Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Spellchecked Midweek Ramble

A cheeky update - More blogging this weekend,(man `flu, this week), but you can catch yet more ramblings on the Extra Time show this weekend, starting at 10.05 UK time Friday, on the Real Madrid channel - free to air Sky tv. Or you watch the England game which is probably better.

A Tour of Spain. Without the Drugs

After weeks of biro chewing, bickering and bocadillos, the Professional Spanish Football League - “they may be a league but they’re certainly not professional’, muttered AS - have come to decision. Provisionally. The decision is when to hold the penultimate round of matches of the Primera.

Due to the races at the top and bottom of the table being exciting in the same way as a Grand Prix isn’t, it has been decided that almost all the matches will kick off at the same time to avoid yet more endless conspiracy theories being circulated. Good for the clubs, but lousy for the tv companies and fans.

The date chosen is Saturday 9th June at 21.00. The final round will be held on the following Sunday, but with no word on the time yet. More discussions and a UN ombudsman will be needed to fix that particular issue.

Meanwhile, the Primera entering its final death throws is the cue for hate-filled implosion from clubs not doing so well - and even from those who have been quite good. And we are talking about Valencia, of course. The east coasters are in the annual process of merrily airing their dirty laundry - having soiled it in the street for all to see, beforehand. Last week, Quique Sánchez Flores made the school boy error of assuming that, as manager of the club, he may have a say in transfer targets.

Las week, Quique straight batted a question from a hack about speculation over Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder moving to Mestalla, by admitting that player would not fit the team’s profile. Bad mistake. Days later he was forced to humbly retract his comment and apologise to the watching world - “the president is the one who decides these things. I apologise for my error”, he grovelled, as he desperately tugged his forelock.

Speculation has increased that Quique is on his way out over the summer - especially after Valencia’s defeat to Villarreal- despite him boasting that, “I spoke to the President for twenty minutes after the game and everything is ok”. Through utter boredom, as opposed to hard facts, Marca has predicted that he will be packing his eyeliner and scarves and heading to the Calderón over the summer in what would be very much a frying pan / fire scenario.

Meanwhile over in Atletico’s three ring circus, reports came out that while Atletico were waiting their for their plane out of Tarragona, after the plucky 2-0 win over ‘Nastic, the players were accosted by a plane losd of stag weekenders returning to Ireland.

Despite a waving Leo Franco pointing out that he played in the World Cup for about ten minutes, Fernando Torres was the only player recognised by the drunken Dubliners who crowded around him for his autograph. “You’re that overrated striker eejet for Atletico aincha!”, one gentleman declared in La Liga Loca’s imagination.

But this high point for the highlighted one had to come with a downside of course. And this happened on Tuesday, when Sergio Ramos slammed into the forward during a Spain training session, possibly putting Torres out for the rest of the season.

Real Betis are still very unhappy bunnies. And with some justification. Not only have the side been on the wrong end of some very iffy penalty decisions, it seems that the Spanish federation do indeed have it in for them. And it serves them right. “A gentleman from the FEF called de Lopera to tell him that a man in the Federation didn’t like us. It was a direct warning that they’re going for us”, bleated puppet presi, Pepé León, shortly before he was squashed by the biggest disrepute charge in the world.

“It’s clear that strange things are happening, it’s as if someone wants us to go down”, said the soon to be departing manager, Luis Fernández. He’s right. Just about everyone in Spain does want them to go down, just to be spared from the ordeal of watching them for a year.

The never ending squabbles between the Barcelona and Madrid press are rumbling along, as usual. “The refs vote for white!” screamed Sport on Monday, in arguing that Ruud Van Nistelrooy should have had a yellow for his hand ball for Real’s first goal - a castigation which would have lead to a suspension.

However, the paper still found room amongst the outrage, to complain about the Ronaldinho sending off - a one match man - and the muscular treatment handed out to Messi. And it appears that Frank Rijkaard’s men can expect more of the same from beloved local rivals, Espanyol next week.

“I’m Espanyol”, boasted Luis Garcia, peering at his badge to double check, “to win in the Camp Nou is the biggest thing for any ‘perico’, I haven’t forgotten how they sung ‘going down, going down’ to us last year”, warned the striker.

Osasuna are still earning the plaudits for not caving in against Real Sociedad. Something that Valencia’s, David Albeda was convinced was going to happen over the weekend, “we all know what the Basque teams are like”, whispered the midfielder, immediately inviting a horse’s head being planted in his bed. “You have Levante against Valencia, nest week, to show us how professional you are”, snorted Osasuna coach, Ziganda, in reply.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Monday, May 28, 2007

Monday´s Good Day, Bad Day

Update - you can catch lucky old La Liga Loca back on Real Madrid`s Extra Time show tonight, from 11.05 CET and repeated all the way through to the end of the week.

Good Day

David Beckham

Real Madrid fans, you should make sure that you hide Pedja Mijatovic’s hair gel for blowing the transfer negotiations of Real’s wizard of the wing. The Montenegran has managed to lose what Marca described on Monday as ‘the most important player at Real Madrid’ (although Casillas and Van Nistelrooy may argue). For more, catch up with this week’s Spanish Thing on football365


An over exited AS - trying reading that aloud without a childish smirk - are a little off the mark with their declaration that their Nou Camp ‘shitting themselves o’metre’ hit 100 million ‘cagahercios’ on Saturday night. La Liga Loca only caught the second half, but the culés seemed to be fairly in control despite a late scare and a sleight of hand from Victor Valdés saving their bacon late on.

As well as some wholesome X-rated challenges on Messi, the match also offered up an entertaining post match slag fest between Schuster and a Frank Rijkaard who felt a little miffed at what he perceived to be overly fresh assualts on d’inho and Messi - “one team wanted to play, the other wanted to destroy”, grumbled the Dutchman.


No matter what the big knobs at the Bernabeu or in Barcelona do, this season, La Liga Loca’s team of the season is Sevilla. Like a Catholoc priest spending the night with Paz Vega, they just keep coming. “We can’t stop, we must see if we can get first or second”, declared Juande Ramos before their 3-1 win over Real Zaragoza on Sunday night, whose manager described his opponents has having “the best physical qualities” in Spain. If they can win their last two against Mallorca and Villarreal, who knows what might happen.

Diego Forlán

Villarreal’s match with Valencia being put back to Saturday night meant that Diego Forlán was able to do his civic duties at the regional elections and also his footballing duties for Villarreal by banging in a couple more goals in their 3-2 win.

Villarreal’s laudable six win streak does not just owe itself to the goals of one of the more likeable players in the league. The return of Robert Pires, the purchase of Tomasson and the emergence of Matigol have all rescued the Yellow Submarines from their previous depths plumming season.

Juane Ramos

Another man called up to do his duty as a stand in official on Sunday, Ramos turned up at the electoral office on Sunday at 8.00am as required - but wasn’t needed. Afterwards, he hot footed it to Tarragona to watch a fairly comfortable 2-0 win against a deflated ‘Nastic side that had been relegated even before the match had started. As the Mexican proved, with great power comes great responsibility.


The reason for their narrow 2-1 victory will be covered in Betis’ very bad day, but the gallant Galicians surival hopes still live on. But only just. The bucket load of problems at Celta Vigo seemed clear during the match on Sunday - a complete lack of team spirit, something that is supposed to be a bit of speciality for the magic man, Hristo Stoichkov.

When Pinto made a superb double safe, there was no-one in his defence who would congratulate him. When Baiano held his nerve to convert his injury time penalty, he was forced to celebrate with the photographers. Sounds like La Liga Loca`s last birthday party


Two goals from the Levante striker - the first was a peach - in their 3-2 away win at Racing Santander, should be enough to keep Levante up, although one more point is needed to make it certain.


Spain is an odd place - what else could explain why the good people of Alhaurín el Grande would releect a mayor who was recently arrested for bribery and corruption. And what else explains why all the papers are falling overthemselves to praise the Osasuna side for not throwing their match against Real Sociedad. “I want to congratulate them for their performance”, gushed Athletic coach, Mané. “What professionality!”, said AS on a side who would have faced the possibility of relegation had they lost.

Perhaps one should take into account the fact that the Osasuna fans were pictured fighting amonst themselves - those cheering on the home side and others chosing La Real to support. However, a special mention must go to Diego Lopez and Nekounam - when these two play well, Osasuna play well.

Fernando Torres

Given a lot of stick over the season by La Liga Loca - most of it deserved, but the highlighted one deserves a mention for continuing to carry his side on his back.


Bernd Schuster’s filthy fighters may have been second best against Barcelona, but Sevilla’s Champions League qualifying win againt Zaragoza has gifted Getafe with a UEFA cup spot, next season, through their Copa del Rey final appearance. However, this great achievment has come two years too early according to club president Angel Torres - “if we have to play in the UEFA Cup, then we will”, he declared, in considerably more coherent terms than his unbroken eight minute, post match, incomprehensible, stream of consciousness ramble on La Sexta on Saturday night.


