The main preoccupation with the Spanish football press this week was getting their panties in a bunch over what they felt was the criminal decision of a group of footballers, managers and journalists independently deciding not to vote a Spaniard as the FIFA World Player of the Year, Ballon dÃ¢ÂÂOr thingy.
Poor old LÃ¢ÂÂÃÂquipe, who used to dole out the annual prize, seem to have been parked in FIFAÃ¢ÂÂs stinky, old shed at the bottom of the garden like an incontinent aunt to make room for Sepp BlatterÃ¢ÂÂs Nobel Peace Prize bid. But itÃ¢ÂÂs tough titties to those cheese-eating surrender monkey journalists for selling their souls to the Swiss supremo.
Editor of AS, Alfredo RelaÃÂ±o, amongst all the grumbling in the paper about Leo Messi being chosen ahead of Xavi HernÃÂ¡ndez and AndrÃÂ©s Iniesta, did at least take time to point out that the decision was not Ã¢ÂÂmade by a small panel that can be influenced, but an ocean of specialistsÃ¢ÂÂ and should thus be respected.
Ã¢ÂÂUp yours Delors!Ã¢ÂÂ was the spirit of MarcaÃ¢ÂÂs offbeat response to MondayÃ¢ÂÂs gala goings-on with the newspaper under the impression that FIFAÃ¢ÂÂs truly lovable leader personally chose Leo Messi just to annoy the heck out of Spain, even further, after failing to give the country the World Cup in 2018 along with a host of other crimes that are probably UEFAÃ¢ÂÂs responsibility. However, Marca has never been a newspaper thatÃ¢ÂÂs overly concerned with facts to drive home a point with a king sized mallet.
Ã¢ÂÂOnce again, Blatter is against the Spanish!Ã¢ÂÂ fist-pumped the paperÃ¢ÂÂs front page on Tuesday getting itself into a big of a tizz. Ã¢ÂÂWhat does it take to win the Ballon dÃ¢ÂÂOr?Ã¢ÂÂ asked the editorial. Ã¢ÂÂThe head of FIFA has again shown his antipathy against our football,Ã¢ÂÂ an argument that appears to suggest that the organisationÃ¢ÂÂs leader either rigged the competitionÃ¢ÂÂs voting or should have.
Looking at some of the eyebrow-raising results of the readerÃ¢ÂÂs polls in the paper from time to time, LLL is sure that someone at Marca can offer advice on how best to do it.
Over in Cataluyna, Sport and Mundo Deportivo had a win, win, win situation over the honour with three Barcelona players in the running for the title. And neither of the papers were going to let their readers forget this.
Ã¢ÂÂClearly BarÃÂ§a won and any of the three finalists would have accepted it being shared,Ã¢ÂÂ opined Santi Nolla in Mundo Deportivo. In the offices of Sport, Josep MarÃÂa Casanovas sensed the swill that Marca were going to concoct and preempted with the plea not to Ã¢ÂÂpoliticise the prize, Leo is the number one and plays for BarÃÂ§a and in the Spanish league.Ã¢ÂÂ
Ã¢ÂÂGuardiolaÃ¢ÂÂs BarÃÂ§a is shielded against all hate attacks,Ã¢ÂÂ sniffed his colleague, LluÃÂs MascarÃÂ³ a day later when the plea fell on deaf ears.
But now onto infinitely more interesting business and the continuation of a breathless Copa Del Rey which is set to reach the first leg of the semi-final stages before January is over. Wednesday and Thursday see the start of the quarter-final stages and some rip-roaring ties there are in store, too.
WednesdayÃ¢ÂÂs serving of cup footie starts with the delectable Villarreal against Sevilla. The ever reliable, faithful forward of the Andalusian club, Luis Fabiano, appears to have contracted an unfortunate muscle injury, coincidentally when there is a great deal of chatter concerning a move to Corinthians after a reported Ã¢ÂÂ¬6 million bid that will almost certainly be laughed out of town by his side.
The chatter has mainly come from Luis FabianoÃ¢ÂÂs agent, JosÃÂ© Fuentes, who has his eye on a new Miami Beach condo perhaps and has advised that Ã¢ÂÂnow is the best time for Luis Fabiano to leave Sevilla and play in Brazil.Ã¢ÂÂ
Second division Real Betis have certainly talked the talk ahead of their clash against Barcelona in the Camp Nou with coach, Pepe Mel, saying the tie was 50-50.
However, Betis lost the first battle in the cup clash when the Spanish FA turned down the rather cheeky request from the near bankrupt club to have the order of the matches reversed so Betis could kick off in the Ã¢ÂÂwhatever their stadium is called this weekÃ¢ÂÂ to help boost the attendance.
ItÃ¢ÂÂs harder to get excited about ThursdayÃ¢ÂÂs first cup clash considering that Deportivo are involved in it with a visit to AlmerÃÂa, but the same cannot be said for a game kicking off at ten which continues AtlÃÂ©tico MadridÃ¢ÂÂs ambitious bid to lose four times to JosÃÂ© MourinhoÃ¢ÂÂs moaners in a single campaign.
These days watching AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid is a similar experience as peering into the window of a pet shop: pitiful, sad, sometimes distressing but highly addictive. Still rumpled from a 4-1 ass-kicking by HÃÂ©rcules on Monday night, the Rojiblancos have been in fighting talk mode with JosÃÂ© Antonio Reyes claiming that it was a good time to play Madrid as he and his teammates were Ã¢ÂÂangry and upsetÃ¢ÂÂ and wanted Ã¢ÂÂshow everyone the team we are.Ã¢ÂÂ
The problem with that plan of action is that the team they are is largely a crap one but one that hopes AtletiÃ¢ÂÂs normal dismal record against Real Madrid in the league wonÃ¢ÂÂt be carried through to the cup.