Every major – and probably minor – city in Spain has its own party week. Based on similar excuses, such as its patron saint or the anniversary of its foundation, mayors spend tons of cash to organise huge celebrations. Working becomes impossible, with the main streets packed with locals and visitors, and the beer flowing like wine. Continue reading “Fallas weekend”
The top Spanish game of the weekend was on ‘Gol’ TV at 20.00 on Sunday night. I watched it whilst eating my supper and I was well entertained. Barcelona (2nd) hosted Atlético Madrid (1st) and the game ended in a 1-1 draw – the right result I’d say. The (woman) ref gave a dodgy penalty to Barcelona, so that’s where the first parallel with the men’s game comes in, after leaders Atlético had taken a first-half lead with a neatly lobbed goal by the evergreen ‘Soni’ (Sonia Bermudez), the tiny 33 year-old forward who played for Barcelona during two periods, interrupted by a (paid) year in New York and followed by a transfer to current champions Atlético.
Since Neymar left Barcelona, Ernesto Valverde has progressively evolved towards a 4-4-2 formation that now seems untouchable, with Ivan Rakitic and Sergio Busquets in the centre of midfield. Azulgrana purists complain around the world, shaking their heads in disbelief, but the team defends better than many of its previous versions, and its results are impeccable so far.
In the end, everything went to plan. The game featuring the two best defences in Spain’s top flight ended 1-0, with a sublime free-kick strike from Messi – just for a change – and a dogged performance from Atlético that lacked the punch necessary to get a result and prolong the La Liga fun.
If you follow La Liga, during the week you’ve probably read a few comments about the death of Enrique Castro, ‘Quini’, a Spanish football legend who played for Sporting de Gijón and Barcelona in the 70s and 80s. He’s one of the first Barcelona players I can remember as a kid, a fast and skilled striker who always looked a bit too old to perform as well as he did on the pitch. Continue reading “Barcelona and Atleti play for the title”
It’s going to be a busy week. Tuesday night there’s a whole midweek league programme starting, with Espanyol v Real Madrid providing the kick-off, followed by Girona and Celta that same night. The Russian-driven need to finish the domestic campaign earlier this year is beginning to bite, but anyway, that’s entertainment. Continue reading “Messi magic, BBC apotheosis and Bilbao battlegrounds”
Atletico out of the Champions League, now playing the mighty Copenhagen in the Europa League. Real Sociedad out of the Europa League. Villarreal following suit. Athletic barely qualifying, and giving all the signals of not progressing any further than this. Sevilla impressing against Manchester United, but not getting the result they wanted.
Only Real Madrid and Barcelona seem bound to make a decent European campaign, and that assuming that the former can get a result in Paris without Luka Modric and Toni Kroos (a bit of a huge assumption). Continue reading “Dominance over?”