|First Division - Day One|
Well, we're back from holidays (cut short this year unfortunately) to start the new season. Anelka, Litmanen, Hasselbaink - if you've been following our transfer rumours section you don't need me to tell you about the goings on during the close season. The doors finally shut on new signings at midnight last Friday and will not open again until December, with Valencia getting in their last minute signing of Pellegrino with only three minutes to go. The limitation of six non-EU players per squad meant that several big names have been left without a place in their teams. Real Madrid left out Jarni and Ognjenovic, although one or both of them could join the squad in December if Julio César and/or Savio get their EU passports this Autumn. Rodrigo, Tote and Canabal found last day homes at Valladolid, Benfica and Rayo Vallecano respectively, Rodrigo's loan arrangement being part of a deal to sign Valladolid's promising young keeper César as from next season. Alvaro was included despite a long term injury, but this may just be a tactic to save a space for a future signing (injured players can be replaced during the season under certain conditions). Barcelona included Amunike, possibly for the same reason, but only registered a squad of 20 rather than the 25 allowed, which could leave them short if they get any serious injuries. They do have cover however, and up to seven youngsters from the B side have been pencilled in, with Xavi and Gabri likely to spend more time in the primera liga than the second B.
Atlético Madrid were forced to leave out Njegus and Cristian Diaz, but found a place for Juninho, even though Ranieri wants him to leave. Mena was also left out until December after picking up a serious injury in a training match clash of knees with Lawal which also saw the Atlético B player on the next operating theatre table with a similar problem. Atlético's controversial signings of Capdevila, Hasselbaink and Hugo Leal and attempts to sign others seemed to upset half of the footballing world, and Leal's transfer is still pending resolution by FIFA. Other players left out include Geli (Atlético), Pantelic (Celta), Ayala and Vidakovic (Betis), Helder and José Ramón (Deportivo), Isailovic (Valladolid) and N'Kome (Numancia). Oviedo's Joyce Moreno may also be out after falling out with manager Luis Aragones.