Retiring Raul and Atlético's secret signing

When Ramón Calderón pledged last week that his personal goal for next season was to open his presidential trap an awful lot less, La Liga Loca's face fell faster than Jesus Navas being handed a suitcase and a round-the-world airline ticket. That's because every time the Real Madrid president opens his gob something ludicrous, pointless or FIFA sanction-inviting inevitably tumbles out. And that's a comedy gold mine for this deeply unimaginative blog to tap. Calderón's latest crazy plan is to retire Raul's number seven shirt when the striker hangs up his boots. But only as a mark of respect, of course, and not as a cheap populist gesture proving once again that the Bernabeu bigwig simply doesn't get 'it'.

With 'it' being the whole concept of football. In fact, Calderón is an awful lot happier at the bullfighting where he is now pictured most days. One must assume that if the Real Madrid head honcho is such a big fan of watching dumb, helpless animals being cruelly slaughtered without the slightest fighting chance of survival, then he must have been highly entertained by his team's recent Champions League campaigns.Marca were quick to poo-poo Ramón's latest ramblings by pointing out that the club could also retire "the 11 of Gento, the 10 Puskas, the 8 of Michel, the 4 of Hierro, the 9 of infinity. Then they'll be left with no numbers." Unfortunately, they went on to undo that fine work by comparing Calderón to Churchill, Eisenhower and Napoleon by applauding him for having a Plan B should they fail to lure Cristiano Ronaldo to the Spanish capital.Ivan Helguera has always been someone held in high regard by La Liga Loca. Not for his footballing abilities, mind, but for the fact that he is constantly whinging and whining. The defensive disaster zone was one of the players most critical of Florentino Perez' Galactico system when he was a player at the Bernabeu. And it turns out that he is also one of the most critical of the post Galactico regime - a regime that failed to give him a squad number two seasons ago. "(Ramón Calderón and Pedja Mijatovic) are not cut out to be the president and sporting director of such a great club," sniffed the footballer who must be loving his time in Mestalla. "With Florentino (Perez) the club evolved, while under Calderón it has not." Aside from back to back league championships and reported record revenues, one could add. For the last few seasons, Atlético Madrid have been one of the big spenders in La Liga without any indication of how their often extravagant transfer splurges have been funded. Sadly, like Pablo Ibañez' international career, those days are long gone says technical director Jesus Pitarch who claims that the club will have to tighten its belt in years to come. Enrique Cerezo's right hand man also warned that Atlético Madrid will have to learn to stop falling apart at the the faintest whiff of trouble - one of its most loveable features. "This club has to create a culture that is not the culture of Kleenex." Unless he is referring to one of Maniche's more unpleasant dressing room habits, that is. Despite this threat of less entertaining times at the Vicente Calderón, the club decided to retread the old comedy path by hiring a white camper van with closed curtains to disguise the arrival of, centre back, Tomas Ujfalusi for his medical in Madrid - seemingly under the impression that they had just signed Leo Messi in a shock deal.As Ramón Calderón is finding, old habits die hard.