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SHARES
26 February 2008
Trust River to wait until a big one to start winning. Disciplined, practical and no longer running around like kids in an Easter egg hunt, Simeone's team thoroughly overcame their past problems, by beating San Lorenzo 2-0, who certainly haven't overcome their problems.
SHARES
25 February 2008
“New 11-a-side football team starting in the Barcelona International Football League. Players of all nationalities welcome. Interested? Email XXX.”
SHARES
25 February 2008
Good Day Mad Sammy Eto'o Cameroon's striking superstar celebrated his first hat-trick in the Spanish league, by grabbing a camera off a Mundo Deportivo pitch side photographer and snapping a rather blurred shot of Bojan. And Mundo Deportivo were tickled pink by this. "A Hat-Click from Eto'o!" they punned underneath the headline of "It's Two Points!!!! Aarrrgggh!" (The last bit was completely made up). Unfortunately, the rest of the paper left the reader with the familiar sense of soul-destroying emptiness and inky fingers. A couple of decent results against Celtic and a Levante side who are bottom of the table and trained for the game by going on strike, let's not forget, have perked up a previously gloomy Frank Rijkaard, no end. "People are back to believing in the side", declared the Dutchman. Although the title is now in Barcelona's hands - and Real Madrid's as well - the best news from the whole wild weekend is that what had been the easiest of cakewalks for Real Madrid has now become a proper bun fight. And this is best pastry related pun achieved by the blog since writing a film list containing 'Eclair and Present Danger" and "Crumble in the Bronx". Happy days, indeed. Getafe
SHARES
25 February 2008
Despite seeing themselves as the crazy kids of Europe, Italians are in fact very traditionalist and conformist in the way life should be conducted.
SHARES
22 February 2008
Saturday Valencia (9th) v Recreativo (15th) It's a bracing Friday morning in Valencia. The trainers will be laying out the cones. The manager will be running through the tactics ahead of the visit of a resurgent Recreativo. The frisky footballers will be joshing and japing as they arrive at the training ground. Not really. And that's not because most of the Valencia players don't speak to each other - and if they did, it would probably be about Miguel's traditional Thursday drinkie-night. This Friday, a large chunk of Valencia's playing and coaching staff are in court to face accusations from David Albeda's lawyers that the club wronged him back in December by dropping him from the squad, forever. Amongst those in the dock as witnesses are David Silva, Joaquín (good luck with that, David), Vicente, Juan Soler, Ronald Koeman and assorted members of the back room staff. Draw. Sevilla (6th) v Zaragoza (10th) If there are two things that Sevilla president, José Maria del Nido, doesn't like, it's taxes and being made to look like the big goon that he undoubtedly is. And that's what happened when his side came away from Turkey as big old losers against Fenerbahce. Before the Champions League clash, del Nido was in full boasting, bragging form, but a late winner from the Turkish tykes put paid to his presidential predictions. "We came to win and we didn't", he whined, using 'we' in the sense that he contributed to the night by sitting on his backside eating canapés. "I feel angry with the result", he continued whilst not really understanding the concept of the away goal rule. Home win. Sunday Osasuna (17th) v Atletico Madrid (4th) La Liga Loca has only prayed once in its life. And that involved Chris Kiwomya. And it didn't work. But at the Calderón, on Thursday night, it was back on its knees as the clock edged towards the ninety-minute mark. La Liga Loca was praying that Atlético Madrid wouldn't score against Bolton. And that's nothing against Atlético. Instead it was because of the thought of extra-time and another half an hour of Jurado and co blasting the ball over Gary Megson's parked bus. It was match that made three of the rojiblanco starters very happy that they weren't playing on English shores, anymore. Although they can expect more bootings and barrackings on Sunday, in a must win match for Osasuna. Home win. Athletic Bilbao (12th) v Villarreal (3rd) This week's 'News from Sweden' concerns an interesting fact about the local wildlife, given to us by the tourist board's web site. "Sweden does have wolves but not at all in the numbers foreigners usually expect. The total population is about 100. The wolf is protected and is slowly beginning to renumber. A fully grown male can be very impressive, weighing up to 70 kilograms. To spot one in Sweden is very difficult but there are areas where known groups can be heard, particularly in Värmlamd along the Norwegian border." Draw. Racing Santander (8th) v Almería (7th) It's time for La Liga Loca to come over all patronisingly paternal, give a wink, ruffle some hair and pull a shiny dollar from the behind the ears of both these plucky go-getting clubs. Although that sounds a bit dodgy, written down. The two teams' combined budgets would probably buy only one of Guti's earrings, but despite this, they are both sitting pretty in the Primera in the top eight. You wouldn't want to watch either of them, though, given the choice. Goalless draw. Murcia (19th) v Valladolid (16th) The first instinctive reaction in Spain to any kind of problem or hiccup is to ensure that everyone knows that it's not your fault. Step two is to point the finger at everyone else. And that's exactly why the newly-opened high speed train-line between Madrid and Barcelona took 127 years to build and had Stephenson's Rocket pictured on the first promotional material. Murcia are currently in deep do-do, second from bottom with five defeats in six, but, in a break with tradition, the players are taking a long hard look at themselves, instead of everyone else. "We're a group, it's not just the trainer...it's our fault", admitted César Arzo. And these are sentiments echoed by Baiano who claims that manager, Lucas Alcaraz, is "doing everything to help us, the blame is not his. It's us who are most