Real Betis

Maybe there is something to this refereeing conspiracy business after all? Real Betis seem to think so. Club president Pepé Leon claimed that he had had a call from League president, Villar, advising that the FEF had it in for them. They may be right. On Sunday, the side were robbed of two points deep into injury time by the softest of penalties. But not as soft as the one against Espaynol in round 31 in injury time. Or the one against ´Nastic in round 35 in injury time. “What´s going on with the refs is incredible” fumed Capi on Sunday evening. He´s not wrong.

Recreativo, Racing Santander

Not even trying now. “I´m furious with the display we put on” ranted Racing manager, Portugal.


Relegated even before they took on Atletico Madrid on Sunday night. They should be back in a year or two, though.

Valencia fans

Some elements of the Mestalla faithful were calling for the head of Quique Sánchez Flores, after their home defeat to Villarreal. “I understand it, but I don´t get it”, said the upset manager afterwards. La Liga Loca knows how he feels. With all the injuries and background nonsense that has been going on the club, this season, its a miracle that the man from Mancha got them into the Champions League again. But president Soler would beg to differ, by all accounts.

Real Sociedad

“Safety is more difficult now, but we´re not out of options”. Nearly though.

Anyone missed? Just click on comments for your say.

All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Damp Weekend Preview

Update - You can catch a shambolic looking La Liga Loca on Real Madrid tv's 'Extra Time' over the weekend. And definately at 11.05CET on Friday.


Valencia (4th) v Villarreal (7th)

The best side in the Primera in 2007 take on the hottest with Valencia facing Villarreal. And at the weird for Spain time of 18.00 on a Saturday night - a fairly civisilsed slot in a sleep deprived league that often has people staggering out of stadiums, past midnight. One man who may well be missing the Saturday action, is the now free scoring goal hero, Diego Forlan, who is set to be licking envelopes and checking names after being called up to help out in the local elections, as an assessor. Unless, somehow he get’s out of it. La Liga Loca is betting he will. Home win.

Real Madrid (1st) v Deportivo (13th)

If Fabio Capello was to scratch his impressive chin and pick an opponent for an easy three points on Saturday, it would be Deportivo. Michael Keaton’s men are comfortable in mid table and are relying on bungs from Real’s opponents to spark them into action, since president Lendoiro gave up on the crazy notion of paying them wages. “This is football and to say that ‘incentive’ payments don’t exist is madness”, delcared Depor’s Riki whilst rattling a tin at a passing Joan Laporta, “I have my needs”, he wailed as he flicked through the latest Argos catalogue. Home win.

Barcelona (2nd) v Getafe (8th)

It could be double delight for Getafe president, Angel Torres, a card-carrying Real Madrid ‘socio’, should his side repeat their Copa del Rey heroics from two weeks ago. “Nothing would make me happier than to beat Barcelona and hand Real Madrid the league”, exclaimed the bearded bigman. And if they do that, then Bernd Schuster is expecting a reward from the Galacticos - “if we win, then they should buy me dinner and some drinks”. Unfortunately for the Teutonic titan and his misses, its going to be another night at Fosters Hollywood. Home win.


Celta Vigo (19th) v Betis (15th)

Bulgarian bungler, Hristo Stoichkov was in action, this week, displaying those legendary man management skills, once lauded by the unquestioning Spanish tabloids. This week, Hristo admitted the club were ‘one step from the Segunda’ and that, “against Sociedad we lacked effort and passion, we really messed up”. It was an outburst that went down as well as a vegetarian food stall at a bull fight, with his players. “It was all a misunderstanding”, blustered Hristo, days later, as his pitchfork carrying squad surrounded the misspeakiung manager. Draw.

Osasuna (14th) v Real Sociedad(18th)

The hardest thing for an unreconstructed ‘Anglo Saxon’ living in Spain, is the way that people insist on touching you at any opportunity. Backslaps when you come back from the coffee machine, hugs after a weekend away. The whole country is unbearably friendly and tactile. Just look at Osasuna and Real Sociedad - two clubs who would be rutting like Brits in Benidorm, were it possible. However, the love affair will be ending on Sunday according to Osasuna’s hard as nails manager, Ziganda, “you can have affection for other teams, until you play them, that is”, he glowered, as he gently removed the wing of a butterfly, that had flown into his press room. “I went down to to the Segunda and know one helped me,” seconded Savo Milosevic on the plight of La Real. Oh dear. Home win.

Racing Santander (10th) v Levante (16th)

According to Friday’s AS, the club that stands to make the most from the technically illegal ‘primas’ system in the Primera, is Racing Santander, a club with absolutely nothing to play for, ever since deciding the UEFA cup was just too much effort. This week, the side can expected packages of special stuff from the likes of Athletic, as Racing are take on the league’s filthiest team, but one that only need one more win to stay up. Draw.

Athletic Bilbao (17th) v Mallorca (11th)

An absoltue whopper of a match for the battling Basques and their comedy defending troop. Needing eix more points from nine and with Villarreal and Levante to come, it could be curtains for Mané’s men on Sunday, should they fail to grab the win. They should do so, but expect some thrills and spills along the way. Home win.

Recreativo (9th) v Espanyol (12th)

Those cheeky funsters at Espanyol have dropped to their knees in supplication and are petitioning UEFA to be allowed into the next UEFA cup competition, despite the tiny issue of having failed to qualify for it, this season. However, their plucky final performance and undefeated run to Glasgow may be enough to melt the ice-cold hearts of the Swiss suits and let them in by the back door, in the summer. Home win.

‘Nastic (20th) v Atletico (6th)

It takes a lot to get an Atletico fan really angry. Relegation, players wearing spiderman themed kits, a lack of roof on a stadium - all these aren’t enough to provoke the merest of shrugs from the rojiblanco faithful. However, Sunday night’s 6-0 capitulation at the hands of Barcelona may have been the tipping point. A performance desribed as ‘an accident’ by president Enrique Cerezo has so upset the home support that the fan clubs have agreed that they will not be travelling to their remaining two home matches this season. That’ll learn ‘em. Away win.

Sevilla (3rd) v Real Zaragoza (5th)

In La Liga Loca’s planet perfect, this weekend will see defeats for Barcelona and Real Madrid, a draw for Sevilla and a win for Valencia, which will leave all four clubs, scrapping away like Paris Hilton and Kate Moss for the last hairbrush on earth. But there is a good chance that Sevilla are going to blow the plan by picking up another win, despite the game being the side’s fifteenth in fifty days - an ‘inhuman’ amount according to a clearly work shy Marca. Home win.



Stadium News

I was at the lopera stdium on the weekend and would like to give you an update.

half the stadium is new (built in 2001) complete with underground
parking (pictures can be attached if you like) The other half is indeed falling down, they could at the very least give a coat of paint to the main grandstand to stop the war torn look :)

Plans are in place to finish the other half of the stadium then put a
roof over the whole lot, when this will be comleted we'll never know.


Snack Help Needed

Enjoy your site very much. I am hoping you can answer a question I have regarding an odd "snack" I had at a Levante match a couple of years ago.

My friend and I noticed a man walking through the stands selling sticks, much as a vendor might sell hot dogs at a baseball game here in the U.S. We figured they must be some very flavorfull branches, because he was doing brisk business. After tracking him down and purchasing a couple, we sampled our sticks, and much to our surprise, they tasted like, well, sticks.

I have not been able to figure out just what they hell we were eating. I have been to numerous grounds in Spain and Levante's municipal stadium was the only one I have seen where people chewed on sticks.

Can you be of any help sorting this out?



All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Monday's Bad Day, Good Day

Bad Day

Real Betis

If there is any kind of justice in the world - which there isn’t, considering El Canto del Loco have not caught the Ebola virus - then Betis would be going down, down, down, this season. Betis are now a side that cannot even beat ‘Nastic. At home. “The most amazing thing is that they seem to have more points than everyone else”, declared a disbelieving AS. Too true.

Athletic Bilbao

Another weekend, another stack of goals let in by the comedy Athletic back seven. There has been an awful lot of whining from the Basque country about this result. And all to do with dodgy decisions, which La Liga Loca must have missed, on Saturday night. “The referee was a disaster and was completely against us”, moaned manager, Mané, after the game. And it was a sentiment shared by a close to blubbering president, Ana Urquijo. It's not clear how much the man in the middle had to do with other Athletic defeats this season, such as the 4-1 against Atletico Madrid, 3-0 at home against Osasuna, 5-4 to Racing, 4-1 to Real Madrid, 3-0 to Barcelona, or the 4-1 to Sevilla, or the...

