More news and less commentary today. No silly transfer rumours, as always.
Samuel Eto'o speaks out about racism in football. You know, one of the reasons I was surprised that Henry came to Barca in the end was the well-known racist behaviour in some Spanish grounds, given Henry's own high profile anti-racism work. (Also, Goal.com, your headline writers suck.)
Eto'o has also once again maintained that both him and Ronaldinho are staying with the club. The same article also has his opinion of the new dressing room code (he approves of having one), the mentality Barca will need to have next season, and a reference to his 'grandfather', Spanish NT coach Luis Aragones, who coached him at Real Mallorca. (Rather ironic given Aragones' infamous remark about Henry.)
Eidur Gudjohnsen's father and agent says that his son is determined to stay at Barca and fight for his place, contrary to reports of a move to Newcastle. He also attempts to sow the seeds of dressing room unrest by suggesting that Gudjohnsen would suit Henry as a strike partner more than Eto'o would. Thanks, man.
On to Real Madrid, and president Ramon Calderon has spoken out about his transfer targets for this off-season. He indicated that Real were interested in unsettled Roma centerback Christian Chivu and also a left winger, who he says is either going to be Lyon's Florent Malouda or Chelsea's Arjen Robben. Take that with a grain of salt (Malouda wants to go to Chelsea, and I was under the impression that Robben just signed a contract extension), but what's certain is that Christoph Metzelder has already been signed, and he wants Cassano and Emerson out. Not many people are going to argue with that part.
Update: I was mistaken about Robben - he hasn't extended his contract yet, although there have been negotiations. So if Malouda goes to Chelsea, which looks increasingly likely, the Robben deal looks possible.
As for Chivu, sporting director Mijatovic maintains that there has been no offer, although the two clubs have talked about the deal. (By the way, although I haven't written about it here, I'm already as thoroughly sick of the whole Chivu to Barca saga as Chris from the Roma Offside. Someone please just sign the man, ridiculous salary demands and all.)
Speaking of Mijatovic and transfers, AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani claims to have told him to drop 'the Kaka business'. (Ignore the headline and read his actual words - Galliani's actually being pretty mild.) Accordingly, he cites Milan's own behaviour towards Barca in the Eto'o and Ronaldinho sagas as an example of following the proper procedures. I hate to say this, man, but that's really not the best example.
Even while the transfer machine finally cranks into gear in Madrid, they're still not assured of their new coach, widely reported to be Getafe's Bernard Schuster. Getafe president Angel Torres has decided that he wants considerable compensation for losing his under-contract coach - which is fair enough, I think - but Real have not indicated any willingness to step in and pay the fee to free Schuster.
While Real seek to get their team-building underway, their city rivals Atletico have finally concluded one of the longest running sagas in La Liga by selling captain Fernando Torres to Liverpool. (How many years have they been linked to him now?) They get themselves a nice bit of cash - about 26.5 million pounds (!) - and they've already replaced him with a proven striker in Diego Forlan. Not bad.
Additionally, the Luis Garcia deal I mentioned a few days ago is completely done for about 4 million pounds - very good price, really. He says he's pleased to be back and wants to win the title for Atletico. Well, good for him. I've always liked Garcia, and it's nice to see him back in La Liga. Atletico have also signed a Brazilian midfielder named Cleber Santana, but unfortunately I know nothing about the player and can't comment. Overall, they've done very good business so far. I'm impressed.
Two related pieces of Valencia news. The first is that title-winning Stuttgart goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand will finally be joining the club. The bad news for Hildebrand is that I really don't see him displacing current no.1 Santi Canizares, since the guy who wanted to sign him has now been ousted, and the coach doesn't like him all that much. Cesar at the Valencia Offside has more on this and other transfers.
Speaking of the guy who was ousted for being a bit of a wanker, former sporting director Carboni has 'spoken out' about his sacking, criticising his victorious foe, coach Quique Sanchez Flores, and departing defender Roberto Ayala. I find it incredible that Carboni apparently talked to Bernard Schuster about taking over for Flores when the club were dithering over who they were going to side with in the feud. Flores really doesn't deserve to be sacked. He deserves a sporting director who will sign players according to what the coach thinks the team needs. As for Ayala, a man I have never seen give less than 100% in a game, I find Carboni's argument unconvincing and spiteful.
Goalkeeper German Lux of River Plate has finally moved to Real Mallorca. I wrote about this deal at the last transfer window. Not sure why it hasn't happened until now. Lux is a classy keeper and will give Moya competition for the no.1 spot.
Espanyol have decided that they'd rather not sell club talisman Raul Tamudo (good friend of Barca captain Carles Puyol, oddly enough) to Villarreal, who are looking for a replacement for Diego Forlan. If Villarreal want Tamudo, they'll have to pay his buyout clause.
Speaking of Villarreal, they've done yet another clever bit of transfer business by signing midfielder Rio Mavuba from Bordeaux for 8 million euros. Mavuba's quite highly rated and has been linked to many of Europe's elite in the past, including Juventus and Manchester United.
Next up: my take on Argentina v Columbia, and (finally) my Barca 06-07 player assessments.