Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Yellow Submarine Resurfaces

Thursday's 365 Spanish Thing Piece

Aside from a rare round of midweek league action, it was a fairly routine few days in the topsy-turvy world of the Spanish Primera.

Real Madrid's president Ramón Calderón was detained at New York's JFK airport, having been mistaken for South American narco-king Ramós Calderón. "Even if you arrive by private jet you are just another person. There are no privileges here," complained the Real Madrid top dog.

Barcelona big-wig Joan Laporta decided to grab his own headlines by declaring his desire for his homeland to be independent from the rest of the Spain.

"My dream is for Catalunya to play in the World Cup," barked the barmy Barça chief whilst posing next to a model of the Norman Foster-designed 'nou Nou Camp' - which, incidentally, resembles a birthday cake with Smarties jammed into the side.

The one oddity for those waking up on Thursday morning still basking in the footballing glory of Barcelona's Leo Messi-inspired 4-1 thrashing of Zaragoza, was to see Villarreal sitting proudly at the top of the league table for the first time in their nine years in the top flight.

For the casual observer of Spanish football, the last memory of the Yellow Submarine was of a knee-trembling, lip-quivering Román Riquelme having his penalty saved by Jens Lehmann in the 2006 Champions League semi-final.

And this bitter blow took some time to get over. The following season saw Villarreal stumbling around mid-table in a bit of a hungover haze before finally coming to their senses and putting together an eight-match winning streak to barge past Atletico Madrid and squeeze into fifth.

All the more remarkably, this sprint finish was achieved without the special play-making and penalty-bottling talents of Riquelme.

A falling-out with pretty much everyone in the club and a six month-long sulk saw the Argentinean midfielder being shipped out on loan to Boca Juniors half-way through last year's campaign.

"When you pull too much on a string, this string can break," claimed the club's director general José Manuel Llanzoza back in January, before shunting the troublesome Riquelme off to his former club.

And that's where Villarreal manager Manuel Pellegrini was hoping he would stay. But, according to club president Fernando Roig, the man who is currently the highest-paid handyman in world football turned down all offers that met the club's reported 18million Euro asking price to return to the Madrigal.

Although the Argentinean international is contracted to 2009, is in training with the side and has been given the number 16 squad number, there is more chance of Fernando Torres playing two matches in a row for Liverpool than Riquelme running - well, strolling - onto a football pitch in the bright yellow shirt of Villarreal.

It is clear that Riquelme's special talents will not be required at El Madrigal this
season - unless he knows how to change a light bulb or mend a squeaky door, perhaps.

At the beginning of the campaign, the club's Chilean coach claimed that "we have Robert Pires and Matías Fernández playing in his position and we ended up in our second-highest finish of all time" and that he was more than happy to have Riquelme seeing out his contract from the stands, if need be.

And looking at their start to the season, Pellegrini is fully justified in plotting this particular course for the Yellow Submarine.

Despite a bizarre 5-0 home stuffing by Real Madrid, Villarreal have won four of their five matches this year without conceding a goal - all the more amazing considering the presence of Pascal Cygan in the backfour.

Half of the club's eight league goals in this run have come from another Premier League reject Giuseppe Rossi, the forward unwanted by Manchester United.

The American Italian was handed the unenviable task of having to replace Diego Forlán's goals after the Uruguayan's summer departure to Atletico Madrid - and it is a task he is achieving with some aplomb.

It was Rossi who clinched the second in the side's 2-0 away win at Racing Santander on Wednesday night, the striker's fourth of the season.

Pellegrini called Villarreal's top of the table appearance 'an anecdote', especially considering that Real Madrid could overtake them on Thursday night in the final match of the round.

However, the manager of the Yellow Submarine - now in his fourth season at the club - must surely feel his team have a good chance of a return to the Champions League when looking at a squad so strong that the likes of Pires and Santiago Cazorla can be parked on the bench, as they were against Racing Santander.

The future is considerably less rosy for poor old Riquelme. The Argentinean's real desire is to return to his beloved Boca Juniors, However, the transfer fee demanded by a heel-digging Villarreal is well out of their price range.

A winter window transfer move to the Premier League will be much discussed, but it would be a disaster for a player whose rather ponderous pace would be ill-suited to the high-octane excitement - or thuggery - of England.

"He'd last seconds," winced one Argentinean football writer at the thought of Román being hacked to pieces whilst plotting his latest defence-splitting pass.

Despite a claim that "I've never caused problems in the dressing room", clubs in Spain go weak at the knees at thought of bringing in a player who has extraordinary talent, but an extraordinary reputation for sulking to go with it.

Atletico Madrid were minutes away from bringing in the midfielder on August's transfer deadline day, but manager Javier Aguirre backed away in the end considering his purchase was too much of a risk - even for them.

The world must wait another four months to see if anyone else will take a chance on Juan Román Riquelme. Villarreal certainly won't be.

Round 5 Results

Barcelona 4-1 Zaragoza
Racing Santander 0-2 Villarreal
Athletic Bilbao 0-2 Atletico Madrid
Mallorca 4-2 Valladolid
Valencia 2-1 Getafe
Deportivo 0-2 Recreativo
Murcia 0-1 Almería
Osasuna 4-1 Levante
Sevilla 2-3 Espanyol
Real Madrid v Betis (Thurs)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Cheeky Midweek Preview

To Ramós Calderón - sorry Ramón Calderón - it was an 'anecdote'. But to La Liga Loca it was comedy gold that, like a Magnum and Ronaldo, was too good to turn down.

On Tuesday, the Real Madrid president was detained for two hours at New York's JFK airport, whilst on route to see catch a Plácido Domingo concert - by personal invitation - of course.

The unfortunate incident took place when there was a discrepancy between the Real Madrid big wig's passport and boarding card, which listed him as Ramós Calderón who, depending on who you read, is either a knife-wielding, kiosk-robbing hoodlum, or a Colombian narco-trafficker wanted by the US authorities.

"There were 50 or so people in the same situation as me" claimed Ramós/Ramón of his ordeal. "If you arrive by private jet (like him and his wife) you are just another person. There are no privileges here" grumbled Calderón on having to spend time with actual, real people.

A special note must be taken of a declaration from a some what snooty Marca that the rumour that the Calderón camp called the Spanish Interior minister, Rubalcaba, to help them out was 'a lie'. Which is all fine and dandy if wasn't for the interview it ran with the detainee, on the opposite page, where he confirms that his good friend in the government was indeed called.

