Young guns and old bikes star in la Liga

La Liga Loca is not sure how long it has to complete today’s entry.

You see, it made a bit of a boo-boo this morning, and suspects that the t’internet police will be bursting in through its (already open) windows Minority Report-style at any moment. However, it may be lucky and find that they too are taking their August break along with the rest of Spain. All the blog was trying to do was catch Thursday’s Europa League pre-pre-pre-pre qualifying action between Joaquín Caparrós’ merry men and their Swiss rivals. It appears that La Liga Loca’s request to gaze at “Athletic Young Boys” on YouTube may well have been misinterpreted. Had the blog managed to catch the Wandkorf action, it would have seen the Basque club saving their separatist skins thanks to a strike from the club’s youngest ever goal-scorer. Athletic were going into the match against Young Boys 1-0 down after a disaster in San Mamés last week.

However, a 2-1 victory sees them through to yet another qualifying game, this time against Norway's Tromso. And the northern side owe everything to the 16-year-old Iker Muniain for the winning goal, after he came on as a second-half substitute and scored two minutes later. “We’re back to showing that we’re a group of winners,” boasted Joaquín Caparrós about a team that qualified for the tournament as Copa del Rey losers. The rest of the Spanish contingent will be joining Athletic in further Europa League action with Valencia playing Norwegian side, Stabaek, in another play-off round and Villarreal - a side slumming it in the contest this year - taking on Dutch outfit NAC.In the grown up Champions League, Atlético Madrid will probably be feeling fairly pleased with themselves having been drawn against Panathinaikos in their pre-qualifying clash.

The first tie is in Greece and the second back at the Vicente Calderón. However, Abel Resino, has done his duty by promising that the game “isn’t going to be easy.”But, as ever, it’s impossible to tell what will happen with the Spanish side who are “alone in the universe,” according to club president Enrique Cerezo, who told French magazine ‘So Foot’ that “we’re capable of winning the hardest game and losing the easiest.”La Liga’s big two are currently on North American shores with Barcelona having given Freddie Ljungberg’s Seattle Sounders a 4-0 tonking in a match that included two fine strikes from Leo Messi. However, the highlight - and perhaps the biggest disappointment of the trip so far - was the squad’s special visit to the Microsoft headquarters, a visit made by all but three of the Barcelona players. But rather than having any interest whatsoever in Bill Gates’ world-conquering company, Marca giggles that the footballers were instead expecting a freebie in the shape of a brand-new, state-of-the-art games console.

Instead they all received a pen. La Liga Loca can only imagine that only about three of the Barcelona squad will know what to do with it. Real Madrid are in action in the early hours (Spanish time) of Saturday morning against Toronto.

But the blog couldn’t give two hoots as the tabloid titillating of Cristiano Ronaldo is set to start in earnest a few hours earlier with his publicity-shy ex, Nereira Gallardo, revealing all about their relationship on a ‘prensa rosa’ Spanish TV show. Ronaldo’s former fling is currently big news in Spain, having been very publicly blanked by Madrid’s Mr Loverman as he came out of a nightclub in Mallorca - a nightclub she was desperately trying to get into along with an army of photographers, no doubt. ‘Stuff Kaká and co’ is the message from the blog.

This is where the big fun is to be had this pre-season, as La Liga Loca joins the rest of the country’s tabloid press popcorned-up in the gutter and splashing about in the sleaze.

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