La Liga Review 2010/11: Madrid's Barça bath & Preciado punches back
A rampant Real Madrid began November on top of the table with the Capital City media so desperate to praise the clubÃ¢ÂÂs Special One that they were gouging each otherÃ¢ÂÂs eyes out and scrapping in the streets like a mother-daughter rumble outside a roller-disco.
TV channel Cuatro scampered onto the pitch after a game to get hold of some of JosÃÂ© Mourinho's discarded tactical scribblings and sent them to a handwriting expert whose correct name escapes the blog. Charlatan, perhaps.
The aforementioned expert played by the local rules and declared that the Madrid manager was the bestest person in the whole universe, claiming he was Ã¢ÂÂquick thinkingÃ¢ÂÂ, had Ã¢ÂÂhuge leadership abilitiesÃ¢ÂÂ, was Ã¢ÂÂnobleÃ¢ÂÂ and had a massive winkie to boot.
Not to be left out in the fawning stakes, Marca wrote that Ã¢ÂÂthe manager is on top of everything: tactics, fitness, if the pitch is good or bad, if Pedro LeÃÂ³n or Karim Benzema need more or less affection. HeÃ¢ÂÂs right in almost every department.Ã¢ÂÂ That wasnÃ¢ÂÂt to be the case a few weeks later when Real Madrid were given a Ã¢ÂÂbathÃ¢ÂÂ, as they say locally, by Barcelona in a 5-0 demolition in the Camp Nou.
Ã¢ÂÂA thrashing! Humiliation! Leaders!Ã¢ÂÂ squealed the front page of Sport the morning after the night before. Mundo Deportivo responded to Cristiano Ronaldo's rather rubbish taunt after BarcelonaÃ¢ÂÂs humiliation of AlmerÃÂa the previous week Ã¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂLetÃ¢ÂÂs see if they score eight on MondayÃ¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂ with Joan Paqui chuckling that Ã¢ÂÂit wasnÃ¢ÂÂt eight, but it nearly was.Ã¢ÂÂ
TomÃÂ¡s Roncero, writing in AS, was vowing sweet revenge, having seen Barcelona become league leaders after the victory. Ã¢ÂÂThe season is long, in April thereÃ¢ÂÂll be a ClÃÂ¡sico in the Bernabeu, you know how it will be then,Ã¢ÂÂ promised the crazed columnist. In the end there were two ClÃÂ¡sicos in Madrid in April and neither were victories for Mourinho's men, so Roncero was quite right.
"If they do score eight, Cris, I'm gonna slap you"
Before that match, Mourinho had become embroiled in one of his many spats this season by suggesting that Sporting coach Manuel Preciado had fielded a weakened line-up in a 1-0 defeat against Barcelona. The popular Preciado responded by calling his counterpart a Ã¢ÂÂscumbagÃ¢ÂÂ and suggested that Mourinho sit out a suspension in a game against his team with the clubÃ¢ÂÂs Ultras.
MÃÂ¡laga's ongoing drop-zone problems saw them sack Jesualdo Ferreira and replace the Portuguese with former Madrid manager and Marca hate-figure Manuel Pellegrini. JosÃÂ© Aurelio Gay, coach of table-bottoming Zaragoza, knew his bacon was greased when his club president promised that he would be Ã¢ÂÂon the bench next Monday and Tuesday.Ã¢ÂÂ Gay was fired days later and replaced by former AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid and Mexico coach Javier Aguirre.
Off the field, a feud over the signing of a new TV deal between Real Madrid and Barcelona and a group of rebels lead by Sevilla and Villarrreal broke out, with the latter wanting a fairer slice of the financial pie and refusing to sign a proposal offered up by the Big Boys.
Ã¢ÂÂWe have the worst big league in Europe,Ã¢ÂÂ complained Sevilla president JosÃÂ© Maria Del Nido, while his Villarreal counterpart Fernando Roig told the Spanish media that Ã¢ÂÂwe are fighting to make sure it isnÃ¢ÂÂt a league of two, although a lot of you donÃ¢ÂÂt agree.Ã¢ÂÂ
La LigaÃ¢ÂÂs comedy club of the campaign, HÃÂ©rcules, continued its merry way with on-loan winger Royston Drenthe getting caught by the fuzz for blasting through the streets of Alicante in his car at 4am, jumping six red lights in the process. The Real Madrid man told the cops that he was rushing off to the hospital as he thought his passenger who was dying, as opposed to being completely paralytic which was apparently the case.
Don BalÃÂ³n magazine's annual award for prettiest Primera player was handed out in November with lovely Athletic Bilbao central defender Aitor Ocio receiving the prize Ã¢ÂÂ and an awful lot of teasing from his teammates, no doubt.