Spain take siesta before South African sojourn
JosÃÂ© Mourinho has been and is about to be gone on his hols. Cesc is still at Arsenal. David Villa has finally left the Mestalla and AtlÃÂ©tico wonÃ¢ÂÂt be following their annual manager-firing tradition, this summer. Not just yet, anyway.
This is all very bad news indeed for Vicente del Bosque who now has the full attention and all 15 beady eyes of the Spanish press on La Furia Roja with the World Cup just a week away.
So far, there has been very little actual news to report from SpainÃ¢ÂÂs Alpine retreat in the Austrian hamlet of Schruns.
It appears to have rained every day. Sergio Ramos was interviewed by the most surgically-enhanced, pert-assed TV reporter in history and brilliantly maintained eye-contact with her throughout the encounter.
And the local police closed the road outside the teamÃ¢ÂÂs hotel in the mornings and evenings so as not to disturb the sleep patterns of SpainÃ¢ÂÂs pampered players.
The sideÃ¢ÂÂs two warm-up matches have followed the pattern of those being played by every other participant in the World Cup - a sluggish kickabout with the aim of weeding out the Walcotts and avoiding any clots breaking their legs.
But for the press, the friendlies are a wonderful opportunity to go nuts, freak out, panic and predict doom and gloom for their respective teamÃ¢ÂÂs chances in South Africa.
Last Sunday, Spain beat Saudi Arabia 3-2 and a few dodgy moments for Iker Casillas had some nutjobs claiming that VÃÂctor ValdÃÂ©s should be starting ahead of the national captain.
It was all bunkum of course with Del Bosque maintaining that there was Ã¢ÂÂno debateÃ¢ÂÂ about his place in the side and the BarÃÂ§a man himself dutifully opining that Ã¢ÂÂI donÃ¢ÂÂt understand why there are any doubts about his quality.Ã¢ÂÂ
Spain were back in action - in a half-heartedly kicking a ball about sense of the word - with a 1-0 victory over South Korea on Thursday, with a cracking strike from JesÃÂºs Navas winning the encounter.
Although the performance was less than sparkly, it didnÃ¢ÂÂt need to be anymore than that. MarcaÃ¢ÂÂs editorial on Friday wisely notes that Ã¢ÂÂnow is not the time to sound the alarms...itÃ¢ÂÂs the time to keep the faith in a team that has earned the right to deserve all our support.Ã¢ÂÂ
The Spanish side are now returning home to play a friendly against Poland on Tuesday in Murcia - and their notoriously lumpy pitch which ruined Maxi RodrÃÂguezÃ¢ÂÂ career - before travelling to South Africa on Thursday.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch in la Liga, the insults, slurs and threats of legal action continue to be the dominant theme of the Barcelona presidential campaign.
Future strategies for the club are still a non-existent discussion point amongst the infantile egomaniacs with mudslinging being a far easier alternative.
Marc Ingla claims that poll favourite Sandro Rosell Ã¢ÂÂhas lied and keeps on lyingÃ¢ÂÂ in regards to alleged investigations into a Brazilian company where Rosell is the main shareholder.
The Joan Laporta continuity candidate, Jaume Ferrer, has also been at RosellÃ¢ÂÂs throat by accusing him of racism after he curiously chose to complain that there were too many African players in La Masia who were blocking the paths of locally born youngsters, and that there had to be doubts over the ages of those coming from Cameroon.
Ã¢ÂÂThere are a lot of black people born in Lleida and thatÃ¢ÂÂs Catalan,Ã¢ÂÂ noted Rosell with MarcaÃ¢ÂÂs Santiago Segurola also writing that hÃ¢ÂÂit upsets me that he puts the emphasis on African kids and not those from Argentina or Europe.Ã¢ÂÂ
Valencia have ditched their now unaffordable sporting director, Fernando GÃÂ³mez, with the Mestalla president claiming that Ã¢ÂÂsometimes [decisions] will be unpopular and unpleasant, but they have to be taken. We need money to pay debts and to give to our creditors,Ã¢ÂÂ admitted Manuel Llorente.
Elsewhere, AS are claiming that the sale of MÃÂ¡laga football club to Qatari squillionaire, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Al Thani is Ã¢ÂÂa matter of hours awayÃ¢ÂÂ and Roberto Soldado has double-speaked superbly by claiming that he is quite happy at Getafe but that his Ã¢ÂÂ¬10 million transfer fee is too high.
Ã¢ÂÂIn these times of crisis, the president is asking a lot for me,Ã¢ÂÂ claimed the Valencia or AtlÃÂ©tico bound chance-misser extraordinaire.
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