FourFourTwo's Spanish expert Tim Stannard explores Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo's follicular folly and struggling Almeria's alternate reality...
Perfect. That leaves just about three examples to go in a short documentary LLL is working on, provisionally entitled 10 Things I Hate About You: Ronaldo Special. Joining zingers such as “standing on tip-toes in team photos to look taller”, “celebrating like an enormous [ahem] with a shirt-strip on scoring a meaningless Champions League goal” and “that stupid noise from the Ballon d’Or,” is the new entry entitled “vanity bordering on the little bit scary.”
Gonzalo Presa, the head of Madrid’s sinister waxwork museum – always worth visiting due to its figures’ uncanny knack of not looking anything like their fleshier counterparts – revealed to the media that Ronaldo sends his stylist once a month to attend to the dummy’s hair and ensure that it’s just so. Incidentally, this is real hair brought in from India, hopefully from an owner that was paid an awful lot of money for it.
The story sums up a week in La Liga that runs from the sublime (waxwork hair-care) to the ridiculous, namely Almería coexisting in two different dimensions depending on whether you look at the league table of the Spanish FA or the Spanish League.
The confusion has arisen due to a three-point reduction handed down by FIFA after Almería allegedly failed to pay royalties worth €60,000 to Danish club Esberg after the 2011 signing of Michael Jakobson.
“The [Spanish] League has told us to relax and that no points will be deducted,” said club president Alfonso García, who will be taking the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, despite the wonderfully reassuring but completely ill-conceived advice from the League.
This bungle now leaves Almería in either the relegation zone on 21 points (according to the FA) or safely 16th on 24 (so says the League) – a dual-reality situation that clearly needs resolution well before the season’s close.
Where's the party?
Another hot topic, at least for the next few days, is the annual argument of where to play the Copa del Rey final; this season a repeat of the 2012 affair between Athletic Bilbao and Barcelona.
On that occasion both teams pushed for the Santiago Bernabéu, firstly for the size of the ground and for the more entertaining reason that playing the final there would really annoy Florentino Pérez.
Three years ago, Madrid had to come up with the excuse that the team’s bathrooms were being remodelled, so the bigwigs at the Bernabéu will need to go one better to have the final kicked down to the Vicente Calderón again. All 85,000 seats in the stadium being fitted with bum-warming cushions, perhaps.
All in all, La Liga continues to deliver in all departments: an intriguing title race, a rum run for third and absolute lunacy involving wigs, waxworks and alternating dimensions. Viva La Liga Loca once again.