Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A Tour of Spain

It has been a typically weird and wonderful week for Atletico Madrid. A 2-1 loss in darkest Transylvania on Saturday and their plane running out of fuel somewhere over Vienna, on the way home, combined the two common traits for the club. Unlucky, bordering on the cursed, travel arrangements and the ability to bugger up the most simplist of matches.

"We´re angry as it´s not normal for a side to let in two goals in the first twenty minutes", grumbled a non-plussed Javier Aguirre, reflecting on the foul up. The Mexican may also have mentioned that it was not normal to concede nine goals against Barcelona and Celta Vigo at home - the two defeats that resulted in their Intertoto inspired Romanian rumble.

"In the first half we were dead", admitted Peter Luccin, who picked up his traditional yellow card for a lazy tackle, although the gobbing off at the ref red, did not follow, for once.

Martin Petrov has been punished for the defeat by being shipped off to Manchester City, whilst the club´s whopping debt just got that little bit bigger with the purchase of Simao, from Benfica.

In order to ensure that Atletico pass through to the heady heights of the UEFA Cup qualifying rounds, Diego Forlán and Sergio Aguero have had their holidays postponed and both will be in action against Gloria Bistrita on Saturday night. A failure to win and the first managerial casuality of the new season would not be a great shock.

Members of the Real Madrid badge wearing press that are still lingering in the city, have begun to haul themselves into the upper levels of Bernd Schuster´s arse, where they can expect to remain camped until the German is fired and replaced by Hugo Sanchéz, some time in February.

In a nifty bit of revisionist history, that even Stalin would consider a little tacky, the writers have gasped at the amazing one touch football Schuster plans to use, to dominate the world. And, with it, a brand new formation, called 4-4-2. "Schuster will use two strikers!", gasped AS, handily overlooking the Ruud, Raul, Robinho and Higuaín formation, the supposedly dour Capello often threw out onto the pitch.

Still, the players are happy in their Austrian mountain hide out, with trotting around golf courses on 6km runs and warm up matches against Stoke City to keep them occupied.

Iker Casillas has even found time amongst the strenous work, to have a pop at Barcelona. "Their side reminds me of Real Madrid four years ago", opined the stopper, "they have the names, but Real Madrid have the team". And of course, Guti had to have his say, "Barcelona have the names, we are a team", said the midfielder, reading from his specially prepared cue card.

The still fractious-looking Barcelona have spent the week being photographed with kilt wearing "Scotch" people, as Sport put it, up in St. Andrews and will be hoping and praying - probably pointlessly - that Dundee United won´t be in a mood to boot them around the pitch, during Thursday night´s friendly.

But it is a match that Thierry Henry is set to play in, "I´m not nervous about my debut, but emotional", admitted the French forward.

The player who has been kicked out of the starting line up to make room for the Henry, Etoo and ´dinho trio, is the depressed-looking Deco. And this has kicked off a furious round of rumours that he will heading off to pastures new, sometime soon. "I imagine they are counting on me", shrugged the pint-sized Portuguese.

One man who has been enjoying the traditionally lazy-arsed Catalan training camp, is Eric Abidal, who is enjoying the experience of being spared pesky runs to go on. "Here, we touch the ball from day one", he beamed, sipping his mojito.

The good ship Sevilla has sailed into choppy waters with Juande Ramos yet to sign a new contract deal and complaining that the his team is still "a selling club". An injury to Ernesto Chevantón, has left the team a little short up front and Ramos has been calling for the purchase of a replacement.

"The make up of the squad is soley the responsibiliy of the sporting director", barked José Maria del Nido, who then admitted that "there was nothing new", with the Ramos talks. "It will be difficult to come to an agreement", said the potty president on someone who has foolishly become more important to the club, than himself.

Sevilla´s bad week began with the news that Jesus Navas´ nervous condition continues and the midfielder will not be joining the club on the US tour. And defender and captain, Javi Navarro is set to miss out for two months.

The Andalusian side are going to have to pull themselves together very soon as they move into an August that sees them play a two legged Super Cup match with Real Madrid, a European Super Cup with AC Milan and a Champions League qualifier. And that´s before the proper season starts.

Villarreal are pondering whether to fill their Diego Forlán-sized hole with either Julio Baptista or even serial sulker, Nicolas Anelka, from Bolton.

Getafe are set to flog Dani Guiza to Russian side, Rubin Gazan, for 4.2 million euros, just days after the striker apologised for his end of season strops, that saw him threatening to leave for Mallorca, "a bigger club". "I´m taking this pre season more seriously than the last. And I´ve learned to shut my mouth," confessed the Siberia bound forward a little tardily.

