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Real Zaragoza

Aguirre situation a difficult one to watch

The Japan Football Association (JFA) confirm on Tuesday that coach Javier Aguirre has been sacked over match-fixing allegations.

I would like to do it. I was tempted, I controlled myself, sat on my hands, held my breath and closed my eyes. I want stick my neck out for him. I'm tempted to do it. I want to but can't. I can but don't want to. It's a tricky situation.

There are two things at stake here. The most important thing is his credibility as a person, as a man, and as a father. But also a powered reputation earned on the field as a soccer player and coach and a situation where he could even be put in jail.

My perception...

 By Lee Roden

Spain's fallen giants struggle to claw their way back to La Liga

Leo Baptistao of Real Betis arrives, while a banner asks for players who are fit to wear the shirt as relegation neared last May.

The Estadio Benito Villamarin in Sevilla holds 52,500 people. Bigger than Anfield, Stamford Bridge or the Etihad, it is a ground built for top-flight football, occupied by the sixth-most-supported team in Spain.

This season it has to make do with life in the Segunda. In the same year that Real Betis came within a penalty shootout of the Europa League quarterfinals, a miserable 25 points from 38 league games saw them relegated to the second division. Mismanaged on financial, institutional and sporting...