Fingers crossed in the Kingdom of Catalunya
Tuesday's Champions League clash between Manchester United and Barcelona looks like it has squeezed every last drop of effervescence and enthusiasm from the pom-pom waving, back-flipping Catalan sports press.Nine months of continual "Come on!" "We can do it!" and "Run you lazy f*cks!" exhortations have taken their terrible toll on the editorial teams of the region's titanic two and left them on their hands and knees, begging for some kind of relief and respite. Should Rijkaard's men be handed their marching orders at Old Trafford then the heads of the disheartened hacks could well melt like those of the Nazis in Raiders of the Lost Ark. "Impossible is Nothing!" yells Sport, 39% of whose readership - at around 10am - expect the Catalan club to go through on away goals. If not, "Frank Rijkaard will be packing his suitcases," interjects Josep Maria Casanovas risking the wrath of Joan Laporta's death ray. Mundo Deportivo is in a more positive mood and splashes "To Moscow!" across its front page. Inside, the paper's managing director Santi Nolla shows why he is the one wearing the journalistic trousers in the MD universe by informing its readers that, "the big key for Barcelona is scoring."
Franky could be out on his ear by the end of Tuesday evening
Marca, once again, have cocked a sulking snook at the whole tedious Champions League business by getting their knickers in a twist over whether Real Madrid would prefer to win the league without playing - something they have been doing for about eight months now (boom boom) - by watching Villarreal drop points on Sunday afternoon.Or whether they would prefer to win it by overcoming Osasuna or save shooting their footballing load until next Wednesday against Barcelona. Roberto GÃÂ³mez is back on his high horse - arms wrapped snuggly around Florentino Perez's waist no doubt - by having a political pop at, Madrid mayor, Alberto GallardÃÂ³n on his failure to attend Sunday's Real Madrid match. "I didn't like it," he grumbled, mistakenly thinking that anyone gives two hoots what he thinks. "He stood out by his absence," continued the king of the freebie.GÃÂ³mez also takes the time to call on Ramon CalderÃÂ³n to splash the cash on Cristiano Ronaldo as "a present to Real Madrid fans," because "as Florentino Perez said, there are players born to play for Real Madrid and Ronaldo is one of them." The libido-losing La Liga Loca will spare you Roberto's dribbling declarations on Ronaldo's newly nudey lady friend.Santi CaÃÂ±izares has spoken out about his many months in exile from the Mestalla madhouse. "Koeman took a decision that if the club was well-managed would have been seen as prejudicial," sniffed the blonde bombshell. "Like Pilate at the death of Christ, the club should have done more." Yes, exactly like that.Another goalkeeper who also appears to have taken one blow to the bonce too many is Getafe's Oscar Ustari. On Sunday, the Coliseum calamity was quoted in the Argentinean press as claiming that "I want to go and will do anything I can to leave Getafe."
Not so, backtracked the beep-beeping Ustari on Monday. "I hope I can stay at Getafe."