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SHARES
15 December 2008
GOOD DAYVíctor ValdésIt’s high time La Liga Loca paid its dues to the one player that even the most barmy of Barça fans would still see swiftly swapped for an Iker Casillas-shaped shot stopper, if the chance ever came up.Valdés’s clean sheet on Saturday means that Barcelona have yet to concede a goal in their mini league of mayhem against Sevilla, Valencia and Real Madrid. The much-mocked Barça goalie only really had to make proper saves on two occasions, against Drenthe and Palanca, but he did what he had to do when the time came. The Madrid press claim that Barcelona weren’t at their best on Saturday night, but this humble blog thought they played at a fairly decent level, but were blocked out by a team desperate not to be given a hefty hiding.
SHARES
13 December 2008
There’s one UEFA Champions League stat I haven’t been able to track down... how many passes Arsenal didn’t complete against Porto.
SHARES
12 December 2008
"And now, the end is near..." We've reached the end of FFT.com's best 50 football books ever, dear reader, and hope we've helped you sort the wheat from the chaff of the oodles of footy-based books out there at your disposal.
SHARES
12 December 2008
Carlo Ancelotti in Father Christmas guise would certainly be an arresting sight in the lead up to the Christmas break.With his ever-expanding girth and drooping jowls, the AC Milan boss would play the part of old Santa to perfection. Speaking to satellite broadcaster Sky Sports Italia, cuddly Carlo revealed that if he had a sack of goodies sitting in front of him it would contain: an appointment with the barber for Ronaldinho, a pen for Jose Mourinho and a Milan shirt with No.10 on the back for Alessandro Del Piero – still his favourite player, apparently.
SHARES
12 December 2008
As the nights draw in, the weather becomes ever more bitterly cold and the neon-yellow ball comes out, we console ourselves with the knowledge that a season of much joy is almost upon us
SHARES
12 December 2008
SaturdayValencia (3rd) vs Espanyol (18th)It would seem that the players and staff at the Mestalla are going to have their stockings filled by Santa this Christmas after all. Only the ones who have been good, mind. Which leaves about two. Having had their bank’s computer say ‘no’ to a request for a 100 million euro loan to keep the club going until the New Year, Valencia’s bigwigs have managed to get their hands on 40 million euro from financial organisations, foreign investment groups and future sponsorship deals. And this has temporarily taken the pressure of the need to flog the likes of Silva and Villa with, club president, Vicente Soriano asserting on Tuesday that “we won’t accept any offer for our stars.” But it was a promise that had been downgraded a day later to “I’m not a fortune teller,” when asked about what would happen in the winter transfer window. There’s still no news on the sale of the old Mestalla ground with a not-telling Soriano declaring that “soon, you will all know” the names of those looking to bulldoze Valencia’s soon to be ex-home, before “mwah, mwah, ha-ing” back to his lair. LLL Prediction - Home winBarcelona (1st) vs Real Madrid (5th)At the beginning of the week, it appeared as if the latest instalment of this horribly over-hyped encounter was going to be a 15 goal rollicking for Real Madrid, with Bernd Schuster completely disappearing inside his anorak, never to be seen again. But a reported seven million euro sacking for the moustachioed maestro, the rapid introduction of Juande Ramos and a half-decent performance against Zenit suggests that Barcelona’s goal tally may well be staying in single figures. That’s the prediction of, Spain’s socialist prime minister, José Luis Zapatero who lost what few votes he ever had at the Bernabeu by suggesting that Saturday would see a 5-1 win for his favourite Catalan club. And the Mr Bean-alike big boss of Spain may not be far off if Michel Salgado plays at left back on Saturday night, something the over-the-hill full-back is likely to do. “I’d rather be booed and jeered than be called a wimp,” growled Salgado on the challenges ahead. LLL Prediction - Home winSundayGetafe (10th) vs Mallorca (17th)After a month of sexy encounters with the likes of Barcelona and Villarreal, it’s back to life, back to reality for Getafe with a less than mesmerising match that’s the footballing equivalent of a wet weekend in Albacete. The only slight tingle stirring in the loins ahead of the game is that a bad result for the visitors could see the End of Days for poor old Gregorio Manzano. After three years on the Balearic bench - a lifetime in La Liga - it’s quite likely that the Mallorca boss will be given the boot