Sid Lowe

The X factor

Barcelona -- and Spain -- playmaker Xavi tells <b>Sid Lowe</b> about his football education, Cesc Fabregas and why Paul Scholes is the best midfielder

Messi the magnificent

The football world is running out of superlatives to describe the mesmerising skills of Barcelona's Lionel Messi, writes <em>Sid Lowe</em>.

A Galaxy far, far away

As David Beckham leaves Real Madrid amidst the club's presidential Star Wars, Ramón Calderón's presidency hangs in the balance. He won an election last year on the narrowest of margins after postal votes were suspended by a court ruling because of serious irregularities. However, the embargo on those thousands of votes will soon be lifted by a Madrid judge.

Pérez leaves a ticking time bomb at Real Madrid

Real Madrid's Florentino Pérez may be gone, but the dressing-room divisions and disharmony at the club remain. So, having been through four directors of football, six coaches and 20 players in just three years, Pérez finally sacked the man really responsible for Real Madrid's crisis: himself.

Madrid the puppets in Barca’s hands

Something is rotten in the kingdom of Spain. Two days after the Madrid-Barca derbi and everyone actually agrees. (Well, everyone who's not completely blind, or stupid, or both). No matter where you look people are saying the same thing. That Real Madrid are rubbish, while FC Barcelona are the hostia, the holy host, the body of Christ in bread -- the dog's dingly-danglies to the non-Catholics among you.

Striker burnt too brightly

No one laughed when, not so long ago, Patrick Kluivert was described as the “greatest number nine in the world”. And yet there were few tears in Barcelona this week, only relief. Though it has been coming for some time, the 28-year-old's fall from grace has been as spectacular as his cost.

Jesus ascends to heaven

Sid Lowe reflects on the passing of Atletico Madrid's Jesus Gil -- playboy, chairman and crook -- who died last Friday afternoon. Six days previously, Atletico Madrid's big-bellied, big-hearted and even bigger-mouthed ex-president and majority shareholder suffered a stroke. After nearly a week of fighting, his heart could take no more.

Suitcases and wooden spoons

In the middle of Oviedo stands a statue of a man in a long overcoat and a trilby, with an umbrella and a mountain of old-fashioned luggage. Officially, it's called The Return of William B. Warrensberg, but everyone knows it's actually “Suitcaseman'', a tribute to the star of the final weeks of the Spanish football season.

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