Barça loosen their belts as Catalan press poke fun at MadridÃ¢ÂÂs mess
If you thought the wonderful world of Barcelona was feeling tingly and tangly last week after the frenzied French kissing of Leo Messi by Sepp Blatter at the FIFA awards - figuratively speaking, of course - thatÃ¢ÂÂs just one wrinkle on Manuel PellegriniÃ¢ÂÂs face compared the little fluffy cloud the Camp Nou collective are living on now.
Real MadridÃ¢ÂÂs stodgy draw away to AlmerÃÂa - where PepÃ¢ÂÂs Dream Boys banged in eight, you'll remember - has given BarÃÂ§a the chance to loosen their belt a tad - oh, how Ronaldinho would have enjoyed that sensation - kick back with a cool one and enjoy what the Barcelona media are portraying to be the civil war in Mordor.
Comfortable at the top of the table, holding a 5-0 advantage over Betis in this weekÃ¢ÂÂs Copa del Rey and facing the visit of Racing Santander at the Camp Nou on Saturday - about as frightening a prospect as an episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch - itÃ¢ÂÂs time for some series fun-poking from the Catalan press at Real MadridÃ¢ÂÂs expense.
Sport write that JosÃÂ© Mourinho is a permanent fixture on the presidential naughty step due to his constant attacks on referees as well as his public complaints about the hopelessness of Karim Benzema and the Madrid youth academy. The spat with Jorge Valdano that is currently being fought out through the papers certainly isnÃ¢ÂÂt helping the Madrid presidentÃ¢ÂÂs mood, either, writes Josep MarÃÂa Casanovas.
Ã¢ÂÂFlorentino PÃÂ©rez is on the brink of a nervous breakdown. Neither he nor the fans will tolerate another year without trophies,Ã¢ÂÂ chuckles the Sport journalist without too much sympathy really.
Even the Madrid camp is getting skittish with AS reporting that Florentino PÃÂ©rez is ordering an end to the quest for a reinforcement striker if Ruud Van Nistelrooy doesnÃ¢ÂÂt return to the Spanish capital after a year of Bundesliga fun.
Mou: Feeling the pressure at Real for the first time...
Meanwhile Marca and Real Madrid have joined forces, if you can imagine such a thing, and deployed a Ã¢ÂÂmove along, nothing to see hereÃ¢ÂÂ strategy involving a drawn-out three day interview with the clubÃ¢ÂÂs great figurehead, a man who is admired, loved and cheered by nearly every pavement-blocking Spaniard in the land - Iker Casillas.
Not really. ItÃ¢ÂÂs with Cristiano Ronaldo. Of course.
Naturally, the first day of a spread thatÃ¢ÂÂs bigger than ManicheÃ¢ÂÂs buffett largely sees questions related to MarcaÃ¢ÂÂs massive obsession - aside from the loveliness of JosÃÂ© Mourinho...or the loveliness of Cristiano Ronaldo, come to think of it - with the hurling of a catÃ¢ÂÂs bag of questions at the forward concerning Spanish refereeing and the extent that Real Madrid are on the bad side of it.
Ã¢ÂÂI think itÃ¢ÂÂs ok,Ã¢ÂÂ says Ronaldo diplomatically, Ã¢ÂÂbut the game is stopped too much. In general I like it, but blowing for so many fouls doesnÃ¢ÂÂt help the spectacle.Ã¢ÂÂ
Ã¢ÂÂWell saidÃ¢ÂÂ, applauds LLL, although CristianoÃ¢ÂÂs words might have had carried more weight if himself and Angel di MarÃÂa werenÃ¢ÂÂt responsible for most of the stoppages in the first place with their theatrical tumbles.
Unsurprisingly Marca approves of RonaldoÃ¢ÂÂs stance and the entire concept of the Portuguese player, in fact, with TuesdayÃ¢ÂÂs editorial gushing that Ã¢ÂÂCR7Ã¢ÂÂs ambition should be the flag for Real Madrid. The player has become a leader on and off the pitch.Ã¢ÂÂ ItÃ¢ÂÂs praise that should have Casillas supergluing the captainÃ¢ÂÂs armband to himself lest something unfortunate happen...sorry, LLL interrupted...Marca havenÃ¢ÂÂt quite finished with their speech.
Ã¢ÂÂThe club have signed a moral leader who is not shirking his responsibility in these current difficult times.Ã¢ÂÂ Unlike RonaldoÃ¢ÂÂs manager, perhaps, who seems to be increasingly out of favour at Real Madrid as the days go by.