Gary Neville to Valencia. WTF
Clearly, Peter Lim's address directory is either jammed on the letter 'N'. Or should he still be old school with paper and books, then the papers are stuck together with some kind of substance.
Nuno was the previous Chosen One for the Valencia owner, to be eventually fired. He was then joined by Phil Neville as an assistant. And in a move that has many a La Liga pundit scratching their heads and checking links for The Onion, it seems that Gary Neville is now the best man to lead Valencia forward, one of the most difficult clubs to run on the planet. So best choose someone who doesn't speak the language, hasn't played in La Liga, or actually managed a club before. This is going to be... interesting.
All I know is that I was surprised when people whistled me during my presentation
Indeed, before picking up the reins at a team that has chewed up perfectly decent managers like Quique Sanchez Flores, Unai Emery and Ronaldo Koeman, the former Manchester United man might want to heed the words of his predecessor, who spoke on Tuesday about one of his first memories when arriving at the club. “All I know is that I was surprised when people whistled me during my presentation. Looking back, it could have been a logical moment to not carry on as the manager.”
The Nevster (no?) might well have this to look forward to when he arrives at Mestalla, providing supporters have stopped scratching their heads for long enough to allow them to wave the white hankies.
— Valencia CF English (@valenciacf_en) December 2, 2015
Rafa's blast warning
It was with enormous delight and the vibe of being tickled pink when LLL discovered that if the letters of the words ‘Cadiz football club are tops’ are rearranged then they spell out ‘Rafa! Watch out! Alcorcón! Don’t lose’. A timely warning from the past if ever there was one ahead of Wednesday’s Copa del Rey clash in front a much-loved, much-missed bunch of drunken supporters down in Andalusia. And Dani Güiza.
James has my full support and confidence. But this is Real Madrid and the competition is the highest level
However, the Real Madrid manager seems to be playing with fire, considering the Spaniard’s precarious post-Clásico circumstances, by taking a squad without Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo in it. Of course, the replacements like Jesé should do just fine, but the Copa can be a funny old business. Just ask Manuel Pellegrini, whose double disaster against Alcorcón in 2009 was the beginning of the end for a manager Florentino Perez never wanted (or had probably heard of) in the first place.
One big-name player who is travelling and set to start is James Rodríguez, the centre point to most questions ahead of the Cadiz clash after a supposed falling-out between player and coach. "James has my full support and confidence. But this is Real Madrid and the competition is the highest level,” Benítez announced, dealing with what Luis Enrique calls ‘the circus’ that occupies a huge chunk of both coaches' time. Atlético Madrid found out that these pesky third-tier teams can be hard work on the road by only managing a 2-1 win at Reus. With the Copa being two-legged, most tension from any potential shock is absent despite strong calls from across the board in Spain to make the clashes FA Cup-style knockouts.
Meanwhile in Catalonia
Messi will be polishing another trophy having picked up the best player of the year gong at the La Liga awards. He was joined by Bravo as the best goalie, and Enrique as best coach
Barcelona should be polishing off Villanovense in the Camp Nou after a goalless draw in Extremadura. Elsewhere, Leo Messi will be polishing another trophy having picked up the best player of the year gong at the La Liga awards. He was joined by Claudio Bravo as the best goalie, and Luis Enrique as best coach. In order to avoid a Flo Pérez meltdown, the best defender was Sergio Ramos and James the best midfielder. Mmm. Just to make sure Cristiano Ronaldo wasn't left out, the Real Madrid man won the ‘5 stars’ trophy – a people’s vote set up by the sponsoring beer company.
Meanwhile, Diego Costa’s general malaise and being all of the buffoon hasn't gone unnoticed in Spain, with a campaign growing to recruit Aritz Aduriz to the Spanish cause for the European Championship.
And it's a fine call considering the Basque man has been one of the most consistent goalscorers in the land in recent years aside from You Know Who. In 2015 alone the forward, now 34, netted 38 goals in all competitions. But as Vicente del Bosque pointed out on Monday, he isn't able to call up anyone until March. He should just do it anyway, says LLL, in some kind of ceremonial event.