Levante finally get their due as Racing decide to take up rugby
On catching a glimpse of the latest La Liga table, the reaction of the sports media in Barcelona and Madrid must have been akin to that of a rather slow-witted individual gawping at a 3D 'magic eye' picture.
Ã¢ÂÂNo, no I donÃ¢ÂÂt see it. A space ship crashing into Pluto? Really? Sir Alex naked as well?Ã¢ÂÂ But in this case, the response was Ã¢ÂÂLevante? In first place? That's not what I can see..."
It must eventually have clicked that neither Barcelona nor Real Madrid are currently top of the table - something that was largely overlooked in Monday's editions, with a bone only thrown LevanteÃ¢ÂÂs way a day later, accompanied by a patronising pat on the head.
The front cover on AS reveals the dramatic news that Real Madrid hope to score lots of goals this season, but the inside the theme soon switches to the current leagye leaders.
Ã¢ÂÂEleven men and one idea,Ã¢ÂÂ writes the paperÃ¢ÂÂs boss, Alfredo RelaÃÂ±o, on Levante, who were greeted by legions of fans and fireworks on their return to their stadium in the very early hours of Monday morning, after the victory over Villarreal.
Marca donÃ¢ÂÂt go quite that far, and instead dedicate the first ten pages of Tuesday's edition to the greatness of Iker Casillas, Ã¢ÂÂMou Team IIÃ¢ÂÂ and the Santiago Bernabeu - we promise we're genuinely not making this up - before covering Levante on page 26 and...wait for it...page 27.
Ã¢ÂÂClearly Levante are not going to win the league and their situation is transitory,Ã¢ÂÂ says TuesdayÃ¢ÂÂs editorial cheerfully. Ã¢ÂÂBut while the moment lasts we should emphasise the enormous lesson in humility which this modest team run by Quico Catalan is offering.Ã¢ÂÂ
Over in the Catalan capital, Sport have taken notice of the league table despite BarÃÂ§a being in action on Tuesday night. Ã¢ÂÂClearly LevanteÃ¢ÂÂs leadership is like a gift from God - a miracle,Ã¢ÂÂ writes Josep Maria Casanovas, failing notice that if such divine intervention is needed to break up La Liga's duopoly then Spanish football really is in trouble. Ã¢ÂÂThey know sooner rather than later the glory will lesson. But when the music stops they have 20 points and have given Valencia and Villarreal a kick.Ã¢ÂÂ
Barcelona will probably sneak back above Levante on this evening after their away clash against a Granada side who have only scored two goals in eight games - not an ideal record to take into a match against the European Champions. But Monday must still have been one of those days when Pep Guardiola wished he could have just stayed in bed, knowing that he had to face the media with questions on whether he is upset not to be top of the table with some 30 games still to go and whether Leo Messi is a blubbering mess after missing a penalty against Sevilla.
After replying Ã¢ÂÂnoÃ¢ÂÂ and Ã¢ÂÂnoÃ¢ÂÂ to those googlies, the BarÃÂ§a boss did reveal his concern regarding the constant string of injuries his team seem to suffer. Ã¢ÂÂWe canÃ¢ÂÂt keep up this rhythm,Ã¢ÂÂ admitted Guardiola, hinting that the club may need to ease off on the pre-season tours in future.
TuesdayÃ¢ÂÂs other match sees dull-but-worthy Sevilla facing Racing Santander, who are bottom-of-the-table and in all sorts of trouble.
Seeing as the squad were having so much difficulty playing football, rugby was introduced to MondayÃ¢ÂÂs training session before questions were thrown (presumably only backwards) at coach HÃÂ©ctor CÃÂºper regarding his future at the club.
Ã¢ÂÂIf one day there are doubts about me IÃ¢ÂÂll step aside and some one else can come in and fix everything,Ã¢ÂÂ said the Racing boss in what could be a make-or-break match for the Argentinean manager.