Greek tragedy in Madrid. Real tragedy in Reus.

It all started on Friday when a journalist asked Real Madrid coach Santi Solari if the draw on Thursday at Villarreal in the re-arranged fixture (2-2) had more or less ended Madrid’s chances of the league this season.  Instead of answering yea or nay, Solari let slip a phrase that may come to haunt him in the same way that Bernd Schuster’s famous ‘You can’t win at the Camp Nou’ has since pursued him all his live-long days.  Solari said ‘No hay que subestimar los empates’ (We shouldn’t underestimate the importance of a draw).  According to the Madrid-based press at the weekend, this was some sort of mortal sin.  A draw?  ‘We don’t do draws at Real Madrid’ was the implication of the press horror, clasping their collective hands to their heads and screaming, as in a Munch painting.

Continue reading “Greek tragedy in Madrid. Real tragedy in Reus.”


Preview of La Liga’s Week 17

Christmas is coming for some, the goose is getting fat and the players and management just want to sit around in their festive hats happy in the knowledge that their last game before the yuletide rest was a win, or at least a non-defeat.  It helps that fireside mood, and the alleged spirit of Christmas.  José Mourinho will be unemployed, but safe in the security of his 15 million pay-off and the news yesterday that Real Madrid would not be contemplating his return ‘either short or long term’.  How about the medium term?  Probably not either. My esteemed colleague Ed Alvarez will be pleased with this news since he had threatened to give up his club membership in the event of a Mou return. Continue reading “Preview of La Liga’s Week 17”

Monday Monday

I used to love Saturdays when I was a wee kid, before I’d ever trodden the wooden stands of a professional football team.  On Saturday afternoons I used to go with my dad to watch his works team play, to the Findus Clubhouse in Grimsby. We would go every Saturday, to watch either the first or the second team, depending on which one was at home.  They were actually called ‘Eskimo’, which was the name of the company before it became the better-known ‘Findus’. Both teams played in the local Grimsby leagues, but they were gods to me.  The pitches were enormous and wind-blown, but the whole scene turned me onto football – not necessarily because of the football itself but because of the accompaniments.  I didn’t see my old man too much during the week, and so Saturday was ‘dad day’.  He seemed a different person at the clubhouse, convivial and more confident than he was at home.  The kids of some of the players would go too, and we would play our own games away from the pitches, but at some point I would always want to watch the football. Continue reading “Monday Monday”

La Pelota no se mancha (The ball doesn’t stain)

Just when you thought that LaLiga might stay interestingly competitive, Leo Messi decided that he’d had enough of democracy and that he’d prefer a return to dictatorship.  Espanyol, who a month ago were looking like serious contenders for the Champions League places, have now lost four on the trot and hey presto, lie ten points behind their illustrious neighbours who destroyed them 0-4 at the Cornella-el-Prat.  Wanna win the league? Well – you’ve gotta find some consistency, pick a pocket or two or even better, sign a Leo Messi. Continue reading “La Pelota no se mancha (The ball doesn’t stain)”

The first 90 minutes

Preview of LaLiga’s 14th week

As Bobby Robson said, ‘The first 90 minutes are the most important’.  That’s what we’ll be basing the quiniela on this weekend, give or take a few stoppage-time accidents and the fatigue/morale of the teams who were involved in European ties and even the Copa del Rey (Athletic and Huesca).  I’m taking my turn to do the predictions this time around due to a quick hop over to Africa at the weekend, which will prevent me from seeing most of the LaLiga games, so Eduardo will do the round-up. Continue reading “The first 90 minutes”

Seville thrill, Madrid skid

Ave Princeps! We have a new leader! Step up to the podium Sevilla FC, who have already been there twice this season, but who had to wait quite a while before that – since the 2006-7 season to be precise, under the currently unemployed Juande Ramos.   They took over the top spot from Barcelona, (who drew in the last gasp at the Willy Wanda) by defeating Valladolid 1-0 in slightly controversial circumstances, the visitors having had two goals disallowed.

Andre Silva sends ’em wild in Seville

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That was the weekend that was

Well shiver me timbers – what an awesome three days of matches in Spain! Just when you were thinking that it couldn’t remain so interesting and competitive, and that things were gradually reverting to the old hierarchies, LaLiga comes up with a cracker whose glow will warm the Spanish firesides for the next fortnight.   The teams that won can spend the international break all smiley and positive in training, whilst the victims can search in the rubble for the positives and just keep on working, as the clichés go. Continue reading “That was the weekend that was”