Meanwhile, Calderón will be returning to Madrid in time for Thursday night's match with Betis. A match that could see a start for Arjen Robben, now that he has been given the thumbs up by Marca who went tingly over his "innocent and childlike smile" in an interview. And that fact that he likes ham - which of course, was the third question put to the Dutch winger after, "how are you?" and "do you like Madrid?"

Sevilla were in action on Tuesday night - and lost their third match in a row. Despite coming back from 2-0 down, to draw 2-2, Juande Ramos' men lost out to a late Raul Tamudo effort. And that's all La Liga Loca can tell you.

And probably all that anyone else in Spain can tell you, as tv cameras were locked out of the grounds in the latest "f*ck the fans" war taking place in the country, at the moment, preventing all those who had forked out for a PPV ticket from watching it.

Those tuning into Chinese tv streamings saw a corker apparently. And a result to keep Espanyol fans happy but more importantly, their players safe after some very public threats from Valverde on what would happen if they did not pull their collective finger out at the Pizjuán.

Barcelona v Zaragoza
is the big one on Wednesday night - and a clash between the brothers Milito, which could be good. "If I have to give my brother a kick, I will" promised Gabi on the encounter.

Meanwhile, Joan Laporta, continues to be excellent value as he continues his very public unravelling. This week, he has decided to taking on Spanish PM / Prez person, Zapatero, by confessing that he regretted allowing the Barça-supporting supremo to hold their Champions League trophy.

"I thought he was the defender of a pluri-national state" complained the not at all interested in politics Barcelona big cheese. He also went on to declare that his great dream was Cataluña competing in the World Cup, perhaps before being told that Iniesta is from Albacete and Puyol is rather fond of playing for Spain.

Atletico Madrid are making the trip to Athletic Bilbao where the club have written a poem to the fans asking them to stop throwing blunt objects at opposition players - "it's an own goal", it claimed. Maniche was particularly pleased to hear news of the plea, as his immobility and size makes him a bit of an easy target.

Valencia, who host Getafe, are still suffering from Monday's stories of Miguel's booze, fag, party, cash, hell in the city. "He didn't do himself any favours with this declaration, but we all know Miguel" responded Quique to his defender's confession.

Osasuna host Levante - who are celebrating being awarded the 1937 Spanish cup, after a speedy decision from the Spanish authorities who must still be celebrating the end of the Civil War.

head to Murcia and Valladolid travel to Mallorca where David Navarro is set to start his first match since his six month ban.

Villarreal could go top if they beat Racing Santander - a side who will be fielding, Dani Szerteta, the first "yankee in the League of Stars" according to AS, who overlooked a certain Rossi on the opposition team sheet.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Returning Quotes of the Week

"I don't know what sea" - Villarreal and now French midfielder, Rio Antonio Mavuba, whose passport gives "born at sea" as his place of birth. Mavuba was born on a boat when his parents were fleeing a civil war in Angola in 1984. His father, who played for Zaire, died when he was 12. His mother when he was just 2.

"The only problem was that some people thought we were invincible" - Juande Ramos on Sevilla's Champions League defeat to Arsenal. And not making any reference at all, to del Nido's pre match claims that "Sevilla are the best team in the world"

"I gave Ronaldinho my full support. I sent him an SMS" - d'inho feeling big love from Joan Laporta who took all of five seconds out of his day to type "hope u r ok. lol! :)" to his star player. Before typing "come and get him" to Abramovic, perhaps.

"I've smoked since I was 14. I smoke two or three a day" - Valencia fullback, Miguel, who also confessed that he liked a night out on a Thursday and was a good five kilos overweight. Player of the year, already for La Liga Loca.

"Lotina captures the spirit of this club perfectly. Serious and calm" - and constantly involved in relegation battles. Deportivo president, Augusto Lendoiro on his choice of manager for the new campaign.

"I can't do anymore to start games" - Andrés Iniesta in "come and get me plea" to Real Madrid, Chelsea, Arsenal, QPR...?

"It's a team with unpronounceable names and weird numbers" - Javier Aguirre's insightful assessment of current UEFA cup rivals, Erciyesspor, who started with number 64 and 99 up front, last Thursday at the Calderon.

"Let's see how the year goes" - The enthusiastic, but probably quite wise response from Bernd Schuster when asked on whether he would be seeing out the whole of his contract with Real Madrid.

"Reyes didn't succeed (at Arsenal) because he didn't want to" - Cesc Fabregas.
Should be a fun in the national team, when these two get together again.

"Are you mad? I'm not going any closer" - A vertigo suffering and traumatised Gonzalo Higuaín being asked to stand next to the edge of Madrid's tallest building, for an AS photo shoot. The paper then stuck Marcelo on a rowing boat in the middle of a stinky lake, in Madrid's Retiro park.

"I'm not a superior being and I will make mistakes" - Ramón Calderón tells us nothing, we all didn't know already.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Monday, September 24, 2007

Monday's Good Day, Bad Day

Good Day

Leo Messi

After Pablo Couñago, probably the best player in the world right now. All in all, a much better performance from Barça, who were celebrating their 50th year in the lovely Camp Nou. How much of that was due to d'inho's absence, is open to debate. The one downside, as pointed out by Frank Rijkaard, was the rather slack final ten minutes of the match from the home team.

One goal from Kerzhakov was disallowed after an apparent foul by Kanouté on Milito. And La Liga Loca sides with Juande Ramos on tv, on Sunday night, when he confessed that "I didn't see it, but the referee did." But this must be taken into account that the Championship loving, La Liga Loca feels that only a case of GBH on a defender is deserving of a penalty.

The second chance was Kanouté being put through and chipping over for his fourth of the season. Any coincidence that both of these chances occurred after Oleguer had plodded onto the pitch?

Javi Guerrero

Recreativo's lone striker came up with two cracking strikes in his team's 2-1 over poor old Espanyol. "It's not easy living with the pressure of being the only striker with people expecting you to score" ranted the new local hero. Guerrero's first effort was a delightful chip over a defender and volley. The second was a piss-taking lob over Kameni in the Espanyol goal. Recreativo making a much better fist of the season, than La Liga Loca expected.

Pablo Aimar

By all accounts - the newspapers' anyway - a cracking display from the Frodo-esque forward that pushed Zaragoza to their first win of the season. About time too, considering how tasty their team looks.


