A man walks into a bar, he finds himself confused by the movement of Xavi and Iniesta, then Messi nutmegs him, he takes retribution by slapping Dani Alves in the face, he’d been wanting to do that for ages. It’s the end of the season.
Barcelona have won the Champions League and La Liga, Mourinho has won his battle with Valdano and Deportivo La Coruña aren’t super anymore. It’s time to reflect with a caña or two.
A season that ended up being dominated by the rally of ‘Los Clasicos’ was won by Barcelona, their third on the spin, the crowning glory being the 5-0 spanking handed out to Real Madrid in the first half of the season.
Real won the ‘Copa del Rey’, Cristiano Ronaldo won the ‘Pichichi’, that’s the top goalscorer award to you and I, and Mourinho finally ousted Jorge Valdano to take full control of transfer matters.
Valencia (despite losing David Villa and David Silva) and Villarreal come 3rd and 4th respectively, just a mere 84 points (well, something like that) behind the top two. Qualifying for the Europa league for the right to take on Fulham and Birmingham City were Sevilla, Athletic Bilbao and Atlético Madrid. Bilbao, for the first time in their history fielded a player born outside of Viscaya but reaped the rewards by getting into the competition Harry Redknapp was trying to avoid. Bilbao only have one more season in their ‘La Catedral’ stadium, famed for its hostile atmosphere and being in need of a lick of paint of two, next season will be your last chance to Basque in the glory: -
Meanwhile, Atlético Madrid are being pulled apart, Kun ‘son-in-law of Diego Maradona’ Aguero has slapped in his transfer request, he’s hot hot hot property, Real Madrid the likely destination. Atlético’s baby-faced Number One, De Gea, is about to embark on an intensive course of Scottish-English before putting pen to paper with Man Utd and Diego Forlan will also be scuttling out the door, perhaps to head up a Guns n’ Roses tribute band. The good news for Atleti is that Rafa Benitez is errrrrrr foooooor meeeee said to be the next manager.
Welcome to the jungle, we've got fun and games...
The relegation scrap involving a final day 7 way chaotic fight to avoid the drop was finally lost by Deportivo La Coruña, much to the dismay of the general public. The team from Galicia were once La Liga champions, Champions League semi-finalists and nurtured talents such as Albert Luque who amassed a whopping 3 goals for Newcastle after his 14 million euros transfer. I can’t decide if their more like Leeds or Nottingham Forest. Either way they can expect muted chants of ‘you’re not famous anymore’ from fans of Córdoba and Huesca next season. The following video will be the most likely Depor response, ask a Spanish friend for a translation: -
Hapless Almería and Hércules were the other two relegation victims, leaving a whole host of average teams to fight another day. Popping up will be Sevilla’s city rivals, Real Betis and Rayo Vallecano of Madrid, the team not only supported by Sé lo que hicisteis’ Cristina Pedroche but also have a bolt of lighting splashed across their badge.
Cristina Pedroche, Rayo fan, she sits in the East Stand if you're interested...
And so to the Champions League, Barcelona are the best team in Europe and not even Darren Fletcher’s presence on the bench could stop them.
Expect the two forces of Spanish football to cream the top off the best of the rest, Villarreal’s Giuseppe Rossi, for one, heavily tipped to sign for Los Azulgranas, thus strengthening the legs of the two horse race by weakening the chasing pack of donkeys.
Barça outclassed the Premiership’s top team last night but the competitiveness of La Liga will remain in doubt. Oh for the return of Super Deportivo La Coruña.
Sporting Gijón vs Deportivo La Coruña
Walking to the Stadium with thegoal-line’s very own Neil Seddon we, literally speaking, stumbled across a Deportivo La Coruña fan, writhing around in a pool of his own Asturian cider. Just across the park, thousands of Depor fans had gathered, drinking, chanting and urinating willy-nilly. The civil guard police looked on, itching to take their batons to the heads of the Galician mob.
‘There could be quite an atmosphere in the ground today’ I said whilst admiring the travelling fans, somewhat of a rarity in Spain, there was no reply, Neil’s hangover had been provoked by the waft of cider.
An hour later, pizzas wolfed down, we entered the stadium, with a tender head, this is the last thing you want to be hit with: -
Sporting were pretty much assured of survival but Deportivo were well in need of a win, loitering above the relegation zone with games against Barcelona and Valencia to come, points accumulated here would be most welcome. Depor fans just to our right were in full voice, Neil, still suffering, wasn’t in full voice, like me, he was in full groan.
