Madrid’s assistance at Old Trafford sends Barcelona press potty

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“What do I think? Madrid fans, they are blind! Blind I tell you!” was the damning verdict from the blog’s Atlético-supporting café owner early on Wednesday morning. He was not best pleased at the prospect of Real Madrid winning their 10th European title, the dream of dreams of dreams in the Spanish capital.

While the grumpy old codger might have been a little biased in his opinion it was a verdict shared by José Mourinho himself who, to his personal delight, bamboozled all by admitting Nani’s red was only a yellow, that he was “expecting more from his side” and that “the best team didn’t go through”.

In the UK such flattery has been interpreted as a blatant kiss-up to Manchester United, a club he fancies managing in the future. But La Liga Loca suspects it’s just another way to annoy Florentino Pérez and knock gloss off a hugely important result that prevented many a nervous breakdown in the Madridista world.

Yes, Saturday’s victory against Barcelona should have been a draw after a late penalty claim was ignored by the referee. Yes, Nani’s red card certainly changed a match where Madrid were labouring when handed possession by Manchester United. And yes, the Madrid press are quite happy to ignore all these decisions going in the club’s favour, something that will be overlooked completely at a later date if there’s an unfortunate call that has the papers calling conspiracy.

"So this means Fergie's on his way out, right?"

Over in the Catalan capital, the result has been predictably labelled a jammy Real Madrid progression to the quarter-finals. Sport’s Joan Batlle snooted that “Madrid ended up suffering against 10, relying on a saving angel, Diego López, to avoid a historic humiliation.” Mundo Deportivo are equally as irked with J.M Artells furious that “the referee threw life jackets to a Madrid that was on the way to being shipwrecked.”

No such pinkie talk in the Spanish capital, though. Marca’s in-house referee may have confessed that the Nani red card was a mistake, but their front page declared that Madrid had “the heart of a champion”. Even Cristiano Ronaldo admitted too many tingly feelings. “For the first time in my career the atmosphere got the better of me,” chirped the returning match winner.

AS are a little more cagey and merely declare what a great week it’s been. “The clouds have parted and now the sun shines for Real Madrid, as today they don’t need to be envious of anyone,” writes Alfredo Relaño.

Tomás Roncero injects a little bit more enthusiasm into the affair, declaring “eternal glory for the best team in the history” and that it was Madrid who lost out to the referee’s performance. “He allowed the 1-0 despite the offside from Van Persie and forgave the red and penalty for Rafael. To compare all this with the Nani sending-off feels and wrong and unfair to me.”

With a huge sigh of relief, LLL now turns its fairly narrow attention to Valencia’s attempts to overturn a 2-1 deficit against Paris Saint-Germain in the French capital.

Although Zlatan Ibrahimovic is missing through suspension, the Swede’s absence is countered by Valencia’s lack of first choice centre-back pairing, Ricardo Costa and Adil Rami.

Roberto Soldado says Los Che will be going into the match with “nothing to lose” (apart from the tie, perhaps), while manager Ernesto Valverde is confident he has a plan that could see his side prevail. “The same strategy (as the Mestalla first leg), but not conceding goals.” Crazy, but it might just work.