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Mid-Day Ticker: Players in Spain on strike, Taylor on trial at Leeds and more

Spain (Getty Images)

Barcelona and Real Madrid put on a show during the Spanish SuperCopa, but those hoping to see the two powerhouses in action again sometime soon will have to wait a little while longer than expected.

Players in Spain's first and second division will be on strike for at least the first two scheduled weekends of the season, starting with what was supposed to be Saturday's opening day of the season. The players' union reportedly wants an increase in the amount of emergency pool money available for clubs who can't afford to pay their players due to financial difficulties. Reports say that more than 200 players are owed approximately a combined €50 million.

The union is also reportedly asking for players who are owed at least three-months worth of payments to be able to get out of those contracts and seek employment elsewhere.

Here are a few more stories from around the soccer world:


American forward Tony Taylor is on trial with Leeds United, according to reports out of England.

Tayor, 22, was most recently with Estoril Praia in Portugal's second division, where he scored four goals in mostly a reserve role.

A former U.S. Under-20 international, Taylor would join current American forward Mike Grella at the club, which has expressed its desire to bring back defender Eric Lichaj on loan if Aston Villa were to make him available.


American centerback Zak Whitbread suffered a knee injury in Norwich City's Premier League opener against Wigan Athletic last weekend, and he's considered doubtful for Saturday's match against Stoke City.

"I'll have to wait and see how he is in the morning, and I'll decide. If there's any doubt on him, it's too big a risk to take a risk on any of the players," Norwich manager Paul Lambert said on the club's official website.

The club brought in Daniel Ayala on a transfer from Liverpool to provide cover at the centerback position.


While the season in Spain will be delayed, Atletico Madrid will receive a major boost once it begins after the capture of former Porto striker Radamel Falcao

The Colombian was brought in for a hefty $57 million transfer fee and will be expected to fill the void left behind by Manchester City's Sergio Aguero. He scored 34 goals in all competitions last season in helping Porto to an undefeated season in Portugal and the UEFA Europa League crown.


What's your take on the La Liga strike? Think Taylor has a shot at cracking the Leeds roster? Hope Whitbread isn't out for too long? What do you think about the price Atletico Madrid paid for Falcao?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. + 1000, if you work, you should get paid. Blaming the players for the clubs fiscal mismanagement is like blaming a crackbaby for being a crack head….

  2. You mean people want to get paid what they are contractually owed for their labor? What a shock. How many weeks would you keep going to work of your boss just stopped paying you? Knowing that you couldn’t get another job in your field because it’s a closed shop. Leo Messi probably wouldn’t notice if he didn’t get paid for a couple weeks. But I bet the backup keeper at Malaga would. Every US team sport guarantees wages in case of bankruptcy. Why not La Liga?

  3. And I hope you realize that (a) your figure for the U.S. is just a tad high, although not wildly so; (b) the exact same screed I posted above can just as easily be aimed at the NFL and NBA players who think playing with themselves merits a seven- or eight-figure income; and (c) this travesty makes MLS players, whatever their warts (and there are a few!), look awfully sane and respectable by comparison. They may not be all that good at soccer, but they are, by and large, genuinely decent human beings — and that means a lot more, at the end of the day, than a third mansion on the Riviera!

  4. One way or the other, it’s a freakin’ disgrace, frankly! Unemployment in Spain is hovering around 20% right now and the nation is teetering on the brink of fiscal insolvency — and here are a bunch of spoiled-rotten multimillionaires who kick a silly ball around for a living, carrying on like the sorry crybabies they truly are about how “unfair” their wages are! Every last one of these jagoffs deserves to be dropped off in Somalia for a few months to get a much-needed dose of perspective on their “unfair” situation! What an unmitigated freakin’ disgrace!

  5. Who claimed that England had great competitive balance? Not me. This is one reason I enjoy following MLS more than European leagues, even with the difference in the quality of play.

  6. But it is not, and that is the problem.

    You can say that Barcelona and Real Madrid would finish 1-2 in every league in the world and also claim that La Liga is competitive.

    Let’s change some words around and see how it sounds.

    Manchester United, Liverpool, and Chelsea will finish top 3 almost every season, but the EPL is still the most competitive league in the world.

    Sounds familiar now, doesn’t it?

  7. It is cherry picking if your two arguments are “La Liga has great competitive balance, look at how many teams have finished in the top two in the last eight years” and “Barcelona would finish first and RM second in every league in the world”. They are contradictory arguments.

  8. Cherry picking? No.

    And you’re kidding yourself if you think anyone other than United and Chelsea have a chance of winning the EPL title.

    Put Barcelona and Real Madrid in any league in the world and they would make it a “two horse race.” People don’t seem to understand that.

