Friday, November 30, 2007

The Bumper Weekend Preview


Almeria (14th) v Sevilla (10th)

Enjoying your trips to the Sánchez Pizjuán? Well, enjoy them while they last, as soon you will be eating your bird food in the Sánchez Pizjuán Burger King Arena. Or something. Club president, del Nido, has taken note of the 100 million quid Arsenal got for whoring their stadium name to an airline company and decided that he fancies a bit of the loot, too. But in order not to mess with tradition, the Sánchez Pizjuán title will remain - but with a sponsor's name jammed onto the end. Away win.

Real Madrid (1st) v Racing Santander (7th)

We learned a lot about Bernd Schuster, this week. He is apparently Germany's answer to Tim Westwood, by confessing to liking hip-hop before everyone else in Europe. La Liga Loca will test this claim one day by asking if he has Eric B and Rakim's seminal work 'Paid in Full' in his collection. If not, he is one dope mutha.

The German also drives a Hummer, "I like big cars," and he hates losing - something his team have been doing a lot of recently. "It is the worst day of my life when we do."

"We made it easy for them," thundered Bernd after their latest defeat, this time against Werder Bremen. "Especially Marcelo. T*sser," he failed to add.

A big thank you to 'man of the people', Ramon Calderón, who saw that his poorly, inexpensively-assembled squad were all tiredy wiredy and asked the league to move Saturday's Racing match to Sunday thus screwing his own fans, the 1,200 visiting supporters and the opposition. Luckily the league told him to go spin on it. Draw.

Espanyol (4th) v Barcelona (3rd)

With both Eto'o and Henry crocked, Barcelona's attack is reduced to man who cannot be arsed - Ronaldinho, a youngster on a YTS scheme - Bojan and a player needing a step ladder whenever he wants to buy porn - Messi.

Should any more of their players get injured against Espanyol, then they will get very little sympathy from the home side, who have warned that they will not be booting the ball out, should an opposition player collapse dramatically to the ground. Yes, you Giovani.

This is the away game where we are going to see the 'going out from the beginning to win' Barcelona, according to Xavi. The words 'see' 'to' 'believe' spring to mind. Draw.


Valladolid (15th) v Villarreal (2nd)

A player that La Liga Loca could have told Valladolid was rubbish has been on the receiving end of some criticism, this week. The man in question is Ludicrous Butelle - a one man French farce. The gaffe-ridden goalie has seen 26 goals whizz past his head, this season, only one less than Levante.

But he still has the backing of his teammates - at least one of them, anyway. "I hope he is supported from beginning to the end," declared Victor, a striker currently working his booty off to cover up his colleague's blunders. Away win.

Getafe (11th) v Levante (20th)

UEFA cup losers - "I can't take anything positive from that game" (Michael Laudrup) v's 'in form' Levante. 'In form' you may scoff? Indeed. Three wins from four is the current Levante record. All be it one win against Betis and two against Almeria. Home win.

Recreativo (18th) v Zaragoza (9th)

If you are on the hunt for a man filled with the Corinthian values of sportsmanship, fair play and jolly hockey sticks, then you wouldn't normally knock at the door of Zaragoza midfielder, Andrés d'Alessandro.

Getafe's el Pato found that out to his cost, last weekend, when the Argentinean took advantage of the keeper having a chat with the man in the middle to plop a free kick into an empty net.

"The referee blew his whistle and I shot. It's easier when the goalkeeper isn't there," shrugged the 14 year old hotshot.

Deportivo (16th) v Osasuna (17th)

Due to the fall out from the whole Enron business, there are a lot of out of work accountants knocking around the globe at the moment. They should head to La Coruña, as club president, Lendoiro is looking for an auditor to sign off his books as his last one refused to do so. Alternatively, he may want to bring in the one who works at Betis.

AS reports that a previous auditor took the club to court when they allegedly forged his signature. La Liga Loca was unaware that was illegal, in Spain. Home win.

Mallorca (9th) v Murcia (13th)

Aside from Pablo Garcia still being injured and Mallorca considering signing Greg Manzano till 2009, bugger all happened at these two clubs, this week. They should be ashamed of themselves. Home win.

Betis (19th) v Atletico Madrid (5th)

Ever wondered what it is like to defend against Atletico's titanic trio of Forlan, Kun and Maxi? La Liga Loca found out on Thursday when probing Aberdeen defender and all round top fella, Richie Byrne, after their UEFA cup match.

"It's their movement, it's amazing. They really are sharp. They wait and wait and then they're gone. You can see them and you know what they are going to do," said the Irish full back.

And if he could only choose one for his team? After some contemplation the answer was Maxi, "He's classy, he's good on the ball. He's very clever. He can pass and he can score. He has the lot." "Motta was excellent," he added.

A special mention to AS writer, Vicente Carreño. "Aberdeen are a small team. They are primitive," he wrote on Friday. A-Hole. 'Tis true that they may not be able to blow 70 million euros on players, every summer, but at least they don't pay annual tribute to Jesus Gil, one of the most unpleasant men to have ever waddled on this earth.

Valencia (lowly 6th) v Athletic (12th)

Since sacking Quique, Valencia have dropped down the league, blown their European chances and have seen their crowd numbers plummet. How d'ya like them apples, Soler? Away win.

Worth Watching - If you like your Spanish footie, then a show on Real Madrid tv, repeated on Saturday is worth catching - called 'the Match'. Like a Spanish Footie Focus, but better. On every week.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Quotes of the Week

"I call for applause for all women, as they are very important in the lives of men" - 'Women, know your limits!' says Ramon Calderón, as he thanks the fairer sex for making dinner and doing the ironing.

"I see a tremendous hunger in the dressing room" - Yet again, Maniche polishes off the Atlético buffet before the portly player's teammates can get to it.

"There are people who earn 800 or 1000 euros a month who take the bread from their children to buy their tickets" - Prospective Levante buyer, Bayram Tutumlu, disses current president, Pedro Villarroel, for calling the fans 'morons'. La Liga Loca is more concerned that people are apparently starving their offspring to death just to watch Levante.

"If you or anyone else speaks out, you will get nothing" - Just so the players aren't feeling left out, Villarroel then sent this SMS to the club's captains.

"A lot of people are knocking at the door" - Betis bigwig, Manuel Ruis de Lopera, is either talking about bailiffs or those wanting to buy his stake in the club. Or maybe both.

"We feel more comfortable than we did before" - Deportivo's, Manuel Pablo, speaking days before feeling considerably less so, when he had to duck out of the match to drop the kids off at the pool. "I couldn't hold it in any longer," he confessed.

"Just a few words to congratulate you on your Gala, it was so wonderful!" - Stomach churning reader's letter published in AS after their 25 page 'Noche de Ases' vomit fest.

"He's done a great job and he keeps on doing it" - Raul is full of big man love for Frank Rijkaard. Or taking the pee.

"Are we going to keep thinking England is the land of Fair Play?" - Marca editorial and probably the only paper to report the highly dodgy Schuster to England story. And continuing to do so.

"Daddy! That's not Iker!" - terrified child seeing Casillas' Bodysnatchers-esque lookalike in Madrid's House of Wax.

"He's responsible, mature with a great capacity for analysis and clear thinking" - Joan Laporta on his appointment of club suit, Marc Ingla, as his new Sporting VP. Ingla was the former Marketing VP - a man sure to win the players' respect.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Monday's Good Day, Bad Day - Round 13

Good Day

Racing Santander

They may a little bleak to watch, but by humbug are they effective. Less goals scored than Betis, but a defence that Pele, Maradona and Steve Whitton in their prime, could not crack.

"They only gave us half a chance. I'm happy," commented the minimalist Marcelino on the 1-0 win over Valencia, that puts them into 7th spot, just one behind the multi million pound losers they played on Sunday.


