MessiÃ¢ÂÂs Milan malaise, MourinhoÃ¢ÂÂs laughing fit & AtléticoÃ¢ÂÂs man-hunt
Admiration for a defensive job well done, sulking about an attack that failed to break through and a touch of referee-moaning thrown into the mix. That was the Barcelona press reaction to Wednesday night's goalless draw in Milan, which leaves next weekÃ¢ÂÂs second leg curiously poised, like David Silva standing on one leg in Trafalgar Square dressed as Hilda Ogden.
Mundo Deportivo's Santi Nolla grumbled that it was Ã¢ÂÂobjective unfulfilled, everything open but a good chance for BarÃÂ§a to go through to the semis Ã¢ÂÂ although Milan did give enough evidence to make his players aware it wonÃ¢ÂÂt be easy.Ã¢ÂÂ
Sport set aside a bit of space for an unnecessary and mean-spirited dig at Swedish referee, Jonas Eriksson, for failing to give a penalty for Christian AbbiatiÃ¢ÂÂs challenge on Alexis, noting rather unfairly that the man in the middle happened to be a compatriot of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, say no more, nothing to see here.
It was a moment that La Liga Loca enjoyed watching on Telemadrid Ã¢ÂÂ the somewhat partisan channel broadcasting Wednesday's match to viewers in the capital Ã¢ÂÂ whose commentators and pundits were forced to instantly come up with numerous reasons why it was a brilliant decision from Eriksson, a posture that would have been completely reversed had Cristiano Ronaldo been involved instead.
Clean as a freshly-valeted whistle
Rather remarkably considering the forwardÃ¢ÂÂs form of late, Ronaldo failed to score for Real Madrid against APOEL on Tuesday night in a 3-0 scoreline that may look like a goalfest to those lucky enough to have missed it, but was an awful drudge of a game between one team that parked every bus in Cyprus in front of their goal and another that was doing the equivalent of a yawn and belly scratch for much of the encounter before Marcelo and KakÃÂ¡ livened things up with half-an-hour to go.
A fine result that leaves Madrid with both feet in the semi-finals was greeted with some cheer in the Capital City media Ã¢ÂÂ but for some reason it got Barcelona-based Sport writer Joan Batlle very hot under the collar indeed, calling the Madrid team vulgar during the match.
Ã¢ÂÂThe 0-3 barely puts make-up over the reality of the current Madrid," burbled Batlle. "Mou is laughing at Madridistas.Ã¢ÂÂ LLL suspects that the supporters are joining in the chuckling, considering the team are top of the Spanish league table with a six-point lead and almost certainly in the Champions League semi-finals for the second successive year.
"Yeah, it's rubbish, this. Mourinho out!"
The European fun isnÃ¢ÂÂt over in Spain, with three teams having a big night out in Thursday's Europa League action. AtlÃÂ©tico Madrid are taking on Hannover 96 at the Vicente CalderÃÂ³n, another chance for Diego Simeone to summon the spirit of Ernest Hemingway and do the managerial equivalent of stripping off his shirt to thump his chest. Ã¢ÂÂItÃ¢ÂÂs the best time to find out who the men are,Ã¢ÂÂ roared the AtlÃÂ©tico coach, leaping up onto his desk, Ã¢ÂÂand the players have to turn up in times like this.Ã¢ÂÂ
No such fist-pumping rhetoric from Valencia's Unai Emery, who is in Holland to take on AZ Alkmaar and has probably given up trying to get any kind of reaction from his players. A tired and exhausted Athletic Bilbao have made a tiring and exhausting trip to Germany to play RaÃÂºlÃ¢ÂÂs Schalke in what will no doubt be a tiring and exhausting match. Good job the Basque team's next game is only on Saturday night at Barcelona, eh?