Review of the season: Jose bores Bernabeu & Barça’s expensive past

September

The month may have begun with the odd and more than a little disturbing sight of Atlético Madrid at the top of the table, but it ended with the very pretty picture of Valencia and Villarreal as the top two, with Barcelona and Real Madrid for once playing catch-up.

Pep’s Dream Boys were suffering from the home defeat at the hands of Hércules in the second round - a loss that ultimately proved to be a bit of a one-off fluke - while José Mourinho was making few friends in Mordor, with blooming awful football and a second goalless draw in five, against Levante.

“At the moment, Madrid are boring us, it must be said loud and clear,” announced AS editor Alfredo Relaño after a grindingly efficient 1-0 win against Osasuna at the Santiago Bernabeu, Mourinho’s home league debut. The Madrid man’s defence for a stuttering start was a lack of training time with his full squad due to the World Cup and September internationals, along with the oft overlooked fact that he is “not Harry Potter.”

The supporters certainly didn’t buy the excuses, with the home crowd booing their performances - something that Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t take too well to. “It would be better if they helped us by motivating us to improve,” retorted the forward, fighting against decades of tradition in the grumpy Santiago Bernabeu stands.

Ronaldo was then fighting against Iker Casillas, with the club captain siding with girlfriend Sara Carbonero, by admitting that his colleague was egotistical, "but not in a bad way.”

"Hey, if I was egotistical, would I bring a microphone onto the pitch...?"

Mourinho appeared to be just as bored as the Madrid supporters, and even tried to manage Portugal for a couple of games just to pass the time after Carlos Queiroz was given the post-World Cup elbow. This particular door was slammed in Jose's face with the former Inter boss admitting that “the Madridista family would see it in a negative way.”

This didn't stop him moaning that looking after the likes of Esteban Granero and Marcelo during an international break was like “ten days of holiday.”

Over in the Catalan camp, and Marca had fashioned a dramatic “Corruption at Barça!” logo in response to invoices released by the new regime showing Joan Laporta and his board had perhaps been a little fast and loose with the club’s expense account - something denied by the former president who attacked the “Spanish media cavern” for trying to besmirch his reputation as he looked to embark on a political career.

Laporta’s claims were not aided when a photo of him covered in champagne in a night club, holding a cigar and looking rather ‘relaxed’ was leaked, and things got even worse when it was reported he had spent €420,000 on watches for the players - explained away as something to make “life comfortable for the footballers.”

Former VP, Alfonso Godall, then claimed that “the president of Barcelona can’t travel in tourist class or go by bus or metro with a ten journey pass,” like other mere mortals. 

Barcelona responded to these stories by issuing a typically pompous code of conduct for the team’s directors, employees and players and very little has been heard of the accusations of expense splurging since.

Over at Villarreal, club president Fernando Roig was trying to ditch the great Primera tradition of two presidents who clearly despise each other being forced to sit next to eachother during matches and not express any emotion whatsoever. Roig wanted to be able to keep his own company and revealed that “I’ve spent some time proposing this to la Liga.”

An early indication of Deportivo’s eventual relegation came when the team failed to score a goal from open play in their first five games. Although Miguel Angel Lotina’s mind-blowingly dull men grabbed two in a draw against Getafe, both strikes were penalties. Aside from that, four other games ended with a big, fat zero on the Deportivo scoresheet.

The first sacking of the season came at Sevilla with the very predictable dismissal of Antonio Alvarez after just six months in charge. The southern side were lacking a little élan in la Liga and were also knocked out of the Champions League in the preliminary stages by unfancied Braga.

Espanyol saw another sign of Spain’s peculiar penalty system, with José Callejón fined €3,000 for revealing a t-shirt tribute to Dani Jarque - considerably more than the fines doled-out to those cheeky-beggars who intentionally threw extra balls onto the pitch, a late season trend which cost only €602 for the offending club.

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