Spain goes Confederations Cup crazy as Real Madrid go shopping
It seems La Liga Loca has been getting the wrong end of the stick. The blog was under the impression the Confederations Cup was just a little off-season get-together in Brazil to test out some stadiums - maybe a chance for some footballers to blew off a little steam. Instead, it appears that the tournament is up there with the World Cup for drama and importance.
ThursdayÃ¢ÂÂs penalty shoot-out special against Italy certainly got hearts aflutter in Spain, with the editor of AS calling the sweaty affair, Ã¢ÂÂthe most agonizing win of the current era.Ã¢ÂÂ
Ã¢ÂÂJesÃÂºs, What a Final!Ã¢ÂÂ was MarcaÃ¢ÂÂs front page lead; both building up to the imminent showdown with Brazil, and praising JesÃÂºs Navas, the scorer of the winning spot-kick.
Speaking ahead of SundayÃ¢ÂÂs clash, TomÃÂ¡s Roncero, the most excitable man in Spain, claims that the countryÃ¢ÂÂs national team will have to 'cut off NeymarÃ¢ÂÂs crest".
"We have to shout to the world who we are. Life is beautiful. Viva EspaÃÂ±a!Ã¢ÂÂ
Even Barcelona football daily Sport are getting caught up in the moment, with the paper declaring that the semi-final against an old enemey was "full of suffering, emotion and nervesÃ¢ÂÂ. It will be a lot worse for the writers on Sunday, with the hope that BarÃÂ§aÃ¢ÂÂs expensive signing, Neymar, pulls a big performance out of the bag, but still ends up on the losing team.
It's all a bit bizarre and as if a slightly tense and vaguely important World Cup final never took place. Or even penalty shoot-outs against Italy and Portugal in various European Championships, another tournament with actual meaning, as opposed to the riot-tinged affair in Brazil.
Still, La Primera trundles along in a business-as-usual fashion, with Real Madrid spending a reported Ã¢ÂÂ¬30m on Isco. The 21-year-old is a fine player, but not one that the club necessarily needed, with Mesut ÃÂzil, Luka Modric and even the forgotten KakÃÂ¡ already able to play in the former MÃÂ¡laga manÃ¢ÂÂs role.
Instead, the transfer looks like an attempt to appease disgruntled Santiago BernabÃÂ©u supporters, upset that the club let footballers like Juan Mata, David Silva, Santi Cazorla and Fernando Llorente leave Spanish shores in the past without too much of an effort to sign them.
While this particular transfer appears a little frivolous, Athletic Bilbao have landed themselves a true gem, with BeÃÂ±at Etxebarria returning to the club he left way back in 2008. Ã¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂm more of a person and more of a player,Ã¢ÂÂ promised the footballer on the fringes on the Spain squad.
Arguably, the club doing the best Euro-for-Euro business this summer is Granada. The Andalusian side have picked up a free forward line of Riki (Deportivo) and Piti (out of contract at Rayo). Although the pair may be a little crinkly, they scored 31 league goals between them last term, a feat that should give Granada into an outside chance of a European spot if repeated, according to the blogÃ¢ÂÂs number crunching. In GranadaÃ¢ÂÂs case, it is the smaller signings that could make the bigger waves in La Liga.