Barcelona are back in business
In response to AS cranking up their Barcelona brickingthemselvesometer last weekend, La Liga Loca has decided to give a debut airing to its own fiendishly brilliant contraption, the barÃÂ§asmugometer.
And after it whirred into life this morning, initial readings from the spinning, steam-punk machine indicate that a remarkable 10,000 smarms is radiating from the Camp Nou club after TuesdayÃ¢ÂÂs 2-0 win over Inter Milan.
For those unfamiliar with the scale, thatÃ¢ÂÂs somewhere in between Ã¢ÂÂall our players are organic and home-grownÃ¢ÂÂ and Ã¢ÂÂyou know that we donÃ¢ÂÂt have sponsors donÃ¢ÂÂt you, mmmm?Ã¢ÂÂ
Historically speaking, the barÃÂ§asmugometer is unlikely to reach the incredible levels seen at the end of last season when the Treble saw the reaction turn to Ã¢ÂÂif you say one more thing about how great BarÃÂ§a are, I will beat you and your family to death with a stale chorizo.Ã¢ÂÂ
Sport led the way with WednesdayÃ¢ÂÂs post-partido cheerleading and a headline boasting that the victory over JosÃÂ© MourinhoÃ¢ÂÂs men was Ã¢ÂÂa strike from a champion.Ã¢ÂÂ
Ã¢ÂÂWinning without Messi and Ibra has double value. ItÃ¢ÂÂs a way of telling the dressing room that unity makes you strong,Ã¢ÂÂ scribbles Josep MarÃÂa Casanovas in a happy-clappy column.
Joan Vehils turns his antagonising attentions to insulting BarÃÂ§aÃ¢ÂÂs under-performing Italian opponents by noting that Mad Sammy EtoÃ¢ÂÂo was Ã¢ÂÂlost in the tactical ineptitude and inefficiency of Mourinho,Ã¢ÂÂ a manager that La Liga Loca suspects will be spending the next few months in the quiet corner after being comprehensively trounced by PiquÃÂ© and Pedro.
However, the Portuguese coach did try to dig himself out of his Champions League hole a little by smart-arsing that Ã¢ÂÂa team without pride would have lost by three or four goals.Ã¢ÂÂ
Over in Mundo Deportivo-land, opinion-forming frontman Santi Nolla argues that He Who Should Never Be Doubted (La Liga LocaÃ¢ÂÂs pet name for Pep) possesses Ã¢ÂÂa team with confidence in itself, thatÃ¢ÂÂs motivated, with players who feel important and two stars who will be fresh for the big match.Ã¢ÂÂ
As the Madrid papers tend to be considerably kinder to Barcelona than the somewhat insecure Catalan press is to the Castle Greyskull club in return, AS sees TuesdayÃ¢ÂÂs victory for PepÃ¢ÂÂs Dream Boys as Ã¢ÂÂthe response from champions,Ã¢ÂÂ while Marca fawn over Ã¢ÂÂan exhibition from a spectacular Barcelona.Ã¢ÂÂ
However, their main preoccupation is the return of Cristiano Ronaldo, who is predicted by both main papers to feature in WednesdayÃ¢ÂÂs Champions League clash against Zurich for about half an hour.
Ã¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂm OK!Ã¢ÂÂ says the ankle-knacked Paris-poker on the front cover of Marca, who also report that RaÃÂºl is set to start in Karim BenzemaÃ¢ÂÂs place Ã¢ÂÂunless Pellegrini changes his mind after reading the paperÃ¢ÂÂ - a banner referencing an article pointing out that Real Madrid are even more hopeless than normal with the club captain chugging around the playing field.
The Champions League tie is set to be number 100 for Iker Casillas, who is asked in AS which players have caused him the most problems over the years in the competition.
Ã¢ÂÂElber and Van Nistelrooy,Ã¢ÂÂ said the Madrid goalie. Ã¢ÂÂBut no one, these days, as we never get past the last 16.Ã¢ÂÂ
AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid are also in action in Cyprus against APOEL - the latest in a long line of clubs who are gleefully delivering kicks to the goolies of the Vicente CalderÃÂ³n comedy club.
Seeing as QuiqueÃ¢ÂÂs men cannot qualify for the next round and donÃ¢ÂÂt really have a squad good enough for la Primera, never mind that Europa League business, AS's Manuel Esteban feels that the Ã¢ÂÂbest thing that could happen is to lose.Ã¢ÂÂ
Atleti being Atleti, expect a 6-0 win for the relegation-threatened club and even more ball-bruising batterings from EuropeÃ¢ÂÂs fourth-tier clubs in the months to come.
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