Víctor Valdés: Time to say goodbye?

January 22, 2013 in La Liga, Transfers

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Goalkeeper Víctor Valdés’ decision to decline a new deal with FC Barcelona has shocked and surprised those – both players and management - close to the club. Under contract until the summer of 2014, Valdés 31, was born and bred just outside the city and has spent his entire senior career with the Blaugrana. First choice stopper for more than ten years, his decision to call time on the club –  negotiations on an extension to his present deal hadn’t even got under way – now gives the Catalan giants a little over eighteen months to find a replacement.

Victor Valdes

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Is Luka Modrić just passing through at Real Madrid?

January 10, 2013 in La Liga, Transfers

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Just four months after his £33m transfer, speculation is mounting that the Real Madrid career of Luka Modrić has hit the skids before it has even started. Whether the damage is irreparable remains to be seen, but the signs aren’t good for the Croatian midfielder who, thus far, has underwhelmed spectacularly at the Santiago Bernabéu.

Modrić put pen to paper on a five-year deal at the end of August 2012 and was rewarded with success just days later, coming on as a 75th minute replacement for Mesut Özil in Madrid’s victory over Barcelona in the Spanish Supercup. A winning, and impressive, Primera División debut soon followed with an appearance in the starting eleven for the home game against Granada in early September. A last minute goal - his first for the club - came in Madrid’s 4-0 home win over Real Zaragoza and proved to be the high water mark on his fledgling career in the Spanish capital.

Luka Modric Signs For Real Madrid

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Jose Mourinho: skating on thin ice?

December 24, 2012 in La Liga

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On the face of it, a management career total of 40 defeats spread over 400 games in senior competition isn’t that bad a record - the envy of many even. The problem comes when your name is Jose Mourinho and you are the self-anointed ‘Special One’ sitting in the Real Madrid hot seat and charged with trying to stop that runaway Catalan juggernaut. In fairness to the Portuguese, he hasn’t done a bad job, securing the 2011/12 Primera División title, Madrid’s 32nd, to maintain an impressive record of winning a championship in each of the countries in which he has coached. That was then, though, and this is now.

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All change at Atlético Madrid?

November 20, 2012 in La Liga

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With a little over a month to go until the January transfer window opens, the football press rumour mill is already building up to something approaching top speed. In amongst all the usual froth - much of it nothing more than hearsay packaged as exclusive and designed to shift a few newspapers – one or two snippets do actually bear close scrutiny and invariably involve the usual English and Spanish suspects. The only difference between the approaching 2013 window and previous others is the identity of the Madrid club around which most of the speculation has been centered.

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La Liga Previewed - Part 2

August 23, 2012 in La Liga

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Things couldn’t have looked rosier at La Rosaleda (pardon the pun) after the arrival in the summer of 2010 of Qatari billionaire Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser as Málaga’s new owner. High profile signings followed, as did experienced, former Villarreal and Real Madrid coach Manuel Pellegrini. The arrival of influential midfielder Santi Cazorla from Villarreal a year ago, the final piece in the Málaga jigsaw, saw the side soar – excuse my choice of words – to fourth place in Spain’s Primera División and earn themselves a Champions League berth for 2012. Before the celebrations had even subsided, it became clear all was not well money-wise at Málaga, with at least four players complaining about unpaid wages. One of them, the brilliant Cazorla – just as he had been at Villarreal – was sold to Arsenal to balance the books. Victory over Greek side Panathinaikos in a tricky Champions League qualifier would see them move directly into the group stages, thereby giving the club a massive boost. Quite what the effect on their Primera campaign would be, though, remains to be seen. Keep an eye on Francisco Alarcón, aka “Isco” - he’s top quality.

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