Spanish press ponder Champions chase

With three English teams having qualified for the semi-finals of the Champions League for the third season in a row, the Spanish press have taken a teeny time-out on Thursday to sniff out the chances of the one remaining local side for local people still slugging it out in the tournament.When La Liga Loca says ‘time out’, the blog means donating a couple of column inches to the topic. After all, there is other important business to attend to both in Madrid and Catalunya.  Sport are busy plugging Xavi’s ‘autobiography’ My life is Barça - an in-depth, no holds barred, tittle-tattle telling tome that will shock the world of la Liga. Not really. As the book is sponsored by the paper and one of their ‘writers’ helped with the scribbling, chapters such as ‘Joan Laporta - what’s with the girl’s name?’ are unlikely to appear.

Xavi: No.1 bestseller. Or not

Josep Maria Casanovas writes that the treble is very much on, but is starting to get the wobbles over the six weeks or so to come. “When you look at the calender for the next month, it’s enough to give you a fright. Every three days they are playing for everything.”

Mundo Deportivo have begun trying to get the London-living Deco to return their calls, having spent the past six months or so blaming him and Ronaldinho for all of the Catalan club’s troubles last year. Meanwhile, in the inside pages, Francesc Aguilar is looking for Pep Guardiola to bring back the ‘spirit of Chelsea’ from 2005 when the team ‘unfairly’ lost 4-2 in the last 16 second leg clash at Stamford Bridge. “It was in those very same dressing rooms when the players vowed to win the following year’s competition.” And so it came to pass in Paris, Dear Reader.

AS editor Alfredo Relaño admits that the English teams may know a little bit about playing the world’s game after all, and gives them a doggy biscuit for doing so.

However, he does not see them ruling in Rome come May. “The English play nice, attractive, energetic, solid, practical football. But none of the three teams are as good as Barça."

JT heads home controversial winner in 2005

The paper also continues its ‘glass is half full’, ‘glass is half full’ approach to Cristiano Ronaldo.

When Sir Alex was accusing the pouting ponce of being a workshy, lazy, mercenary, sulking so-and-so the other week, the paper saw this as a very positive thing for a player whose precious, ham-loving heart is pining for the Bernabeu and the chance to play alongside Miguel Torres. AS views Ronaldo’s super strike against Porto as a taste of things to come next season for Real Madrid, of course. Marca also ponder the continued dominance of the English league but are less willing to put their cojones on the line and tip Barcelona for the title. “A third European Cup is not going to be easy. The English teams stand in their way,” boomed Thursday’s editorial. There is praise for little old Villarreal and their Champions league exit against another English side, but few grumbles over the eventual result which saw a 4-1 aggregate win for Arsenal. “They leave with their heads held high,” write Marca, “but they never really had any options.”

“Pound for pound... the English side was better than the Submarine,” admit AS. In a fortnight’s time, we will discover if it will be the same story for the current league leaders against Chelsea.

Van Persie sinks Yellow Submarine

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