Preferably, joy in the end

gracious guardiola
Barcelona will win La Liga. Anything to say?

Well, we think it’s all over. After Saturday’s 2-1 home win over Valencia, Barcelona would have to lose four of the six remaining matches for 2nd place Atletico de Madrid to entertain any hopes of contending for the title. Having in mind that the Azulgrana have not lost in their last 39 La Liga matches – a new record in that competition –, four defeats in six seems as likely as Guardiola reacting graciously in defeat. Continue reading “Preferably, joy in the end”


Preview of La Liga’s 32nd week

The Spanish phrase at the head of this week’s ‘quiniela’ refers to those moments in any culture when you want things doing quickly, cleanly, and without much fuss.  Well that’s exactly what I’m going to do now, because I have to pack my bags and fly to Moscow unfeasibly soon, and unlike you lucky folks, miss most of the Spanish games over the weekend, although I might try to sneak in match number 4 below, if my hotel wi-fi does the business.  We shall see. Continue reading “Pim-Pam-Pum”

Going to plan

It was one of those weekends in La Liga when everything went to plan, which means that nobody is likely to have become a millionaire on the pools.  Nothing happened to register on the Richter Scale of surprises, and the main news came from England where the Manchester derby attracted most of the headlines, in Spain too – for obvious reasons.  The Spanish press has still not cast off its unhealthy obsession with Guardiola and Mourinho, both of whom it despises with a passion, but the former’s two defeats last week to Liverpool in the Champions League and then to Man Utd had the Spanish hacks wading waist-deep in schadenfreude.

One day Pep, I’ll beat you in a Manchester derby.  And you’ll have no hair.

Continue reading “Going to plan”

Put up your hands!

Preview of La Liga’s 31st week

You have to hand it to my partner-in-crime Ed Alvarez, in the sense that there was no stopping his flow over the Easter break, even as he sat contemplating whatever one sits and contemplates on Ipanema beach.  On the other hand, I miserably failed to contribute from the wilds of the Highlands and islands of Scotland, which I visited not to gaze on beach things and thongs but rather to take my injured footballer-of-a-son back to Stirling on post-operation crutches, and then drive North to see a bit of the snowy and savage landscape that is still so wonderful up there.

Ruined ancient goal (East stand) on the Scottish island of Iona

Continue reading “Put up your hands!”

Ronaldo gets his pic

The Portuguese striker demolishes Juventus again


No funny captions for this one. It’s the pic that will define CR7’s Real Madrid career

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”

All yours, Lio

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.

Just let him do his thing

Continue reading “All yours, Lio”

Quick and dirty

Preview of La Liga’s 30th week

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”