Real looking pimpish while Barca go to war
It was the toughest of tests on Tuesday night at the Santiago Bernabeu, but it was a thorough examination that was ultimately passed with aplomb. The final verdict from La Liga Loca was that the evening was a 100% success in every possible aspect. Ã¢ÂÂEffective, comfortable, solid, value for money as well as being wonderfully furry and ever so slightly pimpishÃ¢ÂÂ read the official report.
But thatÃ¢ÂÂs enough about the first outing of LLLÃ¢ÂÂs new winter coat...
Real MadridÃ¢ÂÂs Champions League clash with AC Milan was a 2-0 victory for the home side thanks to two deflected goals, thus defeating Italian opposition who conceded a good 50 metres of the pitch to Madrid whilst treating the game as Ã¢ÂÂa friendlyÃ¢ÂÂ as their boss Massimiliano Allegri huffed after the match.
Nevertheless, that was good enough for Marca whose editorial on Wednesday firmly believes that MourinhoÃ¢ÂÂs men are on the path to glory. Ã¢ÂÂTheyÃ¢ÂÂve beaten small, medium and big rivals,Ã¢ÂÂ purrs the paper, Ã¢ÂÂhome and away.Ã¢ÂÂ
IttÃ¢ÂÂs BarcelonaÃ¢ÂÂs turn to twinkle on Wednesday with Pep Guardiola thanking every star in the sky that attentions at the Catalan club may finally turn to football after a week of off-the-field nonsense which has swung periodically from pathetic to entertaining and back to pathetic again.
The short version of what has been going on at BarÃÂ§a - which really is more than just a club at the moment - is that current president, Sandro Rosell, and his board are accusing the previous regime lead by Joan Laporta of playing rather fast and loose with the expense account during their reign, leaving the club with a debt of Ã¢ÂÂ¬430m and a loss last season of Ã¢ÂÂ¬79m.
A ballot then took place at an AGM on Saturday - which Rosell abstained from - that narrowly voted to begin legal action against Laporta and members of his board to try and get some of the allegedly frittered away funds back.
Laporta responded to the accusations on Monday with a two-and-a-half-hour press conference where he accused Rosell of embarking on a personal crusade to ruin the King of CataluynaÃ¢ÂÂs life. Ã¢ÂÂItÃ¢ÂÂs designed to keep me under suspicion for a while and I believe it will affect my political career and ruin me personally and professionally.Ã¢ÂÂ
The official response from LaportaÃ¢ÂÂs posse is that the accounts reported by Rosell are completely different to the ones he submitted and until he is given a copy of what is being called the Ã¢ÂÂdue diligenceÃ¢ÂÂ exercise, he canÃ¢ÂÂt really respond any further. Which sounds fairly reasonable.
Guardiola has grinned through gritted teeth that none of this matters to his Dream Boys and he may be quite right as most footballers are generally quite content with their lot as long as there is money in their bank accounts and plenty of fresh tail to chase.
Ã¢ÂÂNone of this affects the players as I am in charge there,Ã¢ÂÂ said Pep proudly. Guardiola also responded to criticism in the press from Zlatan Ibrahimovic that he doesnÃ¢ÂÂt know how to manage 22 different personalities. Ã¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂll learnÃ¢ÂÂ he promised the Swedish striker.
Leo Messi has admitted that the BarÃÂ§a squad is a tad tired but that is not expected to have too much of an impact in Wednesday nightÃ¢ÂÂs match against FC Copenhagen although opposition coach, Stale Solbakken, claims that he fancies his chances in the Camp Nou if one name in particular is missing from the team sheet.
Ã¢ÂÂIf Xavi doesnÃ¢ÂÂt play then BarÃÂ§a have no chance against our team,Ã¢ÂÂ announced the Norwegian coach, showing that itÃ¢ÂÂs not just AHAÃ¢ÂÂs back catalogue that proves that his country has a rich comedy tradition.
All of the lovingly-held images of Scottish football get their second airing of the week after last weekÃ¢ÂÂs international tie in Glasgow.
Valencia are in action against Rangers in Ibrox with AS smelling thistle and chip fat in the air and reeling off clichÃÂ©s like Ã¢ÂÂhigh ballsÃ¢ÂÂ, Ã¢ÂÂgraniteÃ¢ÂÂ and Ã¢ÂÂphysical battlesÃ¢ÂÂ in their pre-match preview.
Mestalla-men manager, Unai Emery, is certainly expecting a fun night with a prediction that Rangers will start with five defenders and two Ã¢ÂÂpivotsÃ¢ÂÂ in front of them. Nevertheless, the Valencia boss says his team are in Scotland Ã¢ÂÂto winÃ¢ÂÂ and will be frightening the locals with his own girder-chomping, Donald-whereÃ¢ÂÂs-yer-trousers!-bellowing hard man footballer, Aritz Aduriz.
Real Madrid picked up the first win for Spanish sides in the Champions League this week and LLL expects both Barcelona and Valencia to manage two more on Wednesday night.