Messi mania and midweek matches
Due to a certain ArgentinianÃ¢ÂÂs rather impressive performances over the past eight days, the Spanish sports media has been Messier than Ever BanegaÃ¢ÂÂs monitor... except for one pathetically predictable part of the press.
Monday eveningÃ¢ÂÂs TV sports reports let their graphic departments go nuts with the Barcelona player depicted both as an Incredible and the Bionic Man - but without the bionic bit - with his second goal against Real Zaragoza being replayed a hundred times from every imaginable angle.
A day later and little LeoÃ¢ÂÂs cheeky grin is still dominating the agenda with Barcelona-based Mundo Deportivo calling the forward a Ã¢ÂÂSuperior BeingÃ¢ÂÂ on their front page before going off to flog a BarÃÂ§a-backed sofa cushion, no doubt, whilst Sport stick with a simple Ã¢ÂÂSuper MessiÃ¢ÂÂ as their headline.
Everyone vaguely related to football who dared to stick their nose outside their front door on Monday was asked their opinion on the man of the moment, so TuesdayÃ¢ÂÂs papers sees Deportivo boss Miguel Angel Lotina praising Messi as Ã¢ÂÂthe most complete player I have ever seen Ã¢ÂÂ and better than Maradona.Ã¢ÂÂ
Former Spain manager and professional big-mouth Javier Clemente writes in his Marca column that sÃ¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂve not seen a player like him for a long time. And when I say a long time, I mean a long time.Ã¢ÂÂ (Perhaps he's paid by the word.)
MallorcaÃ¢ÂÂs Gregorio Manzano has come up with a new way of stopping the pocket rocket when the two sides meet at the Ono Estadi next weekend. However, it may be against one or two FA norms, although handball now appears to have been allowed into the sport if you happen to be both Real Madrid and in a tight spot.
Ã¢ÂÂYou need to bring a shotgun,Ã¢ÂÂ announced the Mallorca boss. Ã¢ÂÂBang-bang and thatÃ¢ÂÂs it.Ã¢ÂÂ
Messi: Rather good
The Madridista AS have taken it on their chins and lead with MessiÃ¢ÂÂs memorable week; editor Alfredo RelaÃÂ±o even claims that the footballer Ã¢ÂÂis on the way to becoming the greatest in history.Ã¢ÂÂ
The paper also picks up on Real MadridÃ¢ÂÂs response to the Messi affair with a quote from Jorge Valdano on the front page claiming that Ã¢ÂÂMessi is not a problem, heÃ¢ÂÂs an incentive.Ã¢ÂÂ
A swift word of advice, no doubt, from Marca's acting editor-in-chief Florentino PÃÂ©rez has seen Messi largely ignored until page 26 of their edition on Tuesday, aside from a tiny photo of the player with a caption claiming that PelÃÂ© had won more by his age, alongside a big advert advertising a cure for (ahem) gentlemenÃ¢ÂÂs downstairs issues.
Instead, Marca lead with the seemingly made-up quote from Manuel Pellegrini of Ã¢ÂÂGuti, I need youÃ¢ÂÂ. It trails a story claiming that Ã¢ÂÂevery time MadridÃ¢ÂÂs No.14 doesnÃ¢ÂÂt play, their football suffers a big dropÃ¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂ the most insane thing the blog has heard for some time, considering Guti was present and correct for the memorable matches of Lyon at home and AlcorcÃÂ³n away (until he stropped off at half-time).
Actually, thatÃ¢ÂÂs not entirely true. The most insane thing LLL has really heard for some time was a question put to Ezequiel Garay by a Spanish radio reporter after the Sporting win that asked the bemused and confused Madrid defender if Ã¢ÂÂhaving a three-point advantage over Barcelona was a good or bad thing.Ã¢ÂÂ
Madrid's key man. And Kaka
Although MarcaÃ¢ÂÂs editorial bigwigs have just returned from a jolly to the USA and Argentina, the latter part of which Ã¢ÂÂattracted the attention of the whole of Argentinian football journalismÃ¢ÂÂ, there's nothing from their fact-finding mission that could perhaps give a fresh perspective on the Messi club v Messi country issue.
But the paper did find time to grind an axe against Dani Alves - and then bury it in his back - with the complaint that the full-back Ã¢ÂÂstill refuses to admit that Real Madrid are leaders [by goal difference, which wonÃ¢ÂÂt count at the end of the season] despite what the league table says.Ã¢ÂÂ
The Spanish sporting press has found some time to dip their beaks into the first of the midweek fixtures in la Primera - a rare beast, indeed - with the uninspiring clash between Sporting and Deportivo kicking things off.
However, the real fun is to be found at 22.00 in the SÃÂ¡nchez PizjuÃÂ¡n, with Sevilla manager Manolo JimÃÂ©nez facing both an irate home support and near-neighbours Xerez.
The home side are set to be without the newly crocked JesÃÂºs Navas and Diego Capel for the encounter, along with Luis Fabiano who LLL saw dramatically limp to his car on TV on Monday with a 'World Cup around the corner move to Manchester United donÃ¢ÂÂt think IÃ¢ÂÂm going to try against frackinÃ¢ÂÂ Xerez do you?' gait to his stride.
And the word on the Andalusian street is that anything less than a decent win against their bottom-dwelling opponents will see JimÃÂ©nez out by Wednesday, rather than June.
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