Small Talk caught up with ex-Portsmouth and Coventry striker John Aloisi, fresh from sending Real Madrid plunging deeper into crisis, with a convincing 3-0 victory for Osasuna at a chillingly quiet Bernabéu. An Aussie who just can't stop laughing, but who disappointingly never once said "fair dinkum" or "dag," there was only ever going to be one answer to the Kylie Minogue or Britney Spears question...
From Coventry and Portsmouth to hammering the galácticos of Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu... what's the secret, John?
"I don't know what the secret is. Catching Madrid on a bad day, I suppose. Everyone knows how good they are. We seemed to be able to create quite a few chances - and we put them away. They had a couple of half chances but that's it. I thought we were the better side."
Bad day? Bah! You stuffed them in your first league match against them this season as well, up in Pamplona. It finished 1-1, but you should have slaughtered them, they were [lucky]...
"Yeah, we were really unlucky not to win there, I thought. They only had one chance, for Ronaldo from a pass by David Beckham, and they ended up equalising."
What was the plan this time?
"To pressure their defenders, not give them any time on the ball, don't let them play - because you know what they're like if you let them play, the players they've got. We were lucky enough to score in the first 15 minutes, which put pressure on them. They had the crowd against them after a bad loss in midweek and we kept that pressure on them. We looked to get the ball up in the air against them, too - throw-ins and everything."
John Aloisi in action for Osasuna against a Mr D Beckham
Honestly, what did you think of the Bernabéu?
"Well, er, the atmosphere was a bit, I dunno..."
It's not exactly Osasuna's rocking El Sadar, is it?
[Laughs loudly] "No, no. The arena's unbelievable and when the team plays well it would be brilliant to be here to witness it, but I don't know that they really helped their players out that much... there is this thing here, a bit like with the Italians, where they turn on their team. Whereas in England, I remember playing with Coventry and the fans did more to gee up their team and that does help. I don't think Madrid's fans helped at all."
Is El Sadar the most English of Spanish grounds?
"Yeah, I think so. Also because it's a close, tight ground. The atmosphere is great, and even more so when we play a team like Madrid because, well... ha ha ha... they don't like Madrid very much. Our fans are going to be over the moon with us beating Madrid. The last win here was 4-0, back in 1991, I think, so we nearly, nearly made it... I had the chance, we could have made it..."
What's Osasuna's aim this year, then? Everyone was talking about a relegation battle and now you could get a Uefa Cup place...
"Yeah, and I think we've got a good chance. We have to win our home games now, because we're always pretty dangerous away... if we can make it, it would be the biggest achievement of my career, I reckon." [In fact, Osasuna's form collapsed after the win at Real Madrid referred to above: they lost all of their remaining six matches to end the season in thirteenth place.]
And beating Madrid?
"Oh, it's great. They're the best team in the world, with the stars, Beckham, Zinedine Zidane, Raúl, Luis Figo..."
Who's your favourite galáctico?
"Raúl, because he's achieved so much through the years and he's still only young. He scores a lot of goals - although not so many this year - and he's the one that really works hard for the team. I really like the way he plays."
So, how are you getting on up in Pamplona? Have you run with the bulls yet?
"No, not yet. I'm thinking of staying this year. I'll go to Australia for a bit and then go back to Pamplona for a couple of days. But, no, no, I won't actually run - they wouldn't let me run... ha ha!"
Your Spanish is pretty good...
"Yeah, it's not bad, I get along."
What's the secret to learning it so quickly?
"Erm, well, quickly? This is my third season... [But you're better than most foreigners at this stage, Small Talk protests]. Maybe. The reason I speak better Spanish than most foreigners is because no one at the club speaks any English. So, it's needs-must really. The only one who speaks English is our coach, Javier Aguirre. [Small Talk lets out a kind of pathetic squeak of surprise] Yeah, yeah. Well, he's Mexican and lived in the States for a while."
John Aloisi in a particularly good mood
Right, enough small talk. Here come the really important questions... Kylie or Britney?
[Aloisi bursts into laughter] "That's not a question!... Ha ha ha... Come on, Kylie or Britney?! Of course it's Kylie! Ha ha ha. [Five minutes later. But why?] She's Australian!... And she's got a better body."
What's your favourite biscuit?
"My favourite biscuit? Tim Tams [Small Talk looks blank, just for a change.] It's an Australian biscuit, with Caramel and Chocolate. It's quite nice."
Sounds lovely. Who'd win a fight between a lion and a tiger?
"I haven't got a clue... ha ha... I dunno, the tiger? I wouldn't have a clue..."
Do you miss anything from England?
"I miss the football over there. I love the supporters, I think they're brilliant. I don't miss the weather or the food much, mind."
Is Coventry as rubbish as they say?
[Laughs loudly again] "Er, I don't know. I lived in Leamington Spa, so I couldn't say. I enjoyed my time there."
Sounds like [you're just being polite] there, John. Barcelona or Real Madrid?
"As a kid Barcelona, because they had the better team when I was growing up. At the moment, I guess Madrid have the better team. It's a hard one."
Man United or Arsenal?
"As a kid Man United. [Small Talk rolls its eyes]. Hang on, but that was when they weren't winning anything."
What have you got in your pockets?
"My mobile, my credit card and... not much money."
What colour pants are you wearing today?
And, finally, where are you going now?
"Onto the bus back to Pamplona..." [Having driven the horrendous Pamplona-Madrid trip before, and run out of petrol on the windy moors half way, Small Talk can't believe it. What? You're driving back tonight? It's midnight already and it's miles...] "Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. Nightmare. But we'll have a few beers on the bus and celebrate."