Valencia have had a strangely quiet summer, since the depature of Amedeo Carboni and are celebrating Chelsea´s new tight wad ways, which has enabled them to hang on to David Villa, "I never thought about leaving" and bring in Ivan Helguera from Real Madrid.

Some of the Primera´s finest have been warming up by taking on what appears to be sides made up of nuns and toddlers. Real Murcia banged ten passed Ben Carló, Levante thwacked Naveleno 16-0, Mallorca thrashed Mithesill 10-1 and Villarreal tonked Navata 13-0.

Down in the second division, dirty-tackling Diego Rivas, has been making a great impression on new Real Sociedad boss, Chris Coleman. "I don´t have to prove anything to anyone", boasted Rivas, last week. "Only my wife and my family are important to me".

A stance that didn´t go down well at all with the new Welsh wizard, at the helm. His midfielder was forced to train on his own on a day off. Coleman added that, "I also have a wife and children and I also have an obligation to the club and fans".

And the superbly named Hercules have added to the ever lengthening list of unfortunate advertising campaigns. Their latest campaign features freshly dug graves scattered around their pitch. "Each rival has its own spot at the Rico Perez". Oh dear.


Your Questions Answered!

Do you think we will gradually see the death of the sports newspaper industry in Spain due to the internet? Mundo Deportivo, Marca etc are generally so far behind with gossip in comparison to the 'red', I for one have stopped buying them. (not that they have ever been particularly favourable or informative for Espanyol fans anyway, especially the Esporc)


There will always be a place in Spain for these kind of papers. They just serve the purpose of writing what their fans want to hear, "Barça are great, Real are rubbish, Barça are rubbish, Real are great, etc". In fact, if you believe their blurb, sales appear to be rising, no matter what tosh they print.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Wonderful World of Atleti

A Bit of Business

For a whopping clue as to La Liga Loca's one and only footballing love, click here.

Tall Tales from Transylvania

Like La Liga Loca, were you thinking that Atletico Madrid´s banishing of Fernando Torres and the arrival of Diego Forlán would lead to a brave new world for the rojiblanco´s? Well, you´re wrong. It´s business as usual in the Atletico camp.

The latest tale from the crazy world of the Calderón concerns the club´s Intertoto cup tie with Romanian hell raisers, Gloria Bistrita, this Saturday. The club embarked on their epic journey to darkest Transylvania - of course - by witnessing a man being shot by police on their arrival at Barajas airport. No word on whether it was a grudge-holding Luciano Galletti.

Their charter flight took the Forlán-less footballers to the sprawling metropolis of Cluj, where they stayed overnight. The catch was that the players were only able to take 10 kilos of baggage with them. It is unclear whether this was due to Maniche being a member of the party or the small size of the Romanian runway.

After their fright-filled few hours in vampire country, the team was due to take a lengthy coach ride to their destination, on Friday, across roads that "are frequently crossed by wild animals and tractors", according to AS. So no real difference to an away trip at Celta Vigo, then?

When the side returns safely from the wilderness, they may discover the news that their stadium is on the brink of being sold. Talks are ongoing between city authorities, who themselves are starting the process of reclassifying the land the stadium - in it´s loosest possible definition - is built on, from sporting use to industrial or business use - a very familiar practice in construction crazy Spain. Just ask Real Madrid.

Speaking of their big cheese rivals, Real were forced to publish a forthright denial that they have had talks with Andrés Iniesta and his people, after reports published in Thursday's Marca that such thing had happened. "And?" replied the paper the following day, pointing that Ramon Calderón and his cohorts, have also issued denials, in the past, that they were thinking of sacking Capello, talking to Schuster, dealing with Saviola and that Beckham was leaving.

Still not too much news for Barcelona barmy Sport to report on, aside from the arrival of Gaby Milito. "We want players like this who are leaders", beamed Joan Laporta as he tapped the knackered knees of his latest acquisition.

In between the new word puzzle section the paper has started producing, (Clue - Useless sod who we can´t get rid off. Answer - TH--G- M-T-A), Sport has been boasting how Thierry Henry and Abidal have started training three days ahead of the rest of the squad. Considering their season finished about eight months before the Spanish campaign, one would hope that the work-shy fops are out doing a bit of running.

It is unlikely that the paper will be holding a sweepstake to see how late Ronaldinho and Deco will be rolling in from their holidays to test the supposed new regime of pain and punishment.

Athletic Bilbao´s new hardcore, three times a day training programme has kicked off, under the gaze of Joaquín "Jokin" Caparrós. "At first it was a bit tough getting up in the morning", wheezed Javier Casas, as he tried to put a brave face on knowing what 99 percent of the planet feels like, for the first time in his life. Joining his Basque buddies on endless hill runs will be super defender, David Cuéllar from Nastic. Oh dear.

