Barca left with six days to find a way around Madrid's rearguard

When the immensely unhinged Lluís Mascaró, writing in Wednesday’s edition of Barça-barmy Sport, declared in a fit of hysteria that the Copa del Rey final was “a battle between good and evil, between generosity and meanness, between love and hate,” LLL realised things were going to be more than a little fruity both on and off the pitch before, during and after ‘Clásico II - The Cup Final’.

But that didn't mean the sight of Alvaro Arbeloa treading on David Villa and then dragging him to his feet in the first half of Madrid’s eventual 1-0 win came as any less of a shock - and it was just the first of many spats and spits between the two teams on a fractious night at the Mestalla.

Happily, the nation's potty press provided a sense of normality, both pre and post game, fixing bayonets and taking up their usual defensive positions.

“Mou, this is why they brought you in!” was Marca’s front cover on Wednesday confirming Florentino Pérez’s newly adopted, self-preserving policy of ‘win-at-any-costs-you-lumps-do-you-know-how-much-of-the-club’s-cash-I’ve-blown?’

Unsurprisingly it was Marca who were the most enthusiastic when it came to post-match cheerleading, with their beloved Madrid having won the newly-squashed Copa del Rey for the first time in 18 years, a moment that brought an estimated 100,000 fans to Cibeles to greet their heroes at at 4.30am - but only once the trophy had been rescued from under the front wheel of the double-decker bus.

However, in a particularly melodramatic article, the paper’s Madridista-in-chief Eduardo Inda did not seem at all happy about the result.

“Juan Merengue is sad about what happened in Valencia. He’s sad to see the Copa del Rey being lifted by a team that has destroyed the traditional values of Madridismo. He’s sad because a team that allows Pepe and Khedira to play should not win anything. He’s sad because Florentino Pérez, the worst president in the history of world football - or perhaps of the universe, has won his way.”

But don't worry, the paper’s director was in fact making a rather clumsy attempt at sarcasm. Either that, or he is now a pile of ashes on top of an office chair having been on the wrong end of one of Florentino’s pin-sat death rays.

Inda has successfully mimicked the approach of the Catalan press on Thursday morning, who are in pouty, arms-folded, "we're not playing any more" mode, with Sport’s headline pointing out that Madrid “have the cup, but we have the league”. “In two matches, Barça must show why they are the most admired team in the world,” wrote Johan Vehils with another nauseating smug-fest among a series of articles that rambled on about anti-football and all the usual guff.

The orders from Sport's Lluís Mascaró are considerably stronger. “May nobody talk about the end of a cycle. May no-one from the Taliban media cavern say that the blaugrana project is over.” It’s hard to know what Mascaró will do should anyone disobey his commands, as judging by the writer’s by-line photo, the columnist has the air of Hi-di-Hi’s Jeffrey Fairbrother about him. But without the menace...

Mundo Deportivo are attempting to be a little more adult in the face of Barcelona’s defeat, with Thursday’s front cover looking towards the Champions League semi-finals their team are probably going to lose on away goals. “Yesterday, Real Madrid won the cup. Congratulations. But it will be avenged,” warned Santi Nolla.

“Madrid are the cup champions after stopping Barça from scoring in 120 minutes of play. An achievement that must be recognised,” writes Miguel Rico in the nearest the Catalan media camp get to complimenting Mourinho’s successfully deployed tactics.

In the eyes of one Sport writer, the world is now being ruled by the forces of darkness, which would explain why so many people seem to be staying off the streets in the Spanish capital today - or it could just be down to the combination of a bank holiday and a lot of sore heads.

Regardless of that, the Catalan contingent can grumble all they like but it won’t help Barcelona in the battle against Mourinho’s forces of Mordor. Pep’s Dream Boys have now been stopped in their tracks by Madrid twice in the space of five days. Barcelona have about the same time to find a solution to prevent it from happening again.


The ‘LLL Deserves a Bank Holiday Too’ Mini Weekend Predictions


Valencia v Real Madrid - Away Win
Barcelona v Osasuna - Home Win
Athletic Bilbao v Real Sociedad - Home win


Mallorca v Team Dubai - Home win
Sporting v Espanyol - Draw
Hércules v Deportivo - Goalless Draw
Racing v Málaga - Away Win
Atlético v Levante - Home Win
Sevilla v Villarreal - Home win


Zaragoza v Almería - Home win