Could Mourinho be out of Madrid before he’s even in?

It was the kind of story that brought out the Daily Mail-reading, ‘God help us if there’s a war’ side of LLL. Those poor Barcelona bunnies having to travel to bus.

The agony...the torture...

But then the blog imagined poor Bojan being forced by the Big Kids to sit up front on his own...Xavi strapped into his booster seat, peering through the window...a hyperactive Dani Alves flicking the back of everyone’s ears for 14 hours...and the Dream Boys having to sit through another of Pep Guardiola’s inspirational DVDs - a pirated copy of ‘Invictus’, reportedly.

Thankfully, to give us an idea of how hellish life must have been during the two day, 985 km Italian trek, Mundo Deportivo printed a page-sized graphic of what the inside of a coach looks like, for those Catalan readers who may never have set foot on one and consider all mechanical transport as the devil’s work.

Barça’s bus appears to have seats, some tables, a microwave oven (UNICEF-approved), and a toilet, where young Master Messi may have been forced to spend a fair old chunk of the journey, should he have gotten car sick, the little scamp.

 One Barcelona coach that doesn't have a built-in microwave

The downside was that the créme-de-la-créme of Catalan coaches also had the colours and crest of Barcelona plastered over the outside, which gave plenty of opportunity for Madridista motorists to hold up  “honk, if you’re winning nothing, this season!” signs, no doubt.

After slumming it in a 14 star hotel in Cannes on Sunday night, the Barcelona team arrived in Milan at 2pm the following afternoon.

And after a wee kick-about with his players, Pep Guardiola admitted that the voyage wasn’t the ideal preparation for the game and also made the naughtiest of digs in Real Madrid’s direction by commenting that “I prefer to spend 14 hours on a bus to play in the Champions League than watching the semis on TV.”

The Barça boss also noted that the journey could have been a whole lot worse for his side. “If Inter had been knocked out by CSKA Moscow, we would have had to have left on Saturday,” joked a perky Pep.

José Mourinho - or Saint José, as Marca director, Eduardo Inda has now anointed him - knows Guardiola’s Coldplay-loving ways all to well, and guessed that “Pep is capable of turning a journey of 12 hours into extra motivation for his team.”

 One Barcelona coach that does have a bulit-in microwave

The Barcelona press have also hotfooted it to Italy, Planes Trains and Automobiles style, but the effort appears to have worn out Mundo Deportivo who can only stick “Forza Campeón!” on their front cover and dribble on about how important it is to win the two-legged tie against Mourinho’s men.

Sport are feeling just as wilted and are all too aware that the current Inter Milan side are a bit of an unknown quantity. “It’s going to be tough, hard and equal,” predicts the fence-sitting Josep María Casanovas.

Marca are just hoping the whole Champions League business goes away ASAP, with the dreaded sight of Barcelona walking out at the Bernabeu in the final, coming closer and closer.

And that’s why the paper has linked their constant claim that Mourinho will be the next Madrid boss - whether he likes it or not - with the notion of the Champions League clash with Barcelona being his first big test, in his new position.

To this end, the paper has a full page portrait of the Inter manager dressed as The Bride in ‘Kill Bill 2’, standing in front of a blood-spattered wall, clutching a sword, with the crests of Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid sewn onto his natty, yellow jump suit.

 One former Barcelona translator with a microwave in his kitchen

“He possesses a criminal instinct which is what, in the end, is the difference between the superlative and those that are merely good,” gushes Eduardo Inda who has fallen for Mourinho’s lovely-sounding “spirit of a killer.”

However, all this presumption of Mourinho’s immediate future does beg the question of what will happen if Inter fail in their mission of preventing the ultimate humiliation of Florentino Pérez by knocking Barcelona off their Bernabeu path?

Is it possible that the paper’s next headline will be “Mourinho out!” even before he’s in?

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