"Nine unbeaten! A Champions League spot! Valdo on crazy runs! Have Espanyol made a pact with the devil? Let's find out from Paul from Barcelona who was at the 1-2 win at a chilly Osasuna.

A 4 hour Drive to "Running with the Bulls" city Pamplona (actually we were "Running away from The Bull" of Bojan's "Wonder Goal" Thank you Mundo Deportivo) is not the most exciting but Espanyol's 9 match unbeaten run is.

They played very well today especially in the first half. A well worked team goal saw us go ahead with a fine finish from Angel. This kid is going to be a really good player for us. He's one of our unsung Youth team Discoveries..Unsung means you don't put a load of superlatives before their names Barça fans.

Then something incredible happened, Valdo, who had created the first goal, scored with a fantastic individual goal. A great one-two,then he turned Puñal inside out (Would that make him Lañup ?) before blasting the ball into the net against his old team. If he played like this every week even i would get off his case.

Osasuna came out fighting and Vela made a big difference for them. Like a moth to a candle flame (lame Spanish Joke) he went for Espanyol's goal.

Vela "sailed" past a defender to cross for an unmarked Portillo to head home.
After that Espanyol were hanging on and thanks, yet again, to Kameni they held on.

Overall, the better team won but maybe a draw would have been fairer.

Osasuna have problems. Normally they are very strong at home and they need to start picking up points quickly. I think they will survive. Good atmosphere as always in the stadium.

So bring 'em next Saturday. If we beat them we go above them in the league..Yes Boys and Girls it's Derby time"

Paul, Barcelona

Fernando Varela

La Liga Loca
wants what Mallorca's roasting - in the footballing sense - right midfielder is on. After his rocket against Real Madrid, a fortnight ago, Varela scored a screamer against Sevilla to seal their 1-2 victory. And to make the night even more memorable, the former Betico got himself sent off, as well. Great stuff.

Atlético Madrid

Wonderful, wonderful, Atlético Madrid. Just click here to read all about it.


Players unpaid, 'star' striker suspended, president threatening his staff and insulting the fans. Of course, Levante came back from 2-0 down to beat Real Betis, 4-3. Football can be odd sometimes.

Levante have now won three from four in cup and league. Maybe, just maybe they will get themselves out of this. Paying the players is a crazy plan that might just work to start the ten step path to recovery.

Leo Messi

The boy wonder looked outstanding on Saturday night - all be it against Recreativo, where even Marcelo would look half decent. The big question is how long he can keep on carrying his side through games, with Henry still not contributing with enough goals and d'inho too tired to play, but fine to train the next morning - for the first time in sixteen days.

Having played constantly for his club and Argentina since August, Messi could probably do with a bit of Playstation time. But with away trips to the Montjuic and Mestalla as Barca's next two league matches, Rijkaard is unlikely to be brave enough to give it to him.

Bad Day


Ha! Ha! and indeed Ha! Ronald Koeman's one and only innovative change at the Mestalla is having made the players share rooms on away trips. "Their goal arrived when we were playing best," said the Dutch manager, on the 1-0 defeat at Racing - a match Quique would have won. Maybe.


Bottlers. Again. "We have the ambition to finish as leaders, but we have to show this on the pitch," said Pellegrini after the match. Quite right. Villarreal may well have lost their innocence that meant opposition teams perhaps did not take them seriously.


Just loving Guti at the moment. He was Real Madrid's one and only decent performer on Saturday night against Murcia, however his previously under control temper got the better of him and he lashed out at an opposition player for his ninth red card of his career.

La Liga Loca
has some sympathy with him. The midfielder has one been of the most fouled players in the league for some time. Indeed, he was the number one player for provoking yellows and reds, last season. He is currently hacked down every twenty seven minutes. As Real Madrid's one and only source of midfield inspiration at the moment, it's clear to see why. Plus, it's great fun to watch.

"I'm tired of being booted about," ranted Guti, "But I can only apologise for what happened and keep working hard."

Saviola, Baptista, Soldado, Drenthe

All players brought in / back over the summer. And all being completely overlooked by England's Bernd Schuster.

Real Betis

Just read the despair in the comment from poor old Kent in Portland, from Friday's blog. A two goal lead blown. Coming back from 3-2 down to equalise with a goal from Pavone with the words 'oil tanker' and 'turning circle' springing to mind. But most of all, conceding four goals. To Levante!


Really needing a good performance against Arsenal, this week, to stop their season dribbling away to oblivion. From the highlights, it looked as if Sevilla were a little unlucky in the 2-1 defeat to Mallorca, with Lux having a blinder in the opposition net. However, two defeats in the last four is not pretty reading. And nor is the ten point difference between them and Espanyol in fourth.

El Pato

Like Cañizares, another goalkeeping old timer having a rough time, this weekend, was Getafe's el Pato who blew two points for his side against Zaragoza. Considering he has saved them about fifty, in the past, La Liga Loca forgives him.

In the 80th minute, el Pato ran up to the referee whilst d'Alessandro was waiting to take a free kick, to ask for time for the recently substituted Pallardo to get into the box. Unfortunately for Getafe, the whistle went and the Zaragoza midfielder booted the ball into the back of an empty net to make it 1-1.

"I shouldn't have made the change then," admitted Michael Laudrup after the game.


Whither Zaragoza? Just one point picked up in their last three matches.

Athletic Bilbao

2-0 up against Deportivo and the Basques were well on their way to just their second home win of the season. A free kick from Riki and a last minute header from Taborda blew that right out of the window, though.

Miguel Angel Lotina

The emotion of the occasion, the fact that he is a miserable old bugger or perhaps something else, meant that the Deportivo manager had to abandon his press conference to have a bit of a blub. "The San Mamés is where I have heard the most personal insults," sobbed the coach. He should try being in Guti's boots the next time he is up Athletic's way.


Anyone missed? just click on comments for your say.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Big Weekend Preview - Round 13


Barcelona (3rd) v Recreativo (18th)

BOOM!!! No, that's not the sound of La Liga Loca's Eurovision Football365 wind up falling completely flat, but the the crash landing of Edmilson's shocking outburst, this week.

The cranky crocked Brazilian midfielder tore a new one into his teammates by suggesting that some players were perhaps not giving it their all, at the moment.

"I'm going to train quickly as I have to meet someone, or do an ad", was the mentality of some, according to Edmilson. "Puyol needs to grab some of them by the neck," he later suggested.

The man chosen to give the barn rattling Brazilian a spanking for his outburst is Andres Iniesta, with neither Puyol, nor Xavi fancying the task. "We are repeating all the same things as last year," sighed the Ant&Dec hybrid. Home win.

Sevilla (10th) v Mallorca (9th)

A week of highs and lows for dazzling Dani Güiza, this week. The man from Mallorca got to make is dreamed off debut for Spain and he is expecting - or rather his partner is - his first baby, any day now. But this happiness has been dashed by the loss of his suitcase by an airline company - a suitcase containing the shirt he wore for Spain against Northern Ireland. Home win.

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

"A Night of ASES' screamed one particular Spanish football daily on its cover, on Friday - a headline sure to bring a snigger from the childish side of La Liga Loca. The reason for this hyperbole was the full twenty five frickin' page report of their stupid awards dinner featuring a 'far too old for that dress' Paulina Rubio.

The big footballing winner of an 'AS' was, of course, Raul who picked up his trophy for being the best all round, supreme being in the world. And as La Liga Loca genuinely has a lot of time for the fella, good for him. Away win.


Villarreal (2nd) v Almería (16th)

The days of leaf gathering for Roman Riquelme may well be coming to an end. Talks have been ongoing with Boca Juniors over the possible return of the Argentinean to his homeland. However, there is a small stumbling block - cash.