It looks like Quique Sánchez Flores has ridden the latest storm in Mestalla. But the next one can only just be around the corner. Especially with Arizmendi out on the pitch "to miss chances that cannot be missed" according to El Pais.

The fact that a manager who had lead his team to six wins from seven matches in Spain and Europe this season, could have been under such pressure shows how odd this country can be, sometimes.

And a big thumbs down to Joaquín who felt the need to apologise to the Betis fans after his goal. "I am a Betico and I will be till I die". You play for Valencia. Stop whining.

Aritz Aduritz

10th place may not look that exciting on paper, but Athletic Bilbao fans will take that quite nicely, thank you very much. Their 2-1 away victory at Levante, was down to two goals from the ever improving, Aritz Aduriz - a Basque version of a classic English number nine.

Giuseppi Rossi

The American import from Manchester United came off the bench on Sunday to give Villarreal a late, late victory over Murcia on Sunday. A victory that lifts the mighty Yellow Submarine into second. The 0-5 defeat to Real Madrid now appears flukier than ever.

Villarreal's squad is looking very good indeed with Tomasson and a fully fit Nihat up front, the likes of Matigol and Cani kicking their heels on the bench and two international full backs in defence. Just a shame about Cygan and Guille Franco, really. The race for a Champions League spot, this season, could be very intense indeed.

Javier Aguirre

The likeable Mexican manager was very, very close to being given the boot this weekend. A handy 4-0 win over a poor Racing Santander side, still may not be enough to save his hide. The pressure Aguirre was under was clear on Sunday, with his confession that "when Perea and Pernia hugged me after the game, I nearly started crying."

Due to making the nine hour long journey back from Getafe on Sunday, La Liga Loca did not manage to catch the action, but two fans who did, reported that "Atletico were bad. But Racing were worse". That sounds harsh on Kun, who apparently had a bit of a stormer and how has three goals to his name this season. And Reyes managed to be cheered for once.

Real Madrid

Before the game, Bernd Schuster was warning an almost hysterically giddy Madrid press that this match would be a tough one. "We are getting worse in every game" was one comment to the German press. Sunday's was a scrappy but rather handy point for Real Madrid. And it showed why Javier Saviola is the world's ultimate poacher - seven minutes on the pitch, three touches and one goal - the goal coming from inspired, cool as a cucumber move from Guti and Ruud.

Bad Day


Sounds a little unfair to lump plucky Valladolid into this category, but the home side really did let Real off the hook, on Sunday night. "We should have more points than we have considering our play" admitted José Luis Mendilíbar. They have now dropped points against Madrid, Deportivo and Valencia, that they shouldn't have.

But looking at the positive, El Pais wrote that Valladolid were like a hurricane. "We thought they would be furious for the first five minutes" wrote AS, "then it was fifteen, then it was thirty, then a whole forty five." Unfortunately, their puff ran out at eighty six, although Llorente missed a great chance to grab a deserved winner.

Real Betis

La Liga Loca is quite looking forward to a Thursday night at the Bernabeu, when it can see for itself what Héctor Cúper has done to the Real Betis team to make them even worse than last season. "They are not living, they are surviving", reports El Pais. To be fair, they are not even doing that, stuck third from bottom of the table.
"When we work well, we will get the results" boasts Cúper. Good.

Espanyol, Osasuna

Just one win between them (Osasuna have played one less), this season. Not a good start for two teams, who may, just may have been good enough for 11th place come May.


Much more on him to come, later this week. But for the moment, it is not looking good for the gym loving Brazilian. Reportedly out partying on the Friday before last weekend's Osasuna match. Tearful neighbours calling Sport to report his late night shenanigans. And 60% of the paper's readers not believing for a second that injury forced him out of the squad for Sevilla. It is tough to know whether a cuddle or a cane should be used on the Brazilian. However, one must hope that Rijkaard is right when he says that "we can get him back."


On a football level, it has been a poor week for Sevilla. Wiped out by Arsenal on Wednesday and then dominated by Barcelona for much of Saturday night's game. But there is nothing fundamentally wrong with Juande Ramos' men aside from their confidence being a little rocked. And that should be fixed on Tuesday night with the visit of Espanyol to the Sánchez Pizjuán.


Just click here for the Spanish Thing low-down on a trip to the Coliseum.


All blog content, copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Great Weekend Predictions


Recreativo (18th) v Espanyol (10th)

Two teams who are fulfilling La Liga Loca's Mystic Meg-like pre season predictions. One is going down to the Segunda faster than Jesus Navas in sight of the penalty spot. And the other will hang around mid table and harass other teams, from time to time, like an aging Yorkshire Terrier with flatulence issues. But nothing more.


Barcelona (5th) v Sevilla (2nd)

Easily the tie of the round - after Levante v Athletic of course - but only if Sevilla come out and play. They certainly didn't on Wednesday night, when turned over by Arsenal. Not even the sight of the dodgiest of 'keepers, Manuel Almunia, in the opposition goal could provoke the Andalusian forward line into action. A different story for Barcelona who actually managed to score some goals. And proper ones as well - well, two of them, anyway.

Home win.


Zaragoza (14th) v Osasuna (13th)

The third league outing of the year for Osasuna - the most carbon neutral of football clubs. So far, Osasuna's blockbusting, roller coaster ride of a season has produced, zero goals for and zero goals against, making La Liga Loca's fantasy league purchase of Javier Portillo look a little hasty. Zaragoza have also had a very dodgy start to the season. No wins in the league and a Thursday night defeat to Aris Salonica in the UEFA, pre pre pre qualifying round - a good way to fulfill Ricardo Oliveira's boast that "we have huge ambitions in the cup."

Home win.

Levante (20th) v Athletic Bilbao (14th)

La Liga Loca is predicting that Joaquín Caparros won't be on the Bilbao bench at the end of the season. Not because he will be kicked out, like so may of his predecessors, but because there is no way that his nervous system can support eight more months of football. Last Saturday against Zaragoza, Caparrós was like a man with bees down his trousers. He is three dodgy penalty decisions away from his brain exploding or his eye balls flying right out of his skull.


Villarreal (4th) v Murcia (6th)

This week, Roman Riquelme has mostly been clearing leaves from the Madrigal gutters and scaring pigeons from the training pitch.

Almeria (12th) v Mallorca (8th)

It's raining in Madrid, today.


