This week's Spanish Football Team of the week represents something of a first: there is no Dani Alves…
It is quite possibly the first time all season that, aside from when he’s been injured, Sevilla’s Brazilian right back has not made our select first IX: quite a devastating blow for him and I’m sure he‘ll be putting in extra training this week in a bid to impress. Or maybe not.
Alves is probably not entirely at fault for his below par performance at the weekend as he fell foul of a bit of tinkering and found himself playing at right midfield in Sevilla’s 3-1 defeat at Real Madrid. Ironically, Alves’ loss is Gabi Heinze’s gain, and the Argentine full back gets the call up to our All Star team for the first time this season after putting in a fantastic performance against Sevilla - as a centre half.
The former Manchester United player has come in for a fair amount of criticism this season , not least from La Liga Review, but his performance at the heart of the defence, and Schuster’s decision to play him there, proved inspirational.
The inclusion of Heinze at CB has forced us to do a bit of tinkering ourselves, and we line up with a back three for the first time this season, in order that we can accommodate Cannavaro and Gonzalo as well. The inclusion of Cannavaro is worth highlighting as the Italian, like Heinze, has had a fair amount of stick from La Liga Review lately and it is therefore only right that we praise him when he plays well.
Cannavaro put in the kind of performance on Sunday that was befitting a player of his reputation, rather than the error strewn performances we’ve witnessed in recent weeks. As the journalist sat besid me in the press box at the Bernabeu commented last night: ‘This is the Cannavaro that played in the World Cup!’.
The reason why La Liga Review was watching the game in Madrid last night is the very same reason why this week’s Team of the Week does not include the rather lengthy - and no doubt tedious - explanations as to why the rest of the team has been selected. You see, La Liga Review feels a bit like Steve Martin in Planes, Trains and Automobiles right now after flying to Madrid to watch Barcelona play a game that ended up being played in Seville, only to then end up catching a bus back to Madrid to spend Sunday night there in order to catch a train to somewhere near Barcelona this morning: all because the Spanish FA can’t decide where to play a game of football the day before it’s due to be played.
Consequently, a very grouchy La Liga Review brings you this weeks Dream Team from a Blackberry, on a train, somewhere in the middle of nowhere. If you disagree with the selections then please let us know. And if you are wondering why we’ve included Bojan after Barcelona’s performance on Saturday evening - it’s probably because we still can’t believe that Rijkaard took Barcelona’s best player off and it’s my own petty way of telling the world how I feel about it. Told you I was in a bad mood.
Team of the Week:
GK:Tono (Racing), CB F Cannavaro (R. Madrid), CB: Gonzalo (Villarreal), CB: G. Heinze(R.Madrid)
CM: Ibagaza (Mallorca), CM:Plasil (Osasuna), LW: Edu (Betis), RM: Nihat (Villarreal)
FW: Bojan (Barcelona), FW: Güiza (Mallorca), FW: Xisco (Deportivo)