Barca victory cause for celebration for all of Spain - even Real Madrid

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While many will argue Barcelona’s masterclass against Manchester United on Saturday was the best Champions League-related performance of the season, La Liga Loca would suggest such praise is misplaced, as Marca blew them out of the water with an even more incredible display of creativity...

In a magic show to match anything mustered by the midfield of Pep’s Dream Boys, the newspaper has turned Barça’s victory into a planet-stomping victory for both Spain and, incredibly enough, Real Madrid. 

Sunday’s editorial was certainly fulsome in its praise of Barcelona’s dismantling of the English champions, but still found plenty of room to praise the country’s other great sporting institutions. “The victory last night is also for Spanish football. In the first place because the four European Cups of Barcelona added to the nine of Real Madrid make us the country with the most European Cup titles,” chirped the paper, perhaps feeling the forces of Mordor at the Santiago Bernabeu breathing down its neck... 

But this rare attempt at praising Barcelona was undermined somewhat by misery-pants Miguel Serrano boasting on the back page that the Catalan club are still “two titles away from Paco Gento and five from Madrid. Patience.” Barcelona fans may counter by explaning that Real Madrid have only won Europe’s top title three times since 1966, with the Catalan club managing the same number since 2006, making that particular taunt more than a little tired.

Not content with Sunday’s achievements, Marca stepped-up their Real Madrid brown-nosing on Monday by placing Florentino Pérez as No.7 in their top ten of the weekend - just one spot behind Leo Messi - for taking 15 seconds out of his Jorge Valdano-firing day to send a congratulatory text to Barça president Sandro Rosell following the latter's victory at Wembley.

"This one's for you, Real Madrid..."

“An extraordinary display of gentlemanly behaviour in congratulating Barcelona both publicly and privately for their Champions League conquest,” fawned Marca in a column that rather curiously stuck “controversial” cyclist Alberto Contador ahead of Pep Guardiola and Messi in their run-down of the weekend’s top achievers for winning some race or other.

AS also chose to view Barça’s victory from Real Madrid's perspective, albeit with a more critical slant. The paper’s editor, Alfredo Relaño, remarked that “watching this Barcelona, it’s hard not to understand the state of anxiety Madrid live in and the restarted attempts to look for short cuts. Barça didn’t get here through short cuts but with an idea and perseverance.”

As expected, the Catalan press got their rocks off after Saturday's memorable match in North London. “The best Barça in history!” read Sport’s headline. Writing from Wembley, a clearly 'emotional' Josep María Casanovas described the scene as “a paradise of happiness, of joy, of Barça pride. The players have gone into ecstasy and the fans have gone crazy with joy and passion.”

Mundo Deportivo are just as full of élan but take a moment to recall the last few weeks of Madrid mud-slinging. “Yesterday the world of football told them to ‘shut it’. Barcelona are the best in the world. You have to salute them,” blasted Santi Nolla. It was a sentiment echoed by the shy and retiring, Shakira-smooching Gerard Piqué during Sunday’s celebrations, with the defender proclaiming that “we don’t do doping, nor do we dive or buy the referees. Barcelona only do one thing: play football.”

After a tumultuous season of bickering and bitch-fights, Barcelona’s Champions League victory somehow seems to have given everyone in Spain something to celebrate - even Real Madrid. And that really is some achievement.