La Liga Loca in body swap shock

A Night of Glory and Magic  - by AS’s Tomas Roncero* (*not technically true)

For three dark months my soul has been as bleak and pointless as a life without ham. Or Don Alfredo di Stefano. May angels sing his name for all eternity.

It was like Satan himself had carved out my heart and moved into the bleak and empty space left behind.

But Satan was cast out like Robinho will be as I saw the shining lights of the Bernabeu on Sunday night. It had been too long.

Oh, what a palace of dreams this is. Carved out by God’s Almighty spoon. A coliseum of the impossible. A galaxy of pleasure.

Such was my excitement on my return that I did not sleep for six days. But as I sat in my seat next to all my friends, hundreds of SMS’s came through from my many, many pals.

“Tomas, I’m leaving you,” said my wife.

“Tomas, why are you such a tool?” wrote one Atlético-loving pal. I laughed. I love the rojiblancos like I would love a hamster.

But I pity them, too.

Santiago Bernabeu: The bestest place in the whole world 

I looked up into the stands to see Paco the great, the Pirates of Mostoles and Jorge the Unclean. Men I would give my life for.

And so the game began. What a festival the first half was! Real Madrid - the greatest club in the world - toying with Valencia like a kitten patting a tiny ball of cotton wool.

“Raul, what a crock of cack,” I heard from some of my anglo-saxon brethren.

What do they know of Raul! What do they know of Spain! What do they know of Rafa Nadal! Fernando Alonso! Gemma Mengual! Almudena Cid! The bloke who won the bronze in the fencing!

And what of the muchacho Robinho? Clearly an alien infestation with mind control powers has taken over his brain. Why else could he sully the glorious name of Real Madrid? Why?

Besides, I never liked him anyway.

As Raul lead Real Madrid home to a glorious night that will go down in the history of the world as the coming of the Great Reckoning, I heard singing from the millions packed into the Bernabeu stands.

And I thought to myself, “I think I just had a bit of an accident.”

Hala Madrid!

A day in the life of Roberto Gomez - by Marca's Roberto Gomez* (*not technically true)

Woke up, lard for breakfast. Got some on my chin.

Rang Ramón Calderón. “For Christ sake, you bloody pest!” he said, “Will you piss off and leave me alone? I’ve changed numbers five times and you still don’t get the message. I’m absolutely sick of you, you vile little man.”

It’s a little in-joke we have. In fact, he thinks I’m great and we really are very, very, very good friends. He invited me to his birthday party once. He wasn’t there. Nor was anyone else, come to think of it. Must have been some sort of mistake. Or another one of those practical jokes he likes to play on his bestest mates. He’s such a scream.

Lovely man, Ramón. Did I mention he was a really close friend of mine? We go back, ooh, years. Since he became president. He boasts a class and elegance that’s so rare in football. Or he would, only he never boasts about anything. Ever. He’s a real gentleman. If only others would learn from him. I just wish he’d get his phone fixed. It keeps cutting out. Seems to be quite a common problem with people in football, actually.

 Ramón Calderón: Great guy, rubbish phone 

Rang Marca to tell them that Cristiano Ronaldo is definitely coming to Madrid. By July 4. Hang on, July 14. I mean, next Friday. Ha! That should trump José Vicente Hernáez! Our “exclusives war” on the back of the paper is really hotting up and I’ve got to be on my toes. Which isn’t easy with these legs, I can tell you.

Went for lunch, stopping on route for a ham sandwich. Got some of the grease on my chin. Quick detour in my car (it’s a dead nice one, you know: you should ring Pepe’s Cars, great place, lovely man) to pick up that paper bag. Which reminds me: there’s this really wonderful construction magnate who’s a lovely chap. Just because the land was oddly cheap and there’s a string of court cases against him doesn’t mean anything.

For some reason Madrid and Atlético still haven’t played that friendly match I told them to play at his new development. I think it’s outrageous. I mean, they played that Game for Peace thing between Israel and Palestine, so why not at his grand opening? I mean, there are going to be 13,000 houses there. And he’s a lovely guy, not at all dodgy, oh no, no siree Bob. They should do more for Spain. I’m going to tell me very good friend Ramón Calderón that. 

Arrived at the Asador Donostiarra, where the Maitre d’ is my mate, just in time to see the president of the Spanish Federation scrambling out the window, muttering “oh Jesus, not again” or something like that. Then I thought about it and realised he had actually said “Quique Sanchez Flores will be the new Spain manager.”

Rang Marca, told them that the new Spain manager will be Quique Sánchez Flores. My good friend, Quique. Rang Quique. “Roberto who?” he said.

