SaturdayReal Madrid (4th) vs Recreativo (19th)Even by RamÃÂ³n CalderÃÂ³nÃ¢ÂÂs magnificent standards, it has been quite a week for the increasingly potty Real Madrid president. The Bernabeu bigwig decided to face the clubÃ¢ÂÂs Ã¢ÂÂmini crisisÃ¢ÂÂ in time-honoured tradition... by talking to every media outlet possible and making matters infinitely worse. On Monday, CalderÃÂ³n shoved Pedja Mijatovic in front of the cameras to state, without the hint of a snigger, how he was right behind the teamÃ¢ÂÂs German coach... until the Recreativo game, at least. Ã¢ÂÂIt was an absurd press conference with support for Schuster that nobody believed,Ã¢ÂÂ sniffed AS editor Alfredo RelaÃÂ±o.Hours later, the club president - and now Dr CalderÃÂ³n, it seems - went on a radio station to declare that Ã¢ÂÂnobody could predict (De la Red) would have a heart attack,Ã¢ÂÂ despite there being no reports published that this is what the midfielder suffered during the Copa del Rey match against Real Union. Ã¢ÂÂI donÃ¢ÂÂt know the results of the tests,Ã¢ÂÂ admitted an apologetic RamÃÂ³n on Wednesday. Ã¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂm not a doctor, nor a specialist on the subject.Ã¢ÂÂOn Tuesday, the Bernabeu played host to a Ã¢ÂÂclear the airÃ¢ÂÂ meeting with the local press where CalderÃÂ³n was pictured either yawning or complaining about how the papers were not supportive enough - a trick from Joan LaportaÃ¢ÂÂs play book last year. The prickly, paranoid president then took the opportunity to show that he was not rattled at all by the reappearance of Florentino Perez and his famous photograph with Ronaldo and Zidane with a fine rant. Ã¢ÂÂTomorrow, I expect he will be posing with another player who took four million pesetas from the club and who has said himself was used for... prostitution,Ã¢ÂÂ declared the less than dignified CalderÃÂ³n.Ã¢ÂÂHeÃ¢ÂÂs nervous, insecure and doesnÃ¢ÂÂt have a clear conscious,Ã¢ÂÂ opined Josep Maria Casanovas in Sport in response.To top off this fine week of work, Marca claimed on Thursday that Madrid were about to start negotiations with Milan manager, Carlo Ancelotti. If the paper is to believed - and thatÃ¢ÂÂs a big 'if' - it puts PedjaÃ¢ÂÂs declaration from Monday that Ã¢ÂÂwe have never thought about sacking the manager, nor have we looked for a replacement,Ã¢ÂÂ into some doubt. On a side note, they are playing a game of football on Saturday night.LLL Prediction - DrawVillarreal (2nd) vs Valladolid (13th)Sensible VillarrealÃ¢ÂÂs achievement of remaining the only unbeaten team in the Primera was all the more remarkable considering it was mostly achieved without the goalscoring stylings of the injured Nihat. The Yellow Submarine will now have to carry on this massive mission without Joseba Llorente, as the forward is set to be out for the next month with muscle knack. But there is no need to fear says Manuel Pellegrini, Guille Franco is here to fill the teamÃ¢ÂÂs striking shoes. Ã¢ÂÂNow is the moment for other players like Guille,Ã¢ÂÂ declared the Chilean manager before reflecting on what he had just said. Ã¢ÂÂBut I hope Llorente gets better as soon as possible,Ã¢ÂÂ continued Pellegrini with his vote of no confidence. LLL Prediction - Home winSevilla (5th) vs Valencia (3rd)No, your eyes are not deceiving you, there is an actual proper, grown-up, mortgage-owning, game of football being played this weekend.