Recreativo, Racing Santander

They could have been contenders for the UEFA cup, but it now looks like they have thrown in the footballing towel. The former didn’t have the legs to make it through to the end, whilst the latter were neutered, once everyone worked out how to counter Zigic and Munitis. But it was fun while it lasted.


Hells Bells, as ACDC once said - an absolute shocker from Atletico’s number two and soon to be number seven goal keeper. A performance so bad the home fans were either booing him or laughing at him by the end of the match. However, the whole team deserved the same treatment - “it was zero points for all of us”, confessed Fernando Torres.

Celta Vigo

If there is one man sitting in his armchair of smugness, it is former Celta boss, Fernando Vasquez. Sacked by his club after a fifth place finish last year, the Galicians would have had a chance of survival with the potty mouthed manager at the helm. Instead they opted for Hristo Stoichkov. And the rest his history.


Not the best of weeks in the lives of Espanyol fans. But as Barcelona recently found out, Getafe can be tough cookies.

Take it away, Paul from Barcelona

“Tim recently described Espanyol as "Barça wannabes"Well maybe we are by copying a stuffing from Getafe. This was an Emotionally and physically exhausted team today and got well and truly beaten by a team that counter-attacked at Light speed. Most of the people there today wanted to pay tribute to Wednesdays heroics and to be honest i didn't hear one person moan about the result.>The atmosphere was as downbeat as this coming wednesday's Champions League celebrations at Camp Nou.

Apart from a Linesman who thought off side was the bad Part of Manchester(think about it) we have no complaints.

Two things though
1)Moises-one blatant hanball and one horror tackle that wasn't given as a foul,Do you think the Ref thought he had had a rum deal on Wednesday?.
2)bloke in front of me-spitting image of David Essex circa 1976.Does anyone else remember that crap film in which he explained his Gypsy roots,we had to watch it at school.God knows why and it included him banging on about West Ham.
Yes it was that type of day,when a horror from 31 years ago appeared to hide the horror of today.Would still rather watch the Getafe match if i had to choose.
Time of writng both Sevilla and Madrid have won,for the love of god Atletico! do your duty."
Paul, Barcelona.

Good Day


Just copy and paste for more....but worth pointing out that for the first thirty five minutes, the match, both teams, the weather and everything at the Calderon was dire.,17033,9405,00.html


Technically not relegated, still. Amazing.


Four wins in a row for Quique and co leaves them still poking their nose into the fridge door of the league. But unfortunately, all the pudding and beer has gone, as all their rivals won too.

Real Zaragoza

Despite a little bit of a wobble, Zaragoza have all but secured their deserved UEFA cup spot. At the beginning of the campaign, La Liga Loca had predicted a cheeky 4th placed finish, but as manager Victor Fernandez admitted, that was a bridge too far. However, his team can enjoy a big say in the title race as they are set to take on Sevilla, next weekend and Real Madrid after that.

Real Madrid

The third match in a row that Real Madrid have found themselves behind and the third time, that they have managed to grab the victory, in increasingly dramatic circumstances. This new found trend can be spun the Real Madrid way - “this is the spirit of Juanito, brotherhood of man, together we can do it, we are united, Real Madrid is Real Madrid, etc” or “we cannot defend anymore and the Zaragoza match is looking a bit dodgy now”. Take your pick.


“I don’t know how they will react”, said Juande Ramos after the midweek UEFA cup triumph. With a win, was the answer from the players who still believe that they can take advantage of any slip up from the top two. However, tiredness is beginning to creep in and this was a performance where the bare minimum was done to get the victory. Fortunately, it was against Deportivo, one of the softest sides in the league. After Real Betis. “It is strange that the Depor players were wasting time at 0-0”, said Ramos, after the game. Not reality, Depor have been wasting everyone’s time all season.

Manu del Moral

A cheeky overhead kick from the Getafe striker to grab a remarkable 5-1 victory in the Montjuic against a clearly, unbothered Espanyol.

Roberto Soldado

Another candidate for goal of the season came from Osasuna striker, Soldado with a thunderous effort from the half way line, to finish off a very tasty hat trick, that should secure Osasuna another crack at the top flight, after a somewhat disappointing campaign.

Real Sociedad

The good news in the Basque country is that Real Sociedad might actually get out of this mess. The bad news is that it would be at the expense of Athletic. For eight months of this season La Real have been in the relegation zone and were twelve points adrift. Now, thanks to Hristo Stoichkov, they are just one point from safety, with three left. Will Lotina be repeating his relegation saving trick for the second year in a row?


The Yellow Submarine are now full steam ahead with five wins in a row, the latest being a 2-1 victory over Racing Santander. Their new aim is to torpedo the UEFA cup hopes of Atletico Madrid, who sit just one place and one point ahead of Villarreal. Be afraid, rojiblancos, be very afraid.


Anyone missed? Just click on comments or email


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca 2007

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Quotes of the Week

“This is the best moment for Sevilla in Spanish football bistory” - so says media-shy club president, José Maria del Nido, on Sevilla’s best moment in Spanish football history since their last best moment in Spanish football history.

“It was time to move to big club...I couldn’t find one, so I came to Real Madrid, instead” - Metzhelder fails to add, on his freebie move from the Bundesliga to the Bernabeu.

“It’s very harsh on Mejia and Pavon who have given a lot to Real Madrid” - and the German centre back can expect a warm welcome from a sniffy Ivan Helguera who shared his thoughts on the transfer.

“We didn’t think this would happen to us this season, we’re all to blame” - Celta Vigo president, Carlos Mouriño, stops traffic in Spain with his confession that he may share some responsibility for his team’s imminent relegation.

“I’m very, very happy here at Milan” - These obvious words of discontent from Kaka were enough to spark the feverish imaginations of the Madrid press into new “Kaka to Real” headlines.

“It was very clear that there were some players who got special treatment” - Does anyone else get the feeling, Helguera wasn’t a fan of the Galactico days at Real Madrid?

“I have a contract here and I’m not thinking of anything else except Barcelona” - That quiet weeping noise you can hear, is Ronaldinho’s slime ball, agent brother as he waves good-bye to the chance of another new Porche. At least till next summer.

“They are workmates and colleagues. They don’t have to be friends” - Xavi shares the big dressing room between Eto’o and d’inho.

“We have to sweat blood and show our balls” - says Samuel Eto’o on the season run in. It would certainly boost the ratings.

“Neither myself nor the fans will be happy to see it” - Deportivo’s Estoyanoff was not exactly keen on doing a guard of honour for UEFA cup champions, Sevilla, on Sunday.

“If the big teams give us a bonus to win, that would be much appreciated” - Depor’s lazy arsed non goal scoring goal scorer Arizmendi touting for business. With such commitment to the footballing cause, its no wonder Atletico are looking at bringing him back.

“It bothered me when they shouted ‘disgrace’ at the team. People have short memories” - Iker Casillas in feeling sorry for Barcelona shock !

“They’re just missing a good result” - Guti in feeling sorry for Barcelona even bigger shock!


All blog content copright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Chunky Weekend Preview


Mallorca (11th) v Valencia (4th)

If you are in the hunt for a top notch motivational speaker...then Valencia is probably not the place to start looking. Club president, Juan Bautista Soler - half walrus, half Cliff Clavin from Cheers, took the time this week to give an inspiring speech to help push the club on to a title charge - “We still have a chance and we’ll keep on going to the end”. But then he ruined his good work by speculating on the future of manager, Quique and comedy Director of Sport, Carboni - “They could both carry on (after the summer) or just one. Or neither. Nothing has been decided”, grumbled Soler with not even the slightest attempt at giving them the dreaded vote of confidence. Draw.

Betis (15th) v ‘Nastic (20th)

And so it's welcome back to the rumbling, crumbling de Lopera stadium for Betis, after their three match exile at La Cartuja, imposed after one of their fans tried to decapitate Juande Ramos, in the Copa del Rey. And to celebrate the return home, the supporters will get to break up the ninety minutes spent dodging lumps of falling masonry, or having their anti de Lopers banners removed, by watching the relegation of ‘Nastic - whose survival in the top flight would be a ‘utopia’, according to manager Paco Flores.

Zaragoza (5th) v Athletic Bilbao (17th)

Should Athletic stay up this season, it will be thanks to the incompetent helping hand of Hristo Stoichkov, over at Celta Vigo. If it wasn’t for the bumbling Bulgarian then Athletic would have been odds on favourite to be going down to the Segunda. Instead, they have a four point gap over the sides second and third from bottom. But it is unlikely to be increasing any time soon, with a match against a side that have given up the ghost a little, but who have too much porridge in the footballing tank for Mané and his men. Home win.


Espanyol (12th) v Getafe (9th)

Oh dear. It´s over to Paul from Barcelona for some reflections on a poor night for the plucky pericos, on Wednesday.