Ordered the menu. The whole menu, I mean. Got some on my chin. Nice bottle of red. Bodega Vega Sicilia. Then I had some brandy. Osborne. From Jerez. Nice guy Bertín Osbourne. Bloody awful singer, mind you. Mate of mine. And cigars. Cuban ones, really good ones. Only the best. You can get them from my friend Carlos the Cuban, the finest Cuban cigar seller in Madrid. Not that I’m plugging another friend of mine in return for some freebie, obviously. I’d never do that. But, speaking of plugs, if you do ever need a new one, I know this great electrical store run by a lovely man called Javier in Quevedo.

Saw Calderón at another table. He pretended not to see me for a joke - because we’re really good friends and we’re always joshing with each other - but I went over anyway and sat down. The man next to him with hair nearly as slick as my chin whispered something about “feed him any old bollocks, Ramón, he’ll publish it.” Did someone say feed? Hmm. Poor Ramón wasn’t feeling too well though and had to leave in a hurry. Flew out the door. Must have eaten something that disagreed with him. I finished off what he left on his plate. That’s what friends are for.

Left the Asador and went for lunch at the Txistu. They love me in there; I always get such a friendly welcome. Especially from Atlético president Enrique Cerezo, who was there again and waved that special, bestest mates wave of his. The one with one finger. And David Villa’s agent, another mate. Which reminds me, Atlético Madrid are going to sign David Silva. Definitely. Back of the net! Another exclusive! Had the menu again. Started with jamón ibérico de bellota, revuelto de jamón and then jamón. Got some on my chin. 

Went to the bullfighting. Everyone knows that Ramón Calderón is a huge bullfighting fan. We were watching El Juli, José Tomás and El Cid. All mates of mine, the finest bullfighters in all Christendom. They cut off an ear and two tails and got carried out the ring, through the front door.

There must have been some mix up because my seat wasn’t next to Ramón’s but I managed to squeeze in. He was delighted to see me, but still looked a bit queasy. That sinister looking guy was with him again. He told me Real Madrid are signing Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard and Greta Garbot.

Rang Marca and told them the exclusive. I’m glad it’s good or else José Vicente might have beaten me. Apparently, he’s uncovered the story that the Catalans are all horrible, which is a great follow up to his one last week about how all Catalans are smelly. Did some more high-level investigative digging, from my secret sources.

Rang Marca and told them Madrid are going to buy David Villa, plus Leo Messi, Bojan Krikic and Sergio Aguero. And, get this, they’re going to build a new car park at Valdebebas! And a players’ residency. And a new telly set. And Ramón Calderón is going to order some more of those lovely throat-restricting high collared shirts, plus a couple of blazers with lovely gold buttons from his favourite tailor. My favourite tailor, too – Paco, lovely man. Shop near Alcalá. He’s not just a great bloke Calderón, he’s stylish too.

Great scoop for me. Mint choc chip. Hmmm. Not a bad story either – or at least it will be when the poor sap in the Marca office has made it vaguely coherent.

Remember, you heard it here first. Unless you heard it on elconfidencial.com a week ago, of course. Shh, it’s our little secret. 

Smoked a big Cuban cigar and had a jamón sandwich. Went to the studios at TVE, stopping off at De María on route. Had some jamón and the finest, most tender steak there is, alongside even more of my great mates in football. I wouldn’t want to name drop, obviously. I wouldn’t be so crass as to tell you that Raul was there. Or Baptista. Or Forlán, Ramos, Robben, Casillas, Maxi, Aguirre, Belenguer, Joaquín, and Schuster.

 Ham: Hmmmmmmmmmmm 

Especially because they’re such good mates of mine; it’s a private meal between me and my friends, not for public knowledge.

Got to TVE, make-up kept slipping off my chin for some reason. Sat in a hot studio for an hour. Sweaty. Shouted a bit. Folded arms. Rested my case. Looked smug. Was feeling very pleased with myself, which is unusual for me; normally I’m so modest. Went for dinner at Casa Juan to celebrate. Lovely guy, Juan. Great restaurant; one of the finest in Madrid – and I should know.

Waved at my friends, Luis Aragonés and Fernando Hierro. For a laugh they hid under the table. Ate some jamón. Then went for the menu. Bottle of Rioja, Marqués de something. Cuban cigars, Pacharán, and a cognac. Well, I deserve it.

It’s been another successful day in the life of the world’s greatest journalist. Time to sleep. Must remember to call Ramón Calderón in the morning and tell him to fix his phone.

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