'The Smooth Cats'
The game kicked off, the sun came out, the crowd got louder, the flags hung just next to us read ‘Gengen Nazis’ and ‘Smooth Cats’, my addled brain created images of Top Cat cheekily outwitting Office Dibble sporting a Third Reich moustache.
The two usually cagy teams went for each other; Deportivo drew first blood, Adrian putting the Galicians 1-0 up with one of those scuffed shots that roll agonisingly over the line, goalkeeper looking on despairingly. Sporting 0-1 Deportivo. The following scenes ensued…
Fence bending mayhem
Depor fans surged forward, the barriers, unable to hold the weight of the Smooth Cats, bent and finally snapped, fans spilled onto the pitch, the twitching civil guard finally got their chance, baton blows rained in, fans clambered back into the away end, some lay pitch side nursing injuries, the crowd got louder still, this was an atmosphere produced only by a local derby with a relegation twist. The hangovers did the decent thing and started to seep out of the body and skulk towards the exit. This was no place for the weak.
The stewards tried in vain to re-erect the metallic fences but chunks of concrete had been ripped out of the ground, fans continued to lunge forward, another Depor goal would have led to total chaos, the fire brigade rushed in carrying tools the size of Stoke City’s centre backs, they surely weren’t intending to… ah… metal cutters, big ones, were employed to cut away the hoardings, Depor fans shielding themselves with whatever they could… you don’t believe me do you? Look at the photo and video below, listen for cutting noises amongst the chants, I’d never seen anything like it: -
'This job requires a big chopper'
Back on the pitch, Sporting equalised from a penalty that never was. Sporting 1-1 Deportivo. Before any insults could be traded, Depor’s Adrian took a pass in his stride, evaded a tackle, rounded the keeper, slotted home, the away end erupted for a second time.
Sporting 1-2 Deportivo.
Depor's Universally applicable insults
Half time, deep breath, ibuprofen.
As the second half got underway, a few of the walking wounded from the away end were ushered into our side of the fence, Neil, now hangover-free pointing out the logical advantage of ‘them’ acting as a human buffer for us in the event of ugly scenes, I mean, smooth or not, the flag depicted a fairly menacing cat.
Hector the human shield
With all that happened in the first half it was fully understandable that the second was a little subdued, the nervous energy from the Depor fans palpable. The game followed a familiar rhythm, Sporting missing a handful of half chances whilst not looking particularly interested, Depor on the defensive, injury time arrived and the inevitable penalty was conceded.
David Barral stepped up and slotted home. Sporting 2-2 Deportivo. After the game Barral alleged the Depor players had asked him to miss, not only did he refuse but he also saw fit to run towards the away fans, ear cupped before simulating taking a swig from a bottle that had been thrown at him. Salt and wounds.
Sporting stay afloat, Deportivo live to fight another day. We were shuffling out the stadium trying to take in all that had happened when one final visual opportunity presented itself to me. A young Gary Neville mocking the departing Galicians… and the hangovers came flooding back.
For God's sake Neville!
A man walks into a bar one Sunday afternoon and watches three matches from La Liga, back to back… and there was no beer nursing.
This weekend, just seven days after declaring the title ‘all but mathematically impossible’ Real Madrid bounced back, beating Athletic Bilbao 3-0 in the Basque country, Kaka with two penalties, Ronaldo netting the other, a chicken run down the wing, cutting in and slamming home, quick bit of pigeon chest posing before performing a ridiculous dance on the touchline with Marcelo. Barcelona were at one point 0-1 down at home to rock-bottom Almeria; a shock was on the cards for all of 5 minutes, Messi equalising before adding his second and Barça’s third in the last minute. No pigeon puffing, no silly dances. The gap remains 8 points.
Assuming that Real and Barça don’t go and do anything really stupid, i.e. go and lose by more than 4 goals in their return legs of the Champions League, then we’ll see ‘El Clasico’ four times over the next month… Sergio Ramos to pick up a booking? I will eat my words and a whole Galician octopus if he doesn’t.
Inspired by thegoal_line’s league irrelevant
, clubs up and down Spain are queuing up to enter La Liga’s equivalent; Levante, Sporting Gijón and Racing Santander have fought relegation so hard they now find themselves in mid-table, whereas Michael Laudrup’s Mallorca have all but given up trying to get onto Channel 5 with Spurs next season. The scamper to fill the two spots for the Europa League is between Sevilla, Athletic, Atlético and Espanyol.
