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SHARES
14 January 2009
Marca’s furious pounding at the gates of Castle Greyskull means that everything has changed in snowy Spain. Everything. Up is now down, right is now wrong and Andy & Lucas are the new Lennon and McCartneyThe slew of slurry that has been hurled over Madrid’s fortress walls began yesterday and does not look like ending any time soon. The journalistic siege was enough to force an under-the-cosh Ramón Calderón go on Spanish radio on Tuesday night to confess that “I don’t know what I have to do to demonstrate that I’m not a swine.” This complete lack of toe-curling toadying in Madrid’s direction from Marca has sent the stability-loving La Liga Loca into a bit of tizz. So, to restore some semblance of order to this ever-changing world in which we live in, the blog has sought sanctuary in a couple of family favourites... boardroom battles at Valencia and squabbling at Atlético Madrid. Over the weekend, AS tracked down the Evertonian Mikel Arteta - primarily to bombard him with questions about the greatness of Raúl and Real Madrid. But amongst the Bernabeu-based probing, the midfielder was able to make an insightful point concerning Spanish football’s much-loved hierarchal system - or blame-avoidance strategy as some mischievous souls might suggest.  Ã¢Â€ÂœOver there, we have a president, sporting director, trainer, president of the sporting commission... I see our president once every four months, if I see him at all,” revealed Arteta. The club that is completely potty about all things presidential is Valencia, which is potentially on the brink of bringing in its fifth in less than a year. For those lucky readers new to the world of Spanish football or have perhaps completely lost track of the madness of Mestalla - here’s a quick La Liga Loca recap. The very jowley Juan Bautista Soler was president of Valencia until the latter stages of last season. He walked away from the job to be replaced by a stand-in, who was then replaced by Juan Villalonga for about two weeks. The former Telefonica boss made the mistake of commenting on what a complete mess the club was in and was sacked, replaced by Vicente Soriano who was the club’s VP under Soler but came to an agreement to buy out his former boss’s majority shareholding.  Where things have gone a little bit up the swanny since, is that Soriano has yet to stump up the 70 odd million euro needed to take over the Soler clan’s shareholding. And it would appear that the family either want their cash or Soriano out, feeling that he is making a pig’s ear of running of the club. The Solers - a bit like the Cosbys but without the charm but with the comedy - are also reported to be unhappy at Soriano’s inability to lead the Mestalla club out of their current financial mess - the mess left by themselves, mind - that sees them with their bank credit line cut off and unable to sell off the land of the old Mestalla. To make matters worse, El Pais reported over Christmas that the purchase of the land of the new stadium is being investigated by The Man due to the familiar reason of ‘irregularities’. A crisis meeting between Bautista Soler and Soriano was held on Monday, with Marca reporting that the latter has been given two weeks to sort his affairs out before the old guard potentially move back in and appoint a replacement.“The hard work we have been doing is about to come to fruition,” pleaded Soriano to the press, “we just need more time.”And it is presidential problems that is dominating the Atlético news agenda in the Spanish capital. After Sunday’s home defeat to Athletic Bilbao - a loss that saw yet more calls for the sacking of Javier Aguirre - club president Enrique Cerezo decided to tootle on down to the dressing room to meet the despondent players. And it was, vice-captain, Antonio López who explained what happened next. “Cerezo came into the dressing room after the game and shook our hands. But he didn’t say anything,” complained the former international full-back. “He needs to act more with his head and less with his heart,” continued López on his president’s less than appreciated gesture. “In any case, we will find out what he says from the press,” sniffed the defender with more than a hint that not everything is rosy in Atlético’s garden. More dirt was dished during the game when Seitaridis - along with Luis Garcia, seemingly loathed by the Calderón crowd - pulled out at half-time - and at very short notice - claiming a muscle strain, forcing the yet-to-warm-up Pernía onto the pitch.  Ã¢Â€ÂœAll he did was pass backwards,” complained one witness to the blog on the Greek defender’s less than stunning performance. Cerezo went before the press on Tuesday to claim that the dressing room was one big happy family. Oh yes. “There isn’t even the slightest crack, not a single clan,” beamed Cerezo who said that he had met with Antonio López and that they were Best Friends Forever.On Wednesday night, Atlético have the chance to put all their troubles behind them with a nice Copa del Rey match. Against Barcelona. In the Camp Nou. Oh dear.
SHARES
14 January 2009
As some Manchester City fans would concur, I’m a bit of a tool.
SHARES
14 January 2009
You don’t need FourFourTwo to tell you that £15m a year is an awful lot of money.
SHARES
14 January 2009
It’s no surprise that Manchester City are likely to make a world-record transfer bid for Ricky Kaka.After all, the Brazilian is the best player in the world, isn’t he?As pointed out in previous blogs, the dynamic at AC Milan has changed since Ronaldinho’s arrival and it’s been clear for some time that the pair are no longer the perfect fit.
SHARES
13 January 2009
Marca editor Eduardo Inda must have been a trifle tense on Monday night.
SHARES
13 January 2009
Robins devotee Nick Judd has a conservative chuckle about a rival's misfortune...