Villarreal are looking for as much return as possible from player and are requiring that Boca match other offers reportedly received for Roman. Barcelona want their 25% due from any sale and Riquelme himself will not be putting down his rake and heading to South America without his cut. "If Villarreal respect the contract I have to the last euro, then I'll go back to Boca, no problem." Home win.

Atlético Madrid (6th) v Valladolid (14th)

A recent report in the Spanish papers compared Atletico Madrid to someone whose duvet is too small to cover both their feet and their head. They either go mental in seven goal thrillers, as we saw against Sevilla and Villarreal. Or they shut up shop and grind out a 0-0 as we saw against Almeria. An increasingly perplexed Javier Aguirre will be hoping for a combination of the two, on Sunday. Home win.

Levante (20th) v Betis (19th)

Good work from Levante president, Pedro Villarroel, in recent weeks, as he tries to lift his side from the bottom of the table. His first step was to suggest that Abel Resino should have been sacked over the summer.

Next he argued that the injured star striker, Arveladze should never have been signed. Then he called the home fans 'idiots' and threatened not to pay any of his players should they speak out against him. As he isn't actually paying any of his players anyway and they are taking him to court for this, the final threat was emptier than Guti's head. Away win.

Athletic Bilbao (12th) v Deportivo (17th)

Now, La Liga Loca is either missing something here or Deportivo player, Manuel Pablo, has been on the waccy baccy. Speaking ahead of the match which sees Joaquin Caparros taking on his old side, the visiting full back spoke about the former boss' playing style not being very thrilling for the fans.

"The Riazor supporters didn't like it," ruminated Pablo, "we feel more comfortable with what we have now," said the defender kissing up to new boss, Lotina - the same attack minded boss who was reportedly contemplating playing with two actual strikers, for the first time, this season. Draw. And an awful one at that.

Osasuna (15th) v Espanyol (5th)

That rumbling from the Pyrenees is the sound of Osasuna wobbling like a weeble up in the mountains. Three defeats in their last five matches has meant that messages of calm, peace and tranquility have been leaking out of the club for the last few days. All sure signs that things are not so perky in Pamplona. Home win.

Racing Santander (7th) v Valencia (4th)

With a sad face and wipe of a tear, the Racing stadium announcer put his 'welcome home!' cd back into its cover, on hearing the news that Nikola Zigic would not be returning to his former club.

Unfortunately, the Serbian striker was prevented from returning to Spain by a bureaucratic busy body in Milan who told him that his papers were not in order, forcing him to return to his homeland to pick up his original resident's permit. Not that him playing would have made any difference to Valencia, mind. Home win.

Zaragoza (8th) v Getafe (11th)

The one thing that Michael Laudrup, Frank Rijkaard and Bernd Schuster have in common is that they are all probably still a bit tasty on the football field. The former was demonstrating this, on Thursday, in a Getafe practice match before having his ankle knacked by marauding midfielder, Francisco Casquero.

"When he takes part in these games, he knows what can happen," warned the soon to be dropped Getafe legend. Home win.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Torment is Nearly Over

Praise to Belzeebub and his devilish spawn, only three more days till proper football returns.

Only three more days till we can see if La Liga Loca's curse on Valencia will hold out.

Only three more days till we can see if Fernando Gago can find a teammate with a pass.

Only three more days till we hear more empty promises from the Barcelona camp about their new fighting spirit.

In the last ten days diddly squat has happened in Spain.

The papers revealed that Raul has at least one thing in common with Michael Jackson - no, not that. They both sleep in an oxygen chamber, apparently. And we learned that Bojan Krkic would like to play for Spain, sometime in the future when they stop playing games past his bed time.

The only vaguely noteworthy event is that Marca's entertaining spat with Real Madrid continues.

After suggesting that Sergio Ramos may leave for Italy a fortnight ago, the paper then picked up a completely made up report from England that the club had received a forty million euro bid from Spurs for Iker Casillas.

It was a non-story that caused an unusual amount of kerfuffle in the club with numerous denials that such an offer had been tabled. And should such an offer have been tabled, it would never have been considered.

"These are aggressions on the club," whined Roberto Gomez in, er, Marca on the non existent bids reported by his own stirring paper.

The latest story is that Real Madrid are shipping out the 27 million euro waste of space, Mahamadou Diarra, over the winter if the right offer comes along.

Few can blame them if they do. In over a year at the club, the Malian midfielder has done bugger all to justify his rather exorbitant fee.

The wee problem is that the sale would leave defensive duties to Fernando Gago - and no one else, due to rather shortsighted sale of Ruben de la Red to Getafe.

Over in Laportaland, the always entertaining Oleguer popped up to give an interview and complained that he was tired of being labeled as an oddball for occasionally expressing views aside from "we can still win the league" - the normal staple for footballers.

"In a country where there is a democracy, you have to have a freedom of expression," complained the disastrous defender.

Elsewhere, Levante's Descarga confessed that he is worried that his club president's claims that some of the fans are 'morons' might not have been a smart idea.

Betis' Toni Doblas is out for six months after injuring himself in a friendly. The club are now on the hunt for a replacement keeper who can flap just as effectively as the original.

And the tv wars mean that Murcia's clash with Real Madrid, this weekend, will kick off either on Saturday at 22.00 or Sunday at 19.00, depending on which company you believe.

It's good to be back.


Competition Time

La Liga Loca has been on its travels...identify the grim looking stadium from this shot and win Mahamadou Diarra.


Friday, November 16, 2007

Married With Children

When Zlatan Ibrahimovic arrived in Capital City to knock a couple of goals past Spain on Saturday night, he was asked the bog standard question by the local hacks - "would you like to play for Real Madrid?"

"Everyone wants to play at Real Madrid, but not everyone can," replied the priest-chasing Swedish tearaway. As it turns out, the latter half of his statement was right, especially if you are not married.

On Thursday, Bernd Schuster revealed his big secret when signing players - if he were allowed to sign players at Real Madrid, that is. "The first thing I ask a player before signing, is if he is married," confessed the German whilst giving a speech on leadership to some suits.

Unfortunately, he failed to reveal if the players' wives are then allowed to sit in the dressing room as Mrs Schuster used to do back in big Bernd's Barcelona days.

When the Real Madrid squad returns from international duty, the second thing on the manager's 'to do' list - the first being to detox Robinho - is to organise some speed dating sessions at the Bernabeu, as much of his team are free spirited Batchelor Boys - step forward Casillas, Pepe, Ramos, Diarra, Gago, Robinho, Marcelo, Miguel Torres, Baptista, Saviola... Go get them ladies of La Liga Loca.

It was smiles all round in Barcelona, this week, as Frank Rijkaard's men managed the rarest of the things - an away win. The unlucky losers on the end of a 0-3 thrashing in the Copa del Rey were the mighty Alcoyano, a team who "nearly killed two of my players," according to the indignant Dutch coach.

Rafa Marquez was allowed to leave the Barca camp for a few days to return to Mexico for personal reasons...and the odd promotional event for Gillette.

Ernesto Valverde has denied stories that he is about to slip into Rijkaard's soon to be vacated managerial chair. "I have nothing to say," said the Espanyol coach, with nothing to say.

Over in Atletico Madrid, José Antonio Reyes moan of the week was that he had not yet received his 300,000 euro bonus for winning the league with Real Madrid, whilst the rest of the squad have.

"I'm not worried yet," said the whining winger who later went on to confess he could do with the cash to keep him going to the end of the month.

Enrique Cerezo was an excited man, this week. Not because someone actually paid to see one of his film productions - and stayed to the end - but because long term transfer target, Ricardo Quaresma, expressed his desire to move to Madrid in the summer.

The one tiny problem was that the Portuguese player was contemplating a move to the whiter half of Madrid. "Curses! Foiled again!" the Atletico big cheese failed to shout.

If you happen to have 40 million euros lying around, then you could be the proud owner of Levante football club, a go-getting side tied to the bottom of the Primera with a whopping four points.