Real Zaragoza presented their new purchase, Real Madrid legend, Francisco Pavón - in the "kicked onto the pitch for three seconds with a blanket over his head and then ushered out by the back door" sense of the word 'presented'. Strangely, it was similar option chosen by Real Murcia who unveiled their very own Real Madrid legend, Alvaro Mejía, to a couple of seagulls and a crisp packet.

Villarreal are still steaming mad over the sudden defection of Ayala to Zaragoza. "He´s a disgrace", fumed Josico on the player who handed over six million euros of free cash to the club. Meanwhile the hunt for the new Forlán is still ongoing, but the club aren´t in any great hurry says manager, Pellegrini, "We´ve still got forty days".

Espanyol turned their back for two seconds to find that Walter "the rifle" Pandiani has decided to move up the road to Pamplona, to Osasuna, where he will play for the next three seasons. In return, Espanyol will receive 1.8 million euros, two thirds of what they have paid for Serbian midfielder, Milan Smiljanic - who prefers to be known as "Lola". Big girl´s blouse.


Your questions, answered !

I've been monitoring Barcelona's new signings with interest and noticed
that Rijkaard is never present when they are unveiled or interviewed.
Is this the norm is Spain? I notice that Txixi is always there,
whereas we (in England) are used to seeing the manager unveiling the player, holding his shirt up and being there at the press conference.


A combination of holidays for the manager and presidents loving to get their big fat faces in the papers whenever they can - La Liga Loca

Now that madrid have signed Pepe, Metzelder and already have Cannavaro and Ramos,what will be the starting pair at centre back next seaon ? will Pepe be used as a full back ?

I have a sneaky feeling that Pepe and Cannavaro will be the starting centrebacks, with Ramos and Torres playing as full backs - La Liga Loca


All blog content, copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Will the Bernabeu Have its Brain?

Bernd Schuster has a problem. The German is looking for a brain. Not for himself, mind, but for his team. Apparently Fernando Gago's isn't big enough and if you get close enough to Guti's peroxide-damaged skull, you can actually hear the sea.

So the German has despatched Pedja Mijatovic with a set of Easyjet vouchers and his cheque book to track down and snare a big cheese who will boss his new midfield.

With Cesc Fabregas' eyes set on a move back to Barcelona, Real Madrid's sights are now fixed on Ajax's Wesley Sneijder - the man who spelled the end of the eternally fractious relationship between Quique and Carboni, over at Valencia.

Calderón has promised more summer splurges on the transfer market and left wingers Arjen Robben, Roysten Drenthe and José Antonio Reyes all look good bets to be brought in by the end of the week. And that sound of sobbing, you may hear, is left out left back Marcelo, seeing his once promising career going up the swanny.

Barcelona's Joan 'Joan' Laporta has declared that "Eto'o is not for sale", to all his potential suitors. However, Ronaldinho may be, after the mischievous Madrid press reported that the Barça board wanted the Brazilian to be taken off the club captain rosta - something that Laporta later denied in between buffet rounds.

Meanwhile, Ludovic Giuly, has packed up his teeny tiny napsack and headed across the Med to join Roma.

With Fernando Torres having started his Liverpool career as he left his Atletico one - by missing sitters - the club have chosen a new club captain. And it's wild man of mayhem, Maniche. Only kidding. It's Maxi.

And on a busy day down at the Vicente Calderón, the club also unveiled a tired looking Diego Forlán to the press. "I'm tired" confirmed the Uruguayan marksman who said that he was coming to the club "to enjoy myself". Probably the only person in the stadium who can claim that.

Plucky relegation certainties Almeria have signed Real Madrid Castilla striker, Alvaro Negredo till 2012 - a man whose lack of goal scoring prowess managed to get his team relegated to the depths of the Spanish lower league, last season.

And plucky relegation certainties, Real Murcia, have unveiled former Valencia part timer Mario Regueiro, along with a couple of other players that no one has ever heard off.

The nearly inpronouncable when tipsy, Valladolid, have gone back to work with only one new signing under their belt, the truly hopeless former Valencia 'keeper Ludovic Butelle.

Valencia have stuck full backs, Asier del Horno and Curro Torres on Ebay and are looking to U21 Nigerian defender, Tuyo Taiwo to replace them.

Getafe have presented Michael Laudrup as their new coach, but are still umming and ahhing over the purchase of Rommendahl, who seems dead set on a move to the Spanish capital - "it's an attractive idea and I really don't want to play in the second division with Charlton", confessed the dithering Dane.


All Hail Pablo Garcia

In Monday's piece, you (may have chosen to) neglect to mention that Murcia's new loan signing, Pablo Garcia, was the Uruguayan player who missed the penalty that would have put Brazil out of the Copa America last week. I didn't like him last year with Real Madrid (for reasons you haven't so much alluded to as described quite accurately), and I bloody dislike him even more now.

iPobre Murcia!