“I always think the wonderful Danny Baker put it best."Football,A multi-million pound game,played by Multi millionaires,run by Billionaires,Refereed by shopkeepers from Norwich"

just change Norwich to Switzerland and you should get my point. Massimo Busacca (Switzerland) please stand up,your moment of madness,which defied all logic,that you enter a tackle, win the ball, the opposition player treads on your leg and falls over, means you leave the pitch and the opposition gains momentum and eventually the trophy. One decision,changed everything,he destroyed a very good and very even match, into the Alamo.

All credit to Sevilla who are a superior footballing team, who don't really need these idiots helping them out. When you have players as cool as theirs,they were in no danger of losing on penalties against a team that had run itself into the ground and showed a spirit not generally shown by teams from this city.(well,one of them anyway)

they did us proud. A big shout out to Torrejon who has been a rock all year and all the others who took part.They showed the World they can play. They can look forward to a fantastic reception on Sunday"

Paul, Barcelona.

Levante (16th) v Osasuna (14th)

These are dark days in Osasuna. Still sulking affer their UEFA Cup semi defeat and sliding down the table, like Aznar after one too many, the Pamplolans have tried to cheer themselves up by signing a new striker. And its Real Madrid reject, Javier Portillo, who has been brought in from nasty ‘Nastic - something which should help him get over the weekend's upcoming Tarragonian trauma.

Real Socidead (18th) v Celta Vigo (19th)

Now this is the really big game of the weekend. Two teams on identical points. And nothing less than three more for either, will do. Celta’s Pablo Garcia - who was jostled by his own fans after last weekend’s defeat, knows where the problem lies - “our issues are psychological, not physical” - opined the maudling midfielder, as he studied the tv footage of his scuffle and polished his baseball bat. Meanwhile, club president, Carlos Mouriño, has confirmed that he has no plans to jettison Stoichkov, even if the unthinkable should happen “he will continue with, either in the first or the second”. It is probably going to be the latter. Home win.

Deportivo (13th) v Sevilla (3rd)

Definitely a dule between the have’s and the have sod all’s. The vistors have regained their UEFA cup crown and are gunning for a treble. Deportivo are up for sale, have debts coming out of the ears and about to be barred from European competition for having missed a payment to Oporto on the Andrade transfer. But despite these apparent set backs, president Lendoiro seems fairly chirpy - “there are no problems here”, he proclaimed, with fingers in his eyes and eyes shut. Away win.

Villarreal (8th) v Racing Santander (10th)

The sudden reemergamce of Villarreal, after their year long sulk has sparked off a brand new round of crazy rumour mongering. This week, the Yellow Submarines were linked with a move for Chelsea’s Shevchenko, with the idea that he would be a replacement for Diego Forlan. Who in turn would be going to Valencia, to replace David Villa. Who in turn would be going to Chelsea, to replace Shevchenko. Home win.

Recreativo (7th) v Real Madrid (1st)

And so the paradise on earth that is Real Madrid continues. The papers are gushing about what it is to be a Madridista (there are creams to cure the affliction, apparently). And so are the players - “Everyone is laughing all the time,” beamed a starry eyed, Diarra as he recalled Cicinho’s tackling practice, “I just never want to leave training. Its so much fun”. The main news from Shangri-La is that Capello’s beloved double pivot will have to broken up after Emerson strained himself during the week. Getting out of his stair lift, presumably. Away win.

Atletico Madrid (6th) v Barcelona (2nd)

The talk of Atletico Madrid throwing this match, has been ubiquitous as Esperanza Aguirre on Telemadrid, this week. Will the rojiblanco’s really jeapardise their UEGA cup hopes to stop their rivals from picking of the title crown? Or will they beat Barcelona, despite their best efforts. “We can only think about ourselves”, says Fernando Torres, who is firmly in the second camp. “I hope Barcelona win the league”, confessed Luccin, “Do you know what it will be like to live in Madrid if they don’t?”. Not exactly fighting talk, but considering the Frenchman has zero assists, zero goals and about ten red cards for his season's work, it doesn't really matter. Draw.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Monday's Good Day, Bad Day

Good Day

Real Madrid

If you’d placed a couple of quid on Raul, Reyes and Higuaín all scoring in one game, you’d be a very rich punter today. If you’d put even more on Pandiani scoring a hat-trick at the Bernabeu in the same match, you could probably buy the planet. And maybe have a little left over to clear Deportivo’s debts. It was footballing lunacy at the Bernabeu on Saturday, but a match to rival the Collymore winning Liverpool v Newcastle ding dong, a few years back.

Full backs were missing all over the shop and so were Guti’s attempts at tracking back. Despite the claims in a prematurely gloating Madrid press, the league is far from over. Four matches is enough time to get a manager sacked in Spain, never mind win a league. And it is hard to see Real Madrid winning everyone of them. Then again, everyone was saying that about nine games ago.


Has given Espanyol manager, Ernesto Valverde, a very interesting decision to make on Wednesday night. Does he drop either Luis Garcia or Tamudo to make way for Saturday’s hat trick hero? Or does he leave the Rifle back in the barracks?

All things being even it was perhaps the perfect night for the pericos on Saturday. The fans got to watch Real Madrid be given the scare of their lives, whilst ensuring that they did not hand the title to Barcelona by collapsing at just the right time.


Saturday’s match was tighter than a Espanyol fan when it comes to round buying time, by all accounts (Bernabeu business and the Eurovision prevented La Liga Loca catching it), but Sevilla came away with a handy 2-1 win over their feisty local rivals. By no means out of the title race and definitely worth a cheeky flutter for a UEFA / La Liga double.

Fernando Torres

For the first time in a couple of decades, Atletico Madrid find themselves in the good day section. And only because luck seems to be going in their favour, so much so, that the stadium will probably be destroyed in a meteor shower, some time this week. On Sunday, the rojiblancos took on a Getafe side, with one foot in the UEFA cup this season and “with players who didn’t take the match seriously" according to Bernd Schuster. However, hopes were not that high in the Atletico camp before hand - “we’re up to our necks in water”, admitted Javier Aguirre and he wasn’t talking about the club’s faulty new sprinkler system.

But it was to be the returning Fernando Torres who was the hero of the hour for Atleti, with goals number eleven and twelve in the league this season. With a guaranteed win at Barcelona on Sunday - according to Atletico’s law - combined with Recre and Racing flagging, tasty trips to Slovenia should be heading Atletico’s way, next year.

Diego Forlán

It would be a little heartless and uncharitable to declare that Villarreal’s and Diego Forlan’s late flurry of firm is too little too late. But it’s too little. And too late.

Real Sociedad

“We have to celebrate this win and just think about carrying onto the next one”, smiled La Real manager, Miguel Angel Lotina. La Liga Loca will allow them that small mercy, but his side still need eight points to stay up. And it is hard to see them picking them up in their final fun in - Celta (H), Osasuna (A), Racing (H), Valencia (A).

Rafael Sobis

Not even the barn door missing Brazilian from Betis can miss that golden opportunity handed to him by the Barcelona defence whose ‘concentration dropped’ according to an understating Frank Rijkaard.

Real Mallorca

Suddenly, Real Madrid’s final home game against Mallorca isn’t looking so easy. Normally the Balearic bottlers can be expected to turn up to opposing grounds and let their bellies be tickled. But not any more. Normally ‘Mallorca’ and ‘excitement’ go together like ‘Cicinho’ and ‘defending’. But now, the Balearic side are one of the most in form teams in the Spanish league. The End of Days is surely upon us.

David Silva

It seems as if Valencia’s money men are going to have to spend the summer bring wheelbarrows of cash to the door of David Silva, if they are going to keep the midfielder at the club - especially after his cool as a cucumber effort on Sunday night to secure the three points. Valencia now have more crazed right and left wingers than the Spanish parliament.

Ian Harte’s Levante

It is unlikely that Levante manager will be grunbling about referees after gaining from a disputed penalty against Celta Vigo. Although Hristo Stoichkov will - “I don’t know if the referee will sleep well”, fumed the Bulgarian. He’ll sleep fine. As will Levante fans. The club’s back to back victories should be enough to keep a side that is not to everyone’s taste, up in the top flight for another season.

Bad Day


Everyone calm down. La Liga Loca is going to thumb its nose at the prevailing footballing winds today in regards to the ‘crisis’ at Barcelona. The situation is certainly not great, but it is perhaps not as bad as everyone seems to think - especially over at a panic-stricken Sport with their girl scout squealing ‘SOS’ headline. What’s Catalan for ‘stiff upper lip’?

A couple of non fluffed efforts from Samuel Eto’o or Andrés Iniesta and the world would be declaring that the Catalans had bounced back from the Getafe debacle, perhaps not in style, but competently. The first half performance from Barcelona was fine, the second was rotten. But that wouldn’t had mattered had the home side managed to better their flimsy looking 1-0 scoreline.