Tired of being pointed at by children and being laughed at by fans, Levante president and professional coach firer, Pedro Villarroel has had enough and is no longer watching the club's matches at the stadium. "I had a heart attack eight years ago," said the club president as he carefully stuffed pills into his paella stuffed bocadillo.

In other news, Zaragoza coach, Victor Fernandez has declared that is not a happy man, football wise, after his team's Copa del Rey defeat to Xerez - "Football wise, I'm not a happy man."

Real Betis head, Manuel Ruis de Lopera has a new opposition group to think about. The "League of Betico lawyers" has been formed to write stern letters to the majority shareholder. And maybe have the odd lunch.

Professional idiot and blowhard, Roberto Gomez, has written in Marca that Spain's clash with Sweden, on Saturday, is the 'most important for the national team for the last few years."

One might argue that the away match against Denmark was more crucial...or maybe even the small matter of the Word Cup clash with France.


La Liga Loca's 'For the Chop' Hot Tips Latest!

Hector Cuper (Betis) - 5/1
Victor Muñoz (Recreativo) - 6/1
Ziganda (Osasuna) - 12/1
Frank Rijkaard (Barcelona) - 15/1


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca 2007

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Quotes of the Week

"It's like living in a coffee shop" - Marca ticking all the right stereotype boxes in their editorial's description of what Frank Rijkaard has done to the Barcelona dressing room. It still doesn't beat the previous day's edition which pictured a grinning Rafa Nadal and David Ferrer doing the 'slitty eyes' face, to signify the fact they were both in Shanghai.

"The only sporting director in the world I won't work with is, Pedja Mijatovic" - Football agent, Bayran Tutumlu, after his Sevilla spat with the Real Madrid big wig when he suggested he was a pimp on national tv.

"He prefers Madrid soup to Italian spaghetti" - Atletico Madrid president, Enrique Cerezo's cunning plan to keep Kun Aguero out of the clutches of Serie A.

"I'm not going to talk about this" - a comment from Real Betis prospective buyer, Luis Castel, that provoked Marca to report that he 'admitted the news' of a possible deal and 'did not deny' it.

"If Luis Aragones calls me up, I'll burst into tears" - Dani Güiza showing the kind of tough minded, trenches spirit that will get Spain their point against Sweden, on Saturday.

"Do you want him to score three goals, every game?" - Yes. Yes we do, is the answer to Thierry Henry's question about Ronaldinho.

"Sorry, I don't know who he is" - Wesley Sneijder shows off Real Madrid's preperations for the Mallorca game, by claiming he had never heard of Dani Güiza.

"I've seen things I don't like. I want to dominate the dressing room" - A bit of chest thumping was Ronald Koeman's first act at Valencia. The second was losing to Rosenborg.

"We still lack a little to make people afraid" - Bernd Schuster contradicts his president's claims that Real Madrid are giving opposition teams the willies.

"When I see him, I'm going to say 'Ronaldinho! We are the leaders!" - promised Robinho who may well be returning from Brazil duty with a black eye.

"I have money! I'll pay for everything" - Irritating, crooning half wit, Melendi, shortly before being carted off for causing a flight to Mexico to return to Madrid due to his boozy behaviour. The flight also contained Rámon Calderón who was forced to cancel his trip to meet the Mexican president and go home in a strop. The last time the Real Madrid president tried to cross the Atlantic he was detained in New York having been mistaken for a bandit.

"Baby food, rice, fish...bland stuff" - Sevilla's José Angel Crespo reveals his new diet after having had his cheekbone destroyed by the elbow of Mahamadou Diarra.

"Serious and solvent Beticos" - sorry Betis fans, de Lopera has announced his only criteria for anyone who wants to buy him out - the criteria has caused him to turn down a 150 million euro offer from Qatar.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

Monday's Good Day, Bad Day - Round 12

For more multi-media action, read the latest ramble from the Spanish Thing and hear even more rubbish from La Liga Loca on Real Madrid TV's Extra time - 22.05 UK time on free to air Sky digital - repeated throughout the week.

Good Day

Marcus Senna

It's never a good thing when you find yourself in agreement with Luis Aragones. But this happened with La Liga Loca over the return of Marcus Senna to the Spanish national squad.

Apart from the remarkable form of Villarreal's strikers - especially that of the formerly useless Guille Franco - the real driving force of the Yellow Submarine, the rudder if you please, has been Marcus Senna.

On Sunday, it was his pin point set pieces that brought about two of Villarreal's goals against Sevilla and his pass that set up Matigol for the penalty / dive. And it has been a similar performance from the nationalised Spaniard for many weeks before.

Juan Roman who?


One of the twenty seven gods that La Liga Loca worships is blessing the blog, at the moment. The last two matches that it has attended have produced two 4-3 scorelines. The latest was a very bizarre - maybe even topsy turvy - match at the Bernabeu where seven goals broke up what was, at times, a fairly dull game.

The main sparkly point for Real Madrid was the two goal performance of Robinho, who finally seems to be delivering the goods, some two years after his arrival in Spain. His stepovers are now being performed where it hurts the opposition and his bamboozling is of the highest order.

The Brazilian now needs to start pulling off the same tricks away from home.

Leo Franco

It is hard to tell from highlights, but it seems that Atletico were on the wrong end of a battering against Almeria, on Sunday evening. Javier Aguirre certainly seems to think so - "I'll never understand this game," complained the Mexican. "We cannot start matches with this attitude."

The reason why the rojiblanco's are returning to the city with a point and a clean sheet was the great work from Leo Franco - someone who had been a bit of a disaster of late. His double, perhaps even triple save, from an Almeria penalty was the highlight of display.

The other main news was that José Antonio Reyes finally got a start after weeks of moaning. He was hauled off on the hour mark.

David Villa

It gives the Valencia-cursing La Liga Loca no pleasure in saying this, but Valencia looked half decent against Murcia. Although Murcia looked rubbish in equal measure. The return to goal scoring form of David Villa couldn't come at a better time for both his club and his country, with his second effort of the night being the best of the bunch.

Dani Güiza

As suspected, Dani did not want to blow his trip with the national team by attempting anything like running or tackling on Sunday evening. But he couldn't help himself by banging in goal number seven for the season. And he also got a 'good luck' from Raul for good measure.


Another belting performance from Getafe, akin to the one that dominated Real Madrid, but was only rewarded with the unluckiest of 1-0 defeats. Getafe are now in 11th place with fourteen points - a big enough total to build on to ensure another season in the top flight. The win over Barcelona officially sees them being upgraded from 'lowly' Getafe to 'modest' Getafe.


Sixth place! UEFA ! These are heady days indeed for Paul from Barcelona who reflects on a sneaky 2-1 over Athletic with little mention of the fate of his second favourite side. Not really.

"A once proud and traditional club that has been reduced to cynical tactical fouls and play acting. Well enough about Barça let's talk about Athletic.

They have definitely decided that these tactics are what's needed to survive this season. The first half Athletic took a 2nd minute lead, thanks to incredibly slack marking from Espanyol through Gabilondo and that was their only positive contribution for the rest of the afternoon.

Their tactics in the first half were booting the ball up field and hoping for the best and their second half tactics were radically different. Hoofing the ball up field to avoid the worst.

Espanyol tried the other Barça way "Jogo Bonito" By the way,what the hell is this ? Sounds like a sandwich. They were trying to pass the ball into the net. The equaliser came from a great run and cross from Reira and a lovely flick volley at the near post from Tamudo.

The rest of the match was basically Espanyol trying to find a winner and Athletic lying on the floor feigning injury. Justice was done however in injury time. A ball into the box from Clemente was beautifully lobbed over Gorka, who received a mixed reception, by Aitor Ocio for the winner.