Betis (14th) v Valencia (3rd)

The most entertaining part of Valencia's week was not Quique's less than idle threat to Asier del Horno that he should stop talking about him, "or we will have problems." No, it was large sections of the club's fans calling for the head of their manager, what with the side's perilous position in third, just three points off Real Madrid. And their rather admirable Champions League victory at the home of Schalke, to boot. But as La Liga Loca found out after it's turbulent six months on the arm of Penelope Cruz, the Spanish can be a fickle bunch, sometimes.

Away win.

Getafe (19th) v Deportivo (11th)

If Getafe fans are looking to thank the man who masterminded their 1-0 victory in the European debut, on Thursday night, then look no further than Fabio Celestini. "If we score first and finish will eleven men, than we'll win" was the prediction from the Swiss midfield maestro, on Tuesday. Interestingly, that was two things that the opposition, Twente, did not manage to do. Last season, La Liga Loca popped down to the Coliseum to watch one of the worst Deportivo displays ever. And it may be up for more of the same, on Sunday.

Atletico Madrid (14th) v Racing Santander (7th)

On Thursday, La Liga Loca took its knitting and Spotters Guide to Over Prized Midfielders book (120 points!) down to the Calderon to watch Euro Atletico in action. And for the 12 or so minutes they bothered to play, they were not too shabby. There is a strong rumbling from inside the club, this week, that anything less than a swashbuckling win on Sunday, will see Javier Aguirre shown the door, with Diego Simeone coming in. And with a sturdy Racing Santander due in town, the rumour could well become reality.


Valladolid (9th) v Real Madrid (1st)

Jose Mourinho to the Bernabeu anyone? Not as preposterous as it sounds, especially after Bernd Schuster gave a strong indication this week, that this season will be his first and last at the club. "Let's see how the year goes", said the German manager when asked about the future. "It's not the same club as when I played here. You never get information, just opinions." A comment making the Bambi-like Bernd the clear winner of this week's "No sh*t Sherlock" award.

Away win.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Does Spain Need Raul Back?

Raul thinks so. Bernd Schuster thinks so. And maybe Luis Aragonés is starting to think so too. Whilst Spain are struggling for both goals and form in their dog's dinner of a Euro 2008 qualifying campaign, Raul has both in abundance.

Is it time to bring the Real Madrid captain in from the cold?

No, no, no, no!

1 - Spain already have enough problems with egos and in-fighting. Why do they want one more? Remember the World Cup and the image of Raul sulking on the bench and stinking up the entire camp with his prima donna pretentions. That's Torres' job now.

2 - Three goals in four matches is Raul's current record. Woo and indeed hoo. About time. The 'Raul is back' story line is as tiresomely familiar as the "we can win things, this year" line from Atletico or the "we are a team" mantra from Barcelona. Before you can say, Kaysari Erciyesspor, the world will be back to the question, "is Raul even playing?"

3 - Admittedly, Raul was a half-decent striker in his day. But Spain have another, much younger, half-decent strikers who deserve their chance ahead of the old timer - Torres, Villa, Silva, Morientes, Soldado, Luis Garcia, for example. Recalling Raul would be a huge step back and an admission that the current crop, just aren't good enough.

4 - Spain's problem is not the players, but the manager. If La Furia Roja did not have someone who picks fleas out of their hair for breakfast, then Spain would have qualified for Euro 2008, decades ago.

5 - Who next...Diego Tristan? Hierro? Guti!

Yeah ! Yeah ! Yeah !

1 - As Steven McClaren found out by luck rather than fortune, international football is all about picking the players on form to win you the next match. Forward planning is a waste of time. Raul is back playing centre forward for the first time in ages - and he is playing some of his best football in years. His run to get on the end Van Nistelrooy's cross on Tuesday night, to open the scoring, was the sign of a striker at the top of his game. Is Angulo really worthy of a place more than Raul?

2 - Raul is a different man from the World Cup version. Beaten down and bored of the endless troubles of Real Madrid, the striker was worse company than a Spanish Big Brother contestant. Back on form and back scoring, a perky, punchy Raul would give a beleaguered squad a much needed boost.

3 - Because Spain are doing so well without Raul, aren't they? Hundreds of shots needed for each goal. Reliant on Andres Iniesta to come of the bench and dig them out of their hole, every game. Raul could be Spain's Emile Heskey. Sort of.

4 - Torres has managed one goal in a year for the national team. David Villa has yet to show he can cut the international mustard. Both strikers are wasting endless chances created by the most talented midfield in world football. On current form, Raul wouldn't.

5 - And Guti? why not !

So, which way are you swinging on this issue? Just click on comments for your say.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Monday, September 17, 2007

Monday´s Good Day, Bad Day

For more, just click here for The Spanish Thing

Good Day

Javier Saviola

Saturday night was possibly the first time, that La Liga Loca has seen the Barça reject in the flesh, as it were. Saviola is slower than you'd imagine and definitely not one to trouble a defender with an elbow or two. But he is a master at feeding off scraps, as his reaction to Raul's blocked effort showed. "I get most of my goals like that" admitted Javier - a player that his old club are dearly missing.

Saviola's goal kicked off a win that can best described as Capello-esque. With just Guti and Raul hanging around Valdebebas for the past two weeks, a bunch of tired international players on the pitch and Werder Bremen due on Tuesday, it was match where the result mattered more than the performance.

Unai Emery

As with Barcelona, two weeks ago, Real Madrid's victory owed itself in part to some fortunate refereeing decisions. The comment from AS that "they didn't win because of the referee, but you get the impression, he decided to help Madrid" sounds a fair summary of the game. Sport's claim that "Referee keeps Real Madrid on top", just sounds like sour grapes.

Uche's second half 'goal' was wrongly disallowed, although the red card for Crusat was probably the right call, considering he got the ball by going through Saviola's foot. It was always going to be a high risk challenge, something Unai Emery, Almería's coach, admitted after the match.

Praise must go to Emery's Almería side, who turned up at the Bernabeu intent on giving the league leaders a game. Who knows how it may have turned out, had Negredo been allowed onto the pitch.


Remember him? His goals nearly gave Real Sociedad the league title in 2003. However, 2006 was spent on the Villarreal sidelines due to injury. But, he was back on score sheet on Sunday, with a fine free kick to help the Yellow Submarines get over the 5-0 mauling a fortnight ago.

Pedro Munitis

The tiny terror, like his side, must be missing Nikola Zigic, but the mighty midget is still classy enough to poach the odd goal himself. Sunday's winner came from a lose ball spinning out of a crunching tackle into the Levante defence and leaves Racing with a very handy - and unexpected - five points from nine.


