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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Sepp Blatter ”FIFA is like the United Nations but has more members and is more powerful.”

FYI:: If anyone wants a good La Liga roundup from this past weekend, head on over to my buddy Striker at Spanish Football and Sports.Other people do roundups better than I do.

Now, For some more jolly fun with everyone’s favorite FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

I caught wind of this story last night right before I went to bed at the nice hour of 3am (9am Spanish time). FIFA are looking to ban Spain from all Champions League, UEFA Cup and International competition if the RFEF (Real Federación Española de Futbol ) are forced to hold elections before this summer’s Bejjing Olympics.

Jose Luis Zapatero (Spain’s Prime Minister) is ‘forcing’ all non-olympic federations to hold these elections, which would put an end to Angel Maria Villar’s reign as President of RFEF, who just so happens to hold a position as one of the vice presidents of FIFA’s Executive Committee. So is there a coincidence that Blatter may not want his friend to be given the boot? Maybe there is, and maybe there isn’t.

The heart of the matter is FIFA’s stance on not allowing governments to meddle in football related activities. Can you blame him? What would happen if footballing associations became puppets for the government. I can just see the bribes and fixed games now. 100 Euro shakes all around.

A quote from Blatter:

“It shocks me that the government has passed a ministerial order which states that the federations that will not be involved in the (Olympic) Games must organize their elections before then.”

This could all be tossed out the window if a) Zapatero (Spain’s Socialist Prime Minister) gets ousted in next month’s elections or if b) The RFEF is not forced to hold the elections in this time frame.

Greece was suspended in 2006 for a similar case with government interference in the Helenic Football Federation. The ban was lifted after 48 hours after Greece passed an amendment to rectify the problems cited by FIFA.

Sepp Blatter has a point. Governments should not be allowed to get involved in the elections or force the Footballing organizations to hold elections. Banning the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and MY Sevilla would certainly lessen the quality of football in the champions league, not to mention drive elderly men in Spain to cardiac arrest. But I can honestly say, I wouldn’t blame him for the decision. Sometimes you have to dole out punishment with an iron fist.

The government should not be involved in football, or sports, unless there is a good reason (i.e. corruption, scandal, etc). Aside from this, it is not the place for the government to be, and Spain knows that full well.

If this comes to fruition, Zapatero won’t have to worry about his presidential elections in March, he will have already lost them.

However, the quote of the day, is this gem by Mr. Blatter himself.  This sums up the world footballing power that is FIFA:

‘FIFA is like the United Nations but has more members and is more powerful.”


Spain: Luis Aragones not Going Anywhere, But Who Is Next?

The Real Federación Española de Fútbol (RFEF) put the kabosh on rumors that El Viejo Luis Aragonés would be leaving the Spanish national side before Euro 2008.

Angel Maria Villar, president of RFEF who according to the FIFA website likes ‘history, music and hiking’ (WTF?) said

“The national team coach is determined to continue in his job until the end of Euro 2008 and he knows that the RFEF has full confidence in him”

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One-liner guide to La Liga- Jornada 23

Your one-stop shop for some Spanish tidbit and then a one-line guide to these weekends games. Could be a question, could be a statement, could be a blatant run-on sentence so I can write whatever I want, who knows.

You Spanish tidbit for the day:

About half of my ITunes playlist is Spanish music, and now my new favorite group is ‘La Pegatina’. The group from Catalunya speaks to be since they sing songs in Castellano (Spanish) Catalan and Gallego (essentially a dialect of Portuguese, but spoken in Gallecia)

Here is there best song, in my opinion ‘Penjat’

For my next birthday I want to buy a box and learn how to play it, seriously.

Now, your one-liner guide to La Liga.

This week’s Menudo Partidazo

Sevilla v Barcelona (Saturday 10:00)

Sevilla’s Manolo Jimenez calls this game their final, but how much of a fight will a Bojan, Deco and Zambrotta-less Barcelona put up.


Deportivo v Getafe

Deportivo praying to the fútbol Gods for a win to keep them clear of the relegation zone.

Murcia – Villarreal

One more loss could spell disaster for Murcia gaffer Lucas Alcaraz.


Espanyol v Recreativo

The pericos are my surprise team of the year, sitting pretty on third place, eight points behind Barcelona; Recreativo suck.

Mallorca v Almería

Viva Almería! The little team that could, tied with Sevilla on 32 points go to the isle looking for their ticket into the UEFA cup 6th place spot.

Racing v Atlético

Danny Szetela is gone(sniff). Now La Liga is Americanless yet again. (but I had this inkling that there is another Yank somewhere in the ranks, but I’m not sure).

Athletic v Levante

Levante is in the red, terribly, as the players gave the club n ultimatium today to recoup their losses while sitting pretty in 20th place. Not a good day.

Osasuna v Zaragoza

Ziganda, Osasuna gaffer, hopefully won’t be choking any more assistants after serving his one-game suspension for the on the field incidents in the Sanchez Pizjuan.

Real Madrid v Valladolid

Madrid has a habit of dropping points to newly promoted sides this season; Valladoild is hoping the trend continues.

Valencia v Betis

Struggle v Stuggle characterizes these two teams as this season has not been rainbows or butterflies for either side.

This weekend’s GolTV Schedule:


2:00 Murcia – Villareal

4:00 Sevilla v Barcelona


1:00 Real Madrid v Valladolid

3:00 Valencia v Betis




La Selección: Spain 1-France 0 Another Lacking Performance

La Furia Roja (literally ‘The Red Fury’) have never looked so not-furious as they currently do under the god-awful leadership of one, Luis Aragonés.

This game I really thought things were going to be different. On The Offside Podcast this week Ian asked me what I thought going into the game. I was for certain that the young Bojan Krkic was going to get his cap for Spain, cementing him as a full-fledged member of La Furia. I was certain that Spain would put out a team that would be somewhat experimental, but still have some attacking flair. I was certain that Spain would comfortably win against France in the lovely southern town of Málaga.

But I was wrong, yet again.

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When Loyalties are Simply Too Much

Quick, name two teams off the top of your head that play in Spain’s La Liga. Who are they?

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