Pity for Aitor because he plays for the same team as Gorka. Karma's a bitch.
Overall a thoroughly deserved 3 points for Espanyol against a team who will survive because there are 3 teams worse than them.


1- A really really bad ref again.Totally inept
2- Athletic's tactical fouling and general rolling around on the floor.I expect this from Betis and Valencia,not a Basque team.
3- 250 odd Athletic fans who made the journey deserve better than this.

Did anyone see the ratings for Barça on Saturday ? wonderful stuff
Messi 4,Henry 2, Ronaldinho 2, Bojan 1, Giovani 1. All out of 10. The 5 greatest players in the world (copyright Sport) could only muster a 10 between them. They normally get a 10 for being in the general vicinity of the Stadium.

The guy who wrote this (El Periodico) will be banished to Siberia..But you can't hide from the truth Cules."

Paul, Barcelona


With a third of the season now gone, Racing Santander sit in seventh place with the least amount of goals conceded. This is very much down to their goalkeeper, who as well a sporting a lovely white polo neck on Sunday, also kept out Deportivo with a string of cracking saves.

Racing Santander - the pound for pound side of the season, so far, anyone?


The 1-0 win over a doomed Levante was the side's first at home, this year. And a well deserved one, after the recent fine performances against both Real Madrid and Barcelona which deserved more.

Betis, Recreativo

A last minute stumbled effort and a goal line clearance ensures that both clubs keep their managers. At least for the next fortnight.

Bad Day


Where to start? Try not walking the ball out of defence when you are losing. Try not diving when things aren't going your way - yes, you Bojan. And try not to get players sent off through the most horrendous tackles - step forward, Zambrotta.

La Liga Loca is getting rather tired of hearing the same old excuses coming out of the Barcelona camp. "We lack attitude...intensity," says Puyol. "We need to change things," repeats Rijkaard.

The club now has two weeks of hammering from both the Madrid and Barcelona press before it is in action again, against Recreativo. La Liga Loca has no idea if there is something fundamentally wrong at the core of the club, as so many claim, but changes are required over the summer. But not necessarily expensive ones.

Flog d'inho and Deco to bring in some capital. Bring in Zlatan and Vicente. Go to a 4-4-2 and watch the titles come rolling in. Easy peasy, really.

Unai Emery

The inability of Almeria to find the back of the net was not just costly for Unai Emery's side as they slip towards the relegation zone, it was costly to the man himself. Emery had bet lunch with thirty hacks that his side would score against Atletico. "If the goals were a little bit bigger, we'd have won 3-1," grumbled Emery has he blew the cobwebs from his wallet.



Athletic Bilbao

A friend of La Liga Loca's fills every stereotype of an Athletic Bilbao fan - i.e someone who blames every single defeat on some kind of Madrid based anti-Basque conspiracy.

When the blog heard that his side went down to an injury time goal, the blog was secretly hoping the referee had kicked the ball into the back of the net, himself. Instead it was so much better.

Aitor Ocio attempted to clear a ball but contrived to slice it into his own net in spectacular fashion. La Liga Loca is looking forward to hearing that one explained away.


"Our best game at home so far this season," boasted Miguel Angel Lotina after 0-1 defeat to Racing. Things way be worse at La Riazor than previously thought.

Andrés Palop

Can someone return the real Sevilla goalkeeper to us? The one who recently got a call up to Spain? This version is a big flappy disaster and one of the reasons why his side has the third worse away record in the league.


Anyone missed? Just click on comments for your day.


All blog comments copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Dark Days Return to Spain

Multi Media Update - you can here The Spanish Thing get the name of the new Sevilla coach wrong here, on the latest 365 podcast.


For a while, it seemed as if the long hours of patient negotiations were going to be rewarded.

For a while, it seemed as if the people of Spain were going to experience something akin to a normal life, again.

For a while, it appeared as if the ceasefire between Marca and Real Madrid was going to hold.

But everything was shattered on Thursday morning in an event that US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, described as 'worrying'.

Over the past few weeks, something resembling normal day to day life had began to return to the paper. Real Madrid fans were starting to feel confident enough to glance at it without having to read something bad about their club.

Fawning and obsequious tributes to the omnipotent "club of the century" had began to reappear. "We really thought that it was all over," sobbed Manolo Vasquez, owner of Bar Raul and life long fan.

The ceasefire was shattered in dramatic fashion, on Thursday, when Real Madrid fans picked up the day's edition featuring Sergio Ramos on the cover.

Expecting another 'isn't he wonderful!' story, shocked supporters were horrified to discover that the paper was reporting that another club wanted to buy him - that club being AC Milan.

"This kind of idle transfer speculation is just so wrong," cried Vasquez as he wrapped himself in the comforting pages of AS and curled up in the corner of his bar.

But that was not all. The daily paper also claimed that the Real Madrid players were unhappy at having to stay over night in Greece, after the Olympiakos match, before waking up at five to return to the Spanish capital and training.

Whats more they had no tea after the session, as the catering team had not been told of the schedule.

The reason given by the club for the overnight stop is that the players benefited from a night of rest before travelling.

The reason given by Marca is that their twenty five year old, rust bucket, super jet, 'La Saeta' is unable to fly at night due to its regulation shattering noise. And the pilot's need to follow the Mediterranean coastline to find his way home.

However, there were early signs that cracks were starting to appear in the ceasefire agreement, several days ago.

Marca had reported that the Portuguese police were investigating Pepe's move from Benfica, over the summer.

These cracks turned into a chasm on Thursday, when the paper published the comments of leading football writer, José María García - "how can Pepe, who was valued at 8 million last season, be transfered for 30 million?"

"October's ceasefire was the last, best chance of peace," claimed Ban Ki-Moon, "I fear the worst for the future".

There is no such 'unhelpful' talk to be found at the increasingly North Korea sounding, Barcelona comic Sport.

"The spectators are enjoying themselves at the ground and are leaving happy," reported Thursday's editorial. "Don't look at the score against Rangers," it later instructed - an instruction the fans ignored with only one player scoring over 70% in a post game poll on the team's performance.

After brushing over the handball-helped first effort from Thierry Henry, the paper later went onto to support Joan Laporta's claims that the club's newly created uranium enrichment programme was merely for 'peaceful' purposes.

La Liga Loca's call for seven years of misery and despair upon Valencia is coming along nicely, after Ronald Koeman's men were rolled over 0-2 by Rosenborg, having offered up a display the opposition coach described as cowardly.

"F**king hell, it was only Steffan f**king Iverson!" Trond Henriksen, failed to add.

Valencia's captain, David Albeda, claims that the players don't know what is happening to them - "we don't know what is happening to us."

However, José Mari Bakero, the club's new second in command - and future caretaker manager - has a clear idea of what to do next. "We have two options, take a step forward, or a step back. We're going to take a step forward," he confirmed.

Darth de Lopera had confirmed that talks are going ahead with an unnamed party for the sale of his majority stake in Real Betis. But fans should not get too excited yet. "If I don't want to sell, I won't. I don't have children and I don't need the money," boasted Spain's answer to Cliff Richard.


Rant Time

Spanish television is continuing to destroy everything it touches. Both La Liga and English football have been ruined for the viewer and the Champions League is next, it appears.

For some months, Antena 3's coverage of the competition has merely been annoying. This week it turned into very f**king annoying, indeed. Here's why.

Tuesday - Olympiakos v Real Madrid live coverage

- missing the start of the second half because of the presenter talking rubbish for too long.
- the three commentators talking over each other for 90 minutes.
- the three commentators talking about what programmes were coming up next on Antena 3, once the annoyance of the football was finished.
- cutting away from the match, two seconds after it had ended.