Atlético Madrid made it a bad weekend for the Basques by beating Real Sociedad 3-0, with Juan Antonio Reyes (remember him?) in devastating form. Once a victim of the ‘boo boys’ he’s now pivotal in helping Phil Brown look-a-like
Quique Flores keep his job at the end of the season.
Down at the bottom, Almería are starting to drift away, money-bags Málaga, Hércules and Zaragoza sit 4 points above of them, Zaragoza play Getafe tonight. Getafe, sponsored by Burger King, are plummeting like a stone and may have to adopt a healthier diet should they want to avoid the drop. All three teams in the relegation places have accents on their names… that’ll teach them a lesson.
'going down, going down, going dooooown'
In the second division promotion candidates are starting to get edgy, leaders Rayo surrendered a three goal lead to draw 3-3 and Celta Vigo, from witch-worshipping
Galicia, lost at home 2-1. Barcelona B took advantage by slipping into 3rd place, the catch being that promotion is prohibited for the Catalan reserve side. Damn the glass ceiling.
Statistic of the weekend, Deportivo racked up their 7th 0-0 draw of the season… ‘Me aburro como una ostra’
as the Spanish would say.
Follow this link should you want to see the table in its entirety rather than read the unbidden waffle from above… mind you, you’ll have to read it first to get here… http://www.as.com/resultados/futbol/primera/#clasificacion
A man walks into a bar, sees Jose Mourinho weeping into his Vino Tinto and offers to buy him another.
Yesterday I was in the Sporting de Gijón social club watching their away game at Real Madrid on the big screen. On the final whistle 100 or so Sporting fans lept off their stools in celebration at not only Sporting´s first victory in the Bernabéu for 60 years but to toast a priceless three points towards extending their stay in La Liga. However, it left Real Madrid the unenviable task of trying to close an 8 point gap on Barcelona.
I applauded politely while beer was swished over me and old men were shouting incomprehensible ululations in and around my ear, the camera panned to Jose Mourinho doing his best Jack Dee impression… and then, only then, I realised that his NINE YEAR unbeaten home record had ended.
Jack Dee, there's no pleasing some people.
I say NINE YEAR in the same way the old BBC videprinter would report Crewe 8 (EIGHT, yes E-I-G-H-T) Cheltenham 1, such the enormity of the numerical facts.
Mourinho last tasted defeat at home back in February 2002 when Porto lost 2-3 to Beira Mar.
During the game a friend asked me ‘was Mourinho like this in England?’; clearly referring to the exasperated look on Jose’s face during the second half. ‘In what sense?’ I asked. ‘Stupid!’ was the surprising response. Harsh and unfair, a nine year unbeaten home record, the ability to communicate in four different languages (can Fabio Capello speak English yet? Really?) and the ability to get under the skin of Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, stupid was not the word to describe Mourinho.
I was just 23 years old the last time we won in the Bernabéu.
Sporting rode their luck and on many occasions this season I’ve heard the expression ‘Sin Xabi, no hay fútbol’, rightly indicating that while the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo and the in-form Benzema was a blow, without Xabi Alonso there is no creativity, no subtleness of play, no fluidity, just a gaggle of prototype attacking midfielders running into corners whilst the completely ineffectual Adebayor stood about wondering if his career was ever to get off the ground again.
Barcelona compounded Real’s misery later that evening, extending their lead to 8 points courtesy of a 1-0 victory at Villarreal. The winner was scored by Gerard Pique, the commentator allowed a ‘waka waka’ to slip out as Pique ran to the corner flag celebrating, thus making it the most predictable piece of football commentary in the history of well, football commentary.
Apparently the song in question has been banned from being aired at the Bernabéu, in opposition to Shakira’s relationship with the Barcelona centre back. I do hope that’s true.
On finishing up this article, I cleared my desktop of some photos that I thought may have been useful. Windows prompted me with the message ‘are you sure you want to delete Jose Mourinho?’… you know, I wasn’t sure… he’s going to stay there for a while longer, out of respect at least. Not for 9 years though.
A man walks into a bar, finds that copies of both Marca and AS are occupied and leans on the culprits gently… much in the way Roy Keane and Jaap Stam lent on Andy D’Urso. Don’t hog the papers, it’s an unwritten rule.
I think you'll find I'm right...
