Hand shakes and endangered species

La Liga Loca may be fairly ambivalent to the whole concept of international football - a bit like the Europa League, but not as high-octane - but it really looks forward to the break in the domestic game it demands.

First off, Deportivo won’t be playing. Second, the blog generally has less work to do. Third, the four main sports papers cranking up the batsh*t-o-meter to a billion is guaranteed.

Marca has been leading the way in the loony stakes, this week. Of course.

Plan A for the Real Madrid-mad daily was five fun-filled days of reflection on how wonderful the irritatingly monikered ‘Mou Team’ was in the 19-0 win over Mallorca and whether Cristiano Ronaldo had got even hunkier and dreamier over the summer.

But - to borrow from Bart Simpson here - Real Madrid were a little like a vacuum cleaner in last Sunday’s match in that they managed to both suck and blow at the same time. This means that Marca has had to launch a hastily-compiled three-pronged diversion campaign to prevent its readers from realising that another €70 million had been blown by the Madrid bosses, only for the team to be even more rubbish than last season.

The first strategy was to be really, really mean to Pep Guardiola, both over his handling of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and for failing to shake José Mourinho’s hand quickly enough at a manager’s conference in Nyon.

Friday’s front cover has the image of the Barça boss with his own hands planted firmly in his pockets with his rival’s outstretched hand in front of him. “Was it so hard for you to shake his hand, Pep?” yells the banner.

The answer is ‘no’ judging by a smaller sequence of photographs printed by the paper showing Pep happily shaking Mourinho’s hand seconds after. Indeed, the front cover of AS has the two embracing and joking and joshing with each other - knocking the wind from their rival paper’s insane sails somewhat.

The second part of Marca’s ‘look away!’ campaign is to write about how very hard Cristiano Ronaldo is working to get over his ankle knock picked up in the Mallorca clash.

Thursday’s edition boasts that he was in the Real Madrid gymnasium till four in the morning on Sunday to begin his recovery - a commendable effort thought LLL until it noted that the squad didn’t actually arrive back in the Spanish capital from the Mallorca game until way past two. 

Anyway, the blog suspects that the only reason Ronaldo loves spending so much time in gyms is because of the sheer quantity of mirrors they tend to have.

Friday’s edition hands over both inside pages - with diagrams -  to show how Cristiano uses astonishing concepts such as ‘strapping’ and ‘padding’ to protect his supposedly targeted weak spot such is his dedication to his club’s cause. The downside is that those footballers who didn't know that he was a tad vulnerable there, certainly do now thanks to the good work of the paper.

“His right ankle is the most cared-for treasure at Real Madrid,” gurgles the paper to shouts of “Oi!” from Iker Casillas’ hands, Pepe’s tiny, tiny head and Sergio Ramos’ peni...(Stop right there! Ed).

Diversion tactic three from Marca is to stop Ronaldo from picking up injuries in the first place, by changing the laws of football to prevent anyone from ever tackling him, with an editorial on Wednesday arguing that the forward should be treated like an ‘endangered species’.

From what LLL gathers from reading the tabloids over the summer, the footballer has already begun his own specialised breeding programme.

Friday’s editorial had a similar theme claiming that “football should demand its referees have zero tolerance against violent play”. LLL applauds such a stance from Marca, which is why it is sure that the paper’s bosses were fully behind the decisions last season that saw Ronaldo sent off for booting an Almería player in the back of the thigh and smashing Patrik Mtiliga’s nose in - not a pleasant experience really - despite it being all the Málaga defender’s fault, apparently, for being too small. 

Aside from this, there has also been a fair amount of muck-spreading from the Madrid papers concerning the outlandish outgoings of Joan Laporta and his directors during their seven year spell at the club. However, the blog is not so sure that an “executives go nuts with expense accounts” story is one that runs particularly far up its flag pole.

Documents somehow leaked by Sandro Rosell and co after an audit on Barça’s accounts show how the Barcelona bigwigs apparently had tabs set up at a number of bars and nightclubs, as well as a bunch of other allegations that LLL certainly won’t be going into until the former Barça president has had the chance to respond to them.

However, Josep María Casanovas in Sport - whilst detecting a classic Madrid-based wind-up campaign - does admit that “the economic theme must be cleared up quickly to avoid it turning into a soap opera for chat shows and ammunition for enemies.”

With LLL aware that it is duty-bound to touch on Spanish football from time to time, it will note that Spain are playing Liechtenstein on Friday night in a European Championship qualifier.

But who really cares about that when there is so much other fun stuff going on?

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