guilty. The players". Home win. And a big one. Mallorca (11th) v Betis (14th) It was fantastic news all round for the Betis players, this week, with club evil overlord, Manuel Ruiz de Lopera, promising that they could all be free to leave, come the summer. To whoops of delight from the dressing room behind de Lopera's podium, the majority shareholder advised - using the third person, never good - that, "Lopera has always talked about getting 43 points and that is our objective", before announcing that none of the squad will have their contracts renewed until this magnificent milestone has been achieved by the betico battlers. Home win. Deportivo (18th) v Espanyol (5th) It's never a good thing to be in a worse off state than Atlético Madrid, but that's exactly how Espanyol find themselves, going into this weekend's game. Five defeats from six has surely blown the perico pretensions for a Champions League spot. Although Albert Riera won't hear of such defeatist talk. "We won't give up on the CL while there are still mathematical possibilities". Bearing in mind that neither the rojiblanco's nor Villarreal are the smartest tools in the footballing box, maybe it there is still hope? Away win. Barcelona (2nd) v Levante (20th) La Liga Loca wants a lot of things. Like the legal authority to smack moped riders off their bikes, Mad Max style, when they bomb along the pavement. But it can't. Instead it must wave a futile fist at them as they speed by, like Walter Matthau in his pomp. Levante's Juanma wants an easy ride at the Camp Nou, on Sunday. "Perhaps they will relax against us because we are bottom", mused the defender. 'Ain't gonna happen' says Andrés Iniesta still on a high from the win over Celtic. "If we don't take this seriously we could mess up. We must leave Glasgow behind us and focus on what is next", opined the midfielder, still continuing to look like both Ant and Dec. Home win. Real Madrid (1st) v Getafe (13th) On Thursday evening, Marca and AS showed that it is they who rule the footballing roost in Spain. And that's because months of 'Raul for Spain' ranting, muckraking and making stuff up lead to a joint, clear the air press conference between Real's sulking striker and the bumbling buffoon, Luis Aragones. "Managers don't have friendships with players. They aren't selected because of friendship but for other reasons", said the Spanish coach, who should probably try chatting to Steve McClaren, one day. After twenty-six minutes of baffling babble, the two agreed to disagree on Aragones' continuing 'Raul, over my dead body' stance and part company. But this was of no interest to Marca's freebie-loving Roberto Gomez who looks like he is up to something in one of Madrid's southern suburbs by praising Estaban Parro, the local mayor of Mostoles, "I repeat, magnificent mayor", in his latest column. And it looks like he is after some free flights by advising his readership that he had to decline an invitation to dinner with Air Europa president, Juan José Hidalgo. "I was invited," he assured everyone, "but was in Rome". Probably because of a cancelled flight on his BFF's stupid airline. Home win. If you are desperately short of things to do this weekend, you can catch Tim Stannard on Real Madrid's La Liga preview show, 'The Match' - free on Sky Digital channel 446 and repeated throughout the weekend.
SHARES
22 February 2008
“Ten Euros!” said Uli-Hesse Lichtenberger, after he had stopped coughing long enough to light another cigarette and resume our conversation.
SHARES
22 February 2008
Adrian Mutu has always been a class act. At times it has been class A but that’s another story as they say.The Romanian may have cleaned up his recreational activities but he still can’t help getting up people’s noses.The players of Catania certainly think he’s a dope for indulging in a piece of showboating last Sunday.Mutu had already scored a scorcher to put the Viola ahead and with minutes remaining took us all back to a time when it was de rigueur for some long-haired winger, shirt outside his shorts, socks around the ankles run down the clock by leading some lumbering full-back on a merry dance.However, such non-conformist behaviour comes at a price in the macho world of Serie A and Mutu’s wiggle of the hips and little dance over the ball had the opposition descending on him like a pack of Roman youths spotting a Swedish pack-backer at the Spanish Steps.Pushing to the front of the queue was Catania’s troll-like captain David Baiocco who felt that his very manhood had been called into question.“You can’t go around taunting players like that,” he bleated. “He needs to have more respect.”Even Mutu’s team-mate, Dario Dainelli weighted in with a none too subtle: “I would have head-butted him if he had done that to me.” However, the former Chelsea bad-boy has heard it all before and no doubt he will be up for some more high jinx if he gets another opportunity to play keep-ball against AS Roma this weekend.It’s doubtful either he will be able to kick a habit of a lifetime even if he’s up against another wind-up merchant in Francesco Totti.The thumb-sucking Roma captain taunted Juventus Igor Tudor mercilessly after the Romans racked up four goals a few seasons ago that the defender’s nerves were so shot to bits that he hardly ever figured for the Bianconeri again.Mutu has already claimed he’s better than the Roman man and faster over 20 metres but then again when was the last time we have seen Totti jog, never mind run 20 metres.You have to admire Mutu, he has had to put with a fair share of racist chants and was even called ‘a crafty gypsy’ by Palermo president Maurizio Zamperini after he scored a goal when a Palermo player had gone down injured. Like Totti, Mutu feels that his superior skill enables him to indulge himself when the fancy takes him and it just might be the turn of the Roma defence to feel like right charlies come Sunday.
SHARES
22 February 2008
Hugs and relief for Riquelme's Boca
SHARES
21 February 2008
"We weren’t consistent enough over the whole campaign. With the players we’ve got, we should have not just qualified, but won the group."
SHARES
21 February 2008

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