The empty chair in the press area next to LLL never stood a chance.
Kicked repeatedly when Pepe was sent off, kicked repeatedly after Leo MessiÃ¢ÂÂs two goals saw Barca place one foot in next month's Wembley final and then booted with not inconsiderable vigour off its hinges at the final whistle by the irate and increasingly drunk Madrid fan sat behind the blog. The sozzled supporter was clearly not at all happy with what had unfolded at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday night.
Once again, brave, plucky, strikerless, barely-moving-out-of-their-own-half-in-the-first-45-minutes Real Madrid had been foiled by UEFAÃ¢ÂÂs ongoing plot to make Barcelona the bestest team in all the land and Champions of Europe forever and ever.
That was the narrative spouted by JosÃÂ© Mourinho after the match, and a rather rattled Mou caused gasps of both disbelief and excitement as he launched into a spectacular rant concerning BarcelonaÃ¢ÂÂs supposed favoured status with UEFA, complete with shoulder shrugging aplenty and Robert de Niro facial grimacing.
Ã¢ÂÂPor quÃÂ©?Ã¢ÂÂ asked the Special One repeatedly, Ã¢ÂÂWhy?Ã¢ÂÂ
Ã¢ÂÂFootball should be played with the same rules for everyone with the best team winning,Ã¢ÂÂ argued Mourinho, who is perhaps redefining Ã¢ÂÂwinningÃ¢ÂÂ as Ã¢ÂÂgrinding out a goalless draw in front of your own fansÃ¢ÂÂ.
While seeing Mourinho complain of Pepe-hating plots against himself and in favour of Barcelona is no great surprise, what really got the juices flowing was the Madrid manager's rather mean-spirited comments regarding BarcaÃ¢ÂÂs Champions League win of 2009. Ã¢ÂÂPep Guardiola is a fantastic coach, but he won a Champions League that would have shamed me due to the scandal at Stamford Bridge. If they win this one it will be after a scandal at the Bernabeu.Ã¢ÂÂ
This is just one of many open musings made by Mourinho that have seen Barcelona call an emergency board meeting to discuss whether the matter should be taken up with UEFA.
Unsurprisingly, seeing the Madrid manager so unsettled by the 2-0 defeat that he has already written off his teamÃ¢ÂÂs chances of a comeback has moved the Barcelona press to a state of near arousal, with Mundo DeportivoÃ¢ÂÂs front cover proclaiming Ã¢ÂÂecstasyÃ¢ÂÂ after the result.
Writing inside, Santi Nolla also has a solution to MourinhoÃ¢ÂÂs red card Ã¢ÂÂpour quÃÂ©Ã¢ÂÂ conundrum. Ã¢ÂÂItÃ¢ÂÂs very easy to answer: itÃ¢ÂÂs because of Mourinho. The Portuguese coach gets his footballers to play to the limit every time against Barcelona.Ã¢ÂÂ
SportÃ¢ÂÂs doberman of destruction - he of the Taliban of Madrid claims - LluÃÂs MascarÃÂ³, is understandably in a sprightly mood and declares that El ClÃÂ¡sico III was Ã¢ÂÂclass against power, brilliance against vulgarity.Ã¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂBarÃÂ§a managed last night in the Bernabeu to win their passport to the Champions League final and shut MourinhoÃ¢ÂÂs mouth.Ã¢ÂÂ
ThereÃ¢ÂÂs more sympathy for Mourinho and Madrid in the local papers. But only just. The main support for the clubÃ¢ÂÂs plight comes from TomÃÂ¡s Roncero, who fumes that Ã¢ÂÂin the same way the Villarato is working in Spain, itÃ¢ÂÂs the Platinato in Europe.Ã¢ÂÂ
However, thatÃ¢ÂÂs to be expected from the maddest of Madridistas. ThereÃ¢ÂÂs criticism for both sides from AS editor, Alfredo RelaÃÂ±o, who fusses over what was largely a disappointing spectacle filled with pushing, shoving and more than a little diving. Ã¢ÂÂTwo such excellent teams are transmitting an inappropriate image in these games.Ã¢ÂÂ
LLL was expecting Marca to be fuming over PepeÃ¢ÂÂs sending off. Although that is the case to a degree, now that former director Eduardo Inda has left the paper a semblance of balance has been restored that sees Marca being particularly forceful in its criticism of MourinhoÃ¢ÂÂs tactics and formation for the semi-final clash.
Ã¢ÂÂIt was a mediocre Madrid before and after the sending off of Pepe,Ã¢ÂÂ according to the paperÃ¢ÂÂs match report. It was a comment echoed by ThursdayÃ¢ÂÂs editorial which boomed that Ã¢ÂÂthe huge irritation provided by a mistake of this size must not serve as an excuse to forget the fearful line-up set up by Mourinho.Ã¢ÂÂ
In JosÃÂ© MourinhoÃ¢ÂÂs mind the Spanish FA, Spanish League and UEFA are all out to get him. He really is in trouble if the local press have turned on him too. After all, it could be someone upstairs who is next to take aim.