La Liga: Jornada 32 Weekend In Review

For anyone that’s new to these parts, I don’t write weekend reviews, but rather link to reviews since I don’t find it to be a good use of my time. And since others do a great job, I just link to them!

La Liga Results-Jornada 32

Saturday 12 April 2008 (Spanish Time)
20:00 Valencia 1 – Racing 2 FT
22:00 Recreativo 2 – Barcelona 2 FT

Sunday 13 April
17:00 Valladolid 1 – At. Madrid 1 FT
17:00 Betis 0 – Levante 1 FT
17:00 Getafe 0 – Zaragoza 0 FT
17:00 Espanyol 0 – Osasuna 1 FT
17:00 Deportivo 3 – Athletic 0 FT
17:00 Mallorca 2 – Sevilla 3 FT
19:00 R. Madrid 1- Murcia 0 FT
21:00 Almería 1 – Villarreal 0 FT

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La Liga: Ronaldinho Says ‘Goodbye’ To the Season

The story with the big toothed Brazilian known as Ronaldinho gets even weirder today, as he effectively is out, officially, for the rest of the season.

According to AS today, Ronaldinho suffered a muscle tear in yesterday’s training. This is after finally being cleared a few days back after having some ‘mystery’ ailments that kept him off of the pitch for the previous 5 matchups. There are already rumors flying around signaling his departure to Milan next season, or anywhere outside of the Spanish peninsula for that matter.

As good as Ronaldinho is, there isn’t too much that I like about him, personally. He does have great skill and ability, but he is a terrible diver, he is out with these mystery injuries, and he is more of a show than an effective member of the team. Doctors preformed numerous tests on Ronaldinho, they concluded there was nothing wrong with him. However, his constant stream of complaints and whining kept him on the bench, and now sees Barcelona sitting in 3rd place in La Liga.

Most of the Barcelona faithful over at Isaiah’s ‘The Offside-Barcelona’ have thrown in their two cents on this issue. Some have stayed committed to ‘Dinho, and others couldn’t be happier to see him go.

With all of the troubles at Barcelona lately, it would be a good thing to see the Brazilian head to a new club. As I already mentioned, I don’t like him, never have, never will.  Barcelona should focus on their youth side and give guys like Bojan and Dos Santos more games (even though Dos Santos has been quite the letdown at the Camp Nou this season).  Shit, you might even have a better chance with Gudjohnsen

But, don’t forget, if he leaves the Catalan side, that means no visit to the US this year.

La Selección: Spain v Italy- The Preview*

(*Note that I tend to do ‘previews’ a bit different from everyone else (i.e. I just talk about whatever I feel is relevant to the game in no order!)

To start off, here are the 20 players picked by Luis ‘The Old Man’ Aragonés himself.

Arsenal: Cesc

FC Barcelona: Puyol, Iniesta y Xavi

Betis: Juanito

Espanyol: Luis García y Riera

Getafe: De la Red

Liverpool: Arbeloa, Reina, Torres y Xabi Alonso

Real Madrid: Casillas y Sergio Ramos

Mallorca: Fernando Navarro y Güiza

Valencia: Albiol, Marchena, Silva y Villa

Villarreal: Capdevila y Senna.

No Raul???? Shocking, isn’t it?

De La Red Gets the Call

There has been all sorts of talk surrounding this game the last few days. The biggest buzz is the call up of Rubén de La Red, who is on loan to Getafe this season from Real Madrid. Last year, de La Red couldn’t get a shot in Madrid, but a small move to the suburbs of the capital city sees him take on a pivotal role for el geta this season.

He’s on 2 goals and 3 assists for the season, but he has played in 29 games so far. Laudrup looks to the young Madridista as a solid player in the middle of the field and he can prove his worth. I’ve only seen him in a few games this season, but from what I remember the boy can play.

In an article today in AS, the youngster said ‘If it was up to me, I would go back to Madrid’, though he said he does thank Getafe for giving him an opportunity this season (but I can’t find the article it was on).

Luis had this to say about the youngster.

“Es un jugador que está creciendo, puede jugar por delante de la línea de centro del campo. A cualquier jugador que veamos en buena forma le vamos a dar la oportunidad de poder venir’

‘He’s a young player who’s growing, he can play in front of the midfielders. Any player that we see looking good, we will give him the opportunity to be able to come.’

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La Liga: Getafe Advance to 2nd Straignt Copa del Rey Final

Getafe, the little club that could, earned their 2nd consecutive spot in the Copa del Rey final with a 1-1 draw against Racing Santander Wednesday night.  Getafe advance to the final under first year head coach Michael Laudrup.

The 1-1 draw puts Getafe through 4-2 on aggregate.  El Geta now wait for the winner of the Valencia v Barcelona match to be played Thursday at 3:30pm.

The game wasn’t played without a bit of controversy however.  With Getafe down 1-0 Uche made a hard challenge against Garay, which sent the Racing player to the ground.  Uche appeared to plead for his teammates to play the ball out of bounds but to no avail.  Getafe continued with the play, and Albín passed the ball to Casquero who in turn scored.

Racing players were livid and went in search of an answer for not playing the ball out of bounds.  With Getafe simply giving shoulder-shurgs, Racing preceded to give Getafe a rough last 10 minutes, flying in with some terribly late and rough challenges, which saw Serrano sent off (but this was before the goal).  It’s a wonder that all of the Getafe players escaped without any injury.

