Spain’s woeful week in Europe

If Spain’s leading sports dailies were to remove their noses from Cristiano Ronaldo’s groin for just the briefest of moments - especially in the case of Marca, Wednesday’s edition boasting a disturbing upskirt shot of the forward posing in his skimpies - then they'd notice that most of the country's teams are walking the tightrope of doom in Europe.

Indeed, matters are so mouldy that it’s the more-off-key-than-Cheryl-Cole Barcelona who are in the best position to move through to the next round of European competition.

Although the Catalan club got the ‘vital away goal’ against Stuttgart, Pep’s Dream Boys were lucky to come away from Germany with more than a Tokio Hotel bootleg CD. Little more was deserved.

That’s certainly the message from the Barcelona press, who admit that Pep is the luckiest of bunnies after his side suffered a first-half tonking by their Teutonic rivals.

“The champion of the Champions were on the ropes in Germany,” admits Josep Maria Casanovas in Sport. “Guardiola’s men were under par, without spark, lacking depth and without an attack.”

“Ibra scored a golden goal,” was the sigh of relief from Mundo Deportivo's Santi Nolla, who reckons that Barcelona’s performance was the worst of the trio of tripe that includes the clashes with Atlético Madrid and Racing.

And this has left La Liga Loca feeling a tad sorry for the Cantabrian side, whose 4-0 thrashing on Saturday night has been widely seen in the Spanish media as a terrible result for their opponents.

Marca and AS have gone nuts by attributing Barça’s draw to... (drum roll...) the referee, who apparently missed two clear penalty claims for Stuttgart that the blog can’t for the life of it remember.

Zlatan scores his first-ever Champs League knock-out goal

“The worst game for ‘Pep Team’,l” tutted Marca, forgetting that even when Barcelona suck, they still manage to score goals. Unlike a certain other team, for example.

“Barcelona went into the break losing just 1-0 thanks to the referee,” tittered AS editor Alfredo Relaño, who complains that Bjorn Kuipers’ “incompetence was irritating.”

Due to mighty Real Madrid’s incompetence against Lyon, Sevilla are left as the only Spanish side that could pick up a victory in the current elongated phase of European competition.

But hopes are not particularly high considering Manuel Jiménez’ side are facing CSKA Moscow on Wednesday night, without Luis Fabiano, on artificial turf and in -10˚C conditions.

The Spanish teams in last week’s Europa League matches were a complete waste of space and couldn't muster a victory between them.

Athletic Bilbao fans will be enjoying Thursday’s game in Brussels from the confines of a metal cage in the stadium - holding umbrellas, no doubt, due to last week’s wee-wee-gate business - whilst their players hang on to the 1-1 draw from the first leg against Anderlecht.

NEWS: Bilbao fan urinated on supporters

Atlético Madrid share the same perilous situation as their Basque comrades but must instead travel to Turkey to face Galatasaray. So that’s that for the Rojiblancos then.

Villarreal at least managed to score one more goal in their Europa Cup clash with Wolfsburg than the previous Primera pair. Unfortunately, so did their visitors to El Madrigal in a 2-2 draw.

Valencia completed what was a pitiful period for Spanish football with a 1-0 defeat in Bruges. And as in the film, there could be a very messy ending to this particular affair.

Of course, all (counting on hands) six teams who have already had their first legs could turn things around in the days, weeks and months to come. However, La Liga Loca has a feeling that only one of them will manage it.

But, as AS complain, “that’s the luck of the Champions.”

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