So, it’s the International weekend, time for a breather. Spain saw off the Czech Republic 2-1 on Friday night courtesy of a David Villa double, taking him clear of Raul in the goalscoring charts and keeping intact the 100% record of ‘La Selección’ when playing their home games in Granada. Why don’t England play around more? And here I’m not referring to John Terry… but wouldn’t it be ‘fairer’ to the general public to play some home games away from Wembley?
April is nearly upon us and it’s the month where much will be decided and we’re faced with back to back ‘El Clasicos’. The weekend of the 17th will see Real Madrid try to close the gap on Barcelona in the league swiftly followed by the final of the Copa del Rey. Pride becomes before a fall. If all goes well (or badly depending how you see it) these two will face each other twice more in the semis of the Champions League… yawn.
To add to the hype, scarves are being mass produced by the clubs, Real’s with the caption ‘Podemous’… a not so clever play on words incorporating Jose Mourinho’s name into the word ‘We can (do it)’… from Catalunya we have ‘Peparaos’… ‘We’re ready’ in a Catalan ‘tinker with name of’ Pep Guardila.
Buy one get one free...
But whether La Liga will actually finish this season nobody knows. The league’s representatives are threatening a strike for the next round of matches. Their complaint being that terrestrial TV currently have the right to air one league match per week but the influential clubs in La Liga are not so keen on this. NATO are currently looking at the situation, the possibility of sending in heavy artillery to assist rebels remains open.
The scrap at the bottom is as frisky as ever with Hércules plummeting like a stone, a really heavy stone, now finding themselves rock bottom. Málaga and Almería, the Andaluncian brothers, have picked up and now find themselves right back in the fight. Zaragoza and Deportivo are now looking nervously over their shoulders.
Finally, long suffering fans of Millionarios from the streets of Bogotá are now relocating to Spain in the shape of La Liga fans. Good friends Livy Vargas Sarmiento, Jesús Alfonso Soto Pineda and Maria Angelica Mejia recently visited the Vincente Calderón to take in the Atlético de Madrid v Villareal match. Jesús, with varying degrees of success, was attempting to train up the two young ladies in terrace etiquette, ranging from combining Colombian Spanish and traditional Castellano to abusive effect. For those of you that are interested ‘Pobre sopla pollas’ isn’t a nice thing to say. Jesús, for the record, is a Barcelona fan but works at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on match days. Any ‘Madridilistas’ might want to inspect the contents of their match day fare before eating it. Ah, Atlético won 3-1, good luck from Colombia with love.
Atletico's lucky mascots, Jesús, Maria and Livy.
A man walks into a bar, picks up Marca and AS and realises he’s in a relegation dogfight. Forget the big two, it’s in the trenches of La Liga where the dirt is flying.
This is to be considered a La Liga relegation ‘cut out and keep’ special, with wisdom lent by African proverbs.
‘The poorest man in the world is not the one without money but without vision’
As the world’s media focuses on the Islamic revolutions, fans of Málaga (20 points) will be hoping some of that fighting spirit will pass down through Qatarian club president, Abdullah ben Nasser Al Thani. Despite some big spending ‘The Anchovies’ currently sit bottom of the league, with Chilean coach Manuel Pellegrini feeling the Costa del Sol heat. Monday night they host Almería, one place and one point above.
This way for relegation?
‘Coal laughs at ashes, not knowing that the same fate awaits’
Head round to the east coast and you’ll find Málaga’s Andalucían rivals, Almería (21 points), who were enjoying a few laughs at Málaga’s expense until their last match. Almería suffered the embarrassment of conceding a last minute equaliser ‘at the hands of’ Deportivo goalkeeper Dani Aranzubia, who actually used his head. Schadenfreude is a two way street it seems.
‘An adult squatting sees further than a child on top of tree’
Working our way up and completing the bottom three, we have Real Zaragoza (24 points) and their aging backline. They had picked up in recent weeks only to slump again, on Sunday they achieved the unthinkable by losing at home to a badly out of form Atlético de Madrid. Any nostalgic Liverpool fans will remember Florent Sinama Pongolle, well, Zaragoza is where you’ll now find him.
‘It's better to be loved than feared’
Sitting above Zaragoza, penniless Levante (24 points) had been on a fantastic run of three consecutive wins without conceding before losing 2-0 at Real Madrid last Saturday. Levante, who due to their financial restrictions, have the sympathy of the nation and their club crest has the shadow of a bat cloaking an aging deck chair.
