Barca press cry 'scandal' over fixture list, while Zidane puts the kettle on

Last Thursday marked the pre-season's first bout of conspiracy theorising and childish screams of ‘it’s not fair!’ in the ongoing media war between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

It was the day after the fixtures for the 2011-12 campaign were announced and the loonier parts of the Barça press thought they could smell a rather pungent rat as they cast their eyes over Barcelona’s opening few games, which kick off with a trip to a beefed-up Málaga.

“The first match is against a super strength Málaga with a Messi who is just back from his holidays, then Villarreal are coming, then it’s Valencia in the fifth round and Atlético coming in the sixth....Real Madrid have a much easier start,” grumbled José Luis Carazo in Sport, with the forces of Mordor set to face Athletic Bilbao, Zaragoza, Getafe, Levante and Racing in their first five games.

The other issue to get the Catalan paper’s panties in a bunch is the scheduling of a Clásico the weekend before December's all important World Club Cup, which sees Barcelona battling against New Zealand’s finest. “This is a scandal,” yells Sport.

What really is a scandal, but one that seems to have gone largely unnoticed by all in Spain bar the self-righteous LLL, is how Zaragoza - a club in administration and owning nearly €100 million, are allowed to sign cantera midfielder Juan Carlos from Real Madrid for nearly €2.5 million when they still owe so much to other teams for past transfers. LLL would also like to know where Zaragoza president Agapito Iglesias found the €395,000 to buy a spot for the club’s ‘B’ team in Spain’s Segunda ‘B’ division.

Joaquín Caparrós will not be having his contract extended at Athletic Bilbao despite having done a fine job in the Basque Country in recent years. Unfortunately for ‘Jokin’, his club president Fernando Macua lost out in a presidential election to former player Josu Urrutia, who squeaked past his opponent 54% to 44%.

The new president’s first major act was to make Marcelo ‘El Loco‘ Biesla his manager, with the Larry Grayson-specs sporting coach agreeing to take over the Basque side with the aim of making them a little more entertaining on the pitch.   

Atlético Madrid were one of the first teams back in training last week, except they were missing one of their squad members. Brazilian striker Diego Costa eventually joined his team-mates four days late, claiming that, as he had lost his Spanish mobile in Brazil, he had no means (or desire) whatsoever of finding out when he was due in Madrid.

“There was some confusion,” admitted Costa, “But it wasn’t all my fault. When they did get hold of me I got a ticket home straight away,” said the Brazilian hoping this revelation would see his imminent caning by Gregorio Manzano reduced to under 30 whacks.

Meanwhile Marca shared the stunning revelation that Real Madrid coach José Mourinho “really loves his great squad” and that Florentino Pérez was looking to build a retractable roof on top of the Santiago Bernabeu, something the rain-soaked stadium desperately needs.

Zinedine Zidane also announced himself as the club’s new Director of Football, although admitted that he still needed to discover “what my role is going to be.”

LLL can only guess that Mourinho’s coffee doesn’t pour itself...

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