In many ways, Real MadridÃ¢ÂÂs decision to permanently block journalistsÃ¢ÂÂ access to their players after training should be seen as a blessing in disguise for the Spanish footballing press.After all, as MarcaÃ¢ÂÂs Roberto GÃÂ³mez puts it, the club is merely Ã¢ÂÂoptimising relations with the media, members and supporters.Ã¢ÂÂ Yes, it may mean that his colleagues have to work that little bit harder to make up stories, but it does free them from the humiliation of being herded into a pen just to watch ipod-clutching multi-billionaire footballers breeze past as they head for their Batmobiles.
Real Madrid training: No journalists allowed!
The lethargic La Liga LocaÃ¢ÂÂs one and only trip to this unseemly scrum was an odd experience. The blog was creeped out more than a little by the very unnerving Julio Baptista, was told by Wesley Sneijder that he, himself, was the player of the year and discovered that Royston Drenthe answers the simplest of questions with the same thought and intensity given to the Ã¢ÂÂSylvie Van der Vaart, your mother, on the Titanic, one life jacketÃ¢ÂÂ conundrum. In theory, the Spanish tabloid papers should have been very much with the public fury on the clubÃ¢ÂÂs new direction. But they have been curiously silent on the affair with AS dedicating just a teeny tiny paragraph to the decision and Marca allowing, groveller-in-chief, GÃÂ³mez to more or less reproduce the official statement given on the clubÃ¢ÂÂs website. La Liga LocaÃ¢ÂÂs evil wish to see the relegation of those super-smugsters Villarreal, just to see the look on their faces, looks like coming true. The club have lost their last three friendlies, the most recent of which was a 5-1 hammering by Valladolid in the Madrigal.Ã¢ÂÂWe are too comfortable,Ã¢ÂÂ fumed Javi Venta. Ã¢ÂÂAfter being second last year, we think that matches are won on their own.Ã¢ÂÂ It was an opinion shared by Diego LÃÂ³pez who predicted that Ã¢ÂÂwe wonÃ¢ÂÂt win anything,Ã¢ÂÂ in the new season if his teamÃ¢ÂÂs current form continues.
Villarreal losing again in pre-season, against Liverpool
Technically, Villarreal didnÃ¢ÂÂt win anything last year, apart from plaudits. Or the year before that. In fact their list of past glories is shorter than GutiÃ¢ÂÂs attention span. VillarrealÃ¢ÂÂs slump has whipped the Marca message-boarders into a feeding-frenzy with one particular keyboard-bashing baiter shouting in capitals that Ã¢ÂÂyou are not gods, you are flesh and bone!Ã¢ÂÂ The Yellow Submarine may be suffering more metaphor-mangling turbulence before the season starts with the departure of Marcus Senna to Luis AragonesÃ¢ÂÂ Fenerbahce. The ex-BrazilianÃ¢ÂÂs agent confirms that there are talks between the two clubs with Senna himself admitting that Ã¢ÂÂLuis asked me if I would like to work with him and I said it would be a pleasure.Ã¢ÂÂ Espanyol manager Tintin Ã¢ÂÂsacked in SeptemberÃ¢ÂÂ MÃÂ¡rquez is blissfully unconcerned about his teamÃ¢ÂÂs recent tour of the Netherlands where they failed to win a game. Ã¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂm happy with the way things have gone,Ã¢ÂÂ chirped the former number two. If thatÃ¢ÂÂs true then heÃ¢ÂÂll be dizzy with delight with the campaign to come if being beaten is how he gets his footballing kicks. Pep Ã¢ÂÂPepÃ¢ÂÂ Guardiola has got the managerial seal of approval from former Spain international buddy, Michel Salgado. The creaky old full-back oozed that Ã¢ÂÂthe way he views football as a player and the way he exudes the Barcelona spirit, I believe heÃ¢ÂÂs the perfect choice to coach BarÃÂ§a.Ã¢ÂÂ
Salgado: Just crazy about his old friend Pep
Elsewhere in the Spanish capital, Maniche is continuing his charm offensive to woo both the fans of the AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid and his boss, Javier Aguirre. Ã¢ÂÂI want to stay here and show the manager things that IÃ¢ÂÂve not yet shown,Ã¢ÂÂ warned the big-boned-bottler. La Liga Loca can only guess that mooning will be the chosen method of protest the next time he is taken to task by Aguirre for being in no fit state to play a game of football. And thatÃ¢ÂÂs something AtlÃÂ©ticoÃ¢ÂÂs soon-to-be shellshocked Mexican manager will never recover from.