FFT's Spanish expert Tim Stannard apparently isn't a fan of the Club World Cup...
Talk about giving a Scrooge McDuck of a club a helping hand in the endless pursuit of wealth and glory. Mr Sepp Blatter has certainly outdone himself in his pursuit of sucking up to Real Madrid after the unfortunate Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergeant Major, Ministry of Funny Walks-routine that day at the Oxford Union.
A tournament is being run in Morocco for the benefit of Madrid to pick up a huge cheque of $35 million, bang on a bit more about all the trophies they've won and use the jolly as an extended winter break.
It is hard to think of any other purpose to the Club World Cup, which saw Madrid cruise past Cruz Azul – narrow victors over Western Sydney Wanderers – in the semis, setting up a final against San Lorenzo (narrow winners over Auckland City). The form book would suggest that Guti and Thomas Gravesen could be stuck in the midfield for the weekend clash and Madrid would still come out on top.
REPORT Cruz Azul 0-4 Real Madrid
The tournament would have been a heck of a lot more fun if Atlético Madrid had been there; the People’s Princesses of the Champions League over the summer; a stodgy outfit wellying opponents from Oceania to Argentina led by a barking Diego Simeone being declared as the greatest club in the world. Now that would perhaps have been the greatest thing to ever happen. Ever.
Barcelona were also given a chance to cool their independence-seeking heels with a Copa del Rey second-leg clash against Huesca on Tuesday. With the tie evenly balanced after the first game, 4-0 in favour of the Catalan club, Barça made sure of a glorious and magnificent victory over their third-tier part-timers by winning 12-1 on aggregate in a purely pointless exercise, in a purely pointless tournament.
Sit back, Sevilla
However, the slackness of the Big Two pales in comparison to the easy life being enjoyed by Sevilla. The Andalusian side played Eibar last weekend, and that is all the team are going to be doing until the New Year rolls around. Their own Copa del Rey tussle was done and dusted two weeks ago, and the team were due to be playing Real Madrid this weekend – that outfit currently out playing testimonial matches in Morocco.
Inter-club friendlies are being organised to keep everyone on their toes, as well as the opportunity for players to bring in board games on a Friday. LLL suspects that the Real Madrid players will be up to the same activity before and during the weekend’s clash with San Lorenzo.