After 11 rounds of dross - entertaining dross, mind - La Liga has a four-week burst of activity before returning to the lacklustre likes of Barcelona against Osasuna for the next five months. Up until the winter break, most of the title chasers - and Real Madrid - will be going head-to-head and taking points off each other. ThatÃ¢ÂÂs what AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid are hoping anyway. The manic mayhem starts on Saturday with Valencia visiting a sunny Sevilla on a bit of a high after two wins on the trot - victories that have brought out the best in the shy and retiring club president. Ã¢ÂÂWe are one of the best teams in the Spanish league and in Europe,Ã¢ÂÂ boasted JosÃÂ© Maria del Nido. Ã¢ÂÂWe are envied and admired.Ã¢ÂÂIf Del Nido is looking for Sevilla to reach the level of the likes of Liverpool, then his club is certainly on the right track. Marca reports this week that eight of the sideÃ¢ÂÂs players have had their houses burgled over the past few months. Heady days indeed. LLL Prediction - Away winSundayMallorca (15th) vs MÃÂ¡laga (11th)After just one win in five, the Mallorca players took a long hard look at themselves in the mirror this week. But not in the way that Ever Banega probably does. Ã¢ÂÂWe need to fight for every ball,Ã¢ÂÂ grumbled defender Lionel Scaloni, Ã¢ÂÂand not play at 80 percent.Ã¢ÂÂ
La Liga Loca reckons that figure would be a dream come true for some of the current crop of Balearic bottlers. LLL Prediction - Home win Osasuna (20th) vs AlmerÃÂa (8th)Desperate times call for desperate measures in Osasuna. Having failed to win a game all season, racking up just three league goals, there is only one tactic left for the club's failing footballers... pointless platitudes in the press. Ã¢ÂÂWe donÃ¢ÂÂt believe we are a jinxed team,Ã¢ÂÂ said Francisco PuÃÂ±al as the press room light bulbs exploded. Ã¢ÂÂWe keep on thinking that we can move up the table... win two or three games... stay strong... take more time on the ball... er...Ã¢ÂÂ shrugged the club captain looking for help.LLL Prediction - Home win (Yay!)Numancia (17th) vs AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid (6th)This week, La Liga Loca was more than a little confused as why to why AtletiÃ¢ÂÂs bosses thought it was a spiffing idea to bring Sinama-Pongolle to the Court of Arbitration in Sport (CAS) with them, to argue that racism has no home in the Vicente CalderÃÂ³n.After all, back in May, the club was fined 3,000 euro after fans racially abused... Sinama-Pongolle, who was in the colours of Recreativo at the time.So the blog asked its Atleti insider for an insight. Ã¢ÂÂBecause they are ******* idiots,Ã¢ÂÂ was his potty-mouthed reply. It seems the ruse may have worked, as although the PSV match behind-closed-doors ruling still stands, AtlÃÂ©tico were cleared of the allegations of racial abuse of Marseille players during their Champions League clash. Ã¢ÂÂThe penalty has been imposed because of the lack of co-ordination between the police and our private security,Ã¢ÂÂ announced rojiblanco president, Enrique Cerezo, proudly. LLL Prediction - Away win Racing (14th) vs Espanyol (16th)La Liga Loca was doing a little bit of channel hopping on Thursday night. It ended up flicking between a dubbed - and heavily ruined by advertisements - Twister, and yet another awards show... the cheap, schedule-filling staple of Spanish television. But this particular gala afforded the blog one of the great culture clash moments of the year - a slowly stripping, leg flashing, Katy Perry bouncing about on stage dressed as a flamenco dancer singing about kissing a girl... to stunned silence from the mostly-elderly stuffed-shirt packed crowd.
TV gold. LLL Prediction - Home winSporting (9th) vs Betis (10th)Fretting Betis fans who may have been a little worried that their very own Dear Leader had moved off this mortal coil can worry no longer. ThatÃ¢ÂÂs because Darth de Lopera is set for a return to the sporting spotlight after a few months away, having been suffering from some health issues. Don Manuel is set to attend FridayoÃ¢ÂÂs team photograph, although that does raise some technical issues considering the clubÃ¢ÂÂs majority shareholder casts no reflection. No doubt there will be a big, empty space in the final portrait - a space not to be mistaken for JosÃÂ© Mari.LLL Prediction - Home win Barcelona (1st) vs Getafe (12th)Merciful Zeus, La Liga Loca doesnÃ¢ÂÂt think it can take much more of this. The blog is begging the footballing gods to smite BarÃÂ§a with a 9-0 thrashing this weekend. La Liga Loca has no particular grudge against PepÃ¢ÂÂs Dream Boys, but it feels that it is in severe danger of vomiting for the rest of time if it has to read more sickly stories from the Catalan press about how wonderful they are. On Tuesday, Sport published a 3,000 word (well it felt like it anyway) essay on why nobody should be allowed to tackle Leo Messi. Ã¢ÂÂReferees have to apply the rules to the maximum,Ã¢ÂÂ demanded the paper. Ã¢ÂÂQuick cards of the appropriate colour,Ã¢ÂÂ for anyone going near BarÃÂ§aÃ¢ÂÂs handballing hero. On Thursday, the paperÃ¢ÂÂs editorial gushed that Ã¢ÂÂPep Guardiola is the complete coach. Nothing escapes his control.Ã¢ÂÂ A day later and it had turned its attention to Ã¢ÂÂthe best cantera in the world.Ã¢ÂÂ Meanwhile, in another part of the Kingdom of Catalunya, Joan Laporta continued his chin-scratching ways to lure more than 50 people and a dog to the Camp Nou. With the Catalan Classic Karaoke having failed to live up to expectations, the club has introduced an airline style print your own ticket scheme. However, the cunning plan ignores the fact that BarÃÂ§a supporters would have to go through the laborious task of turning on their computers, finding the website, paying for the tickets, hitting print....LLL Prediction - Draw (Aupa Getafe!)Deportivo (7th) vs Athletic (18th)Ã¢ÂÂWhen weÃ¢ÂÂre 1-0 down we drop our heads and lose confidence,Ã¢ÂÂ complained Deportivo manager Miguel Angel Lotina on his sideÃ¢ÂÂs big weakness this season. Aside from Riki, that is. The blog is not particularly surprised by this problem. When Valencia go 1-0 down, the players can look to the sidelines and be inspired by the sight of Unai Emery bouncing about like a pumped up puppy. As can the players of Barcelona and, SundayÃ¢ÂÂs opponents, Athletic. DeportivoÃ¢ÂÂs footballers have to draw strength and succour from Lotina standing by the side of the pitch, sighing and quite possibly sobbing... something the Lord of Doom is prone to doing when good times turn bad. LLL Prediction - Home win