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Bernabeu Bites: Atletico Madrid Not To Be Taken Lightly, FIFA Financial Fair Play And More!

Welcome to Bernabeu Bites where every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday I take you around the world of Real Madrid, la Liga and European Football in tasty bite-size form. So grab your favorite beverage, sit back, relax and enjoy!

The media battle continues to rage in Spanish Football: if it isn't about TV revenue, it's about radio money and (again) broadcast rights. In week two of la Liga action (which actually was the first week, because of the strike) radio reporters were banned from stadiums across the league. In response, they've decided to take legal action, and have set up a meeting on Thursday to discuss the issue in what they believe is their right to inform.

"The League initially refused entry to radio broadcast journalists for Week 2’s fixtures (the opening round of games in light of the AFE’s strike action) on a point of disagreement with radio stations over whether or not they should pay a fee to continue to report on games. The League’s stance - led by Mediapro President Jaume Roures - is that the accreditation radio journalists are entering stadiums under does not cover the right to live commentary."


Even though Atlético Madrid sold off two of their best players in the last transfer window--Diego Forlan to Inter Milan and Sergio Augero to Manchester City--Valencia Manager Unai Emery believes that the Madrid side should not be taken lightly. They brought in Radamel Falcao and Diego to fill those gaps (from Kun and Forlán), and their new goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois (on loan from Premier side Chelsea) will replace David De Gea, who now has the tough task of filling the shoes of a certain goalkeeper at Manchester United.

"We are already thinking about the match against Atlético, a team who let go of their two biggest names but who have replaced them with important players," Emery said. 

"Atletico are still a very dangerous team and Saturday's match will be the first of an intense series of contests for which we will be needing the entire squad."

Real Madrid President Florentino Pérez is set to reveal his "Grand Plan" to expand the Bernabeu in 24 days time to the Assembly in Madrid. For the project to go forward, Perez would need the blessing of both the city and community of Madrid.

"30,000 metres of la Castellana may be used for what is expected to expand each side of the stadium by eight feet, which will also allow the development of a Beijing Olympic Stadium-style enclosure, at an estimated cost of €40 million [£35.2m] to build."


As we all know, Nuri Sahin has yet to play meaningful minutes in a Real Madrid kit. It seems that again he's had setbacks with his knee. Sahin hasn't been this seriously injured since he tore his ACL at the age of 16 (which also made him the youngest player to appear in the Bundesliga) and now Madrid is looking outside the club for answers. We've heard anything from October to November for his return, which would be nice since he hasn't played a competitive game in 141 days.

Take this next one with a grain of salt, but according to Crunch Sports, Jose Mourinho was keen on Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez (I refuse to call him by his nickname as I find it ridiculous.), during the summer transfer window. Not only that, but I guess there was some interest in Liverpool's Luis Suarez.

FC Barcelona President Sandro Rosell says they wont be prodded into responding to Real Madrid, who he says are trying to push their buttons.

"We will not fall into the provocation of Madrid. We are living the best moment of our history and we do not deserve to be distracted from our path. Internally, we all agree, the board, technical direction and players," said Rosell. "I understand there are fans who do not agree, but I am convinced that most support us."

Maybe their supporters should take a page out of their favorite club's advice.

One of the things that really confuses the hell out of me is the whole FIFA Financial Fair Play stuff and the impact it will have on clubs. One thing I do know is that Real Madrid wont be effected by the FFP--yes, los blancos have spent a boat load of money, but the team makes enough to balance that out.

Here's a great breakdown from Arsenal Offsides--I beg you to read through the whole thing.  It's a bit long, but he does a good job on shedding some light on the subject. Here is a snippet for you:

"Anyway, let’s move on to the next basic principles of FFP. Punishment for non-compliance can come in the form of a ban from European competition, so the penalties can be stiff. These penalties will not kick in until the 2013-14 season. So in theory, a club can spend whatever it wants for now, with no worries for the next couple of years. However, in that season, FFP will look at its first "monitoring period," which will be the preceding two seasons. Therefore, FFP has already begun this year, for purposes of the first monitoring period."

-Arsenal - The Offside

And now I'd like to introduce a new feature that really I stole from Cartilage Free Captain, a very fine Tottenham Hotspur blog here on SBN. I'd like to highlight some of the great football writing going on in our backyard, especially since I mention European Football in the opening to every Bernabeu Bite, so I might as well deliver on that promise.

Around The SBN Network

Serie A Strike Over, Owners And Players Sign New Contract -
Another league that went on strike is returning to action this weekend. I've just recently decided to start following Serie A - of course I pick a team that has a bit of a checkered past and present. Juventus.

The Frank Lampard Question - We Ain't Got No History
After Fabio Capello recently left Frank Lampard out of the first choice XI for England's last international match, Graham over at SBN's Chelsea blog (and a fine one at that) provides answers to the question "Is Lamps done?"

Jack Wilshere Out For 2-3 Months With Injury - The Short Fuse
Arsenal just cannot catch a break. I'm thinking about turning the term "Arsenaled" into a verb and referring to it any time a team gets absolutely pummeled on the pitch.

Rafael Van Der Vaart Injury: Attacking Midfielder Out Six Weeks With Hamstring Tear - Cartilage Free Captain
Speaking of a team that can't catch a break and is living in the relegation zone early on in the Premier League season, they're sitting on a dismal seven goal differential. 

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