Will Lyon cause Madrid to choke in the Champions League once again?

Despite being accused in the Twitter-world last week by a particularly sensitive culé of forming part of an anti-Barcelona, pro-Madrid Spain-based journalistic conspiracy, La Liga Loca must confess that it will probably be cheering for the lions of Lyon in Tuesday’s Champions League tie against Real Madrid.

And before the coughing and spluttering Johnny Madridista goes Bernabeu bonkers and kicks the gold-plated wheel caps off the Mercedes in anger over the blog’s lack of Spanish support, LLL should explain that it has chosen to back the French side simply because Real Madrid getting knocked out at the last sixteen stage of the tournament year after year is funny. Really funny. And that’s what’s most important in La Liga Loca-land.

After all, what would February be without Marca proclaiming that Madrid are really, really, this time, honestly, without doubt on the path to 'The Tenth' every year?

Just think how much duller life would be without the clubl’s latest expensive signing revealing the shocking news that he would quite like to win the Champions League for José Mourinho / Manuel Pellegrini / Juande Ramos / that fella with the eyebrows / the one who went to Racing for a bit...and...er...

This year, think of the fun to be made of Florentino Pérez and Marca having to explain away the Special One’s failure in the 5-0 Barça-bashing AND a seventh stumbling in the Champions League at the last 16 phase, a result that is entirely possible looking at Madrid’s recent form in the UEFA jamboree.

The forces of Mordor have not won an away game in the knock-out stages of the competition since 2002, have lost out in the last sixteen stages for the past six years and have never beaten Lyon in six attempts. In fact Madrid have lost all three of their visits to the Stade de Gerland in 2005, 2006 and most recently of all in 2010.

“Mourinho was brought in for nights like tonight,” declared Tuesday’s editorial in Marca, setting up the Madrid coach for a particularly entertaining pratfall. “If we were talking about a doctor, you could say that Mourinho is a world famous specialist (in the Champions League)”.

Up until the team-sheets are published, there will be some doubt over José Mourinho’s chosen formation against Lyon and whether it will be Karim Benzema or Emmanuel Adebayor starting up front. The Madrid manager certainly wasn’t telling at Monday’s press conference, where he was sporting a natty white tracksuit top and looked far from the unshaven, baggy-eyed figure that looked like he had been taking naps in a ditch when he spoke before last Saturday’s match with Levante.

“I always like talking about sporting aspects and the team but not today,” teased Mourinho, “so nothing on ‘pivotes’ or ‘trivotes’".

Seated next to the Madrid’s manager was Zinedine Zidane, who was trying to prove to those sniggerers in the Spanish capital that his role at the club as special advisor to Mr President involved an awful lot more than making sure Florentino’s office slippers were of the required temperature and scuppering LLL’s attempts to adjust the club president’s Wikipedia page to reflect that he suffered from webbed feet.

“I’m at training every day, with the coach every day and with the team,” blustered Zizou in a recent interview with l’Equipe. “I have an office!” he added. Possibly without an exclamation mark.

AS have been far too busy sitting on their naughty step without din-dins after publishing a photograph in Monday’s edition which 'proved' Dani Alves was offside in the build-up to one of Barca's goals against Athletic Bilbao on Sunday’s game, having 'accidentally' removed Koikili, who may have been playing the Barça full back onside. Or not. 

An apology for the error went up on the paper’s website on Monday morning and there is another humble snivel from the AS editor in Tuesday’s edition with Alfredo Relaño admitting that he had been on Catalan radio stations for much of the day trying to put out the fires in the notoriously prickly culé camp.

Inside the paper, there is a detailed explanation of how the mistake was made - something about overlaying images - with AS’s Barcelona writer admitting in a column that “it was not a good day to give up smoking” and groveling once again. 

The good news for all those concerned at AS is that if LLL’s Champions League dream comes true, then there will be an even bigger story to divert attentions away from their mistake - a balls-up that will seem like Mount Everest in comparison, with Lyon making Madrid’s life a misery once again.