Real Madrid go Dutch... again

Having promised to pack his team with the finest young Spanish talent available, Real Madrid president Ramón Calderón has continued his great Iberian initiative by recruiting Rafael van der Vaart from Hamburg - the side's fifth Dutch player. And this must surely be the tipping point for the music in the dressing room as it swings from the infernal sounds of flamin' flamenco to the Happy House stylings of 2 Unlimited.

Especially now that the Spanish-as-paella-and-tax-evasion Esteban Granero, Robert Soldado, José Callejón and now Dani Parejo have all been shifted out of the club.

Real's latest Dutch import touches down in Madrid 

Poor old EMO lovin' Sergio Ramos favourites, giant-haired Germanic rockers Tokio Hotel, will barely get a look in over the new season. The former Hamburger, Van der Vaart, landed in Madrid on Monday night with wifey Sylvie in tow - a lady who now moves into the Real Madrid WAG top three, taking the place once held by 'Granero's bird' - nestled behind Mrs Iker and Mrs Raul. Robinho, who appears to have swapped samba for Leonard Cohen on his ipod over the summer, has had a renewed rant against Real Madrid by complaining that he will be forced to watch the Brazilian Olympic team on television after the over 23-year-old was denied permission to join his buddies in Bejing."Real Madrid didn't want to release me," sulked the striker. "I'm very sorry about that." Probably not as sorry as the rest of his team-mates who have been forced to put up with the Incredible Sulk for the past three weeks or so. Meanwhile, Marca have run a story claiming that "No one wants Robinho to leave." Aside from the 45.9% in their poll who suggest that he should sling his Brazilian hook to pastures new, that is.

"It's not fair. I wanted to go to Beijing..." 

AS are very impressed indeed at Barcelona's pre-season so far, which sees four wins from four and 19 goals scored with just four against. "Barça are looking very good. Once again." writes Alfredo Relaña admiringly. Monday's Sport went even further, as to be expected, with an over stimulated Josep González boasting that "Laporta has taken to the air like a Phoenix reborn in all its glory." The following day's edition has chosen to write several thousand words on why Samuel Eto'o is determined to stay at the Camp Nou for another season. And as is tradition with the Catalan-crazy paper, it contains not a single quote or shred of evidence to support such a claim. Tough-talking Pep Guardiola, speaking after Barcelona's 5-2 over Chivas, maintains that he still wants Eto'o to be turfed out the club. "My opinion is the same," growled the coach. As it is Tuesday, Mundo Deportivo have selected Berbatov as the candidate most likely to come to the Camp Nou.

Eto'o: Still failing to win over new coach Guardiola 

In a story that makes La Liga Loca as happy as Guti with a Lego set, Valencia's Ever Banega is reportedly looking for a move to Atlético Madrid where he is hoping to gain much more hands-on experience and really come into his own.

And where he will be possibly be united with Maniche, in what will be the Spanish capital's equivalent of Thelma and Louise. Or Laurel and Hardy. In one of those "why are they only doing this now?" stories, Marca write that it will be Big Brother at Valencia this season. Sadly, the club will not be producing possibly one of the most entertaining reality shows ever conceived, but instead they boast that Unai Emery will be recording training sessions and matches. In other news, the club has managed to go a whole week without sacking anyone or suffering a takeover by beings from another dimension, although Juan Villalonga's recent threat that "I will never abandon my struggle and I will keep going so I can reach the place that history has for me," must have one or two people in Mestalla spooked.