Simeone howls at Atletico as Isco faces shaggy dog story over Messi

Blimey. If there's one person Atlético Madrid’s big bosses should be keeping sweet, it's Diego Simeone. The chest-pounding, fist-pumping, cliché-spouting manager is the primary figure responsible for the Rojiblancos reclaiming their spot as Spaina’s third force – although to be fair, due to the horrible finances outside the top two, that's a classic case of bald men fighting over a comb.

Although Thibaut Courtois is set to stay on another season's loan from Chelsea - a leaving present from José Mourinho - Falcao has gone and all the club's transfer targets have fallen through. Diego Ribas is still at Wolfsburg, Jeremy Toulalan is on the brink of joining Monaco - according to his current club Málaga - and Alvaro Negredo looks like heading to England. “At the moment, Atlético Madrid have zero chance of signing him,” announced Sevilla president José María del Nido, cheerily.

Talking in Argentina to Fox Sports, Simeone expressed his disquiet at this lack of transfer activity. “Real Madrid have got Isco for €30 million now and Barcelona have bought Neymar. We still haven’t been able to bring in a single player. No one has come and it is difficult.”

This will be news to Leo Baptistao, the new signing from Rayo Vallecano who must already be feeling the love of a new manager who's never heard of him. “We're looking for solutions to be competitive,” growled Simeone, who will certainly be slamming a few office doors on his imminent return to the Vicente Calderón for pre-season training.

One of Málaga’s big bosses, vice president Abdullah Ghubn, spoke on Wednesday after a 13-month silence. In a cosy chat to the local media, the VP told everyone what had already been evident for a good year now - the reality that Málaga are not going to be spending any more money. The reason is the sound economic notion of not splurging more than the club earns in income but it remains to be seen whether any loot from Isco’s sale to Real Madrid will be reinvested.

"Let's all have an Isco" – RM parade their new man

Speaking of the tricksy playmaker, Isco was paraded in front of the supporters at the Santiago Bernabéu on Wednesday and got his brother to do the duties by kissing the club’s badge, after four demands from the crowd to do it himself. “I’ve only just arrived here and such is my admiration for the club that I prefer to do it on the football pitch,” explained Isco, with a promising body-swerve.

Besides fielding press questions over whether he thinks he'll get a game for Madrid, Isco was also hounded on the thorny topic on whether it's true his dog was called Messi. Isco admitted that the story wasn't a fable, but that it didn't mean that he was a Barça fan. “I had another dog called ‘Figo’: It’s just an anecdote.”

A dogged journalist asked whether the name of the aforementioned pooch would be switched to ‘Ronaldo’ in light of the move to the Spanish capital. Isco suggested that this would be a bad idea, because the dog would never answer to him.

Ladies and gentleman, the silly season in Spain is in full swing. And long may it last.

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