Monday, June 11, 2007

Not much big news. Zap and Rajoy had their meeting and nothing really happened. Maragall formally resigned as president of the Catalan Socialist Party, but he's been effectively in retirement since Montilla took over the Generalitat. Spain topped the 45 million mark in population; 4.5 million, a full 10%, are immigrants. Sarkozy's UMP cleaned up in the first round of the French parliamentary elections, with 40% of the vote; the Socialists got 25%, Bayrou got 8%, and the Commies, Greens, and National Front all got less than 5%. The runoff is next weekend and the Socialists are in a panic, calling on all the left parties to back them to "fight against the hegemony of the right." Bet it don't do no good.

Saturday night football was wild. With about one minute left in the simultaneous matches, Barça was beating Espanyol on two goals by Messi, one with his hand, and Zaragoza was beating Madrid. Barça would nearly have clinched the league title, as they'd have a three-point lead with one game to go. But Tamudo scored for Espanyol and Van Nistelrooy scored for Madrid, and both games suddenly ended in a draw. The Bar Els Rossos became very quiet and Xavi, the owner, went outside and smashed his signboard over one of the posts that keep people from parking on the sidewalk. Now Madrid has nearly clinched the league title, since all they have to do is beat a weak Mallorca team, and it doesn't matter what Barça does.

Barça had the league in its pocket twice, and gave up goals in the last minute first to Betis and then to Espanyol. They blew it. You can't win them all, though, and I wouldn't shake up the squad too badly. Ronaldinho and Eto'o still have upside to their careers, not to mention Messi.

Note: I do not know all the details of this story, but I do know that Messi signed with Barça when he was only about 13, and they gave him growth hormone, saying that he was undersized and had a deficiency. Players signing for pro teams below age 16, and pro teams giving their kids such powerful drugs, both seem wrong to me.

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