More mayhem in Mestalla for Valencia

The last time La Liga Loca sticky-beaked its way into Valencia's odious affairs, a good 10 days ago, a period of stability and sanity was being promised by all those resident in the Mestalla madhouse.

But, as is tradition in this most peculiar of places, it was a golden era that lasted about as long as a promise from Ramón Calderón.

On July 10, the walrus-like Daddy's boy majority shareholder, Juan Bautista Soler, proudly announced that former Telefonica bigwig, Juan Villalonga would be taking over in some kind of chairman/manager type role. As is traditional with the goings on in Mestalla, much of the murky business, including the all important financial side, was surrounded in a fuggy fog of mystery.


Juan Soler: On his way out of Mestalla. Or not

Just over two weeks later and the relationship appears to have broken down and the club announced on Thursday that current Veep and second biggest shareholder, Vicente Soriano, will be taking over the presidency instead- booting out Agustín Morera in the process, and possibly buying out Soler's share in the club. Or possibly not.

Villalonga claims that he walked away from his somewhat temporary position claiming that the club's debt was 439 million euros with an added 350 million cost of the new stadium, currently under construction. "Soler's plan was to sell the stars and this made the project less attractive for me," grumbled the departing ex- manager/chairman type thing.

"Villalonga didn't leave, I threw him out," counterclaimed Soler who accused his former best buddy of being a demagogue.

24 hours ago, Soler and Soriano hated each other's guts - and were quite happy to talk publicly about that fact - but on Thursday they were pictured backslapping, shaking hands and chuckling away rather like a Pixies reunion in some kind of demon dimension.

Sporting director, Xabier Azkargorta, has been dismissed after his fortnight's spell in the post - a fairly good innings at Valencia, and will be replaced by Juan Sánchez, the sixth in just over a year.

But the question of whether the likes of David Villa and David Silva will be offloaded has yet to be clarified. "We will try and keep them here," promised Soriano half-heartedly.


Villa and Silva: Valencia's prize pair may yet stay at Mestalla 

Whilst AS, Marca and pretty much everyone else in the press is as confused as La Liga Loca as to what the bejesus is going on out on the east coast, Sport has a stab at some commentary. "Villalonga disappeared from the map to God knows where, landed in Valencia and lasts 15 days," writes a baffled Emilio Pérez de Rozas.

Another side living in the land of owner confusion is Real Betis. Majority shareholder, Darth Manuel Ruiz de Lopera, has a lot of decisions to make every day - Liberace or Elton John on the CD player, which of the chickens should be sacrificed on the alter of Beelzebub and how to fight those pesky accusations that his holding company has been siphoning off cash from the club.

De Lopera is currently having a Deal or No Deal moment over whether to flog his packet of shares to a local businessman - two very loaded words in Andalusia. Last week it seemed he was about to, but de Lopera appears to have had a change in heart - or what he has instead of a heart - after reportedly not liking the cut of his suitor's footballing jib.

Atlético Madrid have completed their preparations for their opening Champions League qualifier in August by failing to win any of their four games on a recent tour of Mexico. Having taken on Pueblo, Toluca, a mariache band and a troupe of masked wrestlers, the rojiblancos came away with two draws and two defeats.

"We've left our first win for the August 12," predicted a positive Sinama-Pongolle.

On their return to the Vicente Calderón, Javier Aguirre's merry men will find an old friend sat on the door step - Maniche. Having failed to find anyone else who can fulfil with his pastry demands, the portly Portuguese man has returned to the Spanish capital after his loan spell at Inter Milan.

"I made mistakes in the past but now I want to remain at Atlético Madrid," claimed the midfielder as he dodged a neck wringing from his Mexican manager.

Marca are a getting ants in their journalist pants over the idea that Cristiano Ronaldo seems to be more concerned with a shopping spree in Los Angeles than putting on the glorious white shirt of Real Madrid.


Ronnie sports Real Madrid's new kit in Los Angeles 

Having seen Roberto Goméz' inspired "he will sign on the July 7" prediction go out of the window faster than Robinho faced with a group of journalists, the paper are starting to wonder what it will take to move the transfer saga along.

Barcelona's 6-0 drubbing of Hibernian is proof enough for one Mundo Deportivo writer that Pep Guardiola is the greatest thing in tight-fisted Catalunya since someone else who buys your round.

"Pep lives the training sessions, the games and demands not only work but quality of work," gushes Migúel Rico, who goes on to predict the imminent trashing of some green-keepers and the kitchen staff of their Scottish training base in the club's next game, on Sunday.
 

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