Tuesday, March 31, 2009
He stated that his client wouldn't demand such a salary, but deserved it as he's at the same level as Casillas and Buffon. Have you ever heard such nonsense? Valdéz is free to negotiate with another club six months before his contract expires and could "go abroad."
The above video is cunningly titled: "Victor's Clangers - Part Two." Part Two!
Not really an opportune time to make such claims, is it? But that's agents for you.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Spain are on their way to South Africa, but they didn't have it all their own way against a very good Turkish side. Their campaign at the European Championships was one of the highlights of the tournament and they deserved a point at the Bernabéu. Turkey didn't let Spain settle and it took a set-piece move to break the deadlock, with Piqué getting the goal. The return match on Wednesday should be a cracker and I fancy Turkey to inflict Spain's first defeat in thirty matches. Put your house on it!
Friday, March 27, 2009
Just when you thought it was safe to turn on the television, the biggest mouth in Spanish football is back and he's going to run against Florentino Peréz in the forthcoming elections. He hasn't a snowball's chance in hell of winning - I reckon even Alex Ferguson would stand a better chance - but that's not the point: he wants to put his side of the story to the Madrid fans and Spain at large, and sees an electoral campaign as a great means of doing this. Or it could just be out of spite. He's great fun is Don Ramón, this campaign will be a good laugh.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
In any case, Johan Cruyff is not impressed with the construction magnate's credentials.
"I don't understand the construction industry and Florentino doesn't understand football."
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
The club will unveil a new strip, which is an homage to the old C.D Malaga one, in the next home match against Real Madrid. C.D Malaga beat Real Madrid 6-2 in the 83/84 season.
I'm worried about the Madrid game. Against Sevilla, Malaga were lucky to get a draw as they were completely outplayed and showed a lack of urgency in closing down the opposition. The less said about the Barcelona game the better. Hopefully they'll "be up" for Madrid.
I don't like Ronaldo. He's too much of a whinger, and what about that pained expression when things go wrong? Eminently slappable. There's no doubting his ability, though. He's fast, can play anywhere across the front, can initiate attacks from deep, is dangerous from set-pieces and is a great header of the ball. Real Madrid is supposedly his "dream move", but things aren't exactly dreamy at Madrid. They're out of the Champions League and although they're only six points behind Barcelona in the league, their football is stone age stuff compared to the leaders. Florentino will be back at the Bernebéu and promises a shake-up, but has he learned from his past errors? Be careful what you wish for, Cristiano.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
So all the leagues around Europe go on hold for the International Break. The tournament at the end makes it worthwhile, I suppose. But it messes up my weekend routine of wall to wall football from England and Spain, drinking and posting codswallop on various forums while the matches are on. Ah, well. Can't be helped, can't be helped.
The Spain game should be good, though. Alongside Barcelona they've been my favourite side to watch over the last 18 months or so. They'll have to do without Iniesta, who's out for two weeks with a thigh strain. His absence isn't a massive blow to Spain as there are capable deputies available to come in and do a job, but Spain like Barcelona just aren't the same without him. I don't think it's a coincidence that Barcelona's recent slump coincided with Iniesta's absence. At times this season his level of performance has been as good, if not better, than Messi's. Barcelona fans will tell you that, but he has never received the universal adulation of the Argentine. Maybe he likes it that way. He reminds me of Paul Scholes in that sense: idolised by his own fans and deeply respected by his peers but light years away from the bullshit. Barca say he should be back for the game against Bayern Munich. I hope so.
Monday, March 23, 2009
In fairness to the visitors they were without Weligton and Calleja, two first team defenders and Duda, arguably the best performer this season, started on the bench as he wasn't 100% fit. Still, there was a lack of agression and intensity in the performance that seems to have carried over from the Sevilla match. To have any chance at Barca's place you have to be agressive. Even the great Real Madrid took turns to foul Messi in the first twenty minutes in their 2-0 defeat before Christmas. Malaga were soft and too respectful of their opponents.
Barcelona suffocated Malaga from the start last night. A lot of people ask why teams defend so deep at the Camp Nou as if there is an element of choice in the matter. They pin you back and defend from the front with the constant pressure of Eto'o, Messi and Henry. Although if you manage to break out, all you have to do is outplay Xavi, Iniesta and Toure in midfield. Easy, no?
Man for man, their defence wouldn't be as good as say, Manchester United's, Liverpool's or Chelsea's but their defence is starving the opposition of the ball thus reducing the opposition's chances. It worked for Spain in the summer.
Anyway, for what it's worth, Messi's goal was my favourite.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Next time you're on You Tube, stick Hugo Sánchez into the search bar and enjoy the show. What a player he was: a great goalscorer and a scorer of great goals. Where most forwards need 2 touches to finish, Sánchez invariably scored with one. Right foot, left foot,with the head, chest it didn't matter. And what about those overhead kicks?
