Around La Liga is a new column here on The Ball is Flat where we cover not only the headlines, but the top stories or quotes of the day's events in the Spanish Primera Liga.
Diario Sport (Barcelona): "To evaluate Guardiola you need to see him see him at another site, at another club." That was former Barcelona midfielder Deco who also added this little nugget: "Guardiola was a great coach but I keep saying that he didn't invent anything", and then here's the meat of the matter, "Mourinho is the best coach in the world because he has won wherever he has been and that is very complicated." I won't go into the Mou v Pep argument because that's for a much larger piece. Suffice it to say that it looks like little Deco is still mad at Pep for forcing him out of Barca for being a distraction, and yes as you put it, this club is just like your Barca team with the sole exception of Messi, but many would say that Messi would not have become Messi if you and Ronaldinho had remained on the team.
Estadio Deportivo (Sevilla): "I am happy at Sevilla, where I want to be and where I want to stay." The long and arduous road to happiness for Jose Antonio Reyes has circled back to the place where he started: Sevilla. Despite interest from clubs in China or Turkey, the ex-Atletico, Real Madrid, Arsenal and Benfica winger has stated he wants to remain in Andalusia. The club however are not impressed with his form and work ethic, especially with his prohibitive 1.8 million euro salary, and with the need to prop up a 16 million euros shortfall, selling Reyes is a smart decision. You have to leave home sometime son. Start packing.
Diario Marca (Madrid): "Iker, Iker, Iker!" That's not really a quote, more like a shot across the bow really. So, the first training session back from winter-break is an open one, the supporters crowded in, and while there was support for Mourinho heard from the stands, madridistas chanted the name of their captain. I know Mourinho has said no one is untouchable, that even Diego Maradona (trying to suck up to Mou and maybe grab himself a prize job in Dohai in exchange) said it was stupendous that Mou had benched Iker, but few people are buying it. I agree that they are no monuments in football, but they're wrong about Iker being not at his best. He's still one of the best keepers in the world. His defenders are letting him down. His coach obviously spends more time developing his media strategy than coaching set-pieces. Then again what could a guy like him teach a two-time Euro Cup winner, World Cup winner and someone who has just as many Champions League trophies as the so-called Special One.
Mundo Deportivo (Barcelona): "Happy 2013": The Barcelona paper did their end of the year review for best moments of 2012. Out of 600 or so votes, and a slew of Barcelona related accomplishments to contend with, the Catalan paper's readers voted Spain's winning of the European Championship as the major accomplishment of 2012. As many are the things that separate people (language, culture, customs, and make no mistake Catalans are not Spaniards any more than Basques are) there are many things that unite them. Spain is not just for the Spaniards.
Diario As (Madrid): "It is an honor to train Deportivo": That was Domingos, the ex Braga and Sporting coach who was hired recently to replace the fired Jose Luis Oltra. It was bound to happen, Oltra had them dead last on the table, but the problems are much deeper than those caused by one coach. Oltra wasn't playing some of the loanees that Jorge Mendes had brought to even out the cash strapped club. Domigos will likely do so despite his vow that nationalities won't matter, but the real problem is basing your club on players on loan. It never works.
Super Deporte(Valencia): "I feel really good mister, but the doctors will say when": That was oft-injured forward Sergio Canales responding to coach Ernesto Valverde. Canales is a great player, probably the best in that next generation of Spanish players, and one that they are all counting on to continue Spanish dominance. If he's not healthy, not treated cautiously in his rehabilitation, he'll never reach those heights that everyone expects of him.