The horror show predicted against Betis looked like it came true. A seventh minute goal from Guardado. And not much else.


Take it away Paul from Barcelona, who sounded like he had a fun afternoon in the Montjuic.

"The word classic is overused these and luckily i don't need to use it today. A pretty poor game and an even worse ref.

Getafe were the better side in the first half, but Espanyol came out all Gun blazing(not a typo). The red card was just, from where i was, a really bad tackle from behind.

But the thing that changed the game was the introduction of the beautifully monikered Lola. He added a bit of class, well he passed to his own players. The goal was quite lucky, the defender should have cleared it. But the goal is papering over the cracks. Jonathan is out of his depth at this level, but the goal means we won't be looking for a striker.

Two things to comment on....Clemente was harassed and shouted at to put the ball out of play while 2 Getafe`players were down, so he did..Did Getafe give the ball back ? did they F***

And,i feel a theme coming on,Valdo...without doubt the worst player I've seen at Espanyol. He doesn't seem to know where he is or what to do..he might be George Weah's cousin or he was marked by C Diaz and yes, she could have done it.

He's Bambi on ice, makes no effort and the sooner Rufete is fit the better. God I'd rather have Lacruz..Osasuna we owe you one.a kick in the privates that is.

Paul, Barcelona

Alexander Kerzhakov

If Gus Hiddink was such a tactical genius, why did the Sevilla striker only get a few minutes for his Russian side against England, last Wednesday? With Kanouté and the brilliant Ruskie up front, and new boy Koné and Luis Fabiano on the bench, Sevilla's forward line is looking very tasty indeed - as poor old Recreativo's defence found out in Sunday evening's 4-1 defeat.

An honourable mention must go to the masterful Dani Alves with his three assists.

Athletic Bilbao / Zaragoza

Both sides may be without a win this season, but there was enough evidence on the pitch in Saturday's clash to suggest that situation should change soon. Local lad, Susaeta, looks like quite a prospect for Athletic, with his second goal of the season, whilst Milito and Oliveira could became the best front two in the Primera before too long.

The one conundrum is why Victor Fernandez reunited Atletico's old midfield pairing of Luccin and Gabi - something that wasn't exactly a roaring success, first time round.

La Sexta

The current tv wars may be causing confusion and carnage to Spanish footie schedules across the world. But it is great for fans in Spain, with three live games being shown over the weekend on mainstream tv - two of them pirated. Long may the squabbling continue

Bad Day

Spain's Basketball Team

A comedy last second win by the Russians ensured a peaceful honk free night of peace in the Spanish capital.


Not a great situation to be in when your best hope of a goal comes from a 17 year old debutant. Barcelona's problem is clear to see and was predicted by Rijkaard when Samuel Eto'o came a cropper against Inter - there's no one in the side to finish off all their pretty play.

La Liga Loca feels it may be time to give Eidur Gudjohnsen a go. Not a classic number nine, but flexible enough - and with an eye for goal - to give it a go. Until that happens, it will be cross after cross from Henry, dos Santos and d'inho into a empty box. And Thuram? Oh dear. Carles Puyol should be pushed out on crutches, if necessary.


"Anarchic and lacking inspiration" say AS. "Lopera f**k off" say the Marca blogs. "We made childlike errors says Hector Cúper. La Liga Loca has not caught Betis yet, this season. But it is looking forward to it.


Before Sunday's defeat, Michael Laudrup, commented that it would be easier to win games with eleven men on the pitch. Which was the perfect cue for Granero to get himself sent off with a mad tackle to make it four reds in three matches for Getafe who now find themselves second from bottom. Too early to hit the alarm button, but a victory against Deportivo next weekend, is a must.


A quick word of appreciation for the continuing sterling work being done by the Spanish federation. Other leagues have their kick off times published months in advance. Spain does it with four days notice. And for matchday four, it has decided to schedule all eight of Sunday's games at exactly the same time. Good going.



Do you know what the situation is with the airing of barça games? I live in New Zealand and usually ESPN shows them here but no single game has been shown (and osasuna - barça isn't being shown either) yet but they're showing other games though.

I know its probably a good thing I can't see how shocking we're playing this season, but hey I need my fix. What's the deal I am pretty confused about the whole TV situation. Do you know when they will start showing them again?


LLL - You are probably better off, not watching Barcelona these days. But, the whole tv situation is a mess and heading for a big court battle. I'd be surprised if it is fixed this season.


Any one missed? Just click on comments...


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca,2007

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Great Weekend Predictions


Valencia v Valladolid

This week's tale of fighting and feuding from Mestalla involves the walking, talking sick note - Vicente. Eagle eyed blog readers may remember that the permanently-wounded winger had been accused by his club doctor of imagining his latest injury. The man who makes Robben seem like The Terminator in comparison, did not take too kindly to the suggestion that he had got a little too fond of his sofa and Rebelde Way and hit back.

"I've lost confidence in the doctor, my injury is not psychological." As it turns out, Vicente was right. A trip to Madrid to see nice doctor Guillén has resulted in a diagnosis of a muscle problem that sees Vicente out for a month. Lucky David Silva is around really.

Home win

Real Madrid v Almería

"A contract of cowards!" screamed the headline from Sport's special Real Madrid section. So what has got the Barça based paper's knickers in a twist today? Real Madrid blocking a footballer for another side playing against them, that's what.

The club with the "best squad in the world", according to Ramón Calderón, is so scared of Almería and former Castilla striker, Alvaro Negredo, that they slapped a clause in his new contract preventing him from playing against them. The same dastardly, sneaky - and lets face it - cowardly trick performed with Atletico's Jurado and 'Nastic's Portillo, last season. For once, Sport is right.

Home win

Athletic Bilbao v Zaragoza

One of Athletic Bilbao's last, best hopes of preventing their fans smashing themselves over their heads with stale bocadillo's in desperation and despair, this season, is the on loan return of Asier del Horno. The fullback had a wretched time of it at Valencia, last season, and is strangely keen to experience some more - but on one condition - "if they change the coach, I'd love to go back." Apart from Quique accusing del Horno of lacking effort and professionalism, it's hard to see what the defender's big issue is.



Murcia v Atletico Madrid

Atletico striker, Sergio Aguero, had a fun week. He flew to Melbourne with the Argentinean squad. He played a minute of football. And then he came back. Probably without Kylie's number, as well.

