Spurs' troubles don't concern Madridista press as Real eye Clásico semi

Tuesday certainly started well enough for Spurs fans, who made this week’s Champions League trip to the Spanish capital.

The first gaggle stumbled into Madrid’s Plaza Mayor just shy of 10.30 in the morning and settled down for a drinkie or two in the shade at a terrace table. Soon, they were joined by thousands. Perhaps millions...

When the hideously overpriced cafés and bars of Madrid’s main square were drunk dry - by about midday - the Tottenham hordes hauled cases of beer into the square and kicked off a very Spanish tradition. The ‘botellón’ is the smelly chaos that occurs when a whole bunch of (usually young) people with neither the resources nor desire to drink in a bar bring their own booze to a spot in the town centre and spend much of the night screeching out their own versions of already awful pop songs and peeing willy nilly. Along with the vomit. Oh, the vomit.

Normally, the police move in to kick the botellón participants out, but on Tuesday the Madrid plod seemed relatively happy to have the thousands of Spurs fans in one place knowing that most would be dead through heatstroke and dehydration by five.

Some twelve hours on from those first cock-er-nee visitors kicking off the day with their late morning beer, the mood was considerably less cheery among the Tottenham posse, with Spurs having endured a disastrous evening at the Santiago Bernabeu, starting with Aaron Lennon’s reported tunnel-based tummy trouble, Emmanuel Adebayor's early goal and Peter Crouch’s 15th minute sending off.

Leader of the long faces was Harry Redknapp. At Monday’s pre-match press conference, ‘appy ‘Arry couldn’t have been chirpier. When asked what result he would accept, the Spurs boss replied: “it’s only a good night if they played well, otherwise it’s not a good night.”

A day later, Redknapp’s big glum face gave an indication of his shell-shocked state of mind after a four-zero thumping that left his side without the merest glimmer of hope of a comeback at White Hart Lane in a week’s time.

But Tottenham’s problems were of no consequence to the Madrid press, who are now spared having to drum up a “we can do it!” campaign for the second leg. “An easy thrashing for Madrid against a poor Tottenham,” scoffed Marca who had little sympathy with Spurs’s self-imposed problems.

Despite the London club not being one of the established big guns of English football, a genuine, fiery Premier League-style contest was expected in the Bernabeu - but it was not to be, with Santiago Segurola in the paper’s match report noting the “lamentable emotional state of Tottenham”

AS are most excited indeed squealing on Wednesday’s front cover that “La Décima is in sight” - Madrid’s very longstanding dream of a tenth European Cup title.

This may not be premature hyperbole if Pep Guardiola’s gloomy predictions about his side’s own quarter-final first leg clash against Shakhtar Donetsk are any indication. Aside from the pessimistic one held by Johan Cruyff, the view in Spain is that while the Ukrainian outfit will be tough opponents, the general assumption is that Barça will get through one way or another to set up a semi-final date with Madrid.

Not so, says the Dream Boys boss, who fretted in the press conference that “for the first time in the Champions League I don’t have a good feeling.” The odd snigger that LLL has heard suggests Pep is being a little hysterical ahead of the game, but the blog suspects that this message being broadcast that Shakhtar are "a great team, a super team,” is more for the ears of the players, press but most importantly of all the fans.

Catalan daily, Sport, have jumped on board the bandwagon with the front cover reminding culés that “Ladies and Gentleman, these are the quarter finals!” and to put down their bocadillos for the game and give the players a clap. “We must take care not to disrespect a rival that can cause a serious upset if you don’t play with all five senses.”

Mundo Deportivo’s message is a simple one - for simple writers and simple readers perhaps. The front page is filled by the word ‘Goals’ and little Leo Messi’s face, referring to the difficulty Barcelona have had scoring them of late, by their admittedly lofty standards - just nine in Barça’s last six games.

But despite Pep’s butterfly tummy, Barcelona should go through against Shakhtar and set up a three week mad-zone of four Clásicos, leading to footballing chaos reigning in Spain and possibly the end of the world as we know it.