Barça battle through as Mourinho rubbishes rumours
Whenever supporters of Real Madrid and Barcelona whine, bleat and stomp their feet about how they are so, so, so hard done by when it comes to referees, La Liga Loca always reminds such complainants of the notion of 'swings and roundabouts' in football and how everything tends to even itself up at the end of the season.
Of course, this largely falls of deaf ears, with the same supporters wandering off muttering Ã¢ÂÂVillaratoÃ¢ÂÂ and Ã¢ÂÂAnti-VillaratoÃ¢ÂÂ under their breaths.
But the philosophy came into play in BarcelonaÃ¢ÂÂs double header with AC Milan. Alexis Sanchez was denied a decent penalty shout in the first leg, but the Catalan club got a favourable decision in the second. Alessandro NestaÃ¢ÂÂs naughty tug on Sergio Busquets, a player who doesnÃ¢ÂÂt need much encouragement to go to ground, was spotted by the referee, who (eventually) pointed to the spot.
The happy-go-lucky Zlatan Ibrahimovic was not impressed. Ã¢ÂÂI now know what Mourinho meant about coming to the Camp NouÃ¢ÂÂ the Swede grumbled. Meanwhile, the Madrid managerÃ¢ÂÂs Ã¢ÂÂspokesmanÃ¢ÂÂ Eladio ParamÃÂ©s tweeted Ã¢ÂÂafter the first 45 minutes we now know who is going to win the Champions League.Ã¢ÂÂ
LLL says simply "themÃ¢ÂÂs the breaks."
BarÃÂ§a were the better side over the two matches and will now feature in their fifth Champions League semi-final in a row, a feat that has Sport tickled pink, with the paper declaring PepÃ¢ÂÂs Dream Boys Ã¢ÂÂKing of the ChampionsÃ¢ÂÂ.
Ã¢ÂÂBarcelona are officially the best team of the 21st century. Three titles and five consecutive semi-finals show this,Ã¢ÂÂ boasts LluÃÂs MascarÃÂ³, who is already looking forward to a ClÃÂ¡sico-themed final and what could be a major, major back pedal should Barcelona eventually come out second best. Ã¢ÂÂThe winner of this Ã¢ÂÂmother of all finalsÃ¢ÂÂ would be the Ã¢ÂÂchampion of championsÃ¢ÂÂ. The loser would suffer a difficult to overcome sporting and psychological reverse.Ã¢ÂÂ
The may be a distinct lack of similar tension in Wednesday nightÃ¢ÂÂs Champions League clash between Real Madrid and APOEL, with the Spanish side 3-0 up from the first leg and hosting their Cypriot rivals in the Santiago Bernabeu, where the home team only tend to lose to sides rhyming with Ã¢ÂÂCarcelonaÃ¢ÂÂ.
So, plenty of opportunity for mischief, especially from AS, who have this week been peddling the story that Kun AgÃÂ¼ero will be coming to Real Madrid over the summer, with Gonzalo HiguaÃÂn and Ã¢ÂÂ¬10 million going to Manchester City, where the former Rojiblanco player is reportedly not happy.
When probed on this possible move, JosÃÂ© Mourinho poo-pooed it completely, claiming it was a false story and that Ã¢ÂÂif I comment on false front pages (all the time) then nothing will get done.Ã¢ÂÂ
There is a hanging-in-the-balance theme to the three la Liga teams in action in the Europa League on Thursday. AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid are heading to Germany to take on Hannover in a clash where a slender 2-1 advantage is held by the Ã¢ÂÂHombres!Ã¢ÂÂ of Diego Simeone.
Valencia are on the brink of oblivion, with poor Unai Emery facing a game in an angry Mestalla against AZ Alkmaar, who have a 2-1 lead from the first leg. Meanwhile, European heroes Athletic Bilbao will be defending a 4-2 advantage in San MamÃÂ©s against Schalke, with Marca predicting a giant tribute from the home fans for the former Real Madrid man, RaÃÂºl. LLL has a feeling that this may be a dream that wonÃ¢ÂÂt be coming true.