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SHARES
23 January 2009
There is perhaps only one thing better than watching people who are paid to play football produce a sublime bit of skill or score a spectacular goal.
SHARES
23 January 2009
Maybe it’s seeing those stunning blue Italian skies once again after weeks of unrelenting rain.
SHARES
23 January 2009
SaturdayVillarreal (5th) vs Osasuna (20th)Osasuna president, Patxi Izco appears to be a genuinely likeable old duffer. After firing Cuco Ziganda earlier this season, he confessed that it was one of the hardest things he had ever had to do in his life. And it was entirely possible to believe him, unlike some of his presidential peers who would think nothing of sacking a weeping, wailing manager whilst flicking through a copy of ‘What Hair Gel?’However, as any metro-travelling punkster who dares to play reggaeton on their mobile with La Liga Loca in earshot will know by now, everyone has their limit. Oh yes. Patxi’s was broken in the Bernabeu last Sunday.When, Osasuna winger, Juanfran was given a second yellow card for a supposed dive, his pugnacious president was filmed standing up from his balcony seat in a huff, saying something to Vicente Boluda before storming off to discover what was left of the half-time buffet. “I was fed up and I couldn’t take any more,” explained the Pamplonan anger-ball after the game. In fact Patxi was so steaming, it is reported that he has even gone as far as cutting the club’s ties with the refereeing association. LLL Prediction - Home win Barcelona (1st) vs Numancia (17th)As we find out later in La Liga Loca, Pep Guardiola has a new rival to the crown of being toughest mother-thingy in Catalunya. And this must be the explanation for the Barça boss’s decision to flex his muscles and wrap Samuel Eto'o’s footballing knuckles to make a sorry example of him. During Tuesday’s training session, Pep had cause to pull his Cameroonian foot-cannon aside to castigate him for not showing a ‘good attitude’ in training.
SHARES
22 January 2009
Having occupied antipodean places in last year's Apertura league table, Boca and River appear miles apart. But, in fact, their plights are far more similar than it may appear.
SHARES
22 January 2009
FourFourTwo was on sale in the newspaper kiosk outside my hotel in Sao Paulo. It’s well respected, as I would soon find out. The headlines from the newspapers featured Ronaldo’s rapidly reducing waistline.
SHARES
22 January 2009
Despite the best efforts of Emerson to keep the Ricky Kaka transfer saga on the front pages of the Italian sporting press, it's back to business as usual – and that means dodgy refereeing decisions.While the Puma was backtracking over comments that his AC Milan team-mate would be on his way to Real Madrid in the summer, Inter were taking on AS Roma in the Italian Cup.A quarter-final tie between the finalists from each of the last four years of the competition had all the perfect ingredients for an evening of high drama at the San Siro – a one-off tie, Inter coming off a thumping at Atalanta, holders Roma on the up again.
SHARES
21 January 2009
When Samuel Eto’o slotted his easy-peasy penalty past, Deportivo midfielder, Juan Rodríguez for his side’s fifth on Saturday night, the glucose solution in the juddering jar at the offices of Sport started to boil and bubble. “Oh no,” panicked the editor of the Barcelona-barmy daily as he watched the grey, shrivelled brain suspended in the gloopy fluid start to spark and shake. This definitely meant toil and trouble for the nuttiest of newspapers. The Catalan club hitting the record-breaking 50 point barrier was too just much for the One True Consciousness to take. The single-shared brain shared by the newspaper’s somnambulant staff had to be taken off-line. “What are we to do for the rest of the week?” wondered Sport’s superiors as they waited for the One True Consciousness to cool down. That was until one jiggling journalist leapt onto his desk and started going all 2001 - Space Odyssey on a colleague by beating him around the head with a copy of La Vanguardia whilst shrieking ‘Obama, Obama!’And so was born the paper’s Inauguration Day special - an edition that attempted to link the destinies of the 44st American president with Pep blinking Guardiola.  Ã¢Â€ÂœYes we can!” yelled Tuesday’s headline as Sport morphed a photo of Barack into Pep in four fantastic phases and compared the tasks facing these two famous figures. The former has to prevent the world’s economy collapsing, plug a pensions gap, bring in universal health care, save the car industry, oversee an orderly withdraw from Iraq, respond to a Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan and try to solve a giant frackin’ mess in the Middle East. The other has to negotiate a testing tie against Numancia and try to look a little bit less like Freddie Mercury.
SHARES
20 January 2009
The law of unintended consequences may complicate Real Madrid’s interest in Cristiano Ronaldo. If Kaka, the fourth best player in the world (according to FIFA) is worth £103m, how much is CR7 worth?The rumoured Real offers – £50m, £60m, even £80m – for Ronaldo once seemed generous but now, post-Kaka, look a bit paltry. Indeed, what’s to prevent City outbidding Real? Whoever wins the election to replace interim Real president Vicente Boluda might want to reconsider this strategy anyway.
SHARES
20 January 2009
It was a wonderfully choreographed piece of theatre that would have done Barack Obama proud.On a wet and windy Monday night in Milan, Silvio Berlusconi strolled out of his two-up, two-down to announce to the thoroughly soaked and sodden members of the press that “Kaka is staying with us. Money isn’t everything.“The negotiations were closed by myself and Kaka so all I can say is, long live Kaka.” A little earlier in downtown Milan, the player had given the game away somewhat when he appeared in the window of his humble abode to wave his number 22 shirt at the fans gathered below, and give the general impression of a man who had dodged a long prison sentence.

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