“If we win what we have left, we’ll be champions for sure”, said Carles Puyol, after the match. After he had stopped blubbing, that is. That declaration may not be as silly as it sounds. Barcelona are still creating goals - if not scoring them. And still have the marginally easier run in, than an over stretched Sevilla and a luck-pushing Real Madrid. La Liga Loca still thinks Real are favourites for the title, but only by a hamster’s hammock.

Celta Vigo

It says a lot about the non questioning, write what you are told, footballing tabloids in Spain, that not a single paper made the suggestion that Celta Vigo jettisoning Fernanco Vasquez for the almost certifiable Hristo Stoichkov was actually a bad idea. They’re doing it now, though.


‘Non existent’ in the first half declared an unimpressed AS, on Zaragoza’s performance against Valencia. “We’re not a Champions League team”, said the manager Victor Fernández, helping to bit a bit of perspective on what has still been a fine season for Zaragoza.


With the departure of Soldado, Raul Garcia and Delporte and the imminent putting down of Milosovic, the future as well as the present looks very bleak for Osasuna with seven goals having been conceded in just two games.

Racing Santander

Lazy buggers.


The Primera is now jumping up and down on ‘Nastic’s fingers as they hang off the precipice of doom.


Anyone missed? Just click on comments or email


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Monday, May 14, 2007

Quotes of the Week

“Our committees are clearly worse than our refs” - AS’s Alfredo Relaño on why having the Spanish authorities review every yellow card in the league may not be the smartest of plans.

“We will win 1-0 with a goal from Luis Fabiano” - The Sevilla president with his uncannily wrong prediction ahead of last weekend’s 3-2 defeat to Real Madrid. A match where Luis Fabiano was sent off before setting foot on the pitch.

“How can people still be thinking about whether you are a great player or not?” - said Fabio Capello to Guti after the Sevilla win. And before he subbed the ‘great player’ at half time against Espanyol.

“Not a single player has shown any sign of getting better” - the slightly damning words of Rado Antic on his former club, Atletico Madrid.

“Nothing, zero, not even a hello” - Valencia's Ayala is not feeling the love from Amedeo Carboni

“If we are just going to take a walk, I’m not going to Barcelona” - Edu of Real Betis didn't hold water with his manager's plan for Sunday night's match.

“I made a mistake when I said we would be going for a walk against Barcelona. We will treat the match the same as any other” - And Luis Fernandez was good to his word. Bore the pants of everyone watching, have three shots on goal and sneak a point.

“I scored against eleven internationals, against a world cup team. Leo did it in the Copa del Rey against Getafe” - Maradona puts down the pizza long enough to join La Liga Loca’s ‘Messi’s goal was very good, but...” camp.

“There’s nothing to be gained from crying, we’re going to react” - Frank Rijkaard’s cunning plan ahead of the Real Betis draw.

“We must not lower our heads” - Frank Rijkaard’s cunning plan after the Betis draw.

“First we’re going to win our five matches, then they'll have to give me a huge fine” - Samuel Eto’o is promising to go one better than his ‘Madrid, w*nkers! Salute the Champions!’. taunt from two years ago. Worth cheering on his team just to see what it would be.

“I’ve played in the league for six seasons and never had so many cards” - A salute to Athletic Bilbao’s Ander Murillo - officially the dirtiest player in the league.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Sweaty Weekend Preview

Buy! Listen! Consume!

Before kicking off Friday's proceedings, some tat to flog. For La Liga Loca's random thoughts on the title race, then
  • listen here
  • . And to read about the day La Liga Loca had a frapuccino with Don Fabio Cannavaro, then
  • buy this

  • Saturday

    Real Madrid (2nd) Espanyol (11rh)

    What do the man who hoses down Rufete for his weekly wash, a sunburned tourist and that woman who presents the stupid dancing show have in common? They are all likely starters for Espanyol at the Bernabeu on Saturday night. With the Barcelona wannabes packing their kilts and umbrellas for a trip to Scotland, manager Ernesto Valverde is expected to field a slightly weakened line up to face Real Madrid, although he of course denies it, “Its much better to go to Glasgow having won some games”, “and besides, the bloaty one from Andy and Lucas has a mean left foot”, he failed to add. Home win.

    Sevilla (3rd) v Recreativo(7th)

    And so the Sevilla machine keeps on going with only the odd creak and moan to show for it. On Wednesday night, in the Copa del Rey semi final second leg, opponents Deportivo lasted a whole two minutes before conceding - one more than expected - to kill off the tie as a contest. Which now leaves the big question of whether occasional striker, Luis Fabiano will be able to crawl his way back into Juande Ramos’ good books after his touchline sending off last weekend, added to his duelling with Diogo which lead to a five match ban. Home win.


    Getafe (8th) v Atletico Madrid (6th)

    The match that could see Getafe retaking their rightful throne as the capital’s second team. But not if Atletico’s Costinha has anything to do with it. That’s the Costinha, the midfield legend, who managed just thirteen touches in last weekend’s defeat at Espanyol. “We have made a pact and a promise to give it our all for the next five games”, boasted the Portuguese waste of space. Which begs the question of what the Dickens has been going on for the other thirty three matches of the season.

    ‘Nastic (20th) v Real Sociedad (19th)

    The rumours - and that’s all they are - that ‘Nastic threw last week’s match with Levante, still refuse to go away. And possibly because of the constantly changing story, of club captain, Pinella. Answering the accusation that some of the players received calls from their opponents ahead of Sunday’s game, the outraged boldy veteran spluttered on Monday that “I don’t know if anyone called or not”. A day later this had become a slightly less forceful “it’s possible there were calls but the problem is with those making them, not us.” Mmm. The whole things smells fishier than Valencia on a hot day.

    Celta Vigo (18th) v Levante (16th)

    Meanwhile, Levante are just as outraged in their denials that that their 2-0 win was aided by something more than blood, sweat and tears. Well. Sweat anyway. “There’s no proof of anything”, exclaimed captain, Descarga , “when they have it, we’ll all shut up and I’ll quit football”. Something many Levante supporters thought he had done already. Home win.

    Osasuna (14th) v Villarreal (10th)

    Do you live in a Yellow Submarine? Were you expecting rejuvenated Diego Forlan to be taking to the field against Valencia, in the big local derby, in a few weeks time? Think again, because the Uruguayan has very different fish to fry on that particular weekend. Forlan has been called up to do his duty and help out with the municipal elections, held on the same day as the match. So instead of battling Ayala for supremacy, Forlan will instead be checking people’s identity cards and helping old biddies tick their boxes. Home win.

    Racing Santander (9th) v Mallorca (12th)

    Since Racing Santander’s 2-1 win over Real Madrid aeons ago, Racing Santander have done what the La Liga Loca predicted and donned the footballing equivalent of slippers and a pipe and are slipping towards mid table mediocrity. A place normally inhabited by their opponents on Sunday. Home win.

    Athletic Bilbao (17th) v Deportivo (13th)

    ‘Bonus’ or ‘bribe’ fever has spread all over Spain. When questioned over the possibility that Deportivo may be have been given a 'present’ to give it a go on Sunday, Athletic’s Etxeberria is quite unconcerned - “it would give us even more incentive”, said the forward forgetting that fighting for survival is perhaps incentive enough. Home win.

    Barcelona (1st) v Real Betis (15th)

    Confession time. Like Prison Break and tortilla, the Copa del Rey leaves La Liga Loca cold. So, all it knows about last night’s game is that Getafe won 4-0. And Barcelona were apparently a bit crap. As to whether this will make the slightest difference to the title run in? No idea. However, the lazy blog invites fans of both persuasion to write in with their rants and ravings. Home win.

    Valencia (4th) v Zaragoza (5th)

    This week, the departing Fernando Ayala, spoke about his decision to say hello to Villarreal and wave good-bye to the Mestalla. A decision that a certain Italian director of sport helped make. “The president wanted to renew my contract”, sniffed the Argentinean, “but it seems that there was only one person who did not want me to do it”. But surely, two months later Ayala and his former best buddy team-mate, Amedeo Carboni have patched up their differences? “There is no contact between us. Not even a hello”. Oh dear. The blog is in the same situation with Miss Pataky. Home win.


    All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

    Wednesday, May 09, 2007

    Nasty Business in 'Nastic?

    All You Need to Know

    Its a Wednesday and the weekend is still a far off lighthouse of hope amidst an ocean of dispair. Some cheer is needed. And maybe a little less Interpol. So what better why to lift the spirits and raise a chuckle than by kicking off today’s blog ramble by poking fun at Atletico Madrid.

    Just a couple of months ago, the rojiblanco faithful were talking ambitiously about a stab at the league title. Soon after, the chat was downgraded to a berth in the Champions League. Then it was the UEFA Cup which became all the rage. But, now the Intertoto Cup seems to be the Holy Grail for the Calderon calamities.