Now the little team from outside Madrid will wait until tomorrow.  See a preview for Barcelona here at The Offside Barcelona (props to my friend Isaiah).

La Liga: ‘Botellazo 2: The Return!’

Last season’s Betis v Sevilla game in the Copa del Rey was marred with a ‘botellazo’ (basically meaning a huge hit with a bottle) to the face of Juande Ramos. Ramos was knocked unconscious and spent the night in the hospital and the game was suspended.

Even my girlfriend, who actually knows more about Spanish Football then I ever dreamed possible, remembers the Juande Ramos incident from last year, saying ’30 rows up? Man that guy has great aim.’ I agree love, that’s the first thing that came to my mind.

In case you didn’t see it, look here.

Basically a manhunt ensued for the culprit who through the bottle and he was later caught and expelled for life from the Betis stadium. I remember seeing the grainy pictures for about 2 weeks every morning when I went to work out in the gym as they searched far and wide.

Well, tonight’s Betis v Athletic Bilbao game could be called ‘Botellazo 2: The Return’. During the game which was 2-1 in favor of the Basques, Athletic keeper Armando Riviero went behind the net to retrieve the ball for a goal kick. While walking back, a fan walked down to the edge of the stand and tossed what looked like a plastic bottle filled with water at the keeper. The bottle struck Armando in the right eye and he immediately fell to the ground wincing in pain. He was stretchered off and received several stitches in his eye.

Betis immediately made a statement on their Web Page following the game condemming the acts that took place. They identify the tosser (take it with both connotations) as C.P.R (which I find to be somewhat ironic) and say that he wasn’t a socio but he was just there for the game. They also thanked the fans who turned him in so quickly.

I agree that yes, some fans are stupid and ‘it can happen anywhere.’ But this is twice in as many years that it’s happened at the Estadio Manuel Ruiz de Lopera.

I hear that the Rifle and Archery associations of Spain are looking to sign up some Betis fans for the Olympics this summer. Seriously, these fans are the most accurate bunch of football fans I have ever seen. Let these guys win a medal for god sakes. If bottle throwing was a sports, these guys would be the fucking world champs 10 times over.

Here is the translation on Goal.com for those of you who don’t ‘hablo español’ (cue Chris Farley voice).

One-Liner Guide to La Liga- Jornada 27 (Next Week, I Take On Paragraphs!)

Welcome back to the LAST One-Liner Guide to La Liga- Jornada 27.  No, don’t run crying into the streets yet, I’m just allowing myself to expand a bit in the upcoming weeks because I feel I can be wittier in more than one line.  And well..frankly..I can.

Your Spanish Cosita

I present to you the winner and Spanish representative in the Eurovision 2008 contest, Rodolfo Chikilicuatre. He is a comedian on a late night TV show in Spain called ‘Buenafuente’. This season, fans decided to break the sterotype of boring and dull songs and just go balls out with this guy.

If this guy wins, it would be amazing. What a star.

La Semana Pasada

–Is the Sky Really Falling in Spain?? I beg to differ.

— Getafe is ‘The little club that could’ moving on to the Round of 8 in the UEFA Cup. Aupa Geta!

–Apparently Barcelona are already making their Shopping list for next season, and who would have thought, 2 Sevilla players (and Diego Capel is missing) are on their list. On the same topic, AS gives a look at what Sevilla players are being sought after this off season.

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La Liga: Why the Sky Isn’t Falling in Spain

The current feeling in Spain is just as the title states: The Sky is Falling!

Thinking about it today, I must be one of the only people that believes this isn’t the case. On Monday’s The Offside Podcast Ian and I chatted about this exact subject.

My thoughts on the pod were this. There are really two views you can take from this issue. The first is looking at it from the ‘galaticos’ point of view. If you are a madridista you probably are running to your nearest church praying to whatever god you choose. You’ve just bowed out of your fourth straight Champions League title in the round of 16, but 6th straight since winning the title in 2002. You are also out of the Copa del Rey and now only have the league to fight for.

This view is completely Madrid-centric (or Big Club-centric for that matter). Only the big clubs are sitting there, complaining about the terribleness that is happening in Spain. Reuters Soccer Blog ran a story about how the Spanish game is losing its touch as of late, and cites Madrid’s as it’s main source, but more criticizes their style of play for this downfall.

The favoured Spanish style of slow, patient build-up play has passed its sell-by date. Too many players and coaches confuse possession with danger, while opponents who play on the break are criticised as if they were adopting some sort of underhand tactic. Few Primera Liga sides possess the pace, verve and dynamism of sides like Roma, Arsenal and Manchester United.

I guess I can see where that is coming from. Fabio Capello was let go last year after Madrid’s title due to his supposed ‘boring’ style of play, but I have to say that Schuster’s style of play isn’t any more free flowing than his predecessor’s.

Still, the Reuters article doesn’t even talk about the League in general, but focuses the downfall only on what is happening in Europe. Could it be that simply Spanish football is having an off year? It’s more of a focus on Madrid football then anything concrete about Spanish football in general. Madrid’s success does not parallel that of Spanish football as a whole, unfortunately.

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