FergieÃ¢ÂÂs Franco-fest sparks Spanish cyberspace storm
For a few soiling seconds on Tuesday evening, La Liga Loca had the experience of how it must feel to be a Manchester United fan. And what a very disturbing moment it was, too. That needed much scrubbing.
The root cause of this sorry sensation were the comments by Fergie that Ã¢ÂÂReal Madrid, as FrancoÃ¢ÂÂs club, had a history of being able to get whoever and whatever they wanted before democracy came to Spain.Ã¢ÂÂ
Franco vs Fergie, Fascism vs Socialism
Now the blog isnÃ¢ÂÂt going to poke its political pole into the historical honey-trap being set by the Oracle of Old Trafford; that would require insight, maturity, rationality and reason. Four things that, the last time the blog checked, it wasnÃ¢ÂÂt in possession of.
What Sir AlexÃ¢ÂÂs allegations to GQ did mean was that the blog would be able to swerve the eye-gougingly dull topics currently dominating the Spanish sports news agenda. Namely...
a) are Barcelona even dreamier than the Dream Team?b) is there a global refereeing conspiracy against Real Madrid?c) have Bernd Schuster and Sergio Ramos kissed and made up?d) isnÃ¢ÂÂt the Copa del Rey exciting?
But, in order to fulfil the news requirements of todayÃ¢ÂÂs edition the answers, in brief, are...
a) Ã¢ÂÂNoÃ¢ÂÂ, say Pep and Txiki. Ã¢ÂÂYes, yes, yes!Ã¢ÂÂ say Sport and Mundo Deportivob) Ã¢ÂÂDonÃ¢ÂÂt be sillyÃ¢ÂÂ, say Marca. Ã¢ÂÂWe need to ask RamÃÂ³n CalderÃÂ²n what to think firstÃ¢ÂÂ say AS.c) Ã¢ÂÂYesÃ¢ÂÂ say AS, who printed an imaginary conversation between the two parties. All that was missing was Sun-style speech bubbles and Bernd Schuster lounging around in his lingerie. And 'yes' says Michel Salgado in an interview in Marca that required at least seven, yes, seven journalists.d) No. No it isnÃ¢ÂÂt.
The lack of RaÃÂºl in the debate means that the editorial pages of the two Madridista papers are still in a bit of a tizz over what to think about the Sir AlexÃ¢ÂÂs slurs, aside from Roberto Gomez noting that his words were Ã¢ÂÂdefamatoryÃ¢ÂÂ.
However, this reticence is not shared by the ranting readership of MarcaÃ¢ÂÂs website.
The defining factor of politics in Spain is that you are generally either for or against something. None of your Trevor Brooking-style fence-sitting and issue-chewing, thank you very much. The country is pretty much split down the middle between Left and Right with the two twains rarely meeting, except for a cheeky beer once in wee while.
"No harm in leaning on a fence. Or is there?"
Combine this scenario with the fanaticism of football and you have a headier cocktail than anything Ronaldinho could ever dream up.
For this reason, the United managerÃ¢ÂÂs comments are the number one story on the paperÃ¢ÂÂs website and has racked up, at the time of writing, 849 comments. And, as to be expected, the very, very, very brief sampling of the Marca readers musings suggest that Fergie is completely wrong. Or completely right.
Ã¢ÂÂItÃ¢ÂÂs disgusting, it shows a lack of respect for its fans,Ã¢ÂÂ says one peed-off poster. Ã¢ÂÂIf Madrid say RaÃÂºl for Spain, then he has to play for Spain. They think that if they keep saying Ronaldo will come to Madrid, then the English should drop their trousers... isnÃ¢ÂÂt this Francoist thinking?Ã¢ÂÂ said one ready-to-explode reader.
Despite the never-ending circles in which the debate will spin around like Paolo AssunÃÂ§ao on a football pitch, it beats having to discuss the two-legged non-tussles between Benidorm and Barcelona, Portugalate and Valencia...