Tuesday's Champions League clash between Manchester United and Barcelona looks like it has squeezed every last drop of effervescence and enthusiasm from the pom-pom waving, back-flipping Catalan sports press.Nine months of continual "Come on!" "We can do it!" and "Run you lazy f*cks!" exhortations have taken their terrible toll on the editorial teams of the region's titanic two and left them on their hands and knees, begging for some kind of relief and respite. Should Rijkaard's men be handed their marching orders at Old Trafford then the heads of the disheartened hacks could well melt like those of the Nazis in Raiders of the Lost Ark. "Impossible is Nothing!" yells Sport, 39% of whose readership - at around 10am - expect the Catalan club to go through on away goals. If not, "Frank Rijkaard will be packing his suitcases," interjects Josep Maria Casanovas risking the wrath of Joan Laporta's death ray. Mundo Deportivo is in a more positive mood and splashes "To Moscow!" across its front page. Inside, the paper's managing director Santi Nolla shows why he is the one wearing the journalistic trousers in the MD universe by informing its readers that, "the big key for Barcelona is scoring."
Boca's season is not on fire. Scraping through to the final 16 in the Libertadores, Sunday's defeat by San Lorenzo and struggling (for Boca) in third place in the league Ã¢ÂÂ all after this blogger confidently predicted the team would win everything: Copa Libertadores, League, Lottery Polo Championship.
Football lovers around the world, the group phase of Copa Libertadores Ã¢ÂÂ South AmericaÃ¢ÂÂs Champions League Ã¢ÂÂ is over, and the knockout phases begin in earnest tomorrow (Tuesday) at Lanus. So letÃ¢ÂÂs preview the clashes in the Ã¢ÂÂround of 16Ã¢ÂÂ with the sharpest predictions youÃ¢ÂÂll find anywhere. Well, maybe...
HeÃ¢ÂÂs built more like a marathon runner than a footballer. He runs like a girl and pouts like one. He hasnÃ¢ÂÂt the power in his legs to score from outside the penalty area. And when he isnÃ¢ÂÂt diving around in the area he can usually be found in an offside position.