Today he's back as manager of Almería. He should get a warm reception from the home fans, but his team will have it tough.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
I'll watch this tomorrow on the box. Barcelona should win this one. They've started to play well after their little slump and Malaga will be without Baha (injured) and Weligton (suspended). Duda is back and Malaga will look to him to deliver from set-pieces, an area where Barca are weak.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Vicente stands firm.
Goalkeepers: Casillas, Reina, Diego López
Defenders: Arbeloa, Sergio Ramos, Albiol, Marchena, Juanito, Capdevila, Pique
Midfielders: Iniesta, Silva, Xavi, Xabi Alonso, Riera, Senna, Cazorla, Busquets.
Forwards: Torres, Villa, Llorente and Güiza.
Hopefully this Raúl "debate" can be put to bed now......
Most people thought the madness surrounding Raúl and the Spanish national side would've ended after the European Championships. Aragonés got rid of Madrid's captain for a couple of reasons. One, he lacked the pace necessary and two, he dirtied his copybook at the 2006 World Cup by causing a fuss when it was suggested that he might have to start some games on the bench: Raúl can't start games on the bench, you know. The 2008 side was a tight unit both on and off the pitch and those not of a rabid pro-Madrid persuasion feel that Raul would be a disruptive influence if he were called-up. His fans in the press keep flogging the same dead horse, unfortunately. While admitting that he is behind Torres and Villa in the pecking order, the fans with typewriters have been pushing for his inclusion for the third stiker's place.
I'm sure Del Bosque won't be swayed by the noises coming from the Madrid press. He just needs to sit tight: the dirty work was done by his predecessor. However, having to listen to this "¡Raúl Seleccion!" nonsence everytime a squad is announced has become pretty tiresome.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Florentino Pérez is carrying out a telephone survey to gauge the opinion of Real Madrid socios.
One of the questions is: Do you think Florentino has learned from his mistakes? In a poll on Marca's website, 79% of those who responded certainly think so.
Will Florentino deliver on his promises? 91% think so.
In today's editorial in As, Alfredo Relaño stated that Madrid need Florentino.
Love him or hate him, we're going to be hearing a lot more about him in the coming weeks. And months.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Anyway, Madrid won with a bit of help from the referee and maintain the pressure on Barcelona. Collusion. Isn't that a great word? The Madrid press are constantly highlighting the extra matches that Barcelona will have to play between now and the end of the season and how this can benefit Madrid in the race for the Championship. Have they no shame? Barcelona's handicap is that they are competing on all fronts like a big club should. They are in the cup final and are joint favourites, alongside Manchester United, in the competition Madrid covet most of all, the Champions League. "Hay Liga", (There is a league) they say in Marca and As and they are correct, but if this ordinary Madrid team wins the league by default it will be a sorry day for Spanish football.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Sevilla continued to dominate in the second half. I thought Tapia would've learned something from the first period and shored up the gaping channel from the centre circle to the edge of Malaga's box from where Sevilla's best work was done, but no: things remained the same and Sevilla created chance after chance as Malaga retreated. The inevitable goals came and Sevilla will be disappointed that they didn't take the three points.
The atmosphere in La Roselada was fantastic with both sets of supporters in great song on a fine sunny evening. Next up for Malaga is a tricky away fixture against the mighty Barcelona on Saturday. After a little slump in form Barcelona have rediscovered their touch and have looked the part in recent games. Malaga will have Duda and Lolo back but will need to perform a lot better than on Sunday to have any hope of getting a result. Unfortunately I won't be able to make that one, so I'll watch it on the box with a few Staropramen. I think the missus is going out too. Result!
Thursday, March 12, 2009
I think this current Barca side will score against anyone. Last year's version was unfit and reaching the end of Rijkaard's cycle: Manchester United were simply fitter last year. No-one in world football moves the ball as fast, and I'd fancy them to take anyone if they score first. The defence is of course the weak link, but didn't everyone say that about Spain before the summer? Spain's tactic was to starve their opponents of the ball, and Barca will strive to do the same. Of all the English teams, Liverpool are the most comfortable without the ball, so I could see them getting a good result against Barca. United, of course can win against anyone. I don't think Chelsea have had the neccesary continuity this season to challenge. Arsenal are finding it hard to score goals at the moment: I should know, I've lost 60 quid already this year betting on them at The Emirates!
I also think it's dangerous to draw conclusions about the overall standard of La Liga based on Real Madrid's showing against Liverpool. Yes, they lie second, but in that run of ten wins, they won at least 7 by the odd goal and they were awful to watch. Essentially Ramos had them set up to counter-attack. In fact one opposing player after a 1-0 defeat at the Bernebeu said Madrid were set up like a "small team", un equipo pequeño. Of course, when you are a goal down from the first leg and your only recourse is the counter-attack, you know it's not going to be an easy night. Liverpool pressed Madrid from the first whistle and rushed them into passes and wild clearances which were then lapped up by the Anfield side: a side much more adept at winning the" second ball" than Juande's team. Let's hope Malaga can do the same as Liverpool when Madrid visit La Roselada. Next up for Malaga are fierce rivals Sevilla.