The Quotes of 2008

Putting up with players

“I’ve seen Jurassic Park 15 times. My favourite is the Velociraptor.” – Former Mallorca midfielder Jonas Gutierrez, was so fond of big extinct beasties, he moved to Newcastle to spend more time with them.

“He couldn’t get back in time for training, but he did for lunch! What luck!” – No, not Maniche; former Getafe boss Michael Laudrup is talking about Uche’s late arrival from international duty with Nigeria.

“Sometimes they’re lazy, then they have enough money and women and they work well,” sighed Barcelona director Xavier San Martin during a very low point for his players at the Camp Nou in April. But he could also have been describing La Liga Loca.

“If he’s referring to me, he should tell me to my face,” hiccupped Deco in reply to his boss.

“We’re young and want to enjoy ourselves with our friends on our days off.” – The then Valencia player Ever Banega just wanted to have a bit of harmless fun, back in March. Which was all fine and dandy had he not shortly after been charged with drunk-driving through a red light.

Banega: Boys just wanna have fun 

“What have you ever won? Who are you to tell me anything?” Maniche’s last words – almost literally – to Javier Aguirre last January, before being shipped on loan to Serie A.

“I was starting to get changed when he came in. ‘What are you looking at?’ he said. Then he punched me in the face.” – Deportivo goalkeeper, Dudu Aouate, dishes the dirt on his dressing room scrap with understudy Gustavo Munúa.

“I was tired of being his nanny. I had to get up at four in the morning as he didn’t know how to get home.” – Getafe president Angel Torres looks back at Dani Güiza’s spell at the club with great fondness.

Managerial Madness

“I’m in therapy. It’s been two matches without me coming off the bench!” The beaming boast from Atlético coach Javier Aguirre back in January.

“I didn’t know who he was. I thought he was the ball collector.” – Aguirre proving, weeks later, that he could still talk himself into trouble from a sedentary position after telling the Zaragoza club doctor that his side was “going down.” But with much naughtier words, no doubt.

“This is a match with four points for the winner.” Betis’ Paco Chaparro reveals the secret of how his diabolical side have survived relegation to the Segunda over the past few seasons.

“I have no problems with fat players, if they are great fat players.” – Frank Rijkaard, definitely not talking about Ronaldinho. Oh no.

Frank 'n' Ron in happier days 

“Don’t ask me anything about it. All I saw was a hotel, the federation HQ, the ambassador’s reception and a shopping centre where I had a beer.” Javier Clemente – who very nearly became manager of Iran – turns down the chance to pen the introduction to the country’s latest Lonely Planet guide.

“The journalists who follow Real Madrid blindly only do so because they want the president to give them a badge, but they should know that the Real Madrid badge only costs seven pesetas.” Hats off once again to Javier Clemente, who neatly reveals the naked secrets of the Spanish sporting press.

“If you don’t want to get hit, then take up Ludo.” – Deportivo boss Miguel Angel Lotina explains how it was entirely possible for his two goalkeepers to bash each other’s brains out on the dressing room floor.

“It will be a disaster if I don’t get out of here and have a beer.” – Atleti’s post-Marseille Javier Aguirre failing to enjoy his early taste of the Champions League's endless, translated-into-50-languages press conferences.

The venomous year in Valencia

“I like the dressing room with two less people.” – Miguel Angulo, for one, was enjoying last season’s exile of Santi Cañizares and David Albelda, the latter of whom is now back sharing a peg with the very worried winger.

“To be vulgar, he didn’t have the balls to say it to my face.” - Rubén Baraja, responding to a slur from his midfield partner, was another member of the anti-Albelda camp – and another footballer who has to face his less-than-best buddy every day.

Dave 'n' Rube get over the obstacles 

“We’ve lived through everything at this club for years now. I’m sad to say that we’re used to it.” – Vicente, one of those poor, innocent and frequently injured souls caught in the middle of the Mestalla mayhem.

“I received a call from the sporting VP Rafael Salom, and I have to believe him. If I didn’t, I would be working with people with no honour.” His tongue was so firmly in his chek, the yet-to-be-sacked Ronald Koeman was either talking about an apparent vote of confidence or was still polishing off elevenses.

“In five months, he destroyed the team.” – Joaquín takes a trip down memory lane to Koeman’s Mestalla stay, before boasting that he could have achieved the same results in two.

The wit and wisdom of Marca’s Roberto Gómez

“Enrique Cerezo, the excellent president of Atlético, put to rest one of the most important questions of the derby. Where will the official lunch be?” The Marca madman focusses firmly on his own portly priorities ahead of January’s Real-Atleti clash.

t“He has value of 60 million Euros, a fleet of planes and wants to promote urbanisation and encourage buyers.” Gómez makes a heartfelt appeal to Real and Atlético to play a friendly to help his millionaire mate, Francisco ‘El Pocero’ Hernando – a gentleman who soon after was charged with corruption.

