Madridistas brand Barça bad winners as Catalonia celebrates bathtime

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It’s always a fine sign that a thorough spanking combined with a bespoke arse-handing-on-a-plate has been dished out when the big fat losers start moaning and groaning that the opposition are bad winners.

That’s the approach a shell-shocked Marca has adopted, on Tuesday, with the paper having no doubt attempted but failed to blame their usual scapegoats, Manuel Pellegrini and Gonzalo Higuaín, for the night before.

The whopping problem the paper faces in reacting to the monumental stonking is that its apron-strings are tied so tightly to their Castle Greyskull controllers that awkward questions such has whence The Special One? Whither Karim Benzema? and why Cristiano Ronaldo? have been cast aside with Tuesday’s teary editorial spluttering that ‘CR7’ should have been given a penalty at 2-0, Barça’s third goal was offside and Pep Guardiola was mean for failing to give the ball back to Ronaldo at one point in the first half - a game changing moment, perhaps...

“The gentlemanly conduct of Sandro Rosell did not translate to the pitch with the same behaviour,” scoffed the paper, somewhat overlooking the tenth La Liga red card of Sergio Ramos’ career, doled out for hacking Leo Messi from behind and then pushing his Spain teammates, Carles Puyol and Xavi full in the face. The little tyke.

However, there is still room for some dissent in the inside pages - pages that have clearly gone unchecked by Marca’s masters - with Roberto Gómez branding the five-goal-shaped can of whoop-ass as “a disgrace, a joke of unfathomable dimensions,” adding “it was children against men."

AS editor, Alfredo Relaño, has positioned his paper in the Florentino Pérez doubters camp, this season - in comparison with the pom-pom waving Marca - and is enjoying the moral high ground on Tuesday with an article attacking Madrid for possessing “neither spirit nor courage” during the Camp Nou calamity.

“The indolence of Benzema has returned,” thundered Relaño, whilst his colleague, Juanma Trueba noted quite accurately that, “the Barça of Guardiola is still quite far away.”

Mad Tomás Roncero will not stand for such defeatist nonsense and follows Marca’s approach by attacking Puyol and Piqué for making a hand gesture displaying all five fingers, signifying the five goals - because of course no dignified, honourable, gentlemanly Real Madrid player would ever celebrate a humiliating beating handed out to their fiercest rivals in front of their own fans.

Or pass to a team-mate using their back when 2-0 up, for example. Ronaldo would never do that against Atlético Madrid. Never. Not even a couple of weeks ago. No.

“The season is long and in April there’ll be a Clásico in the Bernabeu and you know what it is going to be like then,” warned Roncero, although LLL suspects the AS man isn’t referring to Barcelona winning in Madrid. Again. “Pep, you have to know how to lose...and know how to win,” snorted Roncero.

Over in the Catalan capital and it is cock-a-hoop o'clock with Sport boasting of Barça’s ‘Big Hand’ goalfest - as well as putting a picture of an actual big hand on the front cover in case some of their slower readers have problems comprehending the concept.

A Thrashing! A Humiliation! Leaders!” thunders the front cover with the kind of bragging that Marca whole-heartedly disapproves of and would never engage in had the boot been on the other foot.

“Barça played one of their best matches in history, as if they were from another galaxy,” purred Santi Nolla. “Cristiano is still without a goal against Barça and Mourinho had the biggest defeat of his life as a coach.”

Mundo Deportivo splash the fact that Madrid were given a “bath” - but with the loofah placed forcefully in a slightly unconventional spot, perhaps. “A magical night, unforgettable, superior, definitive,” burbled Lluís Foix, at a paper where the happy-clappy journalists are set for a late start on Tuesday morning...before firing taunts towards the Spanish capital all over again.