by his bosses after a week of furtive meetings at the Ono Estadi. LLL Prediction - Home winRecreativo (19th) vs Osasuna (20th)The sore-headed La Liga Loca’s calendar says it’s Friday, so it must be time for more plucky fist-pumping pronouncements from Pamplona. Taking a starring role in this week’s edition it’s Javad Nekounam who is still feeling perky and positive despite his Osasuna side throwing away a three goal lead last Sunday. “Every player is fighting and working for the team,” declared the midfielder. “If we keep on working, then we’ll move forward,” boasted brave Hector Font before being shown the league table - a table that sees them on just nine points.LLL Prediction - Home winValladolid (8th) vs Deportivo (7th)It seems that some jammy Premier League club could be enjoying the happy-go-lucky Miguel Angel Lotina on their bench some time in the near future.Marca report in their gossip column - technically, the entire paper is a gossip column - that the Lord of Gloom is taking English lessons and perhaps fancies following in the footsteps of Juande Ramos by having a multi-million pound pay off after an unsuccessful spell in the nutty world of English footie. LLL Prediction - Home win Málaga (11th) vs Numancia (15th)It has been a fairly quiet week in the match-fixing front with the Athletic vs Levante case having been passed on to the Spanish Old Bill by the league’s competition committee. But this lull in the mudslinging may be momentary with, Real Sociedad president, Iñaki Badiola - the gentlemen who claims that Málaga have been up to no good - claiming that he has plenty more whistles to blow. “What’s come out so far is just 10 percent of what there is,” revealed Badiola. LLL Prediction - Home winAlmería (14th) vs Racing (13th)Having been the true toast of the town just a few short months ago, Almería have joined Mallorca as the latest clubs in crisis. With just one win in nine, Gonzalo Arconada is finding that following in Unai Emery’s rather fantastic footsteps is not easy. But for the moment, club president, Alfonso Garcia is standing behind his man. “This team has shown that they know how to play, as they did against Madrid, Valencia and Athletic,” trumpeted Garcia. “Arconada hasn’t made them forget how to play.” LLL Prediction - Home win Athletic (16th) vs Sporting (12th)With the economic crisis worsening and a long hard winter to face, it’s time to head to Sweden with thelocal.se to discover that the big news of the week in Abba-land is the shocking tale of an exploding mobile phone. “A mobile telephone exploded in the hand of a Swedish student in the middle of class on Monday, spreading thick smoke throughout the classroom.15-year-old Mats Chamontree was fiddling with his mobile phone’s battery compartment during lessons at the Sjöpark school in Gällivare in northern Sweden when he heard a cracking hiss emanating from the phone," reports the Norrländska Socialdemokraten newspaper."Seconds later, the battery exploded, although Chamontree managed to throw the telephone away before it blew up.The flaming phone left burn marks on the classroom floor, and the smoke was so thick and pungent that the room was evacuated and couldn’t be used again for the rest of the day.”LLL Prediction - Home win Sevilla (4th) vs Villarreal (2nd)Friday’s edition of AS has a photo a group of bothered and bewildered footballers, confused and unnerved by their surroundings. It was the Sevilla squad. On public transport, no less. Despite the club boasting a profit of 2.5 million euro, the club isn’t forcing it’s Porche-owning prima donnas to slum it with the proles as they go about the day, instead the team were bundled into a metro car to promote the opening of the city’s new underground system. LLL Prediction - Home winAtlético (6th) vs Betis (9th)If all goes to plan, the death sentence for the Vicente Calderón will be signed on Friday, with much flourish and finesse in the Spanish capital.After decades of tedious talks, a deal has been made that will see the rojiblancos finally leaving their roofless rubbish stadium and moving to the rather bleak east side of the city to the Peineta athletics track. The process of tarting up the weedy wasteland will begin in the summer of 2009, with Maniche likely to be put to some use, for once, by being handed a trowel.
SHARES
12 December 2008
HANDY READ! FFT.com's round-up of the best pieces in this morning's press
SHARES
11 December 2008
La Liga Loca is hanging its head in shame this evening, readers.
SHARES
11 December 2008
Come one, come all to the penultimate part of FFT.com's best 50 football books ever. If you missed numbers 50 to 41, they're here, while 40-31 can be found here and 30-21 here.

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