘AS’ have their way. And if Fabio Capello is shown the door. Bring you hankies, Real fans, you may have some waving to do on Sunday. Away win.

Recreativo (7th) v Atletico Madrid (5th)

Don’t be surprised to see 20,000 Recre fans waving gloved hands in the air, on Sunday night. It isn’t because of an Andalusian cold snap, but in honour - if that is the right word - of Sergio Agüero and his punched effort, which beat their side in the Calderon last year year. Football fans have longer memories than elephants, sometimes. Home win.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Thursday, March 01, 2007

History Repeats Itself at Betis

The Blame Game

It's hard to know what was more disturbing. The image of an unconscious Juande Ramos being carried off on a strecher or the hypocritical handringing from the presidents and press the morning after.

An indignant Roberto Palomer, writing in Marca was quick to assign the blame for the distressing scenes in Sevilla on the childish behaviour of the club's two warring presidents - "the worst in Spanish football in twenty five years". It is a line being lead by many in seeking to excuse and explain how the life of football manager came to be threatened in a simple match.

Unfortulately, they are all looking in the wrong direction for the root cause. The war of words between de Lopera and del Nido - which came close to causing the cancellation of Thursday night's game - is just part and parcel of the Spanish league. It was nothing new.

In the days leading up to the Copa del Rey encounter, when the the Sevilla contingent were being advised not to attend the game, a telling comment came from the unwitting and witless Betis president, Pepe Leon - "we cannot guarantee what will happen should they come to the stadium". And here lies the problem. Due to a lack of political will or moral courage, most top flight clubs in Spain lost control of their stadiums, a long time ago.

This week alone, we saw pictures of Atletico Ultras smashing up cars and the repeated racial abuse of Diarra. During Barcelona's 2-1 victory over Zaragoza, visitor 'keeper Jorquera was struck by a bottle and the club's team coach was assualted by hooligans as it left the ground. Back in Sevilla, Dani Alves was hit by an object thrown from the crowd.

In the past year, a Copa del Rey match between Valencia and Deportivo was abandoned after a linesman was hit by coin - a decision criticised by some papers. Real Madrid players were unable to warm up in Pamplona due to the risk of being hit by coins thrown from the Osasuna crowd. Sevilla's Palop came close to being struck by a bottle of whisky at a suspended game at the Calderon (again) and Real Betis were given a closed doors ban after a pitch invasion at the tale end of last season.

However, this is just a snap shot of what goes on every week in Spanish grounds. Stewarding is close to non-existant, Ultra groups act without fear of consquences and the media seem to have no interest whatsoever in debating these issues. While the newspapers may be clucking about the lamentable state of the game, today, it will be forgotten, tomorrow, when there is Cesc transfer speculation to invent.

Whilst it is difficult not to have sympathy for Juande Ramos, the Sevilla manager was wrong when he claimed, on Thursday, that both clubs's were to blame for igniting an already fiery encounter, with a war of words before hand. His boss Jose Marie del Nido disagreed and claimed, "I carry no blame" for the incident.

What he can definately be blamed for however, is this negligent comment - "it's impossible to stop these kinds of incidents." With this kind of blinkered thinking from so-called footballing leaders, there can be no doubt that what happened to Juande Ramos, on Wednesday will surely happen again. It's just a matter of time.


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All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007