The Ronaldo-ignoring, Depor-despising weekend La Liga predictions


Villarreal (3rd) v Mallorca (10th)

Of course, handed the chance to take part in the Europa League without actually qualifying for it, Mallorca’s bosses would have turned down the opportunity as a matter of honour. That’s the bluff the directors of the Balearic club are trying to pull by refusing to partake in the directors’ dinner - quite a big sacrifice actually - and sit in the presidential ‘palco’ at Villarreal for Saturday’s clash. Instead, the stuffed suits will be plonking themselves in the stands with the scummy supporters.

Mallorca are upset that Villarreal took their spot in the Europa League after the club’s unfortunate tumble into administration over the summer - breaking UEFA’s rules of participation in the process - an act that they themselves would never have done in the same situation. Oh no.

What’s more, club president for the month, Jaume Cladera, claims that Villarreal had their hand in Mallorca’s expulsion. “It was not a unilateral decision from UEFA,” he grumbled.

As it happens, Villarreal have taken full advantage of their apparent skullduggery by coming top of their group after a midweek win against Bruges. In Bruges.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Levante (16th) v Athletic Bilbao (8th)

While most club presidents in Spain are jowly, blustering buffoons in their late 50s and just one tortilla from a total coronary collapse - LLL is looking at you, Augusto Lendoiro of Deportivo - Levante’s big boy is a wee whipper-snapper at just 34.

Quico Catalán was appointed president having worked his way through the ranks of the club to pretty much be the last one standing - and probably not with his trouser pockets stuffed with pens and staplers - when Levante went into economic meltdown when relegated in 2008.

Despite some €80m of debt on its books Levante is just surviving and doing reasonably well in la Primera. Well, it’s not in the relegation zone at the moment but perhaps will be soon when Málaga get their mojo working again.

And it is this suspicion that relegation will come a’callin’ in May for Levante that sees Catalán explaining the reason why he agreed to Real Madrid and Barcelona’s proposal for the new TV deal starting from 2014, with his prediction that Levante could be a touch yo-yo over the next few seasons.

“If we go down then we get €9 million in support for two years. The gesture from Madrid and Barcelona is not great, but it’s important,” explained Levante’s leader on a figure that currently covers the club’s budget for playing and technical staff.

LLL Prediction - Draw

Deportivo (13th) v Sporting (19th)

A defeat for Sporting in La Coruña could mean goodbye to Manolo Preciado at the helm of the Asturian side. So that’s one more reason to want Deportivo to lose on Sunday.

In case it is hard to tell, LLL is still a touch bitter about the abject 4-6-0 performance that Miguel Angel Lotina and his players served up at a blooming freezing Vicente Calderón against Atlético, last Saturday.

LLL Prediction - Away win

Espanyol (4th) v Barcelona (1st)

There is still a lot of sheikh, rattling and rolling going on at the Camp Nou with the Qatar sponsorship deal still setting some tongues wagging, apart from at the offices of Mundo Deportivo, Sport, where the club have most certainly told their staff that the megabuck shirt whor...sorry...sponsorship deal is all fine and dandy.

Johan Cruyff still doesn’t agree though and claims that “Barcelona is no longer more than a club,” a position the Dutchman probably adopted when being forced to hand over his president of honour badge by Sandro Rosell in his first days in charge of Pep’s Dream Boys.

Marca have not missed out on the chance to have a Primera pop by juxtapositioning Guardiola’s “there’s freedom in Qatar” claims with ten reasons why there isn’t.

LLL Prediction - Away win

Real Sociedad (9th) v Valencia (5th)

That pesky Champions League qualification and fine performance against Manchester United at Old Trafford saw Valencia fans with their white handkerchiefs stuck in their pockets and unable to boo their players for a couple of weeks - two of Mestalla regulars' favourite pastimes denied of them.

However, salvation was at hand on Monday when Valencia threw away a 3-1 lead at home to Osasuna to draw 3-3, a performance that saw supporters jeering the footballers off the pitch some some glee and gusto.