Ok, it's not a deckchair but what is it???!!!
‘A strong man's head is full of scars’
In 16th place lie the partially immortal Hércules (25 points). Great name aside, ‘the Herculanos’ are Barcelona’s bogie side and can boast David Trezeguet within their ranks. With only one win in six the team from Alicante have been dragged back into the scrap and will be well in need of those famed battling qualities.
‘You can catch a cricket in your hand but its song is all over the field’
Edging Levante out on goal difference are Sporting de Gijon (25 points). The team from Asturias are in fine fettle of late with many thanks to the goals and inspiration of David Barrel, who claims he’ll tattoo himself with the Sporting escudo in the event that they stay up. Is badge kissing not enough these days?
‘A bull defending his own head breaks his horns’
Separated by goal difference from Hércules’ laurel are Osasuna (25 points). Based in Pamplona, home of the greasiest Chorizo in Spain but not now the home of José Antonio Camacho, recently sacked, this despite beating Real Madrid just three weeks ago. Rivals of Real Zaragoza they’ll be hoping to unleash the spirit of the ‘running of the bulls’ when the going gets tough.
Does he take it, does he take it, does he take it up the...
‘Supposing doesn't fill the grain basket’
Once semi-finalists of the Champions League, Deportivo La Coruna (27 points)
, find themselves flirting with the drop zone. A side this season often criticised for negative strategies, a back five with two holder midfielders, they also have the problem of a host of players being out of contract at the end of the season. There’s a whiff of ‘we’re too big to go down’ about Depor and time will tell. That said, they do have the goalkeeper who, last week, scored a last minute equaliser, a bullet header to rescue a point at Almería. ‘Other peoples wisdom prevents the King from being called a fool’
Current top dogs in the relegation scrap are the baldest team in La Liga, Racing Santander (28 points).
Los Racinguistas were recently taken over by Ahsan Ali Syed, who first tried to buy Blackburn Rovers.
On taking over Racing he then tried to sign former favourite Nicola Zigic from Birmingham. In failing to capture the Serbian Brummie beanpole, Ali Syed promptly sacked Miguel Ángel Portugal, re-appointed the popular Marcelino after a three year hiatus and signed Giovani Dos Santos on loan from wheeler-dealer
A recent win over Sevilla left us in no doubt as to whether Ali Syed as to where his loyalties lie. An asinine reaction at its very best and a must watch…
La Liga’s Fish & Chip Wrappers
‘Match report Special’
Real Oviedo v Real Sporting de Gijón B
Estadio Carlos Tartiere ~ Sunday 13th February 18:30
Oviedo, the alluring capital of Asturias, a province famed for fine cider and cheese.
Oviedo, the city that erected a life-sized statue of the screenwriter, director, actor, playwright, comedian, author and jazz musician, Woody Allen.
Oviedo, a place that, thanks to Woody Allen, can list actress Scarlett Johansson as one of its visitors, albeit provoked by the filming of ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’.
Oviedo, birthplace of Carmen Polo, the wife of General Franco, Caudillo de España.
Oviedo, home of Real Oviedo, Stanley Victor Collymore’s final football club, after a couple of substitute appearances he disappeared in his usual insouciant manner, later releasing a statement via his agent announcing his retirement.
The proud symbol of Real Oviedo, freshly painted...
Real Oviedo are currently lingering a few points above the drop zone of Segunda B Group 2, in layman terms, a kind of Division 3 (League 1 in English) but with tight restrictions on promotion. Worse still, the finances are in tatters and only a recent injection of cash, some say to the tune of 500,000 euros, is keeping the club afloat.
Financial mismanagement and irregularities hurt the club badly towards the end of the 90’s, Real Oviedo’s most successful period. During the 90’s under the guidance of Raddy Antic (Luton Town fans may remember him, David Pleat definitely does…) they were steady mid-table finishers with Robert Prosinečki in fine fettle, alongside current Portugal manager, Paulo Bento.
Fast forward to a rainy Sunday in February 2011 and one can hear the footfalls of a local derby, Sporting B, that’s right, Sporting reserves from neighbouring Gijón, visit Oviedo in a match that can only represent a chance to keep pride intact.
Alberto Vete Ya!
