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SHARES
16 January 2009
New year, same old story.
SHARES
16 January 2009
To quote Bob Dylan, “money doesn’t talk, it swears.”No doubt the air has been turned blue around the AC Milan headquarters in the last few days as the runaway train that is Kaka to Manchester City gathers speed.Silvio Berlusconip’s right-hand man, Adriano Galliani, who usually can’t pass a microphone without offering a sound-bite, has been sneaking in and out of the backdoor at the club’s base.
SHARES
16 January 2009
SaturdayBarcelona (1st) vs Deportivo (7th)Joan Laporta’s dastardly plan to expand his evil empire from Catalunya to the rest of the globe had been going rather well. Football fans all over the world are throwing petals before the fancy feet of the Barcelona players and toppling statues of their former rulers. Everyone - except FIFA, and the French - were declaring that Messi was the real top dog of the global game. “I’m a man of the people,” declared Laporta, fooling no one. “Those who truly enjoy football chose Messi.” But, this week, there was the slightest of speed bumps in Laporta’s footballing fast line - the news that Barça will have to 'cup ‘em and cough' and shell out 57 million euro to a TV company. The cash is income that Sogecable say is due from the club’s international matches between 2003 to 2008. ‘Not so’, say Barcelona who will fight the judicial decision that sent the club’s bean counters barking. But that’s not where the festival of fines ended for the Catalan club.
SHARES
16 January 2009
Bricks and brothels
SHARES
15 January 2009
Wheee! Slice! Argh!Wheee! Slice! Argh!That, dear readers, is the sound of two more men falling on their swords.Baa! Hack! Argh!Baa! Hack! Argh!The sound, more to the point, of two more sacrificial lambs being slaughtered. Two sacrificial lambs by the name of Mariano Rodríguez de Barutell, known as “Nanín”, and Luis Bárcena.Not sacrificial lambs that La Liga Loca feels especially sorry for – especially not poor little rich boy Nanín - but sacrificial lambs nonetheless. You see, last night Bárcena and Nanín were sacked from their posts at Real Madrid by (the still) president Ramón Calderón. The guilty men in the scandal uncovered by Marca. The men who have paid the price so that Calderón doesn’t have to. Rather like Fabio Capello, in fact. Or Bernd Schuster. Now, for those of you a little behind, here’s what’s happened so far…(You might want to adopt a deep cinema-style voice here.)Previously on Castle Greyskull … Unpopular president Ramón Calderón – already accused of, well, too many things for La Liga Loca to recap, especially without the help of our lawyer Lionel Hutz - panics that he might not get the accounts and a few other bits and bobs of business approved by the members’ assembly on December 7. He is terrified, nay petrified, of the dark shadow of a certain Florentino Pérez.Calderón scrapes through the members’ assembly. During aforementioned assembly, members of the Ultra Sur - one of whom, a gift for the media, could not have been any more of a cartoon bad guy if he joined the Ant Hill Mob - spend the assembly shouting “anti-Madridistas sons of bitches” at those who oppose him and o“Presidente! Presidente!” at Calderón himself.There are lots of accusations and angry words, lots of shouting and pushing and other generally un-edifying shenanigans going on. Votes are cast by a show of hands (as they always have been). Votes are counted in the pretty little heads of the stewardesses (as they always have been). Some members are denied access to the arena to watch events unfold. Accusations are made that the club laid on busses to get the Ultras there. Calderón denies it.“What are busses?” he says.* Just over a month later, Marca breaks the story that Calderón “robbed” the assembly. It alleges that Calderón infiltrated the assembly with people loyal to him to make sure he got through the vote. Bárcena, director of members and the man responsible for organising the assembly, says he will investigate and take the necessary actions.The next day, Marca publishes a follow up. It includes photos of the men who shouldn’t have been there: some because they are not compromisarios (members with a voice and vote for the assembly), some because they are but shouldn’t be (because their form wasn’t completed correctly or because they have not been members long enough to qualify), and one because he is an Atlético Madrid season ticket holder. Strategically placed, all are aggressive during the assembly.
SHARES
15 January 2009
OK, so it's only a win in the summer tournament. But when you've had a couple of seasons like Racing, any win is a glorious one or at least an extreme relief, especially when it is against San Lorenzo.
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.

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