Marca call for the head of Pontius Platini

Like binge-drinking and grumbling about the weather, Spain has taken up another fine English hobby in recent weeks - big-club paranoia over the dastardly plans of the froggiest Frenchman, Michel Platini.

“Platini shouldn’t say anything bad about those teams that form part of the institution that he’s in charge of,” fumed Marca’s editorial on Saturday.

“He insults Madrid!” screamed the front-page. “He has no respect for fair play and once again he attacks Spanish sides.”

It was an incredible toys-out-of-the-pram performance from the Real Madrid fanzine who moved Spain’s World Cup qualifying clash with Belgium off the cover and replaced it with the head of their snail-tickling, frogs' legs-loving target.

So what had UEFA’s biggest cheese done to raise such a kerfuffle in the Spanish capital?

Had he poo-pooed Madrid’s request to have the Bernabeu club named the best side of the 21st Century with 90 years still to go?

Was he stalling on Real’s insistence that Florentino Pérez officially be titled His Magnificence?

Nope.

Instead, Platini had taken the disgraceful decision to give a neutral, diplomatic answer to a loaded question on whether Real Madrid’s spending would bear fruit this season during a manager’s conference in Nyon.

“Pérez wants to win everything and that’s why he’s signed such big players... let’s see what happens in May,” was Platini’s perfectly reasonable response to the poser that caused fists of fury at Marca HQ.

Apparently, failing to predict a thousand-year reign of glory for the greatest side in the world is now a criminal offence.

Laporta: "I love what you did there, Mikey!" 

But this lunacy from a paper was a mere Arizmendi to Friday’s David Villa-sized insanity.

Some poor sap who probably had high hopes of winning Pulitzer prizes back in journo school was forced at gunpoint to write a headline story predicting 109 league goals for Real Madrid this season if they keep up the same scoring at the same rate as pre-season and the league tie against Deportivo.

Unfortunately, La Liga Loca can reveal that this admittedly impressive figure won’t be enough to pick up the la Liga title this season.

Under Marca’s ingenious logic, Villarreal are set to set finish the league with an admirable 191 strikes, which should cover any defensive lapses that may occur in the Yellow Submarine camp between now and the end of May.

Villarreal have averaged just over five goals a game in their 10 pre-season clashes and one la Liga tie, so far, meaning that Michel Platini is quite right to hold his horses on predicting a year of glory for Florentino's fancy footballers.

With AS very much out of the Real Madrid loop these days, the paper was forced to run a fairly old story detailing Florentino’s plans to build a Real Madrid theme park next to the training ground - a project that would need 150m euros of investment to kick off.

What with the reported plans to build a mini-Arena next to the Bernabeu, stick a roof over the rain-sodden ground and expand car-parking within the stadium itself, it’s very fortunate that the Real Madrid president is also in charge of one of the world’s largest construction companies.

Very fortunate indeed.

Over in Barcelona, La Liga Loca must castigate Sport and Mundo Deportivo for simply not trying hard enough during the international break, when compared to the sterling efforts of Marca.

Tired of the Pep / Laporta / Barcelona are brilliant / really brilliant / really, really, brilliant routine, Sport decided to build-up the Argentina vs Brazil World Cup qualification clash as a titanic tussle between Barça’s Messi and Madrid’s Kaká.

However, it’s a theme that has since been quietly dropped considering how things turned out for poor little Leo on Saturday night.

Instead, Zlatan’s late winner for Sweden against Hungary moved onto the paper’s headlines as a straw-clutching saviour for the Catalan club.

With yet more pages to fill before the players of la Liga return to their teams, the Barcelona-loving paper must be hoping for their own insults and slurs from Platini.

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