Santi and Joan Capdevila aren't with us this year, of course, so we'll just have to wait to see who joins Giuseppe Rossi in this year's effort. No doubt it will be fun and a bit offbeat, just like last year's outstanding effort. We do know Rossi will be participating again, as he tweeted a photo of himself getting made up for the spot. Doesn't look like he's going to be tossing any pizzas this time, though.
Meanwhile, interesting rumors around. Is Nilmar really off to Roma? Radio Marca apparently thinks so, but I think the report is based on agentspeak again.... his agent says Roma is giving Villarreal 48 hours to accept their offer, which is lower than the one in the summer ( and probably they would want to pay in installments, which Sr. Roig is unlikely to agree to). And it's also reported that at least one Brazilian club is going to make an offer for him as well.
All of us would have been happier had Roma tabled their €22 million offer in July--then we could've kept Santi--but it's hard to see why Villarreal would sell Nilmar now, unless the deal is so good Sr. Roig can't pass it up. But as we discussed on our last podcast, strikers are our weak link at the moment. Nilmar needs to concentrate on improving his game, which has been woeful lately. So I'd be surprised if anything develops.
And, while Sr. Roig has been keeping a low profile as far as possible coaching changes are concerned, Sr. Llaneza is apparently getting far away from it all, taking a trip to China. Apparently this has to do with some interest in developing working relationships with Spanish clubs to develop young Asian players, though I suppose it's possible that some sort of sponsorship deal could be discussed as well, as I've seen rumored via twitter.
Finally, you'll remember that after Villarreal eliminated Odense in the playoff game for the Champions League, several of us felt the Danes would do pretty well in the Europa League. That prediction didn't come true, but Odense did play an important part in their group. With Fulham needing to defeat Odense at Craven Cottage to advance to the Round of 32, Odense scored a tying goal with literally the last kick of the match.
It's become fashionable in many quarters (particularly in England) to diss the Europa League, but take a look at the Wisla Krakow players and fans as news of the Odense equalizer comes in. Let's face it, we'll miss those Thursday nights at El Madrigal this spring. The Europa League draw is Friday, the Champions League draw the following day. It'll be interesting to see how seriously Man City, Man United and Valencia take the EL.
Enjoy your Thursday!