Hurt pride quickly assumes the form of anger, the game starts off as a fairly drab affair and after one too many misplaced passes by the home side, the atmosphere turns to one of frustration. Sporting B took the lead on 25 minutes through Cruz, converting the rebound from a well-struck free kick, an ill-advised celebration followed as Cruz ran to the corner flag, ala Roger Miller, and did a little wiggle. Two rotund teenagers with thatched roof haircuts ran down the stand to unleash a tirade of naughty words upon him and a mini-Ron Weasley threw a handful of sunflower seeds in that general direction, this all reported without a hint of sarcasm, it actually happened.
The second half was decidedly spicy. On 60 minutes an off-the-ball incident occurred leaving the Oviedo striker Rubiato pole-axed, the Sporting player in question, Alain, chased the referee around with ‘cupping spilled blood’ gestures. After a quick consultation with the lino, both saw red, a tunnel fight ensued.
Ron (right) calms himself after the goal
The 70th arrived, Sporting saw red again, the old double yellow combo and we had 10 vs 9, Real Oviedo made good use of the space left vacated by the expulsions, except for the area that mattered most, efforts at goal flew high and wide to the point where I had to check Jason Lee wasn’t playing. In the final ten minutes further shots rained in but the fans behind the goal were under more threat than the net. Had Los Azules got the knack of staying onside there could well have been more opportunities to knock Ron Weasley out.
Eventually, the final whistle was blown, finishing Real Oviedo 0 Real Sporting de Gijón reserves 1. The boos rang around the 30,500 capacity stadium, the echoes not numbed by the crowd swell of just 8,000.
I felt sympathy for the home side, from gracing the top division to being humbled by their biggest rivals’ reserve team in a little over 10 years, however, on remembering that I was charged 25 euros for the pleasure, the pity abated fairly swiftly.
With the Oviedo connection in mind I was left to stroll home wondering if Stan Collymore ever approached Woody Allen for a film role. I imagine the Oviedo film cognoscenti wouldn’t pay 25 euros to watch that.
Whatever happened to 'Stan the Man'...
A man walks into a bar, finds that both Marca and AS are ‘occupied’, he then gets into a hank, promptly leaves and buys his own. He won’t be denied.
Here’s the latest news from La Liga via the two top selling fútbol newspapers.
The latest news from Real Madrid and Barcelona flows unbidden into the first fifteen pages of both papers, it’s a challenging task to avoid them… especially as both managed to get through their respective Copa del Rey semi‐finals, Barcelona 8–0 over two legs against Almeria. Having been 5–0 down from the first leg the Almeria coach joked that they had been practising penalties ‘just in case’.
Lacking in humour but not merriment, the Bernabeu saw Real overcame Sevilla, 2–0 on the night and 3–0 on aggregate, Adebayor notching his first in his number 6 shirt. The meeting of the two means that 7th place in La Liga now holds a Europa League qualification place, perking up Atletico, Sevilla and Getafe in the process.
The other team in form is the Basque Country’s Athletic Bilbao, once forced to change their name to Atletico Bilbao under Franco’s regime, (Castellano good, Basque bad, kind of movement) they are currently on a run of 4 straight wins, which has catapulted them up Valencia’s rear, a Champions League place would be a fine achievement for ‘the Lions’ who still adhere to their policy of playing only Basque players.
He swears he's not Basque
Down in La Segunda, featured team from a couple of weeks ago, Rayo, have reached the summit, leapfrogging Real Betis and Celta Vigo after slamming Cordoba 4–2. Any team with a bolt of lighting on their badge deserves success.
Heading even further down the leagues to La Segunda B, we find Real Oviedo still in business; I’ll be heading there next week to take in the diluted derby match against Sporting B, yes Sporting reserves.
The game conflicts with Sporting Gijon, the first team, hosting of the all‐conquering Barcelona but the decision to walk round the corner to see Oviedo became an easy one after Sporting Gijon hiked up their cheapest tickets from 35 to 90 euros. The local news has shown imagines of Sporting fans queuing up in their thousands to part with a small fortune, mugs.
90 euros? They'll want this shirt off my back next!
Finally, we’d like to share with you ‘one from the archives’, it’s what could be described by commentators as a ‘coming together’ between Real Zaragoza’s Diogo and Sevilla’s Luis Fabiano. Click on the link and truly… enjoy.
A man walks into a bar, sees Ruud Van Nistelrooy and asks, ‘why the long face?’
