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SHARES
6 September 2010
It must be tough being David Villa at times. Not just because of the hours spent every morning to get that tiny under-lip beard the Barça striker sports just so. Whilst everyone causes such a frenzied fuss and kerfuffle about fellow products of La Masia like Messi, Iniesta and Piqué, the poor poppet is forced to show strangers photographs of his scamp-faced younger self alongside Carles Puyol to prove that he really is Camp Nou born and bred. Well, that’s not entirely true. In the same way that Christopher Lambert had to pass off his terrible attempt at a Scottish accent in 'Highlander', the Asturian also comes from “lots of different places” having begun at Sporting and moved to Zaragoza and then Valencia. To be fair, David Villa is as ‘Barcelonian’ as humility and modesty. But you’d never know that judging by the way Villa has been adopted by the Barcelona press - in the ‘entire professional back-story rewritten’ sense of the word. It was the Barça pure-blood who lead Spain to World Cup glory and Mundo Deportivo is back in business, this week, by praising Villa to the high heavens over his reception in Argentina where he has really “energised” the locals with his Catalan greatness.Villa is in the Falklands-fancying part of the world to take part in a friendly on Tuesday and either beat or equal Raúl’s goal-scoring record for Spain with a single strike. Naturally, this being the polemic-loving nature of la Primera, which of the two potential outcomes you believe depends on whether you are an evil-doing Real Madrid follower or a decent, hard-working Barcelona supporter, according to Mundo Deportivo, anyway.The former (a group Marca are part of) feel Villa is still one behind the former Madrid captain on 43 goals - that strike coming in Friday’s 4-0 win against Liechtenstein - because they have awarded the first effort in pre-World Cup friendly against Poland as an own-goal for the on-rushing defender, Dudka (judge for yourself here). This group include the Spanish FA, a pro-Raúl, pro-Real Madrid organisation that has been “contaminated” by the debate, claim Mundo Deportivo.  Groups that the paper would consider right-thinking souls who give Villa 44 goals include UEFA and this is causing no end of problems for stat-loving hacks and managed to set off an inter-FFT squabble during the World Cup. Aside from Villa’s newly-discovered Barcelona roots, the other news from the Catalan capital was Joan ‘Joan’ Laporta defending himself from claims made in the Madrid papers that he and his board were less than frugal with their expense accounts during his seven years in charge of the Camp Nou club. In reality, this is quite an important issue as the institution's money is the members' money and ideally should not be splurged on booze, trinkets and private jets by snout-guzzling fat cats - an accusation leveled at Laporta. Joan comes into the debate already in a bit of a sticky situation having admitted what every culé knew - and a reason for his candidate’s election defeat - in that he was using the publicity generated by Barça to launch his own political career. “If I could have taken more advantage of [the club] I would have,” admitted Laporta in August. In a TV interview over the weekend, the former Barcelona president responded to allegations that €400,000 had been spent on private jets in a year, €600,000 had been given to the Catalan FA and jewelry and watches worth €420,000 had been given to his players by blaming a conspiracy by the “Spanish media cavern” - a familiar theme for the former King of Cataluyna. Laporta argued that the allegations detailed in an audit ordered by Sandro Rosell - that was somehow leaked to the Madrid press - were designed to “defame me...what can’t be deleted is everything Barcelona won in these seven years.”The Cataluyna-loving crazy defended his decision to spend cash on watches for already filthy rich and well-paid footballers by claiming that the victory rewards were part of a strategy to “make like comfortable for the players.”Meanwhile, former VP Alfons Godall, pointed out that “the president of Barcelona can’t travel in tourist class nor on a bus nor on a 10-journey pass on the metro.” Especially not when someone else is paying, eh Alfons?
SHARES
6 September 2010
It was a painful nine-month gestation in which Italy went seven games without a win, but finally in Estonia the Azzurri came through and delivered the goods.
SHARES
6 September 2010
Portugal kicked-off their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign on Friday evening with a 4-4 home draw against Cyprus, a result that, while not a disaster per-se, left an entire nation frustrated.
SHARES
5 September 2010
"There was the odd head-in-hands when the team was announced with me in it, but it was all a bit of banter..."
SHARES
3 September 2010
We round off Playmakers Week with FourFourTwo.com's Argentine football expert Joel Richards' tribute to a player who has a habit of falling out with the wrong people...
SHARES
3 September 2010
In the the penultimate instalment of our week of profiles on the game's greatest playmakers, journalist Jamie Bowman waxes lyrical about the Prince of Denmark... 
SHARES
3 September 2010
La Liga Loca may be fairly ambivalent to the whole concept of international football - a bit like the Europa League, but not as high-octane - but it really looks forward to the break in the domestic game it demands.
SHARES
3 September 2010
"Football Federation Australia (FFA) today confirmed that the suspensions imposed on two Hyundai A-League players for simulation last weekend will stand," begins a terse press release doing the rounds of the Australian football media earlier this week.
SHARES
3 September 2010
As we enter the final day of Playmakers Week here on FourFourTwo.com, Turkish blogger Sefa Atay recalls the impact the Romanian made on Galatasaray...
SHARES
3 September 2010
Deep in their heart of hearts Italians accept that football is a brutal game where only the result matters – players put themselves at the disposal of the coach and follow the mister’s orders to the letter.

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