Away win

Racing Santander v Levante

Sometimes footballers are not the smartest tools in the box. Take Nikola Zigic for example. Last season he was second only to umbrellas, ellas, ellas in the Santander popularity stakes. He was playing regularly and enjoying being a big man with a great touch. Now, he is parking his arse on the Valencia bench, alongside Arizmendi. And what for? Big bags of cash, that's what.

Home win

Mallorca v Villarreal

Manuel Pellegrini may not want Riquelme back, but musketeering midfielder, Robert Pires does - "I love Roman" giggled the Gaul as he stared wistfully at his exiled teammate changing a dressing room light bulb. "But I'm not the manager, nor the president, so I don't really have a say in these things." What odds on another Real Madrid style thumping persuading the Yellow Submarine to bring Riquelme back on board?

Home win.

Deportivo v Betis

It was party time in Sevilla on Wednesday, when all those of a green persuasion celebrated one hundred fun-filled years of Betis bedlam. Don Manuel had dusted off his George Michael gramophone records, Hugo had been given the prettiest of bows to wear, and even evil uncle del Nido had been invited round. However, any sense of joie de vivre and happiness from Beticos will be steadily be beaten out of them by the unrelenting tedium of Sunday's turgid, hell match to come.


Espanyol v Getafe

Another club having a few problems with their medical team is Espanyol. Rufete, the Pericos' contribution to care in the community, has been feeling a little dicky of late. And the team doctors don't appear to be making him any better. However, Ernesto Valverde is having none of it. "When there is a match, people talk about the match. When there is a break, they find other things to discuss." If Espanyol fail to build on their one measly point with a home win, then all talk of medical malpractice will swiftly disappear.

Home win.

Sevilla v Recreativo

(Adopts serious BBC tone) Sunday's match is very much about the past and future for Sevilla. It is the club's first match back at the Sánchez Pizjuán since the death of Antonio Puerta, and it may be the first sight of their new 12 million euro record signing, Arouna Koné.

Last week, Marca reported that the Ivory Coast international failed a medical in 2004 when about to join up with Ajax. The reason given for the failure was a heart condition.

Osasuna v Barcelona

After a week spent getting all hot and bothered, Joan Laporta decided to end it in fine style - by being pictured standing in a giant vat of grapes. And that was probably the best place for him, as everyone else at the Camp Nou had been keeping the distance from the posturing pressie and his various bugbears.

"On a personal level", I see him as quite normal, said Slyvinho as he mimed someone having a nervous breakdown.

Home win


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Boasts, Brags and Betisvision

This week, everything had been suspiciously quiet in the Real Madrid camp. Arjen Robben was trotting around the training pitch, as normal, in preparation for his annual twenty minute kick around.

Raul was pretending not to enjoy the latest bust ups and battles with La Furia Roja. Apart from that, not much else.

The main reason for this uncharacteristic lull was the absence of Rámon Calderón, who had jetted off to Korea to watch the Spanish U17s lose a penalty shoot out and blub like little girls.

But on Monday, the pea-brained pressie managed to chew through his restraints, that the club's press officer had taken to use on him and headed directly for the nearest tv camera, like Vicente to a stretcher.

"We could easily have signed Dani Alves!" boasted Calderón, on the possible suggestion that the club had a tiny pee-pee. "Barça didn't sign anyone that I would have wanted" exclaimed Ramón, building up a head of steam. "AND WE HAVE THE BEST TEAM IN THE WORD!" he finished, before being tranquilised and bundled back into his holding cage by armour clad henchman.

Considering Calderón has blown 215 million euros on players in his fourteenth month spell at Real Madrid, one should blooming well hope so.

The club has also unveiled their new X-Men style private jet, which will ferry Real Madrid officials and players about. And fans. For a measly 70,000 euros a year, Real Madrid supporters can experience the unique pleasures of discussing Cervantes with Salgado, Picasso with Pepe, or simply pass away the hours watching Guti trying to open a packet of peanuts.

Another footballing demagogue currently unravelling at an increasing pace, is Joan Laporta, over in fortress Camp Nou. For much of the time, the Barcelona blow hard is blissfully quiet, happily fighting the dark forces of Spanish oppression. But not this week. No siree Bob.

On Tuesday, the news that Thierry Henry had chosen to stay with the French team, despite being suspended for Wednesday night's game, tipped an already grumpy Laporta right over the edge.

"It's a disgrace!" spluttered Joan on the matter of players playing with their national teams. "We shouldn't tolerate it...there should be compensation to clubs who pay their salaries. These federations make money on the games and we see none of it."

But that's not all that has Laporta's goat, this week. The continued lack of permission for Catalunya's proposed friendly with the USA in October, was also making the president see red. "It's so unfair. Everyone responsible for this (decision) should take a good look at themselves."

Of course, should Laporta's long desired friendly match take place and should any Barcelona players be called up to participate in it, it begs the question of whether he will be looking to the Catalan FA for compensation. La Liga Loca suspects not.

Like Buck Rogers, Real Betis have now found themselves transported to the 25th century. To celebrate their centenary, which has so far featured a large flag being carried around and a dancing dog, the club have unveiled, "Betisvision" - a "website" on the "internet" which enables you download irritating ringtones, get laid or gaze at pictures of Shakira. What more could beticos possibly need?


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Monday, September 10, 2007

Stir Crazy in Cataluyna

Thierry Who? Find out here.

Defender and Defendant

Former Levante striker, Salva Ballesta was a happy man, this weekend. Not only did his new Málaga side make it three wins from three to go to the top of the Segunda A. But also, the news broke that his arch enemy, Oleguer Presas, might be doing a spot of chokey in the near future.

The reason for this unfortunate turn of events is that an investigating judge is calling for a three year prison term for the Barça defender, for his involvement in an attack on a policeman in 2003, in a bar scuffle. And there was everyone thinking it was just his defending that was criminal. Allegedly.

The reason why air force loving, flag waving, anthem humming Salva has a big grin on his face is that the striker found himself in bother with the footballing authorities, last season, by comparing Oleguer to doggy do, after the 1968 throw back wrote, what Salva interpreted to be a sympathetic article on an ETA hunger striker.

But that is not the end of the controversy in planet Camp Nou. Self declared Catalan patriot, Joan Plaza, showed himself to be very Spanish indeed by dodging any hint of blame for his club's recent disappointing season.

"There was an excess of confidence, last year" moaned Laporta neatly forgetting it was he himself who had predicted a seven trophy haul and that he had already booked a hotel suite in Athens - the host city for the Champions League final.