Tumbleweed… and… err… well, here’s what the two daily newspapers dedicated to Spanish football, Marca and AS have been saying…
It’s the battle of the two ideologies, Barca cultivating their own and Real Madrid paying over the odds for harvested crops, thanks to Osasuna and the hostile atmosphere that their fans engendered, Real now trail the puritans by 7 points, leaving Ronaldo drowning in his own whinge fest and Real admitting they’d now be better concentrating on the cups.
You're right, he does look like a young Cliff Richard...
Down in third, the trilingual Giuseppe Rossi is banging them in for Villareal, including an absolute peach at the weekend against Espanyol.
However, the game of the weekend was up in La Coruña where there was further proof that every game DOES need a good sending off. A drab encounter saw Depor leading Sevilla 1-0 until the away side’s keeper was red-carded on the hour for handling a good 5 metres out of his area… from there Depor added another before going 3-2 down in the space of ten minutes, of course, in the last minute Deportivo equalised despite the linesman flagging for offside, a huge melee ensued and a 3-3 draw accepted before exchanging ciders in the bar afterwards.
Multi-Millionaires Malaga sunk to bottom place after a 2-1 home defeat against Zaragoza, who in turn have pulled away from the drop zone with Sporting Gijon who enjoyed their break away in Mallorca with a 4-0 victory.
On transfer deadline day Fernando Torres grabbed all the headlines in Spain as well as England but the truly disappointing news that Racing Santander released Waldo Ponce didn’t escape my notice, a comedy photo opportunity with the back of his shirt with Ronaldo’s silly little face has now been lost for ever… Ponce now does whatever he does with Mexico’s finest, Cruz Azul.
Hang on, you're not Ronaldo...
Staying with Racing Santander, in failing to snap up beanpole Nicola Zigic before Monday’s deadline they turned their attentions… err… well, downwards, signing instead, Giovani Dos Santos, who makes Stereophonics lead singer, Kelly Jones look like Nicola Zigic.
Finally, I’ll round up with some worrying news for fans of Real Oviedo, the team who once had the luxury of bringing Stanley Victor Collymore on as sub (twice before Stan disappeared onto the set of Basic Instinct 2), are in danger of going out of business. I don’t want to lose my local team 3 weeks after moving here so for those of you on twitter, please tweet #sosRealOviedo, if twitter can help find missing teenagers and increase Ryan Babel’s popularity than it could help Real Oviedo.
A man walks into a bar and orders a strong coffee, gently sipping it whilst waiting patiently for an old timer to finish up with the two daily newspapers dedicated to Spanish football, Marca and AS… then tucks in…
This week the papers have led with a three pronged attack, the sharpest of which being the ‘was it a goal or wasn’t it’ polemic from the Sevilla v Real Madrid Copa del Rey match on Wednesday. Sevilla thought they’d taken the lead in the first half but the man in middle, or more importantly his assistant, adjudged the ball not to have crossed the line. Real went on to win 1-0 and the following day Marca dedicated pages of analysis to the controversy whilst concluding that ‘without a shadow of a doubt’ the ball didn’t cross the line.
You can decide for yourselves…
Goal or no goal? That is the question...
Real Madrid’s signing of Emmanuel Adebayor didn’t go unnoticed, his arrival coincided with Jose Mourinho’s birthday and the target man from Togo was promptly dubbed ‘a birthday gift to Jose’. I’m sure this helped Mourinho recover from the disappointment of failing to buy his own birthday present, Ruud Van Nistelrooy.
Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me...
The third prong points towards those wily pickpockets down at Atletico Madrid, they’ve apparently been at it again, not content with lifting Harry Redknapp’s wallet they are now making false claims of transfer bids, Real Madrid and Chelsea have both flatly denied making official bids for Argentine Kun Aguero. Besides, as Guillem Balague will testify, it seems Chelsea are now concentrating on the capture of ex-Atletico striker Fernando Torres.
On a day where England focuses on the FA Cup, the Spaniards march on with La Liga, the pick of today’s games being the beautifully named Hercules hosting Barcelona. Hercules are described as ‘The Black Beasts’ of Barcelona which roughly translates as a bogey team.
At the bottom, newly Saudi owned Malaga take on Real Zaragoza hoping to avoid being reduced to nine men and leaking a last minute winner this week.
And finally, good news for Birmingham City fans, Racing Santander, the baldest team in La Liga, want to add some height as well as hair to their squad by signing Nicola Zigic… having recently been taken over by an Indian based consortium it seems they don’t want to waste any time wasting money. Good on them.
Now, who's shit and expensive...
Back soon with weekend results and the latest news from Harry’s wallet.