Reasons to be cheerful for Espanyol

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One of the chirpiest clubs to be found in La Liga these days is Espanyol.

And that's somewhat surprising considering that very little appears to have changed at the Catalan club over the summer aside from, former coach, Ernesto Valverde heading to Olympiacos with the biggest smile on his face seen since Sergio Ramos discovered a branch of Hooters in his hotel lobby.

Espanyol finished the last campaign as one of the worst teams on earth, but club president Daniel Sánchez Llibre says that the side is in "a fantastic situation."

Looking on the bright side: Espanyol chief Daniel Sánchez Llibre 

Perhaps the main cause of this apparently insane optimism is that fact that the frequent predictions of players fleeing the club faster than Francisco Rufete faced with a bath have yet to come true.

Despite the likes of Pablo Zabaleta, Albert Riera and the malaria suffering Carlos Kameni being linked with moves to England, all have stayed stay put. So far

Perhaps the most likely departure is Luis García who could well be filling a Robbie Keane shaped hole in Tottenham's attack. However, the striker himself fancies following Quique Sánchez Flores to Benfica.

"I would go with him to the edge of the world," swooned the forward as he spoke about his footballing love.

The other reason to be cheerful for the Barcelona club is the move to a spanking new perico palace early next year. "In November we will have the keys and in February or March we will open it," promises Sánchez Llibre. "The change of home will be a sea change for the club as we will have 8 or 9 million euros more income, every season, thanks to variables such as catering, concerts and corporate boxes."

And it's easy to share the club's president's optimism. La Liga Loca was in Barcelona last week and got to whizz past the still being constructed stadium on the fancy dan fast train from Madrid. And very nice it looked too - in the identikit stadium way - aside from the fact that it appears to be situated in a Mad Max style wasteland.

But anything is better than the concrete monstrosity of Montjuic, a ground where the spectators are situated in a different postcode to the pitch and are constantly being rained on.

What's more, on the same trip, the blog got to watch a cat licking its own vomit in the stands - something that a number of fans may have been tempted to do last season as opposed to watching the football taking place in the distance.

Espanyol's Montjuic: Binoculars essential

The current manager at Espanyol is Valverde's former number two. But the memory-like-a -sieve La Liga Loca is too lazy-arsed to bother remembering his name, such is its certainty that he will be turfed out of the job one month into the start of the season.

Despite having been banished to the badlands of the Segunda, the Spanish press are doing their laudable best to keep up to date with the news leaking out of poor old Levante. And the news is far from good.

The only wages most of the footballers have received over the past two years is a 7,800 lump sum paid when the club was sold. Apart from that, diddly squat has been dished out to the impoverished players making the blog question where exactly all the cash has gone at Levante considering it has been all income and bugger all expenditure for a number of seasons at the Valencia club.

Marca drops in on what can loosely be described as the side's pre-season training sessions and finds a rather tragic situation. AS had previously told stories of a camp where players were refusing to participate in practice games for fear of being injured and stuffing up their chances of a transfer.

But matters appear to be worse after the paper had a chat with a sports psychologist who has been dropped in to save the psyches of a number of players. "I found a very worrying situation," admits Jose Carrasco who cites footballers suffering anxiety attacks, insomnia, weight loss and family conflicts.

Marca report that a number of the squad had to take up jobs over the summer to pay some of their increasingly mounting bills and write that the players may well be abandoning the pre-season stage at a complex which has had its hot water cut off.

It's a very different world for Atlético Madrid who are back in Spain after their trip to Mexico where they did not manage a single win. And joining them in the side's summer exertions is José Antonio Reyes and, more surprisingly, Maniche - two players who are running up and down with price tag-shaped bibs.

Club president, Enrique Cerezo claimed on Monday that Maniche may well be staying at the Vicente Calderón. "There are always problems in families," said the big cheese who denied that Maniche's sudden change in heart had anything to do with opening of a Ben and Jerry's store next to the club's training ground.

"Can I come back now please... I'll be good"

For those of you bored enough to still care about the Cristiano Ronaldo story, Marca's professional idiot, Roberto Gómez - a man who is to predictions what Guti is to tackling back - writes that Ramón Calderón told the Real Madrid board that it would be either the Portuguese pouter or nothing in the way of signings this summer.

On top of that promise, Calderón reportedly claimed that there would be no departures either, aside from Roberto Soldado's imminent move to Getafe.

So it's at this point that La Liga Loca must yell into Ramon's ear trumpet and give him some free advice.


That's better.