    Barcelona is one of the greatest footballing teams in history. Not just now, but ever. The only reason that Madrid comes close to them is because Madrid is honestly THAT good.

    You cannot claim Barcelona is one of the best teams in history and then in the same breathe claim that La Liga only has two good teams. That’s just intellectually dishonest.

    Barcelona would finish first (and Real Madrid most likely second) in every league on the planet.

  9. In fairness, “La Liga is as much of a two-horse race as the SPL” and “outside of the top four, the quality of La Liga is no higher than that of the SPL” are different claims and the latter is ridiculous.

  10. Yes I believe that as far as competitive balance La Liga is on par with the SPL I don’t think spl is as good as La Liga but they both have the same resembalance. I don’t put much sock in UEFA rankings when clearly the second best league based on competition is the bundesliga.

  11. lol nice cherrypicking of evidence-Since the 2004-05 season two teams have won the La Liga championship. During that time ONE team other than Barcelona or Real Madrid was able to finish second. Even more unsettling, in the past three years, the gap has only widened, with Barcelona and Real Madrid finishing 1 and 2 respectively. The days when Valencia could finish first and Real Sociedad or Villareal could finish second are over. The unsustainable arms race between Barcelona and Real Madrid has given them an insurmountable advantage over every other team in the league, to the point where on day one only two teams can win. The EPL has its issues and isn’t perfect, but there are more than 2 teams who could legitimately win, and the middle to bottom of the EPL is subsantially better than its La Liga equivalents.

    Moreover, even if La Liga and the EPL have a similar structure, the degree is what’s key-the difference between 2nd and third in La Liga was a whopping 21 points. In the EPL?-3. In fact, to find a team 21 points away from third-place Man City, you have to go all the way to 8th place Fulham. The year before in La Liga the difference was 25. What happened in 2002 is no longer reality in La Liga, as unfortunate as that is. It is as much a two horse race as the SPL.

  12. Agree (partially) on England; disagree on Spain.

    The clubs in the Spanish league made a total loss of more than 100m euros in 2009/10, which is the most recent year for which I can find data. This is fine for RM and Barca, since their huge income makes their debts sustainable in the long term; but it’s crippling for other clubs who have to compete with them. Valencia have sold David Villa and David Silva, and will probably sell Juan Mata this summer; and yet they’re still hugely in the red in terms of operating income, and 400m euros in debt because of their (unfinished) new stadium. Not sustainable in the long term, particularly if the cost is the competitive balance of the league (which you were trumpeting below).

    Where I disagree about England is in the long-term financial health of the league. FFP will have impacts to clubs who are running huge operating debts relative to their income (ironically, outside of Man City and Chelsea this is mostly lower-end clubs trying to stay in the top flight), but clubs like Arsenal and Man United are actually hugely profitable before their debt payments.

    One of the big differences between England and Spain is in the division of TV revenue. Unlike the EPL, La Liga allows teams to negotiate their own TV deals, which results in a HUGELY disparate playing field. RM and Barca combined take in approximately 50% of the entire TV revenue for La Liga, or on the order of 150m euros each per year; in the same year, Valencia and Atletico took in 40m euros, Villareal 25m, etc.

    Another way of comparing this is the multiplier between the richest club and the poorest club with respect to TV rights. In the EPL it’s 1.5 (Man U : West Ham); in La Liga, it’s 12 (RM : Malaga).

    All this is a complicated way of saying that while RM and Barca will be fine, the league won’t be without either continued external investment (a la Getafe) or structural reform. I also can’t imagine that much of the former without the latter.


  13. Do you seriously believe that?

    UEFA has La Liga ranked as the second league in the world.

    SPL is ranked as the 15th league in Europe and only two teams have ever won it.

    Since 2000, 8 different teams have finished at the top of the table or as a runner-up in La Liga. That is better than the premiership by a long shot.

  14. The clubs as a whole will be fine. This is more an indication of the Spanish economy tanking due to the construction bust.

    Anyone that likes a train wreck should be waiting for the EPL crash that is inevitably coming with financial fair play or if the pound drops for whatever reason before that.

  15. Sounds like the Spanish fa needs to have the clubs redo all the contracts for clubs in peril. If they can’t compete w barca and real madrid then change the formula. But they have to start looking at the league as a whole and not the top 4 teams la liga except for the top four is no better than the spl.

  16. I wish that transfer fee amounts were clarified regarding to currency. Pounds? Dollar? Euro? Better yet just convert it to the dollar since this is the American Voice.

  17. Spanish soccer is in bad financial shape. I can’t imagine that Barca and RM will be able to continue negotiating their own TV deals if the rest of the league is going to stay afloat. The rest of the league just can’t find the money.


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