Roberto Carlos's watch and Sammy Eto'o's timekeeping
Like Ever Banega when his internet connection cuts out just as he has started to get going, as it were, the Spanish football fan has been left limp and lifeless by the underwhelming arrival of another international week. After just one week of thrills and spills, the league has been put on hold for a fortnight as a bunch of other sporting stuff happens elsewhere in the world.
And this has left the Spanish footballing press in a bit of a bind. With no transfer speculation to make up, nor matches to preview, most of the papers have not just been scraping the bottom of the barrel for stories, all week, but trying to claw their way through it with a spoon.
Mundo Deportivo do what they always do when they are at a loose end: waste 57 inky pages on publishing the results of fan polls posing questions like Ã¢ÂÂarenÃ¢ÂÂt BarÃÂ§a great?Ã¢ÂÂ and Ã¢ÂÂarenÃ¢ÂÂt Real Madrid rubbish?Ã¢ÂÂ in a variety of different ways.
However, their half-hearted attempts were blown into the Med by ThursdayÃ¢ÂÂs edition of Marca, which blasted the headline that Ã¢ÂÂReal Madrid WILL win the leagueÃ¢ÂÂ. The careful analysis behind the boldest of predictions in what could be a fairly tight race for the title consisted of some YTS flunky looking at carefully selected betting sites and seeing that some had RaÃÂºlÃ¢ÂÂs Rovers as this seasonÃ¢ÂÂs top dogs.
Inside the paper, La Liga Loca favourite Roberto GÃÂ³mez continues Day 63 of his tedious whine over a bunch of watches. Apparently, RamÃÂ³n CalderÃÂ³n made a promise that all members of the title-winning team of 2006-07 would receive a special diamond-incrusted timepiece worth Ã¢ÂÂ¬18,000 as a reward. The problem is that CalderÃÂ³nÃ¢ÂÂs version of Ã¢ÂÂallÃ¢ÂÂ means everyone except Fabio Capello, David Beckham, Roberto Carlos, Ronaldo, Antonio Cassano and Ivan Helguera Ã¢ÂÂ six shady characters who all inspired furious cufflink-tugging from RamÃÂ³n at one point or another during the campaign.
Roberto Carlos, an unrelated watch and an unrelated bloke
In what seems to be a journalistic loverÃ¢ÂÂs tiff, GÃÂ³mez complains that Ã¢ÂÂthe honest person and true gentlemanÃ¢ÂÂ CalderÃÂ³n is acting improperly in this particular case. The freebie-loving columnist also takes the time to describe the aforementioned watch in great detail and even publishes a photo of it. After all, there may be one or two going spare.
If Roberto Carlos is to receive his gift it could well be arriving in teeny-tiny pieces as punishment for suggesting, this week, that both CalderÃÂ³n and Pedja Mijatovic are all with the clueless. Ã¢ÂÂThey do not have any experience when it comes to running a football clubÃ¢ÂÂ, declared the former full-back. Ã¢ÂÂThese two donÃ¢ÂÂt know what theyÃ¢ÂÂre doingÃ¢ÂÂ.
Over in the Kingdom of Catalunya, both Sport and Mundo Deportivo are getting their panties in a bunch over Samuel EtoÃ¢ÂÂo missing three days training to do some UNICEF work in Mozambique. Ã¢ÂÂItÃ¢ÂÂs too much of a reminder of past times,Ã¢ÂÂ wobbles a distressed Francesc Aguilar in Mundo Deportivo at the news that the striker arrived 45 minutes late for ThursdayÃ¢ÂÂs session.
Sponsors, eh? Who'd 'ave 'em?
Their Friday headline concerns the scoop that Ã¢ÂÂ¬1m in bonuses will be shelled out to the players should they win the Champions League this season. In a clear explanation, their English-language version of the site points out that Ã¢ÂÂin case of players with less weight, boosting the vast glass could lead to double its portfolioÃ¢ÂÂ.
GetafeÃ¢ÂÂs star summer signing from Ecuador, Joffre GuerrÃÂ³n, had a less than happy start to the season last Sunday. Although his team came away from SportingÃ¢ÂÂs stadium with three points after a 2-1 win, the midfielder was the subject of racist abuse from a small section of the home support. With the event having been reported by the referee, Sporting have been fined Ã¢ÂÂ¬3,000 with the side commenting that Ã¢ÂÂthis has done huge damage to the clubÃ¢ÂÂs nameÃ¢ÂÂ.
The financial penalty has upset at least one reader, who asks below the story on MarcaÃ¢ÂÂs site: Ã¢ÂÂif I go Ã¢ÂÂuh, uh, uhÃ¢ÂÂ to Casquero, for example, are they going to fine me?" GuerrÃÂ³n himself shrugged and said that it all Ã¢ÂÂwent in one ear and out the otherÃ¢ÂÂ.
If the Getafe man does need cheering up after such a distasteful incident, then he should look no further than the latest comedy stylings from those wacky funsters at the institute for statistics. Every now and again, some white-coat wearing Babylon 5 fans programme a bunch of football results into a computers and after a couple of seconds, it churns out a list of the worldÃ¢ÂÂs top clubs. Getafe are currently the 15th best team on the planet according to the IFFHS, streets ahead of lowly Real Madrid who are stuck in 42nd.
*You can catch Tim Stannard on Real Madrid TV's Extra Time chat show - Channel 446 on free to air Sky Digital at 22.00 UK time on Friday and repeated over the weekend