"Everyone was guilty, but especially those in the dressing room" declared the club president, pointing his finger in Rijkaard's direction before legging it out the press room door.

And handily failing to recall that it was he, who turned down the Dutch coach's request for the sale of Eto'o for the purpose of bringing some semblance of harmony to the squad.

Speaking of harmony, Villarreal manager Manuel Pellegrini admitted that he is more than happy to see the returning Roman Riquelme at the Madrigal - not that he is going to see a sniff of action, mind.

"We have Matigol and Pires in his position" said the Chilean coach, as Riquelme trundled past, pushing a lawn mower. "We finished 5th last year in our second best season of all time"

Very little news of interest from Real Madrid - aside from the announcement that the club players will be having lunch together every day, a move that Marca feel sure will lead the club to both domestic and European glory.

First manager to be sacked, this season, is set to be Abel Resino at Ian Harte-less Levante. Primarily because the club bigwigs haven't booted anyone out for a good nine months, now. And secondly, because of the fact that Levante are bottom of the table with just the one point to their name.

Another side who share the same one point predicament as Levante are Atletico Madrid. On Friday, new signing, Simao, declared war on the rest of the footballing world with his declaration that "we have to win one of the competitions."

Just the man you want beside you in the trenches. Unlike his international team mate, Maniche, who would scoff your rations and drink your whisky as soon as you turned your back to pop one off at the Hun.

manager, Michael Laudrup has hammered away at his calculator and discovered that he now has seven central midfielders in his squad. For those who are counting, they are - Pallardó, Celestini, Casquero, Sousa, Alberto, Granero and de la Red.

However, the Dane is stuck with a puzzling predicament that Osasuna coach, Ziganda, would love to have, as he has the rather handy Nekounam out for six months along with the not so handy Viana for one month.


La Liga's First Coach to Be Sacked Odds

Abel Resino (Levante) 3/1
Javier Aguirre (Atletico) 6/1
Quique Sanchez Flores (Valencia) 8/1
Miguel Angel Lotina (Deportivo) 10/1
Victor Muñoz (Recreativo) 10/1


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Wonderful, Wonderful Wesley

Oh dear. Barcelona are feeling a little unloved. Instead of drooling over the Fantastic Four - incidentally, which one is Jessica Alba? Eto'o? Occasionally hot but mostly invisible? - the Spanish (Madrid) press are falling over themselves to praise the new Real Madrid, and especially Wesley Sneijder.

"He's the new di Stefano!" screamed Marca on Tuesday, on a player whose only characteristic shared with the nation-swapping old fogey, is that they both dribble a lot. "He shits gold!" declared AS on the diminutive import from Ajax.

Just weeks after completely ignoring Wesley on his arrival at the Bernabeu, it is Sneijder week, in Spain. But not in Cataluyna. Which is not in Spain, according to one geographically challenged Barça banner. And Joan Laporta on Wednesday. "Many people just don't understand that Cataluyna is a nation" he fumed, at the news that the national federation had turned down a plan for the province to take on the USA team.

For all those who may have missed his thrilling performance, it is Deco who is Barça's hero of the hour. "The best Deco in years" screams a pantie-peeing Sport with a rather disconcerting picture of Deco with two AA batteries where his stomach should be - (still not a patch on the Rijkaard as Moses effort over the summer).

"He offers Barcelona cohesion and strength", which is quite impressive going from a player who was dropped for most of the pre season, went back to Brazil for the girlie reason of witnessing his child being born, was on the bench against Racing Santander and who ran around a bit against Athletic.

Meanwhile back at the Camp Nou, Laporta has done his best to get his team rocking and rolling after their indifferent start to the season. "They must work harder", moaned Joan, in between lectures on nationalism and picking a fight with Thiago Motta, who he described as 'immature'. A bit rich from a man, who removed his trousers during an altercation with a airport security guard, not that long ago.

The reason for this stance, was after words from Atletico's 57th midfield signing of the season, criticising the conduct of the club for the past six months of his Barça career, not that he is miffed about being a rojiblanco, of course.

"This is not a step back", declared Motta, on his step back. "The dressing room here is backed with winners" said the much maligned Barcelona party boy and probably new best mate for Maniche.

A peculiar whining noise echoing throughout the streets of Madrid, on Wednesday, can only have meant one thing - José Antonio Reyes, was giving a press conference. "I did expect to play more, I won't lie", moaned the winger on his two substitute appearances so far.

And he ensured that he would continue his exile on the sidelines - probably very lonely exile - by criticising his team's performance in the 1-1 draw with Mallorca.

"We seemed a bit apathetic, we didn't want the ball. In the dressing room, we thought that we were better than them and that we were going to win".

Rumours of what exactly happened around the on / off Riquelme signing are still pinging around the Vicente Calderón, with sporting director and self confessed muggle, Jesús Pitarch refusing to be drawn on predicting Atletico's fate had the Argentinean lazy arse been brought in, "I'm not Harry Potter, I don't know what would have happened had he come."

Valencia have had their weekly in-house tiff. This time it was work shy winger Vicente at the centre of the storm, after he attacked the club doctor in the press and to his face for his suggestion that all of his 'physical' problems were in his head.

"I have lost confidence in the doctor, my injury is not psychological", ranted the midfielder, shortly before being slapped with a punishment from club pressie, Juan Bautista Soler.

Another very unhappy bunny is Sevilla striker Ernesto Chevantón, who has been pushed out of the Pizjuán picture, "If I have to buy out my contract, I will", threatened the Uruguayan poacher.

Almería have reinforced La Liga Loca's wish that they go down faster than Kate Moss, backstage at Glastonbury by revealing that they have the name of David Bisbal, written on their team kit.

Espanyol have ensured that a swift transfer will have to be done to the blog's Fantasy League team by announcing that Moby lookalike, Ivan de la Peña will be out of action until the end of the month.

Getafe coach, John Jensen, has been put in charge of getting the super blues strike force firing again. The same John Jensen who scored his first goal for Arsenal on his 98th appearance for the Gunners - an event which produced t-shirts celebrating the event.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Monday, September 03, 2007

Monday´s Good Day, Bad Day

Bad Day


Still not clicking. Pablo Aimar has returned from pre season in body only, whilst d'Alessandro has decided to weave a piece of white string into the back of his hair. A summer well spent, indeed. Even his bowl cut from last season, was preferable. True, they were stopped by a fine goalkeeping performance from Toño, but Zaragoza - and Milito - had best snap out of their funk, soon.

