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Barca face African adventure in the Cup

For those who have been reading La Liga Loca for a year or two now itâÂÂs probably best to rejoin todayâÂÂs ramblings a couple of paragraphs further down. ItâÂÂs Copa del Rey rant time again.

The Copa del Rey is the worst attempt at a competition since Maniche and James Beattie were the only two entrants in the âÂÂBest Salad Eater 2009â jamboree. The whole fiasco is designed to clear out all the nasty, oinky, lower league riffraff as soon as possible to give as much chance to SpainâÂÂs Primera clubs to win it.

This week sees the start of the last 32 section of the annual fiasco, where the top-flight clubs join in the fun. And it is routinely rigged to such an extent that it would take an act of supreme idiocy and incompetence to get knocked out. So, take a bow Real Madrid who have fallen at this hurdle in the past two years against third tier clubs.

The cup format sees all those sides involved in Europe given a helping hand by being drawn against the weakest possible opponents, hence Barcelona taking on Ceuta and Atlético Madrid duking it out with Universidad Las Palmas. The ties are two-legged affairs to give as much chance to the bigger cheeses to correct any blunders made in the first game, which is always played at the smaller teamâÂÂs ground.

Barcelona are getting most of their âÂÂBâ teamâÂÂs mums to pack sandwiches and cartons of Kia-Ora for their precious little ones, as six kiddies form part the PepâÂÂs Dream Boys squad which is heading to the African continent by plane and helicopter to play second division B, Group 4 giants, Ceuta, on Tuesday night.

Left behind in the Catalan capital are Valdés, Piqué, Busquets, Alves, Villa, Messi and Iniesta leaving opposition president, José Antonio Muñoz, somewhat peeved, especially as he has charged fans up to â¬140 to watch the game.

"Yes! We don't have to travel all the way to Africa again!"

âÂÂEveryone here would have loved to have seen Iniesta, Messi and Xavi and more sensitivity from Guardiola in this respect,â grumbled the big wig of SpainâÂÂs colonial throwback club.

MurciaâÂÂs bosses may well be feeling the opposite sensation as José Mourinho is taking MadridâÂÂs Tuesday night cup clash very seriously indeed having threatened to put any player who does not perform on his black list. âÂÂTheyâÂÂll be dead to me,â warned the Madrid manager. âÂÂIf they donâÂÂt play well against Murcia then on Saturday, IâÂÂll put Castilla players on the bench.âÂÂ

The footballer most at danger for a season long spell on the naughty step is Karim Benzema with the Frenchman set to start against the Southern side and bang in some goals, but Pedro León is also in the high risk category.

Lassana Diarra pulled out of the trip with an injury that Mourinho doesnâÂÂt seem to believe for one millisecond meaning that his sale in January must be almost assured.

Atlético have warmed up for their trip to the Canaries for WednesdayâÂÂs game with talk in the press over what is excitedly being called âÂÂEl Caso Forlánâ which saw the chest-flashing striker being left on the bench for last SundayâÂÂs trip to Villarreal.

âÂÂLike all players, you can get tired sometimes,â soothed Tomás Ujfalusi, relieved that another footballing corpse was being pecked away by the press vultures rather than his own for once. âÂÂHeâÂÂll recover and is going to be a key player for the team as always.âÂÂ

Monday night saw the final game of round 8 of la Primera. LLL cheekily predicted a 1-0 win for Real Sociedad over Deportivo with the away side barely having a shot on target. Instead it was a 3-0 win for Real Sociedad with the away side barely having a shot on target.

Miguel Angel LotinaâÂÂs men have scored just one goal from open play in eight games this season - at the Santiago Bernabeu, rather strangely - and look utterly doomed.

The clubâÂÂs players also got to witness the greatest goal celebration that thereâÂÂs ever been that has involved a car and French midfielder Antoine Griezmann, showing that an overexcited footballer can have the horn in more than just the traditional way.