SHARES
13 January 2009
The Argentinian Football Association don't believe in giving their players much of a break.
SHARES
12 January 2009
GOOD DAYBarcelonaWhen La Liga Loca suggested on Friday that Barça would drop points against a prickly Osasuna in Pamplona, there were some dubious doubters who scoffed and snickered at such a concept. In fact, the blog is now more than a little concerned that there may be a pitchfork-poking, Pep-protecting hit squad forming that will burn down the houses and enslave the daughters of any doubting dissenters.As it turns out, La Liga Loca was just five minutes away from being even smugger than normal. And it would have gotten away with its bold prediction had it not been for a pesky Leo Messi whacking home a lovely winning strike with the scores tied at 2-2. The victory ticked all the right boxes as a good night for Barcelona - hostile crowd (Osasuna never discriminate in the sense that the home fans pretty much hate everybody), freezing temperatures and a match where they were 2-1 behind.
SHARES
12 January 2009
Roll up! Roll up! it’s the pub quiz, triviatastic guide to the last 16 of the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League. Which is the only team Lionel Messi has scored against in the knockout stages?Celtic, in the last 16 in 2007/08. Since 2004/05, Messi has featured in eight knockout games but has scored just twice – both goals coming against Celtic when Barca won 3-2 win Glasgow.When the UEFA Champions League nears the business end, even great strikers struggle to do the business.Zlatan Ibrahimovic is yet to get off the mark in the knockout stages, a duck he would love to break against Manchester United. In four Champions League seasons with Chelsea, Didier Drogba’s knockout haul stands at just five goals.
SHARES
9 January 2009
SaturdayDeportivo (6th) vs Sevilla (4th)For the opening instalment of the weekend predictions, La Liga Loca must come over all early 90’s Ben Elton with a little bit of politics. There has been a fair smattering of coverage in Spain over Freddie Kanouté celebrating his midweek Copa del Rey goal against Deportivo by revealing a T-shirt featuring the word ‘Palestine’ in several languages. And on the whole, the reporting of his action, which resulted in a yellow card but could end up being quite a lot more, has been fairly supportive. “Freddie is someone who is very involved in such matters,” said, under-fire coach, Manolo Jiménez on the incident. “He’s only calling for peace and I think the authorities should bear this in mind and not punish him,” commented team-mate Diego Capel. Kanouté himself claims that “it’s something I felt I had to do...I am 100 percent responsible for my actions.” LLL Prediction - DrawValencia (2nd) vs Villarreal (7th)Players losing it big time! - Part One. First up in this week’s one-off special is Valencia full-back, Miguel, who took the Copa del Rey about 10 times more seriously than the Atlético squad by reportedly telling the linesman that he had waved his last flag. The referee’s match report of the 1-1 clash away at Racing claims that the Portuguese power keg responded to his second yellow card by informing the bemused assistant that he was a “son of a bitch. I’m going to kill you, you son of a bitch.” Miguel himself is a little unsure of whether he made such a threat, but is very, very sorry indeed if it turns out that he did. “I apologise to the referee and to his assistant for saying these things,” humbled the Mestalla Hulk. “I was angry because I felt powerless,” said Miguel as way of explanation. Unfortunately for the potty-mouthed Miguel, it’s an excuse that - like Rufete - is unlikely to wash with the stick-wielding school masters of La Liga who are set to hand out a hefty suspension for his toy-throwing tantrum. LLL Prediction - Home winSundayMallorca (19th) vs Real Madrid (3rd)And it was such a fiendish plan, as well. On Thursday, Real Madrid had their appeal to allow them to play both Huntelaar and Diarra in the Champions League turned down flat by UEFA’s dodgy-sounding Control and Discipline committee. The legal eagles at Castle Greyskull had come up with the brilliant strategy of “Look! Our suits are expensive! And we are Real Madrid! And, and, and IT’S JUST NOT FAIR (foot stamp, foot stamp).” But it wasn’t enough to change the minds of those pen-pushers in Nyon.The big floating head of Michel Platini boomed “it’s forbidden! it’s against the rules of nature,” like Superman’s father when Clark turned back time to save Lois. But this won’t stop the club taking the issue further, say both Marca and AS. LLL Prediction - Away winNumancia (16th) vs Getafe (10th)When El Pato signed for Getafe in 2006 an Argentine colleague of La Liga Loca advised that yes, Snr Abbondanzieri was the country’s No.1 and a fine keeper. But also warned that the he was capable of the odd mad moment from time to time. Fast forward two years and those crazy catastrophes are becoming more and more frequent - the latest of which was a tremendous striker-flattening rush out of the box last weekend against Deportivo. It seems that Getafe are looking to send El Pato quacking back to Boca Juniors for some cash and a couple of friendlies against the Argentine side. It’s a move that will give much chuffness to a section of the quick-to-boo fans at the Coliseum judging by the reaction to the keeper from some home supporters last Sunday. LLL Prediction - DrawRacing (11th) vs Recreativo (17th)The good people of a snug-indoors Santander formed just part of a large chunk of indifference concerning this week’s Copa de Rey games from the average Spanish football fan.

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