A sideways look at Spanish football
The English Premier League is now done and dusted with its oh-so-riveting final day of drama and no-one really cares about boring old Serie A, anyway - apart from the excellent Serie Aaaargh of course - so there might be a few newbies looking to la Liga this weekend for their footballing fix.
The game in Spain has one more round of matches to go and the big finale is so pant-wettingly exciting that only one clash out of ten is completely meaningless. Naturally, that involves Deportivo.
So for those who don’t know their Málaga from their Mallorca, their Míchel from their Manuel Pellegrini, here’s a handy beginner’s guide on who to cheer and who to cheer - well, jeer really - over the wonderful weekend to come.
1st Barcelona, 96 pts: Valladolid (H)
Despite being one of the most famous names in the game, possessing a fawning, adoring press, billions in the bank and having some of the best players on the planet, the average Barca supporter remains a humourless, prickly, self-important so-and-so whose smug levels are likely to rise to insufferable levels should they win the title on Sunday night. This must not happen.
2nd Real Madrid, 95 pts: Málaga (A)
Despite being one of the most famous names in the game, possessing a fawning, adoring press, billions in the bank and having some of the best players on the planet, the average Madrid supporter remains a humourless, prickly, self-important so-and-so whose smug levels are likely to rise to insufferable levels should they win the title on Sunday night. This must not happen.
4th Sevilla, 60 pts: Almería (A)
About 37 times less fun to watch than the Sevilla side of Juande Ramos’ day, the current squad manages the admirable feat of being functional on the pitch and dysfunctional off it.
Qualifying for the Champions League would save Sevilla from a few financial issues that are beginning to rack up and it may give club president, José María del Nido, something to smile about if he is sent to the slammer for 13 years over the summer should things go Pete Tong during his ongoing corruption trial.
5th - Mallorca, 59 pts: Espanyol (H)
Having Mallorca in next season’s Champions League would be a complete waste of time. The Balearic side would make Atlético’s three point haul from this season look heroic in comparison.
Borderline bankrupt, about to lose coach Gregorio Manzano and set to sell what few decent players they have left over the summer (again), it would be a miracle if Mallorca even made it past the qualifying round.
Mallorca’s success this season has been built on the goals of Aritz Aduriz, a striker who the club have ‘paid for’ by giving very bouncy cheques to Athletic Bilbao.
6th - Getafe, 55 pts: Atlético (A)
Qualification for the Europa League would surely prove that LLL was completely wrong in its assertion that manager, Míchel, was a coaching half-wit who only gets a gig ‘cos he has a ‘purty’ face and was a decent player back in the day. And this can never happen.
But then again, Getafe are the second greatest club side in Europe and actually did something interesting in the tournament the last time they qualified for it.
7th - Villarreal, 55 pts: Zaragoza (A)
For the players the club possesses (Nilmar, Rossi, Cazorla, Capdevila, for Pete’s sake) and the terrific talent available, Villarreal have made the biggest of hashes of their campaign.
And as a suitable punishment, the club deserves diddly-squat at the end of it aside from hoping that the UEFA suits cast Mallorca from their competitions because of the basket-case nature of their finances to allow the (very small on this occasion) Yellow Submarine to come snivelling through the footballing cat flap with their seventh-placed finish.
16th - Valladolid, 36 pts: Barcelona (A)
Why should a neutral go to the energy of supporting Valladolid when not even their own fans bother to? Saturday’s crunch home game against Racing was played in front of half empty stands.
Valladolid are to La Liga what West Brom are to the Premier League. Absolutely no-one notices them when they are there or gives a flying fig when they’re not. Besides, the city is as cold as the Arctic for about 10 months of the year.
17th - Racing, 36 pts: Sporting (H)
The club that allowed Sergio Canales to pose in a Real Madrid shirt and kiss the club’s badge WHILST HE WAS STILL A RACING PLAYER deserves their end of season stress-fest.
The blog will be cheering them on, anyway, just to see la Liga’s best goal celebration - Mohamed Tchite scoring and running back to the centre-spot with the ball due to the constant knack of Racing for finding themselves 4-0 down at the time.
18th - Málaga, 36 pts: Real Madrid (H)
Only bothered to win seven games this season, a record beaten by Xerez. And the last one of those was so long ago no-one under the age of 45 can actually remember it.
Málaga were a wonderful, attacking side last year, but since Juan Ramón López Muñiz took over, the team has been a fouling, football-free zone. Nevertheless, there is still a spark of delight in the squad worth rooting for with the likes of Duda still about.
19th - Tenerife, 36 pts: Valencia (A)
How can a team that isn’t even in Spain (in LLL’s world), resides in a different climatic zone, and is an hour behind everyone else be playing in la Liga anyway? Then again, the city of Seville is about 25 years behind the rest of the country and still has two teams in la Liga.
When Tenerife did make it to the mainland every other week, this season, the Canary Island side only managed to win one game from 18 attempts.
Tenerife should look to form a volcano-based super league with the Azores, instead.
20th - Xerez, 33 pts: Osasuna (A)
Xerez surviving for another season would take such astronomical odds that the seas would boil and legions of spear-throwing archangels would fly down from the heavens to purge the world of filthy human-kind. And that’s probably a bad thing.
More from La Liga Loca
So in conclusion, support no one?
Cracking blog as ever
I just hope Madrid do not win the league title.
Have you seen the latest display of incompetence from the buffoons that purport to run the game in Spain? They can't even agree on the league table! The table published by the Real Federation Espanola de Futbol has Malaga in 17th while that of the Liga Profesional de Futbol has them the the other way round. The significance of this of course is that 17th means safety and 18th means relegation.
There appears to be some confusion about how to interpret the rules regarding how to rank teams on the same number of points when there are more than three of them. Lets hope they get it sorted by Sunday, when potentially the bottom 5 teams could all end up on 36 points!
Oops sorry. Some text went astray there. It was meant to say that the RFEF has Malaga in 17th and Racing in 18th, while the LFP has them the other way round.
Oh that made me laugh! Too true!
Are the odds on Xerez's survival really that astronomical, though? Three of the other relegation contenders are playing the top three, and Xerez's head-to-head record with the other four - at first glance - puts them in a pretty good position, too.
It'd be fun to see, for sure.
Teams should automatically be relegated if they can't win 8 games.
And the Azores has to be the most depressing place on Earth. I wouldn't wish for any team to have to play there.
Can you just say i didn't write the Barça preview before anyone asks. Agree with every word, The Guardian blog seems to be their home. Poor Sid.
Did Adam write the Madrid preview ?
@Boqueron -well pointed out
Which two teams from Seville? Sevilla and...? Betis are playing in liga Adelante and seems to be staying there for a while.
If you had ever seen the teams from the azores you wouldn't suggest that.
Not even the portuguese liga knows in which division they are seeded.
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