July's D-Day for Spain's top dogs

July 7 is shaping up to be a thrilling day in the worlds of both Real Madrid and Barcelona. According to the current rumblings in the Spanish press - coming from that teeny, tiny, work experience run section not obsessed with Euro 2008 - it's set to be the date when both clubs could either be doing the footballing equivalent of blowing both their feet off, or setting off on a daisy-laden path to sporting glory. Roberto Gomez, in Marca, has decided to deviate from his normal daily ramblings which consists of name dropping and plugging the businesses of his showbiz buddies.

The latest of these is a lucky gentleman who runs the 'Clinica Menorca' - an institution which presumably specialises in the removal of noses from rectums - and a restaurant in the suburbs of Madrid where Gomez is possibly gunning for free pie when he returns from the European Championships with the rest of the Spanish squad on Friday morning.  The man from Marca claims that July 7 is the happy, clappy day when Cristiano Ronaldo will be unveiled in Castle Greyskull by a beaming Ramón Calderón, now that Banco Santander have kindly agreed to lend the club the 85 million euros needed to tempt the diving diva to the Spanish capital. All that is left now, says Gomez, is the tricky decision of what number to give the Portuguese poser. Ronaldo will have to prise his favoured number seven shirt from Raul's cold dead hands, whilst Ruud Van Nistelrooy is unlikely to hand over his number 17 without another scrap between the feuding footballers.

"Well he's not having my number..."

July 7 is also the date when Barcelona's Joan Laporta could well be joining the expanding ranks of the Spanish unemployed with the special referendum on his future at the Camp Nou set to be held the day before, according to Sport.  Barça sporting director, Marca Ingla has been wheeled out to make it clear to potential voters in the presidential poll that turfing out Laporta would be a very, very bad thing for the club. "We won't be able to make transfers or signings until the start of the season and that leaves us at a disadvantage," warned Ingla.However, Barcelona still have a couple of weeks left to make Arsenal that little bit richer, something that has been a long term strategy of the Catalan club. Having signed the likes of Petit, Overmars and Henry for a good 27 billion euros over the years, Laporta looks set to add 30 odd million to that total by bringing over Emmanuel Adebayor. "This cannot carry on," complained Josep Maria Casanovas in Sport on the club's current spending. "(Barcelona) only have to show interest in a footballer and his price doubles." This summer signing is in line with the clubs 'no galacticos' policy which saw club suit Ferran Soriano cocking a snook at their rivals dogged pursuit of Ronaldo. "It does not worry us much if we sell a certain number of replica shirts or not," sniffed Barça's Vice President.

Shirt sales not a priority for Barca... apparantly 

Recreativo's Florent Sinama-Pongolle must be a very confused footballer at the moment. If the French striker is currently reading the sports papers he would find himself either moving to Benfica or Atlético Madrid, or moving to Atlético Madrid and finding himself on loan to Racing Santander. But this is the least of Atlético's worries as the club is undergoing extensive UEFA-pleasing rebuilding work to prepare for their upcoming one match Champions League run and also trying to track down the likes of Tomas 'mad dog' Ujfalusi and Jonny 'mad dog' Heitinga to get them to put pen to paper on their new contracts. Getafe president, Angel Torres has explained their disappointing decision to appoint the distinctly unexciting Victor Muñoz as their replacement for the still jobless Michael Laudrup."We have bet on experience so we don't take too many risks," explained the Coliseum commander. "My idea of football is always think of the public," said a not-believing-his-luck Muñoz. "It's a change of style with less glamour," admitted José Maria de la Rosa in AS tying his best to keep a stiff upper lip.

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