Monday, June 11, 2007

Down to the wire

Goldenballs snubs the club that thought of him as just another surplus superstar left over from the galacticos era. Along with Istanbul-bound Roberto Carlos, Becks stands as the last remnant of Florentino Perez's legacy of a superstar-squad destined for greatness in La Liga as well as in Europe. Alas, as we all know, this was not meant to be, and the timing of DB's return to form is a nice way of saying "I told you so" to the Spanish giants. Of course, as soon as the former England captain returned to fitness after an injury, he showed us all that he is perhaps the most important piece of the puzzle not only at the Bernabeau, but for England as well. And this looks unlikely to change at the Hope Depot Center, as the LA Galaxy languish at the bottom of the Western table, with 6 points from 8 matches.

With Real Madrid just a win away from lifting the La Liga trophy for the first time in four years, it looks as though Ramon Calderon, president of the club, as well as manager Fabio Capello have been tucking into a massive plate of crow for he last few weeks. The major apologies seem to be coming from the gaffer, as he claims that himself and the Real Madrid board made a mistake:

"We were all wrong. We all made the decision in the sporting area, and it's
mostly my fault. Truthfully, we made a mistake with him," said the Italian coach
in an interview with Spanish newspaper AS on Monday.
A little too late, and it probably was too late even a month ago, when Becks began to show his old form, making the knackered around him look a step too slow to deal with his crosses and movement off the ball. As much as I like to downplay his gifts, I think this was the right time for him to get healthy, if not for himself and his image, but for Real Madrid and England as well. Will Becks be the guy to lead a team to glory? Probably not, but he can definitely make an impact when he's fit. Honestly, La Liga was a league nobody wanted to win and it was just a matter of time before someone was ready to stake a claim to it. Valencia and Sevilla petered out, Barca dropped points at the wrong time, but it's their performance against los Merengues this campaign that sealed their fate.

The whole Goldenballs issue aside, La Liga's dominant side is hard to pin down at the moment. A lot of this depends on the off-season moves of the big two, Real Madrid and Barcelona. With solid sides like Sevilla and Valencia always threatening (and Villareal beginning to assert itself again), but not with quite enough quality to dominate, it'll again come down to who will slip up at the worst time, and against whom.

Nothing's changed for the top three in Spain for a few weeks, as Real Madrid just needs a win to clinch the title. Barcelona only have a chance if they win and Real Madrid don't. For Sevilla, they need a win and two losses from the top two.

Beckham snubs Madrid U-turn [Guardian Unlimited]


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