Wednesday - The highlights show

- starting twenty minutes late. And after midnight.
- presenters constantly looking into the wrong camera.
- showing two minutes of football in the twenty five minute show.
- showing fifteen minutes of advertisements in the twenty five minute show.
- telling you the score and showing interviews with managers / players before the brief highlights are shown.
- having freaky people doing these interviews.
- attempting live commentary over the 'highlights', hence screaming 'GOOOL' two seconds before Henry slotted in the first for Barcelona.
- failing to show any goals from Tuesday night's matches.
- having your musical finale run with the English words "Champions League audio track two' in the background every thirty seconds.

Rant over



My main reason for writing is, for a change, not to complain about Pablo
Garcia, currently breaking ankles and "leading by example" at Murcia, but
instead the exploits of one Mahamadou Diarra. At Lyon, he seemed to me a solid defensive midfielder, perhaps a bit rough, but not too bad. At some point last season, however, it seemed to me he started becoming more overtly violent, particularly (but not limited to) the way he used his elbows.

The highlight of this season (thus far) for him has had to have been his not-at-all-delicate piece of facial rearrangement on Jose Angel Crespo. In the roughest game in La Liga that I've ever seen, that was the most brutal foul - a clear swing at the head of Crespo.

How on earth Diarra didn't get sent off is beyond me (though your quoted comments on the quality of Spanish refereeing may help answer that). When I see the piddling things that have gotten yellows for some players and observe that
Diarra got nothing, I just shake my head.

I presume that Crespo is the player referred to in reports as having been rushed to hospital with a depressed fracture of the cheekbone. Any word on how he's doing?


He has been operated on and has had his cheekbone reconstructed. 'Very painful', says the player - La Liga Loca.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Prince of Darkness to Retire?

Betis fans! It's time to turn that frown upside down! It's time to do your special dance of joy. It appears that evil Darth de Lopera is finally considering quitting the club. And this time, he means it.

Marca is reporting that the Betis big wig is in negotiations with a group interested in buying the evil one's majority stake.

"I never wanted to leave in such a bad way," said de Lopera on Monday, as he popped the remains of Héctor Cúper into Hugo's salivating mouth.

However, before he departs it seems that he may have one more managerial sacking left in him, just for old time's sake. The current chump in charge of the team needs to win against Zaragoza on Sunday, and win big, or he will be going the same way as the other 4400 who have been kicked into the street by de Lopera's heavies.

His possible replacement will be ex Celta Vigo boss, Fernando Vasquez. Woo and indeed hoo is the cry from Betis fans all over the world.

The group that de Lopera is currently negotiating with - negotiating in the 'I want eight billion euros and a diamond encrusted kennel sense' is lead by Luis Castel, a local lad who made his substantial fortune in...three guesses...real estate.

In an editorial Marca more or less tells de Lopera to pack his bags and sod off.

"His time is over," it reports. "He displayed hateful and passionate Betism in equal measures...and his financing of the club was never clear."

However, there was one note of support on the paper's comments blog - "Don't go! Please! Stay forever! As a Sevillista, I beg you."

Another Betis supporter writes that de Lopera should remain in charge, warning that "better the devil you know."

Over in Italy, former Valencia sporting director, Amedeo Carboni, was reportedly jumping up and down on a picture of former nemesis, Quique Sánchez Flores, laughing hysterically and waving his fist in the direction of the east coast of Spain.

"We had a manager who's ambition was to get into the Champions League," ranted Carboni, "I felt we needed a manager with different ones."

Meanwhile, Bernd Schuster is still being made to pay for his slur on the good name of Catalunya. Not that it was a slur, according to the Real Madrid boss - "one thing is your imagination," said Schuster to the dribbling hacks in Athens, "the other is what I actually said."

Back in Spain a whole host of suits that supposedly run Spanish football are set to complain, pontificate, write letters to their MPs and grandstand for the rest of the week about Schuster's comments, as opposed to actually doing something about the tv wars, the terrible refereeing or Andrés d'Alessandro's hair.

Sport - whose Catalan-slur-ometer exploded into a thousand pieces on Saturday night forcing the installation of an upgraded model - point out that the referee for the Sevilla v Real Madrid match, Alfons Xavier Alvarez Izquierdo, was an Espanyol fan, which as it turned out last week, is no longer a Catalan team.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca 2007

Monday, November 05, 2007

Monday's Good Day, Bad Day - Round Eleven

For this week's Spanish Thing ramblings click here. And for its glorious return to Real Madrid tv's Extra Time, keep an eye out from this evening onwards.

Good Day


The Yellow Submarine has now played Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico, Zaragoza and Valencia in their opening eleven matches of the season. The Yellow Submarine has picked up nine points from these matches - a handy haul that leaves them just one point of the top, in third.

In a rare bit of actual work on Sunday, La Liga Loca asked Giuseppe Rossi and Jon Dahl Tomasson if Villarreal for the title was worth a cheeky punt. 'Probably not' was the answer. Rossi replied that a Champions League spot was the goal of the side and the Dane commented that "it's a long season, let's see."

On Sunday, Villarreal showed that a run at the title may be worth a go. Throughout the 4-3 win against Atletico Madrid, they were patient, calm and seemed to be able to score at will. Even at 3-2 down, one suspected that Manuel Pellegrini's men would always get back into the game and so they did thanks to the excellent Nihat.

Once next weekend's match at Sevilla is out the way, Villarreal can enjoy a run that sees them taking on the cannon fodder of the Primera - the kind of teams they overturned to grab a late UEFA spot, last season.


Critics will say that if you cannot beat Betis at the moment, then you are in trouble. A little harsh perhaps. The best part of the match was seeing Ronaldinho smiling again - and playing the whole ninety minutes as opposed to a disheartening substitution.

"Barcelona dominated without too much difficulty" wrote Sport - however, that has not been too much of an issue at home. The real problems have been away from the Camp Nou where Barca have only managed one win.

Next week, they face a resurgent Getafe - a side with a tendency to raise their game against the big sides as they showed last year and this season in their pounding of Real Madrid. It's a game that Barça have to win to keep up the pressure on the league leaders.


An odd choice for a good day considering he spent match of Saturday being booted about as well as picking up his fifth yellow of the season. However, in the kind of match where he often disappears from, Guti was one of the positive points on a disappointing night for Real Madrid. He kept on trying to create chances and only lost his rag once, when charging into Poulsen - someone who had spent much of the match doing the same to Guti.

It is also heartening to see that statistics show that Guti is, again, one of the most fouled players in the league.

As the Spanish Thing wrote, it wasn't necessarily a bad performance from Real Madrid, they were just beaten by a side that were a lot better than them on the night.

Fernando Morientes

At least something is working in the Valencia side, aside from the coffee machine. Two classic poacher's goals to bring some cheer to the ché's on Saturday night, in the 0-2 win at Mallorca. However, Ronald Koeman, who watched this match from his sofa, still has a lot to do - starting with grabbing three points against Rosenborg to keep his new team in the Champions League.


The win against Zaragoza was Valladolid's second of the season - the first being in the opening day of the season. The win against Zaragoza was also the reason why predicting results in the Primera is a bit of a waste of time.

Christian Riganò

Hells Bells. It took Levante ten matches to score their first three goals of the season. But it took them just thirty five minutes to score their next three with Italian striker Christian Riganò showing the kind of form that saw him bang in 19 goals in 27 matches for Messina, last year.

"He's a player who needs to feel wanted and important," explained manager Giovanni de Biasi as he pinned a big gold star onto his on fire forward.


Oupa Geta! Three wins from the last four in the league leads Getafe out of the relegation zone and repays the faith shown in el Pato by La Liga Loca, with his restoration to its fantasy league team.

The late, late win over Osasuna - an undeserved one grumbles Ziganda - leaves Michael Laudrup and co in high spirits for next weekend's match. "We can prepare for the Barcelona game with calmness," beamed the Danish coach.