All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Monday, July 16, 2007

Money for Nothing for Villarreal

La Liga Loca returned from the very excellent Summercase festival having learned three new things. The Flaming Lips may have twenty Santas dancing on stage but it can't disguise only having two decent tunes. The Arcade Fire may be the best thing on the planet at the moment. And The Gossip will be soon.

But on returning to the world of Spanish football, the blog also discovered that own goal specialist, Roberto Ayala, is now on the brink of becoming a Real Zaragoza player, despite having only just joined Villarreal on a freebie from Valencia.

The Argentinean antagonist has decided that he doesn´t fancy joining up with the Yellow Submarines, after all, and has stumped up 6 million euros to buy himself out of his freshly signed contract, to join Real Zaragoza to be the new Gaby Milito - or the old one, considering the centre back is definitely the wrong side of thirty.

There has been no comment from the Villarreal camp but the club´s fans are certainly not happy Iberian bunnies - "he has defrauded us", grumbled one, failing to comprehend that Ayala is, in actual fact, handing over a significant amount of cash to a club be never kicked a ball for.

Athletic Bilbao are now in new hands after a presidential election over the weekend, which saw a bunch of lawyers in suits paraded in front of the cameras giving a decent impression of having never set foot in a football stadium in their lives. "It simply means that the lawyers of Bilbao are very multi-faceted", claimed one candidate - and eventual winner, Fernando García Macua.

His first move was to appoint Joaquín Caparrós to the post of manager. The former Deportivo boss, who still looks like he hasn´t had a decent night´s sleep for decades, is set to impose a gruelling pre-season schedule involving three training sessions a day - at 7.30, 11.30 and 7. One player who will be enjoying this fun new life style is old boy, Aitor Ocio, who signs from Sevilla.

Weather seems to be on the mind of some of La Primera´s prima donnas. Arsenal winger, José Antonio Reyes has vowed to remain in the Spanish capital after complaining yet again about the English weather. "The rain was one of the main reasons I didn´t adapt to the country well", grumbled Reyes.

But it is the sun that is tempting on loan Villarreal striker, Tomasson, to make his deal with his club permanent, "I´m quite happy here" hicupped the Dane, "I like the weather, the food, the wine..."

Valencia have announced that Miguel Ruiz as their next Carboni. And the new boy has started by having a pop at Real Madrid's Pepe pay off, "no one is worth 30 million, but the market is like that".

Sevilla have taken Boulharouz on loan from Chelsea after a less than scintillating campaign with the Blues. But that has not stopped José Maria del Nido showing off his new acquisition with some gusto, "He wanted a step up in his career," boasted the pint-sized president, "he has gone from the second best team in the world, to the best". Quite.

New boys, Real Murcia, have landed themselves the rather handy purchase of nutcase midfielder, Pablo Garcia, who has joined the club from Real Madrid, via Celta Vigo. The Uruguyuan is set for another season of sendings off and swearing.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Getafe Are Crucified

A Cross to Bear

La Liga Loca thought that La Sexta's reanimated corpses, "try not to die before el classico" tv spots could never be beaten for sheer lunacy. But La Liga Loca was wrong. Step forward Getafe and their new media campaign aimed at attracting new members to the club.

The theme of their penny-chasing publicity riff is a familiar concept - death - and features images of Jesus dying on the cross, getting poked in the ribs by spears and also scenes of French firecracker, Joan of Arc, about to be torched by some unsympathetic Englishmen,

The strap line along the bottom of these pictures reads - "If you are going to sacrifice yourself, do it for Getafe". Unsurprisingly, this has caused an ecclesiastical kerfuffle in Catholic Spain and the lccal archbishop has called on the club to pull the campaign from the airwaves because of the "distress to the population of the town".

Ideally, some kind of Viking motive should have been used, instead, as that is the current theme of the club. Michael Laudrup's first big signing is set to be the former Charlton waste of space, Dennis Rommedahl. This follows in the shoes of the purchase of 'the new el Pato', Oscar Ustari from Independiente - a man who definitely needs a new nickname.

Real Madrid's bold new attacking vision was underlined by the signing of yet another defender. This time Ramon Calderón is writing a big fat cheque for 30 million euros to bring in the almost unknown centre back, Pepe, from Porto.

Marca now reports that Cannavaro will be flogged to Juve for 6 million euros and Helguera will be heading for the riches of England and the Real Madrid retirement home that is Bolton. Roberto Soldado has signed up for four seasons of bench warming, especially since Javier Saviola is set to be unveiled on Friday.

