This was supposed to be a match review. And rest assured that you will have your match review.
However, let me talk first about the reinvention of Cristiano Ronaldo, a two-dimensional phenomenon that has seen the Portuguese striker evolve from an egocentric, dribble intensive global icon that couldn’t quite conquer the hearts of the Santiago Bernabeu into a team-first, pure number 9 — if that makes sense — that is now a Real Madrid legend. Continue reading “Ronaldo gets his pic”
The most important moment of the weekend in terms of the La Liga title was Denis Suarez’s move in Barcelona’s second goal, the one that meant the Azulgrana got a point in Sevilla. He simply got out of the way when he saw Lionel Messi arriving, hungry to score. That moment tells a story of this Barcelona season: the team deferring to Messi’s higher skill, and the Argentinean delivering what’s needed for his side to win, even if he only had just over half an hour to do so.
Ultra-light, picture-free, to-the-point version of the column this week, as this scribe is spending a few days in Brazil and the sun shines strong outside of his hotel room. Just one comment about the previous Quiniela: the Fallas factor worked exactly the opposite way to what I expected, and all three teams from Valencia won their matches. So that’s that. Continue reading “Quick and dirty”
Julen Lopetegui, Spain’s national coach, is not an easy character. Stern and focused on his work, he avoids the media as much as he can and does not deal well with losses. Before he was chosen for his current job, his highest profile job was at Porto, a tough assignment that, with some moments of promise, ended badly.
I read a couple of articles in the past fortnight by Britain-based journalists in which they were suggesting that La Liga’s time was up. The Premier was clearly more competitive, judging by the Champions league, in which Manchester United (for example) would have little difficulty in eliminating Sevilla, a sort of second-class citizen Spanish side. Liverpool and Manchester City have since moved into the quarter-finals where they must unfortunately (for the English league) meet each other, but the Spanish presence is of course greater, with three sides through. It doesn’t seem to smack of decline from where I’m sitting, and if I thought the opposite were true, I’d be among the first of the Spain-based scribes to come out and say so. Continue reading “Spanish decline? Fake news”
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.