Megia Dávila

On a night when Barcelona did everything but score, they had a little bit of a helping hand to get them the three points - which, for the record, were deserved. If Davila's penalty decision on Thierry Henry was iffy, then his awarding of the goal to Yaya Touré was just plain silly.

At 2-1 down, and having improved from "spending the first half like tourists or sightseers" according to Joaquín Caparrós, Athletic were starting to cause Barça a bit of grief. Until the ref's intervention, that is.

Betis, Espanyol

Hard to choose which team were more ludicrous, this weekend. Betis for going down 2-0 - and nearly three, had Luis Garcia not hit the post. Or Espanyol for blowing the lead in the space of a minute towards the end of the match. La Liga Loca's hopeful noises in Betis' direction, pre season, are starting to look a little misplaced.

Atletico Madrid

Due to the clash with Real Madrid - thanks LFP - La Liga Loca was unable to catch Atletico's latest adventures, on Sunday night. However, the review from one rather foul-mouthed socio acquaintance of the blog who attended the game was "new players, same f**king sh*t."

Marca's Roberto Palomar suggested that, "if it wasn't for Pernia's goal, we'd be talking about them signing up for the Intertoto again" - the same Pernia who celebrated the goal by clapping his hands to his ears, in response to the boos over his past two performances. "That was the wrong thing to do", said the under fire full back after the game.


Another bad evening with just a point gained against Recreativo and another match with a Getafe player seeing red - this time, fully deserved - with Cotelo shoving an opposition player, like a big blouse. "We can't keep playing games with one or two men down", said manager Michael Laudrup, astutely.

Villarreal's Defence

Someone had been on the moonshine on Saturday night. From Cygan watching the ball sail over his head onto Raul's boot, to the twenty odd minutes Ruud Van Nistelrooy had to poke away his first effort of the season, it was a calamity from beginning to end. It was almost like watching Deportivo.

Levante, Murcia

May there be a plague on both your houses. And on La Sexta for not giving a public health warning before rescreening the match at midnight.


To be fair, they scored two goals in their draw with Valladolid. But, manager and professional doom-bringer, Miguel Angel Lotina, certainly isn't happy. "It's like we are still in pre season" he grumbled, "I'm going to ask for a friendly, this week"

Víctor Váldez

The old doubts over Vicky return. As one Barça fan watching with La Liga Loca put it - "malo, malo, malo eres" - which would have been a fine impression of Bebé had he not been a 16 stone chain smoker.


Good Day

Guti, Guti, Guti...

Wesley Sneijder may have stolen the headlines, but it was Guti who was the real driving force behind Real Madrid's win. Willing to pick the ball up from defence and willing to play the attackers into the game, it was one of the best 90 minute performances Guti.Haz has ever delivered.

The 5-0 win was more than impressive, but La Liga Loca is going to keep its powder dry on the new Real Madrid for a few more weeks, before seeing whether the performance was a fluke, or the shape of things to come.


But it was so very nearly in the other section, for Valencia, but a strike from Moretti saved Valencia's blushes and quite possibly, Quique's job, knowing Soler's manager-firing tendencies.

Dani Guiza

Still not found that double point thingy for his name. One of the blog's ones to watch in the pre season, the nearly bearded Dani grabbed his second of the season, in the draw at Atletico. And second, is where Mallorca find themselves - some five places above where La Liga Loca said they would end up this season.

Racing Santander

Marca wrote that if you cannot get a good squad together, get a good coach. And that's exactly what Racing have done with the appointment of Marcelino. Two points from six, does not sound like a great haul, but it is, considering the opposition was Barcelona at home and Zaragoza away.


Anyone missed? Just click on comments or email for your say. Go on, you know you want to.

All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The Big Letdown

After what felt like decades of promises of “Alves to Real Madrid!” and Ronaldinho to Chelsea!” from the world’s footballing press - and this blog - transfer deadline day offered as much excitement as Saturday’s Levante v Murcia bore fest, which left gallons of dribble on La Liga Loca’s favourite cushion, after a bit of a snooze.

Unless you consider the idea of Celta Vigo’s Borja Oubiña being punished for his relegation by spending a year on loan at Birmingham, as thrilling - the whole affair was rather underwhelming.

Marca’s news busting headline of Alves heading to the capital, on Friday afternoon, had the stuffing knocked out of it somewhat, when the full back trotted out for Sevilla during Friday’s Super cup defeat a few hours later.

However, the turbocharged defender is set for an uncomfortable year at his club after taking on President del Nido in a post match interview.

“He was only joking about it (refusal to play). If not, it is was a lack of respect”.

Any move d’inho was going to make to Chelsea was almost certainly scuppered with the news breaking of Samuel Etoo’s latest injury lay off. The Cameroonian is set to return to action in three to four months - just in time to disappear for another month at the African Cup of Nations.

Julio Baptista’s cunning plan of chaining himself to Ramón Calderón’s death ray console to avoid a transfer worked a treat. The Brazilian midfielder / striker thingy, is set for a tough winter of bench warming as he sits his contract out.

Sevilla have boosted their goal scoring armoury a little, with the purchase of Arouna Koné from PSV, for 12 million euros.

There is confusion at Vicente Calderón - when isn’t there - over what happened to cause the collapse of the Riquelme deal. Some reports say that the club wanted it to go through, but Javier Aguirre vetoed it. Some say the opposite. The Mexican manager himself gives credence to the first theory - “it was a risk”, he admitted on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the fate of Roman is still in the air with the possibility of a deal between Villarreal or Boca Juniors still possible - either that or Yellow Submarine president, Fernando Roig, will have the midfielder flogging programmes outside the Madrigal for the next nine months.

Atletico, instead, stuffed the club fax machine with paper and brought Barcelona’s much maligned, Thiago Motta, into the midfield, and told Peter Luccin to do one and move to Real Zaragoza to join his old team-mate, Gabi.

Getafe finally prized Rubén de la Red from Real Madrid’s clutches and Real Betis brought in the hilariously bad Villarreal striker, José Mari.

Much of the headlines on Saturday were made up of the players clubs failed to get. Espanyol and Deportivo did not manage to land much needed strikers, whilst Athletic Bilbao failed in late attempts to lure Ezquerro from Barcelona - where the forward is probably sitting on quite a nice contract, thank you very much.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007