Barca face African adventure in the Cup

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For those who have been reading La Liga Loca for a year or two now it’s probably best to rejoin today’s ramblings a couple of paragraphs further down. It’s 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 ‘Best Salad Eater 2009’ 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 Spain’s 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 team’s ground.

Barcelona are getting most of their ‘B’ team’s mums to pack sandwiches and cartons of Kia-Ora for their precious little ones, as six kiddies form part the Pep’s 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 €140 to watch the game.

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

“Everyone here would have loved to have seen Iniesta, Messi and Xavi and more sensitivity from Guardiola in this respect,” grumbled the big wig of Spain’s colonial throwback club.

Murcia’s bosses may well be feeling the opposite sensation as José Mourinho is taking Madrid’s Tuesday night cup clash very seriously indeed having threatened to put any player who does not perform on his black list. “They’ll be dead to me,” warned the Madrid manager. “If they don’t play well against Murcia then on Saturday, I’ll put Castilla players on the bench.”

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 doesn’t 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 Wednesday’s game with talk in the press over what is excitedly being called ‘El Caso Forlán’ which saw the chest-flashing striker being left on the bench for last Sunday’s trip to Villarreal.

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

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 Lotina’s 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 club’s players also got to witness the greatest goal celebration that there’s 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.