Category Archives: Spain

DC’s move on Valencia would have been just comic.

Picture the scene. “Holy Logo Dilemma Batman!” cries the Boy Wonder. “We need to rescue our trademark.” Having curtailed with the cruelly comic cuts of The Joker, the somewhat fishy ne’er do well activities of The Penguin and figured out the contrived criminal capers of The Riddler, it now appeared that an altogether different sort of target is causing the lights to flash on the Bat-scope. Fortunately for the Dynamic Duo, the crisis was averted.

Don't panic old chum. Crisis averted!

Don’t panic old chum. Crisis averted!

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Patriot Games

Has Mourinho won the battle of wills with del Bosque

Has Mourinho won the battle of wills with del Bosque

Jose Mourinho appears to have won his battle of wills with Spain’s national team manager Vicente del Bosque over the fitness of Chelsea striker Diego Costa. The Rojas squad, announced last week for the European qualifier against Belarus and the prestigious friendly against World Champions Germany, noticeably excluded Brazilian-born Costa, and doubtless brought a smile to the Blues’ manager’s face. A long term hamstring problem, dating back to the tail end of last term’s La Liga season was hardly helped on the way to recovery by Spain’s albeit truncated participation in the World Cup. Add that to the physical rigours of the Premier League and Mourinho’s argument that a fortnight’s rest for the player, rather than playing a further two games, will be more beneficial for both club and country in bringing Costa to peak fitness, seems to gain a little credence. “I’m pleased about Diego [Costa], but I did nothing to make this happen,” Mourinho said at a press conference before the weekend. The decision however did not extend to Mourinho resting the striker against Liverpool, and when he netted the winner, it seemed that the Chelsea boss had won from every angle. Continue reading →

Moyes seeking redemption amongst the Basques.

Moyes is to take over at the Estadio Anoeta.

Moyes is to take over at the Estadio Anoeta.

Sir Alex Ferguson was always fond of saying that whenever anyone leaves Manchester United, inevitably it was a step down, regardless of whichever club they went to. Real Madrid, among a couple of others may dispute such an assertion, especially of late, but for David Moyes, taking a step back to reignite his managerial career after his traumatic time in the Old Trafford hot seat was probably inevitable. That he has landed at the Estadio Anoeta to take charge of Real Sociedad, a club often compared in stature to Moyes’ previous employer at Goodison Park, at least shows that the Scot retains a hunger to prove himself in the managerial game.

Just over a year ago, Moyes, together with his then Manchester United charges returned from San Sebastien following a fairly satisfying 0-0 draw against his new employers in a Champions League encounter and could hardly have envisaged the turmoil and dismissal that was to follow. With an 18 month contract now is place with the Basque club however, he faces the task of rebuilding both a career and a reputation seriously damaged by the doomed attempt to take over the driving seat at Old Trafford from Sir Alex Ferguson. Continue reading →

Flagging up the politics in La Liga.

Athletic Club v FC Barcelona

Athletic Club v FC Barcelona

At the weekend Barcelona will entertain Atletico Bilbao at the Camp Nou. Nothing so unusual about that however. The clash has been an enduring La Liga fixture for over a century. This particular match up however looks likely to have more than a nodding acquaintance with the heightened political tensions across Spain concerning independence, particularly for the Basque Country and Catalunya.

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Gibraltar ‘Rocks’ Up to International Football

football-blog-gibraltar-rocks-up-to-international-football

In the history of international football, there have been more than a few infamous games that have degenerated into some kind of warfare. The ‘Battle of Santiago when English referee Ken Aston vainly strived to officiate a running street brawl between Chile and Italy in the 1962 World Cup comes to mind. Others may cite the ‘Battle of Bern‘ in 1954. This game saw Brazilians and Hungarians carry their feud into the tunnel and reportedly even the dressing rooms. Then of course there was the World Cup qualifying games between Honduras and El Salvador that proved to be the trigger that fired up the simmering tensions between the two countries into the ‘100 hours war’ of 1969. It’s unlikely that Gibraltar’s entry into the world of competitive international football, as they face Poland, will lead to armed conflict, but the colony’s relation with Spain have hardly been improved.

Continue reading… http://www.footballbloggingawards.co.uk/blog/football-blog-gibraltar-rocks-up-to-international-football/

 

An Englishman in Catalunya (not) watching Spain.

Spain winning the European Championships

Spain winning the European Championships

A few years ago, I produced regular articles on La Liga for a website concentrating on Spanish football. I wrote this piece during a short break in Barcelona.

It just so happened that I was in Barcelona during the international break, so I thought it would be an opportunity to see how the Catalans, especially in this time of heightened talk of independence, viewed the Spanish national team. After all, sitting in a bar watching football, can’t be all bad, can it? That’s why the original title for this piece was “An Englishman in Catalunya watching Spain.” That was the theory, anyway.

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Bojan Krkic – The coming man still waiting to arrive

Barcelona v Murcia - La Liga

It may feel like a flippant, knee-jerk reaction way to talk of a player who won’t be 24 until August, but the career of Bojan Krkic, onetime wonder-kid of the Camp Nou, is now resembling one of those ‘what could have been’ stories redolent of a bright spring that turned into a damp, disappointing and dispiriting summer. Recent reports have even suggested that next season he could be plying his trade with Stoke City. No offence to the Potteries’ club, but Bojan burst onto the season, that wasn’t on the menu.

Born to a Serbian father and a Catalan mother in the small town of Linyola, ironically about a 90 minute drive from the Camp Nou, Bojan joined the Blaugrana at nine and had all the makings of a La Masia graduate destined for greatness; blessed with consummate skill, elegant balance and an unerring eye for goal. In the next seven years he accumulated more 850 goals for the club’s junior teams. It’s a mind-blowing total. If one works on an eight-month season over the period, it equates to almost 3.50 goals per week – every week; not for the team, just for Bojan himself. When he was 15 he played for Spain in the U17 European Championships, and although officially a year too young, still ended up as the competition’s joint top scorer. He returned to the same tournament the following year and notched the winning goal for Spain in the final. Here was a player set to rank alongside Cruyff, Messi and Maradona as an all-time great at the Catalan club – and a born Catalan to boot. The football world lay at his feet. Or so it seemed. Continue reading →