    This rapid downscaling of expectations has happened due to the club’s ever worsening form, which has seen dreadful defeats to Real Sociedad, Espanyol and a eye ball tearingly bad 0-0 draw at home to Real Betis. So, it’s no surprise that that the club contains more long faces than a Ruud Van Nistelrooy lookalike contest.

    “I can’t find any explanations as to why we are so bad”, mumbled distraught defender Perea, handily forgetting his performance in San Sebaestian. “We were counting on getting points both at Espanyol and La Real”.

    Despite wearing giant clown shoes and comedy glasses at Tuesday’s training session, Mexican manager, Javier Aguirre was unable to raise the flagging spirits of his squad and there are big concerns that the visit to Getafe on Sunday afternoon, may lead to another hiding for the under fire club. “The situation is worrying”, confirmed club president Enrique Cerezo.

    Much entertainment is to be had at the cat fight currently been fought out between the Barcelona and Real Madrid footballing press. Upset by a string of supposedly destabilising stories concerning Barça’ s less than inspiring form, Saviola moving to Real and bust ups within the squad, Sport have declared that enough is enough, burst into tears and complained, between heaving sobs, that Marca and As’s ‘anti Barca campaign’ just isn’t fair. All the time managing to overlook their own season long string of stories concerning Real’s worsening form and bust ups within the squad.

    Sport have taken particular offence to AS’s admittedly quite amusing ‘cargometro’ - or ‘shitting themselves o’meter’ they are using for Barcelona and the constant inference that the president of the Spanish FA is a fan of the current champions. La Liga Loca just hopes both sides of the divide can keep this up until the end of the season.

    Meanwhile, in the Camp Nou, the players have been coming out on the offence against these slanderous attacks, with chief cheerleader being Samuel Eto’o - “Madrid playing well, just makes us stronger”. However, full back Zambrotta came dangerously close to throwing praise in the direction of the Bernabeu by commenting that “Madrid are playing well, with mental strength and aggression. These are the traits of Capello”, observed the Italian, scratching his chin thoughtfully.

    Over in a dangerously over confident pijo palace in Madrid, the players have been giddy with excitement about the prospect of overhauling Barcelona, despite the fact the club only have one functioning striker in their squad. And Raul. “You must keep you feet on the ground and keep working hard”, warned Fabio Capello as his side filed past him in a big congo line, on Tuesday.

    Down at the bottom of the table, a whole can of worms had been opened with some suggestions that there may have been a bit of funny business going on between Levante and ‘Nastic ahead of last Sunday’s game.

    Both Marca and Sport have reported that a number of ‘Nastic players may have received mysterious phone calls from Levante, a few days before the 2-0 defeat. The papers have also observed that ‘Nastic manager, Paco Flores, fielded a severely weakened side at the weekend, having dropped six players from the first eleven, including a furious goal keeper, Bizzarri.

    “No one called me”, exclaimed the Argentinean, “and I don’t think my performances have been bad enough to drop me. Maybe there are non sporting reasons,”, hinted Bizzarri mysteriously. “I was looking for a shake up”, said Flores as way of explanation, “it bothers me that people double my honour and professionalism”. For obvious legal reasons, the local press have not come up with any conclusions as to what it all means. And nor has La Liga Loca.


    All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

    Tuesday, May 08, 2007

    Monday's Good Day, Bad Day

    Good Day


    At this squeaky bum stage of the the season, it doesn’t really matter if your wins fail to come with a Torville and Dean style six sixes. Three out of the last four matches that Barça have played, have been against teams who have sat back and ‘parked the bus’, as the locals say. And Frank Rijkaard’s men have beaten them all. But not exactly convincingly. Then again, AS were a little OTT to suggest that the sides ‘sh*tting themselves o’meter” was about to go off the dial before Iniesta’s opener on Saturday night.

    Despite the positive noises from the Catalan camp, there does seem to be a ‘fin de siécle’ feeling about the club. Eto’o not celebrating with d’inho - who set up both goals - and Iniesta doing that annoying ‘shush’ goal celebration. However, Barcelona’s final five run up is easy peasy. The title is theirs to lose.


    Against Valencia, two weeks ago, Guti trotted onto the pitch with half an hour to go, got himself booked and did bugger all. On Sunday, he ran out and created all three goals in a superb performance that sets Real Madrid up nicely for the last leg of the league. This is why the midfielder continues to remain the most promising thirty year old in the league and an enigma within a jigsaw within that quiz show with all those boxes that goes on for days.


    The biggest achievement for Valencia players - and viewers - on Saturday night, was managing to stay awake during a first half that seemed to go on for decades. “The defeat was too hard”, said Joaquin Caparrós, after his Deportivo side lost 2-1 at home. No it wasn’t. Your only goal was scored by a substitute bouncing the ball of his groin. Deportivo have now taken the mantel of dullest side in the league - former holders, Mallorca - and Valencia did well to ease past them with more of their fancy moves. A top four finish now looks in the bag for the former title chasers.


    The first of two wins that should keep the Valencian veterans up. Beating a very doomed ‘Nastic 2-0 was hardly a result to email home about, but with Betis, Athletic and Celta all dropping points, it was if six had been awarded. If Levante stay up it will be down to a hard of nails manager in Abel Resino - “I have faith in this team” and defence that has conceded just forty two, compared to Athletic’s fifty eight. If Levante can pick up a win from their away trip to third from bottom Celta Vigo next weekend, it should be enough.


    To borrow from someone a long time ago, Mallorca used to be the type of side you would close your curtains on, if they were playing in your back garden. Now, it is if they have been remoulded if one of those make over shows. Mallorca have become sexy free scoring goal machines who have won a club record seven out of seven at home.

    Scorer of their second goal in the 3-1 win over Osasuna was Joñas, who celebrated by donning a spiderman hat and shot imaginary web fluid (real would have been impressive). Genius. “I promised too kids in the cinema that I would celebrate by putting on the mask”, confessed the man who knows that with great power comes great responsibility. And it is a good job that the humourless sod who reffed the Real Madrid match was not in charge. The Mallorcan would have been banned for life.


    Two wins from two means that Getafe are back in the UEFA cup running again. But we have been here before. Bernd Schuster thinks that Getafe’s frequent lazy arse ‘so near so far’ tendencies comes from self belief in the players. La Liga Loca opines that it is a Spurs style, ‘sod it, that will do’ approach. A win next week against Atletico Madrid - always possible - will lift Getafe above their big brothers in the table. That must be incentive enough to give it a go for the rest of the season.


    Three wins on the bounce suggests that a sneaky UEFA cup charge may be on the cards from the Yellow Submarines, who are now resurfacing having been down in the depths...(cut).


    “The league is not a second priority”, said manager Ernesto Valverde before the match, on his UEFA cup final qualifying team. Fortunately for Espanyol, it is the fourth or fifth for Sunday’s opponents Atletico Marid.

    Athletic Bilbao

    Only in the good day section due to a staggering jammy point against Recreativo who bombarded the Athletic goal, hit the cross bar twice and had a shot cleared off the line. “An incredible point”, say AS. “A real shame”, wailed Recre’s Marcelino.

    Bad Day

    Atletico Madrid

    The mission to Paul from Barcelona was clear. A fair and reasoned assessment of Atletico Madrid, Sunday’s opponents of Espanyol, without mentioning the words Barça or UEFA did he do? Lets see.

    “i would give you an in-depth report about Atletico Madrid,but i can sum them up in one word _ _ _ _.answers on a postcard please to CRAP competition,

    god they were poor, Aguero tried to be lively put the rest of the team didn't seem interested,a bit better when Petrov and Maxi (not going to Glasgow) Rodriguez came on. we played at 60% and were still too good for them,See what you mean about Maniche,his shirt would fit me,XXXL. Our second goal was down to a mistake , but all we had to do was up the pace and we could have scored at any time. Atletico are top of the League of gamesmanship though,yes worse than Barça.this is about the only positive thing i can say. I forgot ,in the top 5 dirtiest teams too. Levante won this one by a country mile.”

    Real Sociedad, ‘Nastic

    Next week’s meeting between La Real and ‘Nastic is almost poetic. A win for either means the other is doomed. A draw means both are screwed. “Saving ourselves is a bit more difficult now”, says ‘Nastic coach Paco Flores, in the week’s ‘no sh*t Sherlock’ award.


    A bad week all round for poor old Osasuna. Two points thrown away last weekend against Zaragoza in the last minute; kicked out of the UEFA cup on Thursday and then mauled by Mallorca on Sunday. “We have to retake the wave of the league”, said manager Ziganda in an interesting surfing metaphor.

    Racing Santander, Zaragoza

    A 0-0 draw that did not exactly help either side. Snap out of it, both of you.


