Ah. It's been another vintage year for the goons nominally in charge of the game in Spain.
Changing kick off times and locations the day before matches. Doing diddly squat about the TV wars. Forgetting all about Betis' punishment. Tucking the Copa del Rey final away to a handy Thursday two in the morning slot...But their biggest triumph must be having completely ignored the pecuniary plight of lowly Levante. Quite how the situation can arise when the players of a top flight club can go unpaid for over a year without either the league, FA or even unions dragging themselves away from their 10 course dinners to do anything about it is anyone's guess.If the Levante players follow up on their threat to strike on Sunday then all power to their footballing elbows. Two wins on the trot have won the players a huge amount of respect and praise from the Spanish press. And all deserved. As the t-shirts worn by the squad as they came out onto the pitch read - "Solutions Now!"EspanyolIn the wonderful world of Espanyol not losing is considered a good day, so here's happy-chappy Paul from Barcelona."A thoroughly deserved point for Espanyol against the self-proclaimed biggest club in the world. We defended so well against a team who never seriously looked like scoring. Zabaleta was fantastic, Kameni made up for his howler last week. Even with the introduction of Messi, BarÃÂ§a were still poor though not as poor as their supporters.What a shower of ***** (answers on a postcard). At home, in a local derby and they get out-sung by around 800 Espanyol fans. Our worst turnout for years but a lot of people did boycott the match in protest against recent performances. I met a group of lads from Swindon who said they were so shocked by how quiet it was. Rumour has it BarÃÂ§a will be sponsored by Kleenex next season judging by the amount of hankies being waved about. In fairness it wasn't a great match but a moral victory for Espanyol."
Paul, BarcelonaReal MadridThe post match a'leaping and a'laughing celebrations from the Real Madrid players may have been a little on the premature side, but they are understandable considering that the Racing clash was a match that many - including this blog - expected Real Madrid to lose on Sunday.Instead, it was the best away performance for some time with some swoon and swagger returning to their game. And maybe that was because Guti wasn't on the pitch to slow the game down to a snail's pace as he muses over which pass to pick.A win on Sunday against Athletic and a defeat for both Villarreal and Barcelona means that it will be curtains on this year's title 'race' next weekend. And thank merciful Zeus for that, says La Liga Loca.
Diarra celebrates as Real take another step towards the title
VillarrealA victory at last after two disappointing defeats. "Our obligation is to finish second," says Manuel Pellegrini. Villarreal's obligation is to not roll over like fluffy, wuffy kittens when things start to get a little sweaty. Dani GÃÂ¼izaHas now broken the record for most goals scored by a Mallorca player in a season with a hat-trick on Sunday bringing the diamond GÃÂ¼iza up to 21 and hot on the heels of a failing Fabiano at Sevilla. The Mallorcan magician should still be selected ahead of Raul for Euro 2008 no matter what a moaning Marca is saying, purely on the grounds that he scowls considerably less and his goal celebration is not as fingernail-tearingly annoying. Although not by much mind. DeportivoThe side's six man defence serves them well yet again with a victory over Osasuna that even Miguel Angel Lotina says was a trifle undeserved - especially because of an iffy penalty. Incredibly, Deportivo have had a second half of the season that would see them in the Champions League places if it had been repeated in the first. But, that's a big if.Unai EmeryPerhaps the best sight of the weekend was the sight of a rain-soaked Unai Emery leaping around the touchline like a lagered-up loon as all four of his side's strikes against Sevilla slammed home. Ricardo OliveiraFinally the on-loan Brazilian striker remembered where the goal was after firing blanks for the past three games. His two goal haul was enough to keep Zaragoza out of some serious relegation do-do. At least for this week anyway. BetisLooks like Paco Chaparro managed to drag his players back from the mental tropical island they had all gone to. 33 points from 19 matches for potty Paco and Manuel Ruiz de Lopera is still contemplating whether to renew his manic manager's contract or not. It's not as if he will have alternative options queuing around the block to sign him up over the summer. Bad DayBarcelonaAs La Liga Loca wrote elsewhere - Surrender Monkeys.
And it has nothing more to say on the subject.AtlÃÂ©tico MadridThere were two very loud noises in Madrid this weekend. One was the calor gas van at seven in the frickin' morning with what sounded like a game of bowls with the canisters being played by the driver. The second was the boos and barracks floating up the hill from the mad-as-hell maniacs at the Vicente CalderÃÂ³n. The rojiblancos are currently riding their luck in their Champions League chase. Despite letting a lead go in the last minute against Valladolid and crashing to a dreadful defeat against Betis on Saturday they are still in prime position to be knocked out by Viddvolvv Krz in the Champions League qualifiers thanks to the footballing failures of Racing and Sevilla this weekend. "I'm just one more manager who had handkerchiefs being waved him," shrugged Javier Aguirre who must have a sneaky feeling that AtlÃÂ©tico's traditional season-ending balls up is now well underway.
Pathetico AtlÃÂ©tico: Doing their best to balls up European qualification
GetafeNot quite in crisis mode, but a run of no wins in five and just one goal scored suggest that the season is turning as sour as La Liga Loca's last attempt to make risotto. "The team is affected by the cup final and that's human," admitted Michael Laudrup after Sunday's 3-1 defeat to Levante.Just one more victory should drag a clearly exhausted Getafe over the finishing line. And with pathetico AtlÃÂ©tico as the next visitors to the Coliseum they may not have too long a wait to do it. SevillaNo idea what's going on down there at the SÃÂ¡nchez PizjuÃÂ¡n. And nor does Manolo JimÃÂ©nez who looked like a man on the brink of blubbing on Saturday night. ValenciaPathetic. Rubbish. Shameless. Useless. Abject. But most of all, very, very funny. OsasunaLa Liga Loca was watching the Real Madrid game with a couple of exiled Osasuna fans on Sunday night. And they told the blog two things. No, Osasuna won't be going down. And no, the home fans will not be giving the Real Madrid players a warm hand on their entrance if they turn up to their formidable fortress as champions. They may have some commemorative cigarette lighters to take home with them though. Marca says that Osasuna are going through Groundhog Day. But without the ice-sculpting. Instead, the side are dominating games but missing chances and coming away with nothing to show for their work.