Racing Santander

An unremarkable draw with Espanyol leaves Racing six matches unbeaten and in 8th - cracking figures for a team that many expected to struggle. Considering the lack of summer transfer activity and the loss of Zigic, it has been a fine performance from Marcelino who must surely be moving on to bigger and better things in the future, especially after the season he had at Recreativo.

Joseba Etxeberria

You could almost here the creaking bones and cracking joints from Madrid as the Athletic Bilbao old timer managed not one, but two strikes to beat Recreativo. Athletic's first win at home, this season, will be heralded as a return to form for the Basque club. But it is nothing of the sort. It was a win against a side at the wrong end of the table who haven't scored a goal in six matches.

Bad Day

Bernd Schuster

You are definitely doing something wrong if Telemadrid and Marca are criticising your conduct. Bernd Schuster's comments about the Catalan referee, on Saturday night, sit alongside his other somewhat tempestuous outbursts this season.

If the German isn't going to lose the plot completely, then he needs to watch some old clips of Fabio Capello in press conferences. And learn. A journo could suggest that Capello's wife was the biggest slapper in Spain and he would merely shrug, give him or her a look suggesting they were an idiot and move on. The Italian was bullet proof.

Schuster's side are top of the league both in Spain and in their Champions League group. Lord knows what will happen when the club goes through an iffy spell.

Atletico Madrid

If there was one thing that could cheer up La Liga Loca after being ripped off by some scum bag cafe when buying its half-time bocadillo, it was watching Atletico's comedy defending, on Sunday evening. It was less Keystone Cops, more Metropolitan Police.

All four of Villarreal's goals were preventable and Javier Aguirre knows it too. "In the second half they had just two shots...just two shots," said the Mexican manager in despair, rubbing his forehead.

The one positive is that Atletico Madrid are now officially the most entertaining team in the galaxy with eleven goals scored and ten conceded in their last four matches.


1-0 and losing out 2-3 at home to Valladolid is exactly the kind of thing that happens if you play Gabi and Luccin from the start. How many times do they need to be told!


"It will be a good day to see what we want to do this season," said Ziganda before Sunday's defeat to Getafe. Oh dear.

Real Betis

No surprise there. Hector Cuper moves to the top of La Liga Loca's sack race. And it could happen as early as next week if he does not pull something out of the bag at home to Zaragoza, next Sunday.


Slightly off topic but a rant is deserved. Do not boast and advertise the biggest match in Europe - Arsenal v Man Utd - when you have no intention in showing it live, but instead FOUR FRICKIN' HOURS LATER!! AND AFTER FRICKIN' MOTOR BIKES AND FRICKIN' TENNIS!!!!

Santiago Segurola from Marca was felt the same way. "Spanish television threw the match in the bin," he fumed on Sunday, "it was a supreme excercise in incompetence".

It seems that not content with screwing up their own league, Spanish tv bosses are targeting the English one, as well.


Anyone missed? Just click on comments for your say.


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca 2007

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Friday's Good Day, Bad Day - Round 10

Good Day


Dady caused the mother of all problems for Betis and gave a lesson to Osasuna's hapless opponents on how to buy someone who knows where the goal is. Four strikes, this season, from the club's most expensive signing (3.6 million euros), has given a bit of boost to what was a flaccid start to the season for the men from Navarra.


At last, the net-bursting version of Casquero is back for Getafe, with the midfielder opening the scoring in the 2-0 win over Athletic Bilbao. Getafe may still be in the relegation zone, but Michael Laudrup's side have now won three of their last four matches in the league and UEFA Cup - figures that suggest that they should be back into the comfy snugness of mid-table in no time at all.

Real Zaragoza

The 0-1 win over Almería was Zaragoza's first victory on their travels for nine months. And it was also the side's fourth win in five in the league. Crisis definitely over. Until d'Alessandro feels the need to share his thoughts with the world, again, of course.


The Jekyll and Hyde club continues its 'will they, won't they?' title charge with another win. Against Levante, though, so it doesn't really count.

Real Madrid

"The Perfect Storm" write AS in their editorial and that is a good summary of the victory over Valencia. It is hard to know whether the 5-1 thrashing was the result of the home side being very, very bad, or the away team being very, very good. A bit of both perhaps.

A Capello-esque double pivot of Gago and Diarra suggested that it would be a scrappy match, but that theory went out the window in around 40 seconds, the time it took for Raul to stroke home the opener for his fifth of the season.

Sergio Ramos, Ruud, Robinho and Guti all excelled going forward and even Iker Casillas got his chance to pull of his normal range of match rescuing saves.

The three points at the Mestalla gives Real Madrid a bit of breathing space ahead of Saturday's visit to Sevilla, where a point would now be an acceptable return from the game.

Atletico Madrid

Curses. A scheduling clash between the two Madrid clubs meant that La Liga Loca could not get down to the Calderon for this stormer. Atletico fans have now enjoyed eight goals being scored by their players in the last two league matches at home. And they have also enjoyed some comedy defending, especially from the returning Ze Castro.

The rojiblancos have now moved into the heady heights of the Champions League zone, but they may well be facing the next month without Diego Forlán, a player who has formed a superb partnership with the pants on fire Kun. Sunday's visit of Villarreal could be a corker.

Luis Fabiano

An honourable mention to the Sevilla striker who has now quietly racked up six league goals for the season, and six in four matches in all competitions. And all without too much fuss.

Dani Güiza

Another striker who has been quietly going about his business is Mallorca's Dani Güiza who chalked up his sixth of the season against Deportivo.

Victor Valdes

You know when your keeper is in the good day section, the rest of the team were probably rubbish. La Liga Loca was only exposed to La Sexta's oddly edited highlights, last night, so it's hard to get a full picture of what went on. However, the defensive side of the visitor's game was like watching Real Madrid. Victor Valdes needed to pull an Iker-esque performance out of the bag, to keep Barca in the game.

Frank Rijkaard said the team lacked 'sacrifice' and 'collective work,' and it was a team that was still pretty strong despite the absence of Henry and Deco - more than enough to overcome an out of form, struggling Valladolid.

But there is no need for doom and gloom in Catalunya yet, despite what the Madrid press may whip up, Real will be hard pushed to get all three points away to Sevilla on Saturday night. Barcelona have Betis at home - but then again, it was the same tie, last year that lost Rijkaard the title.

Bad Day


Single handedly reinventing the concept of a 'bad day'

Real Betis

Where to start. AS argue that anyone who cannot sleep should head down to Sevilla and the greener side of the city in action. An awful result and an awful performance, by all accounts, that prompted the paper to give all the Betis players zero points.

"We lacked a bit of everything," complained Hector Cuper, "calmness, attitude, serenity, ambition..." The list is probably still being read out now in an empty press room.

de Lopera was on the wrong end of insults and boos during the match. And that is never a good sign for the poor manager who happens to be on the bench at the time. Especially as the board has just given him a vote of confidence.


Failed to beat a Mallorca side down to ten men for fifty minutes and reliant on the penalty that saw Moya off, for their goal. However, the odd scrappy point like Wednesday's will probably be enough to keep them up, this season.

Athletic Bilbao

Just seven goals and three scorers suggest where the problem lies for the Basques, at the moment. They now have only one victory in five and are edging towards the relegation zone - somewhere they have been far too familiar with, in recent years.


Officially the worst team in Europe's top flight divisions. One point from a possible thirty and just three goals scored. A defeat at home to Almería, on Sunday, and it curtains.


You can't beat it when a rubbish game finishes at nearly midnight on a freezing Thursday night. That's what Paul from Barcelona got to enjoy.

"A very poor performance from Espanyol who struggled to break down a team so negative they'll have Messi writing to his MP, well sending crayon drawings anyway.
Espanyol have problems taking the game to other teams this year. They have struggled to beat poor teams and outplayed good ones.A top six finish is on the cards though.