    Just copy and paste.,17033,9405,00.html

    Real Betis

    Where to start? Eight weeks without a win. And god awful in most of them. Betis had played two weeks behind closed doors, much to the annoyance of the local press, to come up with a supposedly genius tactical plan which only succeeded in boring the arse of everyone at the Calderon last week and crashed 2-0 at ‘home’ on Sunday against Getafe. “I am completely convinced that we’ll stay up”, says Luis Fernandez. He may be on his own, especially with visit to the Camp Nou lined up for next weekend.


    Anyone missed? Just click on comments or email

    All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

    Sunday, May 06, 2007

    Quotes of the Week

    “If Michael Laudrup was a woman, I promise you, he would be my girlfriend” - Bernd Schuster tackles that ‘what if Michael Laudrup had a sex change?’ conundrum, we have all faced in our lives.

    “They said they’d renew my contract and they aren’t going to. That really hurts” - Pity poor old billion euros a week, Javier Saviola, who will have to find another bunch of mugs to pay his salary, after Barcelona gave him the cold shoulder.

    “We lack concentration” - And a defence, attack, proper midfield, organisation, good players.... Joseba Exteberria leaves off a few items on his 'why Athletic suck this year’ list.

    “The club have to do something. We have suffered so many injustices” Mahamadou Diarra goes just a little over the top with the Beckham yellow card incident ahead of the club’s rather undignified scrabble to get it taken back.

    “There aren’t many games left, so pain or no pain, I’ll grit my teeth and go on to the end of the season” - Freddie Kanouté. What a trooper.

    “Although I’ve not played that much, I really like it here and the style of football” - Faced with a possible move to Getafe, Sevilla striker Kepa Blanco - currently at West Ham - is thinking that a season or two at Portsmouth or Man City might not be so bad, after all.

    “I watched it in the living room and my wife in another room, because of nerves. We cried with emotion” - Mr and Mrs Reina, Liverpool goalkeeper’s parents, reveal their two tv heaven. Definitely not living in Andalusia, then.

    “We all have to follow the rules. Why don’t they?” Sevilla manager, Juande Ramos, is very unhappy indeed with the 'Beckham can play' news.

    “We're the best team in Europe” - Sevilla president, Jose Marie del Nido, does his best to lower expectations ahead of Sunday night’s match with Real Madrid.

    “We're tired of being used by agents as a way to promote their players” - Atletico minion, Miguel Gil Márin is determined to break the buying overpriced rubbish policy by denying any bid for Real’s soon to be rejected Reyes.

    “They only thing I'm certain on, is that I don’t want to go back to England” - José Antonio Reyes. Will play for ham, from June.

    “Barcelona is only white and blue!” - An over excited Luis Garcia on the plane home from Bremen after Espanyol’s UEFA cup victory.

    “Rest? That’s what I’ll do when I am old” - Dani Alves. Man of the week.

    "A president has never told me what to do"- Hands up if you believe Fabio Capello. Thought so. The Italian manager denies dropping Ivan Helguera to avoid triggering a one million euro pay out due on this thirtieth appearance of the season (27 so far)


    All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

    Thursday, May 03, 2007

    The Great Weekend Preview

    Self promotion update - If you have Real Madrid tv channel (free to sky digital) you can catch some poor punditry from a grouchy La Liga Loca on 'Extra Time' chat show repeating over the weekend. Check listings for details. And no laughing.


    Real Sociedad v Barcelona

    In an attempt to divert attention away from the club’s disintegrating form and to cheer themselves up, the local Barcelona press has been in full summertime speculation mode. Top of the transfer Pops are Deco to Inter Milan, Lampard to Barcelona and of course d’inho to AC Milan, who are ready to offer a very hand snatching 100 million euros to take the Brazilian off the Catalans’ hands. “While I’m happy, I will stay here”, grinned d’inho slumped on his big beanbag of cash when questioned about the move for the billionth time, this week. Meanwhile, Marca have been making mischief by reporting that the Brazilian failed to turn up for a players only team building meal, called by Carles Puyol. Was he in the gym perhaps? Away win.

    Deportivo v Valencia

    Someone has been on the holiday shandy this week in Valencia. Either that, or Amedeo Carboni has cooked up another one of his crazy schemes. Fearing the imminent departure of David Villa to Chelsea (or Real Madrid say AS), the Mestalla men have began to stake out replacements for their star striker. And have come up with the name of Deportivo’s Arizmendi - the Maxi Lopez of the North. Oh dear. Draw.


    Betis v Getafe

    This time last season, questions were being asked whether Getafe had the legs to make to a UEFA cup place. They are being asked again. And the answer has to be, 'probably not'. Home win.

    Levante v ‘Nastic

    This is a good weekend for those of us in the non-native Spanish speaking posse. After the continuous humiliation of attempting to pronounce the names of the Athletic Bilbao players to peals of local laughter, it’s time for revenge. This is a weekend when you can go to the cinema, march up to the ticket window and ask to see ‘eeehspeeeeederman tres”, in a comedy Manuel from Fawlty Towers accent. Always a joy. And it is also the weekend when Levante are going to start their climb away from the relegation zone. Home win.

    Villarreal v Celta Vigo

    In these days of footballers dedicating goals to their girlfriends, fathers, pets and dentists there was something very refreshing about Villarreal’s Matigol, last weekend. Fresh from scoring his first goal for the Yellow Submarines in the thrashing of ‘Nastic, last weekend, the Chilean was asked whether goal was meant for someone special. It was. “The goal’s not dedicated to anyone except me”, scowled the misnomered Matigol. A new hero is born. Home win.

    Mallorca v Osasuna

    And so it came to pass in Andalusia on Thursday. Many would say it was inevitable in the face of all the mounting evidence. No, not Sevilla dashing Osasuna’s European drames of the ragged rocks of reality. Isabel Pantoja getting thrown behind bars - and in one foul swoop giving Telecino the chance to bang on about it until the end of the time. Home win.

    Zaragoza v Racing Santander

    Zaragoza centre back Gerard Piqué has a tough decision to make at the end of the season. Does the Catalan return to his club, Manchester Utd, who have pencilled him in as their third choice centre back - or maybe second, judging by Vidic on Wednesday night? Or does he stay at Zaragoza and probable UEFA cup football. “They are both very good options”, mused the Catalan. Home win.

    Recreativo v Athletic Bilbao

    You’d have thought that Recreativo would be happy camp at the moment with the team looking good for an unlikely UEFA cup spot. But this being La Liga, you’d be wrong. Instead the side seem to falling apart. Rumours of manager Marcelino heading to either Getafe or Valencia has inspired the players into anarchy. First off, this week was Mario with his “Getafe is a step up for me” blather. Next up was Edu Moya who has declared that he is injured and cannot play - something Marcelino doubts. “Last Friday, he was available but he wasn’t on the team sheet for the weekend. Now they tell me that he cannot play.” Despite these troubles they still have enough in the tank to thrash a dreadful Athletic side. Home win.

    Espanyol v Atletico Madrid

    When the Espanyol players trotted out for training on Tuesday - a national holiday in Spain - there was someone missing. Namely, midfielder Costa. The Brazilian had had a Rio Ferdinand moment and assumed that the squad had been given a day off, so was still tucked up in his Barcelona bed, while his teammates were plodding around in the rain, ahead of their teutonic tussle on Thursday. And it is a mistake that is going to ‘costa’ him his place against Atletico Madrid, on Sunday. Which is probably a blessing in disguise for the man. Draw.

    Real Madrid v Sevilla

    If you were to believe the Spanish tabloid sport papers, then it appears that the Bernabeu has been transformed into some kind of paradise on earth. “The jokes start in the car park!”, squeals Marca in a rather unfair description of Guti’s arrival. “The atmosphere is amazing”, squeaks (literally) Cicinho, “we are stronger and better than Barcelona”, boasted Diarra. Meanwhile over in Sevilla, the club’s preparations for Thursday night’s UEFA cup dust up with Osasuna was hampered both by heavy rain and the appearance of 3000 fans to Tuesday’s training session. ‘It was like the film 300’, said Marca. Except for there being 2,700 people too many. And the lack of slaughtering going on. Instead, that will have to wait until Sunday, as La Liga Loca has a sneaky feeling Sevilla are going to show that they really mean it man, by holding Real Madrid. Away win. (but maybe a draw).


    All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca 2007

    Wednesday, May 02, 2007

    Fernando Torres Hamming it Up

    To kick off today’s proceedings it’s time for one of those slightly patronising ‘only in Spain’ stories that La Liga Loca is so fond off. An Atletico Madrid fan club desperate for something to celebrate has decided to reward Fernando Torres for his ten goals this season (in all competitions and on Pro Evo), in a very peculiar way.

