Barça-barmy press make first move in pre-Clásico media war

The big, bold notices splattered across the morning Marca in the run up to a meeting between Real Madrid and Barcelona usually either bring La Liga Loca to blubbering, shuddering tears of desperation or have it clapping like a sea-lion given the chance to puke fish guts over Justin Bieber.

Monday was very much the former for a tired and distressed LLL. But Tuesday sees the blog in much finer fettle and able to embrace the madness.

For those new to all this clásico kerfuffle, the build-up to the twice-yearly battle in the Madrid and Barcelona press between Spain’s top two teams rarely covers such tedious areas such as tactics, but is a mass mud-fight of taunts, insults and the kind of behaviour that would have toddlers standing hands on hips going, ‘really?’

But being aware that there are a fair number of Culés and Madridistas out there who may need arming with everything they need to know and throw ahead of Monday’s game, LLL will attempt to cover the gist of the war of words that has kicked off.

Starting with some ammo for fans of the Camp Nou club - the general Barça vibe has fallen back on all the “we do things properly...look at our youth scheme...more than just a club...Unicef on our shirts” insufferable smugness that supporters of every other club in the world - or people just queuing at the cashpoint - are subjected to from time to time.

Sport lead the way by complaining that Barcelona have not had a single penalty this season, compared to the five given to Real Madrid - evidence of the pro-Madridista bias with the league referees, of course.

The paper also boasts that Barça are set to start the game with eight youth team players compared to the one of Real Madrid. However the Barça press don’t really have the hand of this taunting business, as hard as they try, and are already getting their collective panties in a bunch about the concept of José Mourinho, a manager who is the big, bad bogeyman for Barcelona fans.

An editorial in Monday’s edition was entitled “Ignore Mourinho!”. Directly below that instruction was another that immediately disobeyed the ruling by warning of “The Mou Factor!”

Even though Sport would have welcomed the former Inter Milan man with open arms and cupcakes a couple of years ago had Pep Guardiola not got the gig, Joan Batlle puts a rather desperate boot in, by grumbling that “the Portuguese man has tried by all means necessary to destabilise rivals with the lowest insinuations.”

Elsewhere, Batlle’s colleague also ignores the ‘ignore Mourinho’ command, moaning that “Mourinho is as good a coach as he is a grand maestro of provocation.”

Francesc Aguilar has his sights set on Cristiano Ronaldo in comparing the Madrid man with little Leo Messi, a comparison where the Barça player comes out on top to no-one’s real surprise.

“Messi’s football is stratospheric,” gurgles the Sport scribe, “but he does things normally, he doesn’t look to humiliate rivals”. Apart from scoring hat-tricks against Almería, a team who had long since given up the ghost in Saturday’s stonking.

Marca are holding fire for the moment, but do report that Ronaldo is fouled more often than Messi. And yes, the blog is at just as much of a loss to know what point they are trying to make. Possibly it is an implication that the Barcelona man doesn’t get enough protection from the referee...

Despite Sport’s constant complaints that Mourinho is the great provoker who will do and say anything to win a game, it has been a fairly low key start to clásico week in Castle Greyskull, with the Madrid boss suggesting that the clash really isn’t all that. “It lacks the salt and pepper of a knock-out game,” claimed Mourinho in Monday’s Marca. “It’s not decisive.”

This comment was a fairly rare one from the The Very Special One who has been serving a two match touchline ban in la Liga, a ban which Mourinho has rather enjoyed. “It’s been my best 12 days at the club, just working with my players, no media, no press conferences.”

This silence is set to be broken after Madrid’s Champions League game against Ajax on Tuesday night, both by Mourinho and by the Madridista press. The Barça-barmy papers may have fired the first volley in the war of words, but LLL is sure that the response from the Spanish capital is going to be swift.

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