“He has turned into a frivolous, distant, rancourous and vengeful person.” – Gómez senses weakness in Ramón Calderón’s presidential position, in March...

“The Kennedy of Spanish football only wants to bring joy to the Whites fans.” ...before backtracking desperately, weeks later.

“The other king of the balcony was Ramón Calderón. The popularity of the Real Madrid president is comparable to a megastar.” ...and way before having to have his head surgically removed from his hero’s presidential posterior after the Euro 2008 final.

Famous last words

“If Ronaldo wants to win the Ballon d’Or, he needs to play for Real Madrid.” – Pinheaded defender Pepe before his Portuguese team-mate went on to win the Premier League, score a thousand goals and lift the Champions League trophy. Oh, and a certain French trinket, too.

“My job’s not in danger, as this is a project that cannot be finished in two months.” – Ronald Koeman, about, oh, two months before being sacked from Valencia.

“Royston Drenthe is the prototype of the modern player.” – If Madrid sporting director (and UEFA directive expert) Pedja Mijatovic is right, then La Liga Loca is going to become a badminton blog.

Royston Vasey: "We'll have no trouble here..." 

“Real Madrid’s style of play might suit us better. It’s possible I may have to eat those words.” – the 7-1 thrashing handed to Sporting just days later suggested that coach Manuel Preciado did indeed have to get out his HP sauce.

“The ‘more than just a club’ thing was fine in an era when they were making up for lost time during fascism. Now it has no meaning. Barça is a slave to this slogan.” – Catalunya’s version of David Letterman, Andreu Buenafuente, tempts the wrath of Joan Laporta’s death ray. 

“What worries you most: the loneliness, the cold or the racist abuse?” – AS’s somewhat depressing question to Castilla's new signing Daniel Opare could have sent the Ghanian youngster straight back home.

“The next project will revolve around Schuster.” - Ramón Calderón, November 27.

“Schuster will be here to the end.” - Ramón Calderón, December 2.

Presidential crackpots

“40,000 people should not pay for the insensitivity of one.” – the complaint of Betis president José León after the club was punished for a rival goalkeeper being hit on the head by a bottle thrown from the crowd. And not the time when Juande Ramos was knocked out by a bottle thrown from the crowd. Or when a bottle was thrown from the crowd at Espanyol players, this season, or Athletic the week just gone, or....

“I had microphones in the meeting room, personal threats and detectives following me.” – presidential paranoia peaked in May with Barça bigwig Joan Laporta minutes away from checking himself into the madhouse.

Laporta: "Infamy! Infamy! They've all got it in for me!" 

“They have tapped my telephones. Two people have been following me around and they have looked at my accounts.” – For a wee while, Ramón Calderón looked set to be Laporta’s roomie in Bedlam.

“I will never give up my struggle and I will keep on going so I can reach the place that history has for me.” – ex-Valencia president Juan Villalonga promised that he would be back one day, after a three-week stay in the hot seat. Before announcing a bid to run in the Real Madrid presidential elections. And looking at Getafe.

“The fact that Robinho has accepted an offer from Man City says he’s not going for sporting reasons.” – Ramón Calderón, who recently claimed that he would never disrespect another side. Ever. He probably had a point, mind.

“We are all responsible, but in the end, the ones who are responsible are those who are playing.” – Atlético bigwig Enrique Cerezo so nearly did the decent thing for once in his life. Before thinking better of it, seconds later.

“Professional football has treated me with a total injustice.” – former Levante owner Pedro Villarroel complains about his own lamentable lot despite having pretty much failed to pay his players for the previous two years or so.

Bye, bye Bernando

“The referee doesn’t deserve to be a countryman of mine. He was a homer.” – At least he wasn’t from Catalunya, eh Bernd?! Madrid’s former manager was less than happy with the man in the middle during a Champions League clash at Roma.

“I’m going to keep on complaining. My character doesn’t let me do anything else.” – And on this particular pledge, Schuster stayed true to his word.

For those who wanted to see the back of Schuster... 

“I know what’s best for him, just like a father knows what’s best for his son.” – Bernd Schuster, claiming that Robinho would be bouncing on his knee for many years to come at the Bernabeu...

“What he does doesn’t interest me.” – ...before throwing his own toys out of the pram, days later.

“I don’t know if my Spanish has got any worse over the past few days, but I told you I hadn’t read the interview.” – Schuster answering questions on controversial comments from Sergio Ramos and showing why he will be sorely missed by the Madrid press pack. But most of all, La Liga Loca.

Happy new year...

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