Tuesday, May 17, 2011

La Liga : The End is Here

Now that the wave of self-importance in Catalunya has worn out somewhat, Another Prick In The Wall got a chance to look at some news bytes emanating from Catalunya. The general media perception is still that of coming out a binge-drinking induced hangover though. The headline news reports how the crew of the airplane that Barca travelled in post their league victory had to tell off the players to celebrate in a more civilized manner. Little whiz Messi got a telling off from a stewardess who apparently was quite ticked off seeing that Messi did the same thing to the emergency exit what Ronaldo did to the poor spectator in row 1 of the Bernabeu, i.e. break it. The blog doubts if she got a free Messi jersey in return. In Catalunya, they have yet another reason to celebrate as UEFA overturned its investigation into Busquets’ racial slur at Marcelo with the verdict “Not Guilty” citing a “lack of strong and convincing evidence” in Busquets’ defence. While people at AS have got their knickers in a twsit around their ankles given UEFA’s latest Barca related allegiance as they called it, Real Madrid was not too pleased. To start with UEFA overturned the result in Barcelona’s favor and to add salt to injury, the notice from UEFA claimed that Madrid’s complaint has been dealt with. This prompted the capital club to release an official notice stating that they were not the ones who had officially complained about Busquets’ racial slur but had instead complained about the unsporting behavior of the Barcelona players which was rejected and then again appealed against and again opened and yada yada. Ahh, the madness. And then in a move to substantiate their case, the club’s site had various players claiming that they were glad that Busquets was going to play in Wembley but were quite sad that their gaffer had to bear all the injustice. The blog sympathizes with the poor soul that is Mourinho. Fiery brand Pepe stayed true to his word claiming that Busquets walked scot-free inspite of an obvious insult while Arbeloa did a Xavi by saying that he had no preference about the impending UCL final winner seeing as he didn’t have friends at either club. The blog suspects that the journo hack who asked that question got exactly what he wanted to hear. After all, Arbeloa is a Real Madrid product who learnt his trade at the professional level in Liverpool. Oh, the Rivalry!

El Puto Amo
Sport.es has indulged in a nifty side business advertising t-shirts for sale with the caption “The F*****g Boss is at The Camp, not in the Press Room”. These t-shirts were advertised right next to an article which reminded the users that Barcelona’s deal with UNICEF is still on and displayed Barcelona’s 2011-12 jersey with its backside, displaying the UNICEF logo added as a footnote, and totally forgetting to show the readers the front side, thereby trying to salvage whatever’s left of the moral high horse. In one of the columns Cruyff babbled on about Barcelona’s philosophy starting from Rexach to Rijkaard and now to Guardiola. Given the same kind of overbearing and condescending articles from legend turned looney Cruyff, the blog feels that instead of indulging in permutations and combinations with the paragraphs, Cruyff should do away with the farce of writing columns just as UEFA should do away with its farcical “Kick Racism Out of Football” campaign. The big news of this week is Sport taking up on itself to respond to Mourinho’s claims about conspiracies by posting a video of former Portuguese referee Paixao Jacinto who confesses to having rigged matches for Porto in 2003; the implication being that Mourinho has indulged in his fair share of influencing authorities. Of course, there has been no mention of that video from the Madrid based media. Porto, only recently being acquitted in the Golden Whistle campaign, has obviously denied having done anything of this sort; with a fair bit of scorn too.

While all these insinuations and infractions are rife, the fate of Real Madrid Director General Jorge Valdano has been a hotly contested topic. Small surprise then that the Madrid and Barca based media is divided on the fate of Valdano. The capital based press has been cooing about Floppy's support to the beleaguered Argentine while the Catalan press has been making the most of the well publicized fallout between Mourinho and Valdano and shouting "Kill Kill" in much the same way the depraved audience once sang at the Coliseum in Rome.

Stomp, Shove, Card
In these troubled days when Mourinho gets a five match ban for a sarcastic thumbs up sign to the fourth official, there has been no news of Villarreal’s Cani receiving any kind of ban for shoving linesman Fermin Martinez in the clash against Real Madrid after the latter mistakenly stomped on Cani’s foot while giving him a piece of his mind. Villarreal not being bothered with any of this nonsense looks instead to prise Cesar Sanchez from Valencia on a free to serve as backup to Diego Lopez. Not keen to seek the not so green pastures of Segunda, Almeria goalkeeper Diego Alves is set to move to Valencia after Guaita’s occasional uninspiring performances rendering Sanchez surplus to requirements. Meanwhile Valencia president Llorente has called an emergency meeting on Wednesday to discuss the contract renewal of coach Unai Emery for one more year. The poker faced gaffer is not held in high esteem by the Valencia fans for Valencia’s impotent showing in big matches, though the blog feels that he’s actually done a splendid job given the resources afforded to him. Talking about coaches, there has been no mention at all about Pellegrini from Marca lately, which is not surprising given the fact that Malaga are 9th in the table as opposed to 19th at the time he took over. The blog feels that the engineer could do with a smirk or two directed at Marca but he's way too classy for that kind of indulgence, unlike Marca love toy Jose Mourinho who has done a Spanish version of Ferguson boycotting the press entirely these days.

Fist Pumping Owner, Wrist Wringing Fans
At Racing Santander, the cloud has grown darker still as coach Marcelino has announced his plans to wait and listen to Rashed Ali Syed’s plans for the club before committing himself. This is a task in itself since not much has been heard from the fist pumping Ali who’s lately done an Ali Baba by being conspicuous through his absence at the club.

The battle for relegation and Europa League slots has intensified in La Liga with just 1 game remaining. Technically one of six teams, Real Zaragoza (42 Pts.), Deportivo (44 Pts.), Getafe (44 Pts.), Osasuna (44 Pts.), Real Sociedad (44 Pts.), Real Mallorca (44 Pts.), will get relegated this coming weekend. What this means is that with just one game to go, relegation prime contenders Zaragoza travel to Valencia to take on League paupers in terms of money and millionaires at heart, Levante. Snooze masters Deportivo host Valencia at the Riazor in what would most probably be an ill-tempered clash given the history between the two clubs which goes back to 1994 when Djukic's missed penalty for Deportivo in injury time meant that Valencia clinched the title. This time round, neither club is fighting for the title, but Depor is fighting to stay up and the blog trusts Valencia who have nothing to play for, to still try their best in spoiling Depor's party. At Anoeta a relegation classic looks to be battled out as Real Sociedad play Getafe. La Real need just a point to save themselves from the ignominy of a trip back to the Segunda while Getafe need a win, as a draw would see Getafe relying on the other fixtures to prevent their half-empty stadium from turning up totally empty on match days. Down in Pamplona, Osasuna host Villarreal who again have nothing to play for, having cemented fourth position in the table. The real joke is on Mallorca who a few weeks ago celebrated having reached the all-important total of 42 when they believed that they would not get relegated. Now, however relegation seems like a distinct possibility, even more so because their final match of the season is against Atletico Madrid (led by the departing Quique Flores) who are chasing a Europa League berth. Atletico is tied on points with Sevilla and Athletic Bilbao. Manzano's side travels to Catalunya to take on Espanyol, who after spending more than half a season chasing European slots finally fell out of grace by due of injuries and fatigue and now languishing 8th, four points adrift of European slots, having nothing to play for. Athletic Bilbao travel to El Sardinero to take on Racing Santander who again have nothing to play for. So by the look of things, it's make or break for either Mallorca or Atletico Madrid, from different perspectives of course.


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