Will the buck be passed at the Bernabeu?

If the clowns running the show at Real Madrid were going to make a complete and utter balls-up described by a finger-wagging AS as ‘unforgivable’ and Johan Cruyff as ‘an enormous mistake’ then their timing could not have been any better. Although the anger and ire from furious fans is still bubbling away over the club’s apparent ignorance over the UEFA ruling that only one of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Lassana Diarra can play in the Champions League, it could have been a ton of pancakes worse had the scandal broken before the country’s fortnight of fiestas. In fact, the festivities are still continuing with Tuesday being a public holiday in Spain - a chance for Pedja Mijatovic to look for those two-for-one hair gel offers and Sergio Ramos to scrape the make-up off his face. The Madrid full-back attended a Three Kings festival on Monday dressed as Baltasar but instead resembled a drag artist that had been dumped in an oil slick.

Two star signings, but only one can play. The choice is yours...

Although both Marca and AS are perceived as the lickspittling lap dogs of the bosses at Castle Greyskull - and most of the time, it’s true - the former remembers from time to time that it is, in fact, a newspaper and has a good old rage against the Madrid machine.

Quite possibly because a consignment of cigars failed to arrive on time or the ham wasn’t quite up to scratch. And it was Marca who discovered that one of the club’s super Champions League signings would be as much use as Maniche in a game of Twister during the upcoming European campaign. The paper wrote that they were tipped off to the offending directive that advises that only one winter signing who has already played in this season’s UEFA Cup can play in the Champions League, on Christmas Day.Marca immediately contacted the club who denied everything, tracked down lawyers to confirm the clause and ran with the story a day later. Real Madrid published a communication explaining that, of course, they knew about the clause and that the players were signed for the future as well as this season.The Marca response was fairly damning. In an editorial, the paper slammed the club for “galactic bonuses, Ultras at the Assembly, the Lassana presentation behind closed doors, what’s next?” referring to the presentation of the French midfielder where fans were locked out for fear of a repeat of the protests which occurred at the Huntelaar ceremony. The obvious question to be put to Real Madrid is that if the club knew of the UEFA ruling, why wasn’t it made clear earlier and why are they now on their knees begging UEFA for special treatment?On a similar note, why did Juande Ramos admit on Saturday that the choice he will have to make between Huntelaar and Lassana was a surprise to him?And why did Madrid sign Huntelaar and Lassana when Calderón was promising players who were “young, quick and able to play in the Champions League?”Marca tracked down an unimpressed but unnamed director who blamed the whole affair on Pedja Mijatovic and his assistant Carlos Bucero complaining that the former has no experience in such legal matters and the latter was a gentleman who, until recently, ran a bar in Madrid.  With Tweedledum and Tweedledee in charge of transfers along with the club’s lawyer being Ramón Calderón’s brother - one wonders how he got that gig - it’s no great surprise that the whole affair was bungled and one player will be wasted for the next six months.

Mijatovic: "Well it ain't my fault, honest..."

Nevertheless, the club still hasn’t given up on persuading UEFA from letting them off their regrettable ruling. After all, Calderón has not spent all that time buttering up bigwigs and handing out gold tie pins for nothing.

“We are going to register two players,” was the quote from the club president in Marca last Monday. “We don’t do personal favours,” was a reply from UEFA. According to Tuesday’s papers, Madrid’s lawyers will petition UEFA claiming that the directives preventing UEFA Cup registered footballers playing in the Champions League is against the spirit of the game. And their legal big guns are citing the example of the eight third placed Champions League teams being allowed into the UEFA Cup as an example. The best way out of this mess for Madrid is to admit that mistakes were made and force someone to carry the can, whether it be Calderón himself, his brother or Pedja Mijatovic - the sporting director who failed to land Ronaldo, Cazorla and Villa, drove away Robinho and pretty much upset every club in La Liga with his way of doing business. As a last resort, they can always blame the manager. After all, it’s a tactic that’s worked well for them in the past.

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