Madrid head to London with Pep's 'insult' ringing in their ears

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With his headshot staring out from the back page of this morning's Barcelona-themed Mundo Deportivo like a particularly camp but extremely furious agony uncle, journalist Lluís Mascaró is a seething hotbed of righteous anger.

“Madridismo impotency against the footballing superiority of Barça has forced the Taliban of Madrid journalism to invent all manner of absurd stories to destablise the blaugrana team,” fumed Mascaró, refusing to get carried away when comparing a few halfwit hacks in the Spanish capital to the particularly murderous Afghan militia group.

The issue that really steamed his sponge pudding was a story in Tuesday's Marca concerning a lapse in concentration from Pep Guardiola in the previous day’s press conference ahead of the Shakhtar Donetsk clash.

For those with a billion things better to do with their lives than keep up to date with the day-to-day, infantile nonsense that keeps the Spanish football press in business, the Barça boss had a momentary mind-wipe whilst answering a question and forgot that a semi-final stood between the Dream Boys and a big night out at Wembley.

“If we get past this round by knocking out Shakhtar we are in the final,” announced Guardiola before being corrected and apologising in English with a sheepish grin for his “big mistake”.

The matter was tittered at as the fluffiest of anecdotes elsewhere, but Marca mused that this was perhaps yet another insult aimed at Real Madrid ahead of what the paper has labelled “The Rally of Clásicos”. Pep’s despicable slur merely followed on from the other awful things said about the Mordor club in recent weeks, including the joke from Sandro Rosell that Barça would win the cup final 5-0 “to keep up the habit”.

“It’s difficult to tell if we are seeing a mistake or a premeditated change in attitude,” mused Tuesday’s mean-spirited editorial.

Despite Pep’s supposed cracking up - “he’s a bag of nerves,” observed Monday’s Marca - his Dream Boys won a Champions League knock-out match away from home for the first time under Guardiola with a 1-0 win over Shakhtar and a 48th goal in 47 games for Leo Messi.

Real Madrid now have to seal their part of the Champions League semi-final deal by avoiding a hammering by ‘Arry in White Hart Lane. The main speculation from the Capital City press is over which players will be rested ahead of Saturday’s liga Clásico and which players currently one yellow from a suspension will be carded on Wednesday - a roster that includes Cristiano Ronaldo.

The match itself should be a doddle, according to Marca's Roberto Gómez, who claims that “if Spurs were in the Spanish league then they would be mid-table. Upper mid-table.” But the columnist knows so little about anything - never mind football - that Madrid fans may actually be a little wary that his comments regarding the supposed ease of Wednesday’s second leg clash in London could also prove wide of the mark.