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La Liga 2007/2008

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    Weirdest attempt to motivate your team-mates

    Valencia winger Joaquín and his tunnel talk, in which he shouted: "Come on lads, let's do them. There's not many of them and they're malnourished." Alas, by the time Valencia gathered in the tunnel before the second half, the battle cry had changed, goalkeeper Santiago Cańizares shouting: "Come on lads, for fuck's sake, let's avoid this becoming an embarrassment."

    Greatest entertainers

    Atlético - at the Calderón, at least. As if three successive 4-3s weren't enough, there was a 6-3 and a game of comic genius against Getafe, in which Perea punched Belenguer, Maniche tried to maim Cata Díaz, Granero got in a fight with a ball-boy, Pato started on the subs, Aguirre started on Pato, the goalie coach refused to give the ball back, Maxi got taken out, and so in fact did just about everyone else. It was slapstick violence at its best, every tackle leaving fans wincing and laughing in equal measures, and in the middle of it all Clos Gómez lost the plot and started dishing out cards like a croupier on crack. Twelve in less than half an hour, plus six reds, including one for Sevillian simpleton Reyes, who'd only been on the pitch quarter of an hour, and Aguirre's No2 for "making observations". It finished nine against nine, eight minutes into additional time. When Manu de Moral was handed the record-breaking eighteenth card in the 94th minute, the Calderón roared its approval, chanting: "We want more! We want more!"

    Best goal

    Getafe's he's-behind-you moment at Madrid was the season's funniest, and Javier Arizmendi's strike in the same stadium, when he sent Fabio Cannavaro sliding dementedly by like a McDonald's worker on his way to the chip pan, was the most unexpected. But there have been better – like Marcos Senna against Betis, a Fernando Varela hit that was plain indecent, and Cazorla's perfect one-two against Barça. Ronaldinho briefly reappeared to score a phenomenal overhead kick only to be overshadowed by what Kun Aguero did at the other end - probably the best of the Argentinian's catalogue of great goals. And then there was Álvaro Negredo's flick-up-and-finish. But this column's favourite was this beauty from Valladolid – the fastest goal in La Liga history.

    Best coach

    Unai Emery: does exactly what he says on the screen. The Almería coach went on telly with a tactics board and explained how he was going to defeat Real Madrid 24 hours before going into the arena and doing precisely that – the high point of an exceptional season. Manuel Pellegrini not only led Villarreal to their best-ever finish but did so having had to rebuild his team after Riquelme's departure. But the winner has to be Racing Santander manager Marcelino García, who took his side to a first ever, thoroughly improbable, European place in 94 years of history.

    Player of the year

    Runner up: Iker Casillas. Normally the Zamora award goes to the keeper with the best defence. Not this time: Iker faced more shots than anyone else in Spain but performed weekly miracles like he was having a nice cup of tea.

    First: Sergio Aguero. The milk. The consecrated bread. Born of a whore mother. The dog's dinglie-danglies. With his low-slung balance, skill, quick feet, acceleration, vision, strength and goals (19 of them, if you believe Marca; 20 according to the Federation), 19-year-old Aguero was unbelievable this season, finally taking an otherwise fairly average Atlético back to the Champions League. The "New Messi" could turn out to be the new Maradona. And not just because he's marrying El Diego's daughter.

    Team of the season

    GK: Iker Casillas, Madrid.
    RB: Dani Alves, Sevilla.
    CB: Gonzalo Rodríguez, Villarreal.
    CB: Fabricio Coloccini, Deportivo.
    LB: Joan Capdevila, Villarreal.
    RM: Wesley Sneijder, Madrid.
    CM: Marcos Senna, Villarreal.
    CM: Seydou Keita, Sevilla.
    LM: Santi Cazorla, Villarreal.
    S: Sergio Aguero, Atlético.
    S: Dani Guiza, Mallorca.

    Subs: Edu (Betis), Ibagaza (Mallorca), Raúl, Heinze, Pepe and Guti (Madrid), Milito and Messi (Barça), Garay (Racing), Fabiano (Sevilla), Casquero (Getafe), Pires and Nihat (Villarreal), Forlán (Atlético), Llorente (Valladolid).

    And, finally, some of 2007-08's choicest quotes

    "[Espanyol president] Daniel Sanchez Llibre's behaviour was infantile and absurd" - So said Joan Laporta, the man who stripped to his undies at airport security.

    "We might as well give up on football, grab a coffee and start playing cards if this is what's going to happen" - Zaragoza keeper César Sánchez bitches about the refs, while Zaragoza fans wonder why he and his team-mates didn't come up with that idea 38 weeks earlier.

    "I miss tea" - Thierry Henry sums up every ex-pat's Spanish hell.

    "I've got at least four or five of the squad behind me" - Valencia coach Ronald Koeman neglects to add the words, "brandishing knives".

    "When I went to Valencia, Joaquín was worth €30m; now he's worth 30" - Koeman doesn't so much cut off his nose to spite his face as hack at it with a scythe.

    "Ronaldinho is training in the gym today" - Aye, right.

    "What is black one day is white the next" - Xavi Hernández reports back from the Neverland ranch.

    "Stick a collar on him" - Bernd Schuster explains the best way to stop Leo Messi. And later blames it on his son - the Schuster really writing Bernd's blog.

    "Barça are more than a club and you, Sir Norman, are more than an architect" - Joan Laporta reaches for the architect's hand while everyone else reaches for the sick bucket.
    Coraje, corazón y cojones.