AC Milan are said to be preparing an earth-shaking 100 million billion euro offer for Ronaldinnho - one that surely cannot be refused by the Catalan club, now that they have a handy replacement in Thierry Henry. Some of that cash will be needed to replace the 17 million spunked on Zaragoza defender, Gaby Milito.

One man needing a brief history lesson is Coloccini's agent. The Mr 25% of the Deportivo defender says that the permed protagonist should be allowed to leave the club immediately, despite the whole messy business of the Argentinean having signed a contract a few years back. "Slavery was abolished some time ago", wailed the dodgy dealer.

Webo is another player to leave the good ship Osasuna and will be missing sitters over at Mallorca for the next five years. Atletico Madrid are in the hunt for a new captain now that Fernando Torres has said his farewells.

Meanwhile Javier Aguirre is already grumbling now his side are already back in pre season training, due to their imminent Intertoto duties - "this is not ideal but it is our fault", shrugged the Mexican manager.



The Barcelona Gospel According to Espanyol

1)Thou must CHEAT, on and off the pitch.

2)Thou must Whine incessantly when things don't go your way. HI leo

3)Thou must NOT give credit to others when beaten.

4)Thou must be shite at maths (95,000 seat er stadium,156,000 season ticket holders?). Discuss

5)Thou must appear to outside world to be classy, but then allow any old piece of tat to have your name on it( Barça Fridge?, It is made by SMEG.....) insert own joke...................

6)Thou must Believe in conspiracy theories, but never complain when they involve you playing illegal players, avoiding having the stadium closed, The president of Federation is your puppet..etc

7)Thou must overlook the total contempt some players have for the club by constantly idolizing them whilst crucifying those that are totally dedicated.

8)Thou must constantly shout from the rooftops the merits of all junior players before selling them to Arsenal,Man Utd..etc.

9)Thou must make all players learn Catalan,but only if they are from The Cameroon. Exceptions allowed----Cruyff,Rivaldo,Ronaldinho,Messi,Henry

10)(Except Rijkaard)Thou must talk utter bollocks at all times and show a total lack of Knowledge about every other team.

Paul, Barcelona


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Schuster Sets Sail on Ship of Fools

Right Man, Wrong Time

Alfredo di Stefano had been brought out of cryogenic suspension. Pedja Mijatovic's hair was newly slicked. And some seen it all hacks had been dragged from their bars to the Bernabeu. It could mean only one thing. The now annual summertime unveiling of a brand new manager for Real Madrid.

As everyone knows by now, the sixtieth manager this decade for the Castellana catastrophe is big Bernd Schuster, former manager of Xerez, Shaktar Donetsk (sacked), Levante (sacked) and Getafe. And with a managerial pedigree like that, Bernd, like the rest of the world no doubt, was wondering why it took Real Madrid so long to come knocking at his German door.

"It has been a long wait. But this is an important step for me and for my career", announced Schuster. And Bernd is promising action packed, fun filled festivals of football at the Bernabeu, next season, as well as more titles than the House of Lords tea room.

The softie side of La Liga Loca is a bit of a fan of Schuster and wishes him well. It also liked Fabio Capello, mind. However, this blog feels that a Deportivo sized step up, might have been a wiser move for the jumping German, before leaping into the shark pool that the clot-headed Calderón has built at the Bernabeu.

Unfortunately, the future looks all too predictable and as one English journo predicted on Monday - "put your money on Hugo Sanchez being manager in February".

La Liga Loca's uncharacteristic optimism for Atletico Madrid's future is not shared by the ever-entertaining rojiblanco writer in AS, Iñaki Díaz-Guerra. The long suffering Spaniard writes that Atletico are still missing a Riquelme style 'brain' to run the show, "They just don't get it. They're like Doctor Frankenstein, creating an artificial man. Two arms, two legs, capable of running and fighting, but the intelligence of a lemming, always on course for throwing themselves off a cliff". Oh dear.

Barcelona and money are the common themes in the Madrid press, this week. Marca points out that should Milito jump ship to the Camp Nou, then Barça will have the most expensively assembled side in the Primera. Interestingly, AS points out that the club have only sold two players in the last three years - and no prizes will be awarded for anyone who writes in and names them.

Over in Catalonia, hugger all is the main theme in the Barcelona press. With all the major signings done and little chance of anything juicy taking place until the side head off to Scotland for their pre-season, the likes of Sport have been resorting to dribbling over how wonderful the new Fantastic Four will be. And flogging towels.

Osasuna manager, Ziganda has been given a Fair Play award for his supposed praise of a referee who sent off four of his players in a match against Atletico. "Phenomenal", said Ziganda of the card waving man in the middle. 'My arse!' says La Liga Loca.

