Born on 28th April 1988 making him still one of the young ones at 24 years old, Juan Mata over the years has won just about everything you can (Except league titles). Copa del Rey with Valencia, FA Cup and Champions League with Chelsea and of course the European Championship and the World Cup with Spain. Not too bad a start in his career as a footballer.
Albaespana’s last interview went down a treat, we had spoken with Spanish football commentator, Terry Gibson.
So I thought I’d go out and try conduct another one, this time we got Sid Lowe on board, Sid was more than happy to spend sometime with Albaespana (In the end, near enough two hours).
For those of you that don’t know Sid Lowe, Sid is a Spanish football…no, Sid is ‘the’ Spanish football journalist. He’s more noticed for his work with the Guardian, but has appeared on loads of different radio stations, talk shows, podcasts and websites.
He’s the go to guy on Spanish football and I’m very happy to have spoken with him about the following things, so sit back, get a drink and enjoy this (long) discussion.
After the second semi-final of the Copa del Rey, a thought came to my mind. With Atletico Madrid now in the final against Real Madrid, a spot in Europe for next season has now opened up.
Now for those who follow La Liga, you’ll know that the top 3 teams in the league go into the Champions league, with 4th going into the Champions League qualifiers. The remaining 3 European spots are for the following season’s Europa League, 2 are allocated to 5th and 6th in the league, whilst the last is allocated to the winner of the Copa del Rey.
Now this is where it may get a ‘little’ complicated. With Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid both in the final, it doesn’t matter who wins it as they’re both well ahead of most in the league that it’s very, VERY unlikely that they’ll lose their European spots via the league. Meaning that the European spot that is there for the cup then goes to 7th in the league.
Now the way that 8th in the league could get into Europe is very simple, Malaga who are currently sitting 4th (Champions League qualifiers spot) look likely to be banned from Europe next season, this meaning that the Champions league qualifiers spot would then be handed to 5th in the league and a Europa League spot would then be put down the latter (table) to whoever finishes 8th in the league.
So with the likes of Espanyol who currently sit 13th on 31 points, it’s still all to play for this season in La Liga, as from themselves up to Rayo Vallecano who are 8th in the league there is only 6 points that separate the chasing European position pack.
It was also pointed out that, Madrid, could in fact next season have 4 teams in European competition.
So with many people writing of all the leagues across Europe and stating that most if not all of them are indeed over, take a second and realise, there is still a lot to play for in this season’s La Liga.
It was no longer than seven months ago when Carlos Vela left the Emirates stadium and joined Real Sociedad on a permanent deal. The player had of course been playing at La Real through-out the previous season, but only on loan. A deal had been struck in last season’s summer transfer window and it seemed Carlos Vela was away from London for good, or is he?
In the last few weeks it has come to light that in the deal that took the young Mexican to the Spanish league, there was a clause placed in the contract, a clause that allows Arsenal to buy him back for a very reasonable price of just €4 million.
In the interview with (Noticiasde Gipuzkoa) when asked about Arsenal and maybe one day returning, Vela said:
”I do not rule it out, if they put it in my contract it was obviously for a reason. Their intention was to see my progress and in the past they’ve come and see me play at Real Sociedad.’’ – ‘’I do not know what will happen in the future, it’s not in my hands.’’
At the end of the 19th century football was introduced in Seville by the large British expatriate population in the city, implemented by owners and managers of manufacturing companies based in and around Seville, the bug started to spread and sooner rather than later there were teams all across Seville wanting to play the beautiful game.
In 1905 a lot of football teams were created in the city, everyone who was anyone now wanted to play the ‘new’ game. One new team that was born, Sevilla FC, notice the FC rather than CF was created by Spaniards and Britons as a ‘Footballing Society’. This team didn’t play many official matches at the start, in fact the team seemed like it was made for just one purpose, a team for visiting British sailors to play against once they had stopped over in Seville whilst on their travels. Sevilla played at a lot of different venues against British sailors including the Tablada Racecourse where most games were played between the two, it wasn’t until 1909 when they eventually played against a different side, fellow Andalucians, Recreativo de Huelva in their first ‘official’ match.
As most will already know by now, Fernando Llorente is not Marcelo Bielsa’s best friend. In the summer, the striker wanted to leave Athletic Bilbao, and well, that did not go down that well with Bielsa and understandably so. He is the manager of the club and would like to keep his prized assets, so we know where he is coming from. But, on the other hand, Llorente wants to better himself, pick up a bigger wage packet and try his hand somewhere else, once again something that we can all understand.
Every now and again, a player comes along that lights up the world with his footballing talents. A player takes to the pitch like water off a duck’s back. He shows everyone that a game of football can be fun and can be enjoyed. He gets spectators on the edge of their seats and he’s one that most scouts from across Europe, in fact the World, come to see on a weekly basis.
When a player of that calibre comes through in the game, they’re almost immediately likened to another player, past or present, that’s a star in the footballing world. This player is no different, he’s already been likened to Barcelona and Spanish star, Andres Iniesta, and to be honest they may just be right, he’s got the potential to be just as good, one day.
We all know the player in question is Malaga’s twenty year old wonder kid, Francisco Román Alarcón Suárez, aka Isco.
By Andy Hunter
There are some players who continue to thrive as the challenges they face get tougher and tougher; Jordi Alba certainly appears to be one of these. This calendar year, 2012, must have been a complete whirlwind for the 23-year-old Spanish defender. He has established himself as one of the finest left backs in the game, become a regular in the national side and signed for Barcelona.
Chris Boothroyd is a master of Czech football, he knows the game inside out and is what you could call an expert. Recently though he decided to take a break from all the Czech action and took a little holiday to Barcelona.
During his time in Barcelona he want to watch a match, not just any match, he went to see the big one. No, not Barcelona v Real Madrid, nope, not even Barcelona v Espanyol. He went and watched CF Martinenc v CE Tecnofútbol!
By Chris Boothroyd
There was a transport strike and services were reduced to an absolute minimum. Oblivious to this, I gave myself a handy forty-five minutes to get from my base near Barceloneta out to Horta. Forty-minutes later the metro arrived and I changed to Plan B (the only other option in reality) and made the call to go to see Martinenc host the wonderfully named Centro Europeo Tecnofútbol in what was a Barcelona derby with a rather interesting backstory: The opposing managers had spent time together on the coaching staff of the Greek side Aris Thessaloniki. Six years later the two were reunited managing in this Primera Catalana Group Two clash.
The ‘El Clasico’ on Sunday night couldn’t split the two giants of football, Barcelona and Real Madrid. It also couldn’t split the two top players in the World, Ronaldo and Messi.