4. SPAIN: Discord at the top of La Liga
Barcelona and Real Madrid aren't the only Spanish clubs with player discord.
One of the closest La Liga races in years has been overshadowed by problems at Barcelona (where Cameroonian star Samuel Eto'o criticized Coach Frank Rijkaard and teammate Ronaldinho) and Real Madrid (where David Beckham spent a month off the
Fourth-place Valencia hopes the ill will that came to the surface at
Barcelona will work to its benefit when the La Liga leader travels to
fourth-place Valencia on Sunday (TV: WorldSport HD, live, 1 pm).
"Of course we hope it affects them, and a lot, too," said Valencia
defender Roberto Ayala. "I
hope it affects
them so much that we can score three goals against them on Sunday."
Ayala has been in the news recently as his decision to leave Valencia
for Villarreal next season has not gone over well with Valencia fans.
Brazilian midfielder Edu also
criticized the club, blaming its dietary program for his knee trouble.
Second-place Sevilla is another team with discontent. It has won only
one of its last six league games, and Uruguayan striker Ernesto Chevanton has been publicly
unhappy with his lack of opportunities. Sevilla, which beat Steaua
Bucharest, 2-0, in Bucharest Thursday in the UEFA Cup, hosts Atletico
Madrid, which is tied with Valencia for fourth place, on Sunday (TV:
GolTV, live, 3 pm)
Third-place Real Madrid hosts Real Betis in a potentially difficult
test on Saturday (TV: GolTV, live, 2 pm).
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