This blog is a bit of an expert at sarcasm and sneering - possibly the world's greatest - and La Liga Loca was at that particular press conference when the Osasuna coach supposedly praised the ref to the high heavens. Ziganda was literally saying the words through clenched teeth whilst a glass shattered in his tightening grip. Well, nearly shattered. If that wasn't sarcasm, then Maxi-Lopez is Pele.

Sevilla are still having containment issues with Freddie Kanouté's ego. "I want more money", demanded the Malian maverick on Sky Sports. And the mighty Portsmouth might be the ones to give it to him. Meanwhile the club are preparing for his departure and are on the brink of signing the 'new Drogba', Bafetimbi Gomes from St. Etienne.

Villarreal are in talks with Stuttgart to make John Dahl Tomasson's move permanent. And there is a Danish invasion of Getafe with former Brondby boss Michael Laudrup and his team, taking of the side.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Atletico Madrid in Quite Good Shocker?

You can't say Pharaoh than that

It could be down to the heat, the unending din of the city and the lack of sleep resulting from the first two problems, but La Liga Loca is starting to believe that Atletico Madrid might actually be quite good, next season.

Of course, this is up there with the “I fancy Spain to do well in the World Cup, EuroCopa, Tiddlywinks” prediction that always goes tits up, but something does feel different, this time around.

The impact of the departure of the Fernando Torres has been softened by the arrival of the always excellent Diego Forlán. The midfield has been bolstered by the signing of Raul Garcia from Osasuna and the pocket rocket, Luis Garcia. And they have managed to get rid of Galletti. All Javier Aguirre needs to do now is invent a ‘Fly’ style, genetic mixer, bundle Ze Castro, Perea and Pablo into it and hope something resembling a centre back steps out.

Still, this rare burst of rojiblanco-directed optimism has not been shared by 2,900 of the ‘socios’ who have failed to renew their season tickets, after a year of Groundhog Day performances against the likes of Celta Vigo.

Up on the hill in the Gotham Asylum, Ramon Calderón gave a very good impression of a man going through the motions of losing his marbles, in an interview in Sunday’s El Pais. “My phones have been interfered with and people have spied on me”, gibbered the Real Madrid head honcho, “companies have been investigating me”, continued Calderón as the hack attempted to coax him from the cupboard.

The perplexed president then went on to defend his decision to sack Fabio Capello by blaming apparent media pressure and the Italian’s desire to sign more defenders, “he insisted on buying Makele and renewing Roberto Carlos’ contract”, complained Calderón, neatly overlooking the fact that Mijatovic has just signed one centre back, Metzhelder and is trying to buy another one, Chivu.

In complete contrast, Barcelona have been trundling along quite nicely over the summer. The three tasty new signings along with the imminent arrival of Gabi Milito, have given the Catalan camp many reasons to be cheerful, next season. Over in the offices of Sport, the art department has gone a little doolally, by featuring a mock up of Frank Rijkaard as Moses on the cover, complete with beard, to announce the new 10 Commandments of the club.

Joan Laporta has been pictured as a rather camp looking Pharaoh, rather than God, a more biblically logical choice – but perhaps a step to far, even for the Catalan-loving comic.

The new 10 commandants designed to bring a bit of discipline back to the Camp Nou, feature ground breaking rules such as insisting that players arrive at training on time, get to the team bus on time and generally do what they are told. The first test of the new regime should be in July, when Deco and Ronaldinho wander back from their holidays, a week late.

Racing Santander have been trying to attract new season ticket holders using advertisements featuring Spanish crooner, David Bustamente. For those unfamiliar with the singer, it’s like a restaurant hanging a jar of rat turds from its door, to attract customers in.

Real Zaragoza are replacing the Stuttgart bound striker, Ewerthon, with former Betis forward, Ricardo Oliveira. The Brazilian comes on loan from AC Milan and will form what could be quite a handy partnership with Diego Milito.

Election excitement is building in Bilbao with a presidential poll about to be held. The rival candidates have been putting forward their proposed managers, to take over the side, should they be victorious. Garcia Macau has Joáquin Caparrós fronting his campaign, whilst Javier Gonzalez is opting for Vicente del Bosque, “he has the best cv out of anyone who has managed here”, he trumpeted.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Will Real Madrid Get Their Fingers Bernd?

If you were to believe the press here in Spain – which is up there with suggesting that Spanish food is salty, as foolish things to do – Real Madrid are more than willing to mortgage their house, children and grandmothers to bring Kaka to the Spanish capital. But, strangely, they are unwilling to fork out a measly 480,000 euros to bring burly Bernd Schuster to the club.

480,000 euros is the exact figure that is standing between Schuster being released from his Getafe contract and the giant German taking over at the Madrid mad house. It is also a figure about thirty times smaller than the amount of money Calderón will have to fork out to bin Capello and his championship winning cronies.