After the game, Unai Emery quite rightly tore into his team claiming that they were “afraid and lacked character”. As there are three things that footballers really don’t like - marital fidelity, driving laws and being called a scaredy cat - the Valencia squad have apparently gone into a big sulk.

To keep the players complaints under wraps, the Valencia press department has cancelled all media interviews with the squad until further notice as the club tries to work its way through yet another self-made mess.

LLL Prediction - Home win


Almería (17th) v Getafe (7th)

But for the liklihood that they would be sent off - not to mention possibly go to prison for manslaughter - Almería defenders could go around smacking opposing players with shovels in their own penalty area, as the chances are that goalkeeper Diego Alves will save the subsequent spot-kick.

The Brazilian golden goalie has faced 16 penalties in his spell in la Primera and saved nine of them, including shots from Ronaldo, Kanouté and Llorente. So the question AS put to Alves was what would happen if he were to take a penalty against himself.

“It would go over the bar. I’d never score,” admitted Almería’s spot-kick saviour.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Osasuna (15th) v Zaragoza (20th)

With Simao close to the end of his Atleti contract and seemingly set for a move to Besiktas to hook up with Guti - and probably have to drive him around town too after the midfielders unfortunate bus ramming incident - Atlético have reportedly set their sights on Osasuna winger, Juanfran.

However, the Pamplona club’s president, Pachi Izco, has refused to discuss the potential winter window move. “We’ll only talk when there’s news. At the moment, I can only hear heavenly music.”

'Well done', thought LLL in admiration at the Osasuna overlord putting his foot down on journalistic nonsense. Until Izco carried on. “ We won’t shut the door on a possible negotiation, but I won’t talk about rumours.” And on. “€10m is a serious figure.” And on.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Málaga (18th) v Atlético Madrid (6th)

Oh dear. Not a good week for Atlético. Simao walking away, even though club president, Enrique Cerezo, sniffed sulkily that they didn’t want him any way.

No Fanni action for the Rojiblanco boys with the longstanding transfer target, big Rod, joining Marseilles from Rennes.

What’s more Atleti are out of the Europa League after a draw against Bayer Leverkusen on Thursday in a brilliant campaign which saw just two wins. But then again, that’s roughly the same the Calderón club managed last season and they won the thing.

LLL Prediction - Home win

Real Madrid (2nd) v Sevilla (11th)

Tittle-tattle, gossip, and a bunch of made-up stuff are the major ingredients of La Liga Loca’s DNA, which was why it was delighted to hear some rumbustious rumblings coming out of the Real Madrid camp which it can share today.

The word on the street - and pretty much everywhere in the Spanish media except Marca - is that Cristiano Ronaldo and Iker Casillas do not exactly see eye-to-eye after the Madrid’s captain’s girlfriend, Sara Carbonero, noted in an interview in September that his Portuguese team-mate was a bit of an ‘egotist’ out on the pitch. But in a nicest possible way of course.

Ronaldo apparently sent a text to Casillas complaining about what his bird had said. The reply, quite rightly, pointed out that she was a free-thinking journalist who can say whatever the blazes she wants. And is probably right, too.

And so the spat supposedly continues to this day with most of the Madrid players failing to celebrate goals with Ronaldo - perhaps because they can’t keep up with him on his solo missions to the corner flag - and largely failing to have his back when being booted by opposition.

LLL Prediction - Home win


Racing Santander (14th) v Hércules (12th)

So. Added to the lack of training facilities, the constant daily attempt to find some - perhaps clearing some kids of the local recreation ground in the process - the occasional lack of hot water at the stadium dressing rooms, taking 14 hour coach trips for no apparent reason, another reason has been added to make the likes of Trezeguet and co really, really, really want to leave Hércules: not being paid.

In a story that ties in with LLL’s regular “Royston Drenthe-watch”, it seems that the on loan Real Madrid man is one amongst many of the squad who have received August’s salary and diddly doo since. Indeed, even Hércules coach, Esteban Vigo admitted that his wages were in arrears.

Club president, Vicente Botella, has claimed that solutions are being sought for the debts owed to the players, the taxman and the social security people and asked the footballers to “keep on working as they have been up until now.”

It sounds like they may not have much choice really.

LLL Prediction - Draw.