Atlético's 'Pupas' refuse to pop off

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Atlético Madrid have had it up to here with being everyone's footballing butt monkeys.

Oh yes. No more comedy last minute defeats. No more Spiderman goalkeeping outfits. And no more 'Pupas' - the infamous cloud of bad luck and gloom that is said to surround the club.

This week, the rojiblancos launched a rather fancy pants TV advertisement. Set in Kosovo, the spot features a Spanish Atlético-loving peacekeeper and a local shepherd who lost his entire family in the civil war.

The whole aim of the arty ad is to destroy the legend of the Pupas by pointing out that having your wife and children wiped out is considerably worse than having suffered years of disastrous football campaigns.

Atlético don Spiderman strip hoping to gain Spidey senses   

"No more Pupas FC," writes AS editor Alfredo Relaño, the morning before Atlético Madrid discovered their opponents in the Champions League draw. "Atleti are in this to win it, like everyone else," asserts Relaño.

Well, the Pupas are still hanging around the Vicente Calderón as Atleti have been given a horrendous draw in a tie that could be worth up to 20 million euros should they qualify for the group phase.

"Dash and darn it," was what a resigned Javier Aguirre may have been thinking when Schalke's name popped out of the hat - a side that plodded along nicely last season and gave Barcelona a moment or two of trouble in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Meanwhile the Catalan club have been handed the considerably easier tie of either Beiter Jerusalem or Wisla Krakow - opponents who shouldn't poop Pep's party too much, even without Leo Messi who squealed on Thursday that taking part in the Olympics is "like a dream come true."

Smiling assassin: UEFA General Sec. pairs Atlético with Schalke 

Marca have renewed hostilities with Betis' Darth de Lopera by reporting that the paper's radio station was banned from a formal presentation on a new club project. "Not that unusual" note the paper considering that they were turfed out of the stadium and training ground some time ago.

But this time round the Betis bigwig has gone too far, complain Marca, by blocking the access of the station to a local town hall where the event was taking place. The paper reports that de Lopera wrangled the local police and council on side to ensure that their journalist could not gain entry to the exciting event.

And they missed out on Darth Manuel advising that he has told BSPORT, the group set to run the club after the takeover deal, that they should not bother renewing Edu's contract as the striker is asking for a pay rise from 1.5 million euros a year to 2 million. "Impossible for a 31 year old," grumbled de Lopera on his team's one and only half-decent player.

All in all, it has been a busy week for mad Manuel as, on Tuesday, the judge poking his nose into accusations that de Lopera's holding companies have been siphoning cash from the club appointed two investigators who will have the fun of pouring over 15 years worth of accounts, bank statements, beer mats and backs of cigarette packets.

This being a normal day in sunny Spain, there is yet more mayhem leaking out of Mestalla.

Juan Villalonga - the temporary president kicked out of the club with a reported 10 million euro pay off for three weeks work - has revealed that Valencia are in the process of selling David Silva to Roma in a deal worth 25 million euros and that he himself prevented David Villa from being flogged off to Real Madrid.

Stuff and nonsense say the club in a rather sniffy statement. "Valencia deeply regrets that someone who is a member and well known supporter of Real Madrid... has tried to create a climate of lies in the media with false promises and demagoguery."

Silva to Roma for 25 million euros? Not on your nelly...

Villalonga has promised to watch the club with the same careful attention that Maniche gives to a sticky bun meaning more madness in Mestalla is on the cards for the next few months.

Fabricio Colocinni - or rather, his agent - is the latest to wave the slavery banner around. Marcelo Lombilla is complaining that Deportivo turned down a perfectly good 11 million euro bid for his client from Newcastle. And he is mightily peeved about the whole affair.

"Slavery was abolished years ago," whined Lombilla. "Will Lendoiro be able to sleep easy after ruining the player's career?" The answer is yes, although with the aid of an orthopaedic bed and an oxygen tent, mind.

Getafe new signing, Eugen Polanski, has spoken about his motivations for moving from the Bundesliga to a rather dour suburb of Madrid. "It's different," explained the midfielder, "at Borussia Mönchengladbach you always had the pressure that you must win every time."

Presumably not an issue at his new club then.