The big problem is that neither side are up for paying this trifling sum – something that Getafe president, Angel Torres, is quite rightly demanding, before he plays ball. There is talk of the matter being resolved some time next week – but that was the message, last week… and the one before that.

Marca, in a rare show of rebellion, has had a pop at Calderón for being ‘over bearing and arrogant’ in his negotiating tactics with his neighbours and has suggested that it might be wise for the club to start its preseason with a manager at the helm.

However, the lack of head honcho hasn’t stopped the transfer activity for the Bernabéu billionaires. The Romanian from Roma, Chivu, looks set to be the next big import for 18 million euros, although there is a bit of bargaining to be done with his agent over his fat cat salary.

He will join Metzhelder as the second centre back that the club is signing – potentially bad news for Ivan Helguera who recently grumbled that “I expect to play, next season, I only ask to be treated the same as everyone else”.

Helguera also poo-pooed the idea that Madrid need to play in a fancy pants style, as Calderón was insisting, “under Carlos Quieroz, we put on a show, but we didn’t win anything”, sniffed the centre back from Santander, talking himself out of the starting line up.

He may well be joined on the bench next season by Javier Saviola, who is expected to do the dirty deed and make the move to Madrid from Barcelona. Pig’s heads will be at the ready for next season’s ‘classico’.

Those Atletico fans capable of reading anything more complex than AS, will have been disappointed to note in El Pais, that there will be little or no windfall from the Fernando Torres cash. The money will instead be swallowed up by paying of some of the club’s 180 million euro debt that Cerezo and co have been carefully being racking up. That debt got that little bit bigger, this week, when the club sealed the deal on the 6 million euro move for midfielder, Cléber Santana.

Barcelona are still desperately trying to flog Maxi-Lopez – a tricky task. Indeed. Despite a wig and re-spray, current suitors Sporting Lisbon are not yet impressed enough to pay cold hard cash for the misfiring marksman.

Rent a quote, Samuel Eto’o, has given his backing to the Ronaldinho targeted new reign of terror being imposed by Joan Laporta. The Cameroonian merely noted that it is about a season too late – “it’s strange that there are no internal rules at the club”, opined Eto’o.

Messi is still whining away about the end of season climax which saw Real grab the title on their superior head to head record against Barcelona. “A play off should have decided the league”, said Messi neatly forgetting that it was his cheaty handball against Espanyol that meant the two teams ended up tied on points, in the first place.

Unlike Real Madrid, Getafe have moved quickly to fill their managerial vacancy, once Schuster packs up his lederhosen and heads up the road. The great Dane, Michael Laudrup will be taking over at the Coliseum.

There was a fair amount of confusion down at Recreativo, over their managerial hole that needed filling. Flying Frenchman, Jacques Santini, fleetingly held the reins for a while, before the Huelvans finally settled on former Zaragoza and Panathanikos boss, Victor Muñoz as their big chief.

Valencia have constructed giant ‘for sale’ signs on the heads of Asier del Horno and David Navarro, Juve are sniffing around Deportivo’s Andrade and Villarreal have signed the new Makele, Rio Antonio Mavuba, from Bordeaux. And it is a move that has certainly got Robert Pires’ juices flowing, “we going for the league”, panted the Frenchman who admitted that he has been checking out the Villarreal website every day, whilst on his hols.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Monday, July 02, 2007

Everything Must Go At Barça

If you happen to be passing by the Camp Nou this week, you may well find Frank Rijkaard slumped in a deck chair, munching from a box of ham and cheese sandwiches. You see, Barcelona are having a car boot sale to rid themselves of their old cast off’s, now they have bought themselves some shiny new players in Henry, Abidal and Touré.

Amongst those to be perched on fold-up table and poked by doddering, fish paste smelling pensioners – and Sam Allardyce - are expected to be Motta, Belletti, Edmilson and Maxi Lopez.

Gio has already been palmed off on a freebie to Feyenoord – and that is precisely the same kind of deal that Motta is looking for. However the Barcelona bigwigs reckon that the Brazilian is still worth a bit of cash, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

The reason for this pecuniary persuasion is that the cash-splashing is not yet over in the Catalan camp. The club is still on the hunt for a centre back and is currently involved in a love triangle for Roma’s Romanian stopper, Chivu. If they fail the land this particular defensive fish, then Barcelona are expected to move for Gabi Milito from Zaragoza.

However, this is exactly the same cunning plan being dreamed up by Real Madrid, although no one is entirely sure what is going on up in the Gotham City Asylum. The club has yet to nab Bernd Schuster from Getafe, as Real are refusing to make a formal approach to the Madrid minnows for his release.