Murcia are a bunch of Ale house cloggers led by Pablo Garcia, who incredibly in this company doesn't stand out as particularly dirty. Hope they go down. Rumour has it that they are trying to sign Russian tennis star Nikolai Davydenko because he tries not to win matches too.

A dire match with some incredibly bad offside decisions especially the one against Valdo. But apart from that........Nothing

Was there anything good on Antena 3 ? that's my best gag so far..Go on how many of you turned over.For once I'm with you."

Paul, Barcelona


All blog content copyright of La Liga Loca, 2007

A Plague of Locusts Upon Valencia....

Today's Spanish Thing, 365 Piece...

A Plague of Locusts Upon Valencia....

There are three, basic rules of football journalism.

One - the latest goon in charge of England knows nothing. And he must always be told this.

Two - if you want to generate furious feedback, just make a sleight against the good name of Liverpool and take advantage of the 'Spamfield Affect'.

Three - make some kind of attempt to remain neutral.

However, inspired by the royal family's attitude towards endangered species, it's time for the Spanish Thing to tear up this rulebook, bake its tattered pages into a flan and feed it to the knackered-looking pigeon that lives in its roof.

First off, Steve McClaren is a visionary and decades ahead of the rest of you small-minded proles.

Secondly, a message to Liverpool fans. You can buy history, most sane people would rather drink turps than watch your long -ball infested matches and your stadium smells of wee.

And lastly, this column wishes nothing but misery and despair for Valencia for at least the next seven years.

May their footballers always play like Ivan Helguera on Wednesday night. May they make Real Betis look good.

The reason for this call for hellfire to be brought down to smite the men from Mestalla was the decision - or rather the decision of their puffed-up, pompous president Juan Bautista Soler - to fire Quique Sánchez Flores in the early hours of Monday morning.

For a club that had never employed a manager for more than three seasons in a row since 1970 this was no great surprise.

The sacking of a coach whose team was in fourth place in the league in October, and just four points off the top, was just another example of 'the insane way this club manages itself', opined Marca's lead writer Santiago Segurola.

Over the past few seasons Héctor Cúper, Claudio Ranieri and Rafa Benitez have all had a spell in the Mestalla hot seat and found working with the club's leaders, players and fans a near impossible task.

Quique is joining this list of distinguished names who, it must not be forgotten, have helped lead Valencia to two league titles, a Spanish Cup victory, a UEFA Cup and two Champions League finals over the past ten years.

"I feel I have lost a job, but got back a life," sighed the latest Valencia ex the day after his dismissal.

The immediate reason given for Quique's sacking was two poor results and a doom-filled 'state of play' report by the club's newly arrived sporting director Miguel Angel Ruiz - a report no doubt detailing exactly what Soler wanted to hear. A coach who was unpopular with sections of the fans, players and board had to go.

A dreadful defeat to Rosenborg in the Champions League and a 0-3 away loss to a resurgent Sevilla a few days later was the tip of the footballing iceberg for Soler, who was failing to see the return he wanted on a summer of heavy investment.

All these reasons would be quite valid if it were not for one key point. Juan Bautista Soler is a bumbling fool who, like most club presidents in Spain, know as much about football as they do about tax returns.

In many ways, Quique was lucky to have lasted this long. Last season, in his second year in charge, the team struggled badly with horrendous injury problems and could only manage fourth.

It was a great achievement applauded by most in Spain - except Quique's bosses who failed to understand that having 200 players in the treatment room can make life difficult for a side.

The team's performance was also affected by constant squabbles over hirings and firings with the former sporting director Amedeo Carboni, which led to the sourest of atmospheres that was not cleared until the Italian's sacking over the summer.

But those who thought that Soler was now backing his manager have now been proved wrong.

The major problem at Valencia is that the club is built on institutional quicksand with continuous damaging struggles between those in power and those wanting it.

'At a club of factions, the team reproduces those factions,' wrote Santiago Segurola.

This happened in spades at Valencia with groups of players who didn't mind Quique and others that hated him. There were some that wanted ham at the team lunches and others that wanted cheese, and so on and so on.

It was unfortunate that the manager in charge of this band of moaning mavericks was tough, driven and not one to suffer any kind of nonsense.

When the boss put an arm around a player, it was in an attempt to choke the life out of him for a poor performance, not to raise his spirits.

Every week in the Spanish press there were stories from footballers ready to have a pop at their former coach.

'Nightclub' Asier del Horno, currently on loan to Athletic Bilbao, claimed that he would never go back to Valencia with Quique in charge whilst David Navarro - now at Mallorca but famous for punching Nicolas Burdisso and legging it like a girl - took a similar line.

"He's had two managers in two years, Jose Mourinho and myself, who decided he was not good enough to be at a top club," replied Quique to del Horno's moans, "and if he keeps on talking about me, we're going to have problems," he added.

As for the rest of his squad, Sánchez Flores had to manage David Villa constantly batting his eyelids at Chelsea and Real Madrid; Vicente's fake injuries - or so the club doctor thought - David Albeda's demands for more cash; Fernando Morientes' complaint that it was 'too cold' against Rosenborg and Miguel's confession that he liked a cigarette, a good night out and was probably five kilos overweight and in no mind to do anything about it, thank you very much.

It was little wonder that the relationship between manager and footballer was not always harmonious.

In the same way a child will mirror the behaviour of their peers, so did the Valencia fans who are, without doubt, the worst in Spain.

Win, lose or draw, the Mestalla crowd boos and whistles its way through matches. The whining is louder than Leo Messi after Barcelona's draw at Rangers. At times it's like the stadium is populated by 50,000 clones of José Antonio Reyes. 'Quique out!' signs have been on display from before he even arrived.

But that's not where the constant barracking ends for Valencia's players and coaches. Regular trips are made to the club's training ground by supporters to shout abuse at their squad for being drunkards, shagging too much, not caring or being overpaid.

This fantastic loyalty, this bond between team and supporter, was in evidence again on Wednesday night when fans started streaming out of the Mestalla after just 36 minutes.

Granted, they were 4-0 down to Real Madrid at the time.

Soler had made the inspired decision to kick Quique out just a few days ahead of their biggest match of the season. A match where a win would have moved the side to within one point of the league leaders. A match that could have given the team the boost it needed.

But instead of Sánchez Flores and his natty neck scarf glaring from the sidelines, it was reserve team coach Oscar Fernández - a man who is apparently just 33 but looks like many of those years may have been spent in a gulag.

To suggest that Fernández was a little out of his depth is an understatement. This was
Prince floundering in the middle of the Pacific ocean.

"We will make Real Madrid suffer," boasted the caretaker coach ahead of the match. And for the 44 seconds before Raul scored the opener in the 5-1 demolition, it was touch and go for Bernd Schuster's boys.

Valencia's defeat was exactly what the side deserved. The only disappointment on the night was that there wasn't a camera fixed permanently on Soler's moustache-filled face as he watched his directionless rabble chasing shadows out on the pitch.

"This isn't the first time we've seen something like this this season," pointed out the Valencia big cheese as he defended himself against the inevitable insults hurled in his direction by what was left of the home support.

The man to move into Quique's position is PSV's Ronald Koeman, who is set to be unveiled on Friday.

The Dutchman is fortunate enough to have the best squad in the division at his disposal when nobody's injured.

However, the downside is that he also has to work with the worst fans and leaders too.

It is true that Valencia had not been playing fantastic football so far this season. But with David Villa and Vicente returning from injuries, the newly-arrived Nikola Zigic starting to settle in and Joaquín in the form of his life, the decision to kick Quique Sánchez Flores into touch and start all over again looks foolhardy. Their situation is not 'irreversible' as the club declared on Sunday night.

The decision to ditch yet another boss was simply a self-serving one by Juan Bautista Soler, a man who wants a 'big name' to lead his club.

And a man this column hopes will spend many more years being abused by his own supporters. He deserves nothing more.