    At a ceremony, the soon to be departing and faintly embarrassed striker was rewarded for his achievement with ten suckling pigs to represent the ten measly efforts he has managed. On top of that, he won his age in kilos of ham, his height in cheese and his weight in wine - seventy one kilos for those interested. “We’re just lucky we didn’t do the same thing with Maniche”, a relieved president of the supporter’s group failed to say, “Not sure there’s enough wine in Spain for that.”

    Up in rainy Vigo, Hristo Stoichkov has started to use those supposed supernatural managerial powers that the Spanish papers were praising to the heavens, on his arrival at Celta. Since his early narrow opening win, Hristo has lead his club to two stunning defeats, including a horrible 3-0 demolition at the Balaidos, by Mallorca on Sunday.

    The Bulgarian’s response was to give the squad a firm talking to, according to AS. Meanwhile, former boss Fernando Vasquéz has revealed that on loan Real Madrid nut job, Pablo Garcia, refused to play a match two months ago. Someone is going to be getting a home visit soon, La Liga Loca imagines.

    Over in Barcelona, the club have broken the news that centre back Rafael Marquéz will miss the next two matches having injured himself in bed. Sleeping apparently. Quite lucky that d’inho is not prone to the same afflictions or he would never play again. Especially with Rijkaard junior around. Allegedly.

    Deportivo who may well be put on sale over the next few weeks - debts around 120 million euros, for anyone interested - and have started to put some of the players on display in a club Portsmouth may be swinging by in their van to pick up Coloccini with Duscher heading to either Villarreal or Getafe.

    Recreativo centre back - but heading to Getafe in the summer -Mario has apologised for saying that he was moving to a bigger club in June. “I never meant to say Recreativo were inferior to Getafe”, said Mario, with his fingers crossed behind the back. For those keeping track, Mario will be moving in to replace Alexis who is off to Valencia, to replace Ayala who is off to Villarreal, although Valencia may well be buying back the player they already own.

    The Spanish press have suddenly very excited by the idea of Spain hosting the 2010 World Cup because of a throw away comment by Sepp Blatter on what will happen if South Africa do not get their footballing house in order. “Spain will host the World Cup”, blasted AS, listing the stadiums to be used as Camp Nou, Bernabeu, Mestalla, la Cartuja, Montjuic, the new Espanyol ground, Vicente Calderón, Pizjuán, San Mamés - and rather laughably, the de Lopera.


    All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca 2007

    Tuesday, May 01, 2007

    Monday's Good Day, Bad Day

    Good Day

    Martin Petrov

    It’s never a good sign, when a side’s best chances in a match falls to a man returning to action after six months out. But that’s Atletico Madrid these days. Although the returning Bulgarian, Petrov, was smashing the ground in anger at his late blown effort in the awful 0-0 draw against Betis, “it was on his right foot”, explained Javier Aguirre, Petrov will have been happy enough just to be back in action. And its good to see him slipping into Atletico’s ways already. Expect more of the same from Maxi next weekend - still the club’s third highest goal scorer, this season.


    After a bit of pasting earlier this year, by the Spanish Thing, for being the biggest waste of money of the season, the twenty five million euro man is slowly starting to display why Valencia forked out so much cash for him. Reportedly breast fed until the age of seven and the owner of nearly one hundred identical white shirts, Joaquín is a peculiar, but likeable soul who took some time to adapt to all things Mestalla. Quique Sánchez Flores claimed that he was forced to rebuild him as a player - and the work is starting to pay off. Saturday’s win for Valencia over Recreativo owed itself to the genius of Silva and Villa in the set ups and the renewed goal scoring prowess of the Andalusian, who picked up goal numbers two and three for the season. Enough to give a lift to the winger's ailing father, currently in hospital - "I really wanted to score at home, as it's not been an easy week for me."

    Ian Harte’s Levante

    They may have lost to Barcelona, but thanks to a pathetic Celta Vigo, conceding three against Mallorca, Levante are now out of the relegation zone. And they are good enough to stay in that position. Levante may be one of the filthiest sides around - as Messi will have felt, at first hand - but unlike some of other relegation fodder, they are well organised and disciplined. "Leaving here we're don't need to be afraid of anyone", growled the very scary Levante manager, Abel Resino.

    The problem is, like a drunken English stag weekender in a flamenco bar, they simply aren’t going to score, not matter how much they try. And this is mainly thanks to the numbnuts, Riga. Guilty of a late miss that would have given his side a win against Atletico, the Ghanian was in fluffing action - no, not in that way - again when he managed to blow a last minute effort against Barcelona. The man has the reactions of the duck like Duquesa de Alba.


    Another goal for the free scoring Maxi-Lopez, a man living the dream that anyone can play professional football, if you happen to look like Gwen Stefani.

    Real Madrid

    Doing very well for what is essentially a two man team. It was the goals of Ruud Van Nistelrooy and the saves of Iker Casillas which kept Real Madrid alive in the first two thirds of the season. And not much has changed, since, in recent months. The biggest worry for Real Madrid fans is what will happen when the very impressive Dutchman picks up his fifth yellow card between now and the end of the season. It’s not as if Raul, Higuaín and Robinho - the Three Stooges - can be relied upon for goals. Unless, of course, Capello plans to turn towards his bench warming countryman, for inspiration.

    José Francisco Molina

    A brilliant display from the Levante stopper and also one of the most popular and longest serving players in the Spanish league. Having been hit by cancer few years ago - which he fully reoccurred from - Molina showed, on Sunday, that he was still one of the best in the business. Although, it’s unlikely that his display forced him to break into a smile - “I’m always very serious. It isn’t an act”


    Its probably too late for Villarreal to grab a European spot, but there are signs that the side are starting to get their mojo back. On Sunday, it was a first goal for Matigol and two more from Diego Forlán, in a display that was applauded by the defeated ‘Nastic fans - “I want to thank them. It was an appreciated surprise”, said the Uruguayan, wiping a tear from his eye.


    Still to declare themselves as official contenders in the title race, Sevilla chalked up a very handy 3-1 win over Expanyol, in what might be a rehearsal for the UEFA Cup final. With eight clear chances on goal and with Dani Alves claiming that he will “keep playing until it kills me”, there is enough fighting spirit in the Sevilla camp to upset Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, on Sunday, despite a tough UEFA cup tie in Thursday night against the bruising Osasuna.


    Dropped last weekend for his failure to block Messi's Copa del Rey classic, the Getafe centre back was restored to the line up on Sunday. And responded with a goal to defeat Real Sociedad. "The 'rest' did him the world of good" beamed a very smug Bernd Schuster, his moustache twitching in delight.

    Bad Day

    Athletic Bilbao

    A bad day for the club who charged their fans over one hundred euros to watch absolute dross, on the pitch. And a bad day for the supporters who were there and pelted objects at Iker Casillas for ninety minutes. “I congratulate our fans as they conducted themselves very well”, said club president Ana Urkijo, in response. In recent matches, Athletic have let in five against Racing, three against Osasuna, four against Sevilla and now four against Real Madrid. Fabio Capello’s men barely had to break into a sweat on Sunday night, despite the Italian claiming that the match was tough. This really could be the year when the the Primera says good-bye to one of its oldest members.

    Celta Vigo

    Merciful Zeus, that was awful from Celta Vigo. What odds on Hristo being kicked out the door, before the season is out? “The wrong line up, a terrible defence, an unrecognisable Pinto in goal and a useless attack”, ranted Marca. Oh dear.

    Racing Santander

    “The grass was too high and too dry. The ball didn't move well”, claimed Racing manager,Miguel Angel Portugal, as way of excuse for their 0-0 draw with Deportivo. A few weeks ago, La Liga Loca wrote that Racing Santander may well run out of steam before the season was out. And in a break with tradition, it may be right.

    Reyno de Navarra

    One of the dumbest moves that Osasuna ever did, was to change the name of their ground from El Sadar to the rather lame Reyno de Navarra. Since doing so, midway through last season, Osasuna have turned from being a prime mover into the Primera to mid table bores. And ones who concede last minute goals to Zaragoza. And don’t win at home for seven matches.


    In an interesting - not that interesting, really - juxtaposition, it is Real Madrid who are currently the free scoring Arctic Monkeys of the world, whilst Barcelona are Snow Patrol, on a particularly dour day. A dreadful first half against Levante with dreadful finishing. A little better in the second half but with the same outcome. “We suffered too much and I don’t like that”, moaned Frank Rijkaard after the match. Barcelona are in such poor form, that next week’s visit to Real Sociedad is now looking more than a little dodgy, especially considering the home match at the Camp Nou from Barcelona was perhaps the start of their downwards spiral, this season.

    Atletico Madrid

    The lemming like La Liga Loca headed back down to the Calderon on Saturday. And took one for the team.,17033,9405_2098443,00.html

    Real Sociedad, ‘Nastic

    One definitely gone, the other still hanging on by their finger nails.


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