The trouble is that Schuster is refusing to resign, until he has the agreement from club president, Angel Torres that he will still get a 400,000 euro pay off. Unsurprisingly, Torres has told the Teutonic titan to spin on it.

There is more action over at Intertoto heavyweights, Atletico Madrid. With Fernando Torres about to depart to Scouseland, the rojiblancos have made the uncharacteristically smart move of bringing in Villarreal’s Diego Forlán for 21 million euros and four seasons.

With the gaping hole – well, pinprick – left by the departure of Galletti to Olympiacos, Atletico are on the brink of bringing in Liverpool’s tiny terror, Luis Garcia – another surprisingly good move from the normally calamitous club.

This activity comes a week after the club decided that the six-goal conceding Pichu was not the water tight back up to Leo Franco that they wanted and purchased Christian Abbiati from AC Milan. “I’ve come here to play”, said the ‘keeper reassuringly.

Villarreal are looking to replace the departing Forlán with Espanyol’s Raul Tamudo – although over the dead body of their VP, it seems, “if we want to be a big side, then we cannot sell players” huffed, Sebastián Javier.

Real Betis have picked Héctor Cúper as the poor sod that will be managing the club next season – correction; that should read, ‘exciting manager to lead the club into the Champions League’. After the announcement was made, a very pleased with himself Betis big wig, declared that the “most supporters still want me here”. Betis have also purchased a new striker – Mariano Pavone – from Estudiantes. The man known as ‘the Tank’ arrives on a 7 million euro deal.

Levante’s misfiring attacker, Kapo, has buggered off to Birmingham for 4.3 million euros and Zaragoza announced that they will be abandoning La Romareda in May 2008, for one, year, whilst the ground is given a new lick of paint.

Real Mallorca have decided that their smartest move this summer would be to flog top scorer, Bosko Jankovic. And that’s exactly what they’ve done. The Serbian is on his way to Palermo for 6 million euros – four million of which may be invested in occasional Real Madrid centre back, Mejía.


What are the hirings and firings you want in your club, this summer? Just click on comments or email laligaloca@yahoo.co.uk, for your say.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca 2007

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Quotes of the Week

"Capello never came to me to say, 'sorry David, I was
wrong'" - says LA Galaxy's one footed wonder, David
Beckham, as he reflects on his tiffette with the ex
Real Madrid manager.

"When we saw that we couldn't win, we put on a
strategy to raise the matter to the courts“ - the
recorded voice of an alleged Ramon Calderon minion on
a Spanish TV documentary. A show which made
allegations, that the current Real Madrid president
was the one to sow the seeds of postal vote doubt
during last summer's presidential vote. Allegedly.

"He's expensive, old, prone to injuries and a
'galactico'“ - A writer for Barcelona's Sport
comments on the Thierry Henry signing - shortly before
he was thrown from the office window by security.

"I remember a game in Manchester, I said to him in my
pathetic English, ˜come to Madrid, you'll have fun'" -
Roberto Carlos on his chat with David Beckham. It's
amazing they ever become friends, with advice like

"I am Alexis and Ayala is Ayala“ - New Valencia
signing, Alexis passes the Mestalla psyche test with
flying colours to cement his move from Getafe.

"With the current situation at Betis, I couldn't see
how I could change the team" - Marcelino on why he
turned down the wonderful chance to work with Manuel
Ruiz de Lopera.

"I came here to win titles, not have a personal battle
with others" - Quique Sanchez Flores managed at least
one of his goals as he reflected on his endless spat
with the now departed Amedeo Carboni.

"One more year with Capello on the bench and there
would have been suicides from the Real Madrid fans" -
Manolo Lama writing in AS feels sorry for all those
fans who had to sit through apparently tedious matches
like Espanyol, Valencia, Sevilla, Mallorca...

"He follows the tradition of great foreign coaches who
have given us great results" - Real Sociedad on their
choice of ex Fulham boss, Chris Coleman, as their
Welsh wizard for next season.

"We had great players, but we lacked team spirit" -
complains Pedja Mijatovic, neatly forgetting the
dropping of Beckham and Cassano and the whole 'they
are all uneducated mercenaries' speech by his boss.

"I'm tired of this story" AC Milan's Berlusconi is
not the only one bored to tears with the Kaka to Real
Madrid soap opera.


To Skyzoomer

Surely this guy missed out on the opportunity of a
lifetime with the Capello thing

Exit music
I might be wrong
Knives out
There There
in limbo
how to disappear completely.
no surprises
bullet proof....i wish i was

i can do it if want.

p.s. Have you noticed the great divide in this city?
They sign Thierry Henry; we sign a Bloke who looks
like Thierry Henry. Cool.

Paul, Barcelona


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca 2007