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SHARES
2 June 2008
If there are two men in Spain who definitely need to join Guti and Raul for a spot of R&R it's the Chuckle Brothers of La Liga, Ramón Calderón and Joan Laporta. Not that the comedy duo have worked particularly hard over the past nine months and deserve to be smeared in oil by busty beach babes. Instead, its because the paranoid presidential pair appear to be 'doing a Marcelino' and going a little bit doolally.Just a few weeks ago, the King of Catalunya was gibbering away in a TV interview about people "behind me" who were out to get him. But now it's Ramón Calderón's turn to come over all Mulder in an interview with Marca where he advised that the shadowy football figure of Florentino Pérez was the root cause of his recent institutional rumblings.
SHARES
30 May 2008
After weeks of placid quietude, Edmundo has had another outburst. After missing a crucial penalty kick in the Copa do Brasil semi-final, our very own Animal shaved his head and announced his retirement on Thursday. I don’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday. But I do remember Edmundo’s performance at penalty kicks. Below par, to say it with the due respect the former Brazilian international deserves.So I couldn’t believe it when I saw him walking up to the penalty spot once again – this time in the Vasco vs Sport shootout on Wednesday.He had just netted Vasco’s second goal - in the 91st minute - which tied the aggregate score and took the game to penalties. So, even if his team didn’t go through, the 37-year-old was going to be praised for getting them that far.But things seldom end well with Edmundo. As he strolled up to the spot you could see what the fans were thinking. “No, not him! Please no.” In other words: you could see the train wreck around the corner, but couldn’t warn the driver.The Animal then punted the ball on to the Copacabana and Sport got their ticket to face Corinthians in the final – more about this game next week – by winning the shootout 5-4. Oh, and last year Edmundo had also caused Palmeiras' elimination from the same Copa do Brasil by missing a penalty in the shootout against minnows Ipatinga.
SHARES
30 May 2008
On Thursday, a smugger looking version of Seinfeld’s George Costanza banged on the drawbridge doors of the Kingdom of Catalunya carrying a very large box indeed. It wasn’t elevenses being delivered to the Barça board, but 9,473 signatures which will trigger a supporter’s referendum on the future of Lord Laporta’s reign.
SHARES
30 May 2008
Every year, usually about this time, football goes barking mad.
SHARES
29 May 2008
With two games to go the domestic league is wide open, with six teams within six points of each other. But however important it is to Argentine football fans for their team to win the championship, each would gladly lose the title to their arch rivals on the last day of the season 20 times over in exchange for a Copa Libertadores in their dusty cabinets.
SHARES
28 May 2008
Emotionally drained. Physically battered. Frankly, finding it hard to care less after a tiring season giving everything for their clubs. And that's just the fans.The end of the domestic season has been marked with the usual commiserations, celebrations, wild fantasies for next season or mild disenchantment for this one. May, as ever, presents two marvellous opportunities for extended drinking in the form of two bank holiday weekends, one at the sharp end of the season for most, the other providing the endlessly watchable drama of the play-off finals.And then? And then we're asked to watch our home nations play again, valiantly pretending the Euros don’t exist. We're asked to care whether John Terry gets the armband, whether Burley can build on that opening draw with Croatia, whether the young Welsh call-ups can match Iceland (possible) or Holland (improbable).Northern Ireland have got it right. Unshackled by the hubristic booking of pre-Euro “warm-ups” which have now become pointless warm-downs, Norn Iron simply aren’t bothering this week. Meanwhile Capello’s millionaires, rather than looking Alpwards, have got to go to the Caribbean – not to lounge on beaches but to glad-hand Jack Warner so England might be guaranteed some involvement at WC2018, if only as hosts.The fixtures are an unwelcome extra course in football’s banquet. Intended as an enticing hors d’oeuvres to the continental buffet of Euro 2008, it has become a stale pastie, a cold haggis, a rank rarebit served seconds after the all-you-can-eat fast-food frenzy of our domestic game.I’ll watch it, of course. Millions will. But we’ll all pretty much have forgotten it by a week on Saturday, whether we turn our attention to the events in the Alps or forget about football altogether.
SHARES
28 May 2008
Now that the whole time-consuming football business is over with for a wee while, La Liga Loca has been able to dedicate itself to the far more important business of Spanish reality television. And the blog has had a bit of a shock.Just a few short years ago, the greeting between the average Juan and Juanita in the Spanish street was a brief air kiss or firm handshake. Or maybe an intensely annoying back slap. The socially repressed and often sunburnt La Liga Loca will never get used to that, no matter how many years it is exiled here.But not anymore. Like a barbeque up Mount Everest, the stakes have been raised. Judging by the TV shows trawled through over the past few days, it seems that repeated smacky, slurpy kisses are all the rage in Spain, along with disingenuous cries of 'guapa!' or 'gorgeous!'
SHARES
28 May 2008
Well that didn’t take long. In fact, all of 25 minutes for Roberto Mancini to be given the boot.Exit the Moody One and enter the Special One who apparently has a good five months of Italian lessons under his belt.Mancio was summoned to president Massimo Moratti’s elegant city centre residence late on Tuesday afternoon to be informed that his four-year reign was up and the good times were over.The press were there in numbers anyway as Diego Maradona had popped in for afternoon tea but no doubt that had been a more pleasant experience for one and all.Diego had long gone when Mancini swaggered in all dapper and pretty relaxed, only to catch everyone on the hop soon after as he left looking like the proverbial condemned man.Ouch, that short, sharp word in the ear must have cut him to the core.

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