Madrid head to London with Pep's 'insult' ringing in their ears
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 LluÃÂs MascarÃÂ³ is a seething hotbed of righteous anger.
Ã¢ÂÂMadridismo impotency against the footballing superiority of BarÃÂ§a has forced the Taliban of Madrid journalism to invent all manner of absurd stories to destablise the blaugrana team,Ã¢ÂÂ fumed MascarÃÂ³, 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 dayÃ¢ÂÂs 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 BarÃÂ§a 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.
Ã¢ÂÂIf we get past this round by knocking out Shakhtar we are in the final,Ã¢ÂÂ announced Guardiola before being corrected and apologising in English with a sheepish grin for his Ã¢ÂÂbig mistakeÃ¢ÂÂ.
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 Ã¢ÂÂThe Rally of ClÃÂ¡sicosÃ¢ÂÂ. PepÃ¢ÂÂs 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 BarÃÂ§a would win the cup final 5-0 Ã¢ÂÂto keep up the habitÃ¢ÂÂ.
Ã¢ÂÂItÃ¢ÂÂs difficult to tell if we are seeing a mistake or a premeditated change in attitude,Ã¢ÂÂ mused TuesdayÃ¢ÂÂs mean-spirited editorial.
Despite PepÃ¢ÂÂs supposed cracking up - Ã¢ÂÂheÃ¢ÂÂs a bag of nerves,Ã¢ÂÂ observed MondayÃ¢ÂÂs 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 Ã¢ÂÂArry in White Hart Lane. The main speculation from the Capital City press is over which players will be rested ahead of SaturdayÃ¢ÂÂs liga ClÃÂ¡sico 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 GÃÂ³mez, who claims that Ã¢ÂÂif Spurs were in the Spanish league then they would be mid-table. Upper mid-table.Ã¢ÂÂ 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 WednesdayÃ¢ÂÂs second leg clash in London could also prove wide of the mark.