Mourinho takes a new toy from the naughty box as Madrid see red

La Liga Loca is really going to have to send a box of choccies and a big manly hug in José Mourinho’s direction some time soon, as the mischievous Real Madrid manager is - like Maniche’s pizza boy - delivering the goods again and again and again.

Just when the blog was wondering how to fill several hundred words babbling on about the excellent nature of Madrid’s win over Ajax, on Tuesday night - something it really didn’t fancy doing at all - Mourinho pulled off another masterstroke in the final minutes of the Champions League clash in Amsterdam to set tongues a-waggin' in Spain.

The fishy behaviour, which quickly became the main talking point of Wednesday’s sporting chatter, began when Mourinho was pictured in deep conversation with the club’s match delegate, Chendo, with his team 3-0 up.

Soon after, the Madrid manager was chatting to Jerzy Dudek - probably for the first time this season - with both their mouths covered to avoid falling victim to one of Spanish television’s most favourite pastimes - lip-reading. The Polish goalkeeper then made the unusual move of trundling all the way over to Iker Casillas’ goal while the match was in play for a bit of a chinwag. The Madrid captain then sauntered over to speak to Sergio Ramos.

Soon after, both the Madrid defender and Xabi Alonso picked up second yellow cards in the game - both for time-wasting - to give them three for the group stages, a suspension for the last, meaningless group clash against Auxerre, but most importantly of all a clean slate for the knock-out rounds.

‘All coincidence’ was the message from the oh-so-innocent footballers and Mourinho himself after the game, but few seem to be believe them for some curious reason. So instead of the Spanish media focussing on what was an impressive win, a lovely goal from Karim Benzema or Mesut Özil’s genius lay-off, it’s red card fever that is dominating the day.

AS are not happy at all, with the editor Alfredo Relaño fuming that “I don’t like it. I’m sorry, but I don’t. It doesn’t fit with the idea of sport that I have, nor the image Madrid have offered for so many years”.

The Madrid paper is joined in the penthouse of their ivory tower by Barcelona-based Sport who have unsurprisingly chipped in, bemoaning “the incredible exercise in hypocrisy and cynicism from Mourinho”.

Marca - the paper on Real Madrid’s leash more than any other - avoided commenting on the morality of Mourinho’s move, although its website frets that UEFA will investigate the mysterious goings on - and then decide to do zip all about it, no doubt.

Wednesday’s edition is far more concerned about finding ways of giving more penalties to Cristiano Ronaldo, with the back page arguing for video replays to be introduced as a way of boosting their favourite pet’s Pichichi prowess.

Whilst Real Madrid’s passage to the first knock-out round of the Champions League - the club’s traditional drop off point - has been as smooth and silky as Gerard Pique’s chat-up routine, Barcelona have been as successful as a Deportivo shooting session, having continued their rotten form away from home which sees Pep’s Dream Boys without an away win in five attempts in the competition. 

Barcelona are giving it another go in Athens on Wednesday night, facing Panathinaikos in a match where a point should be enough to secure a smooth passing over (LLL has never been any good at this calculating lark).

The blog was surprised to discover the very recent former Málaga boss, Jesualdo Ferreira is now in charge of the Greek side, having only been sacked what seems like a few days ago. What’s more, the Portuguese manager still looks just as grumpy despite the change in scene.

Valencia will be through from their group if....(reads the paper)...the Spanish side beats visiting Turkish outfit Bursaspor, and Manchester United beat Rangers. Probably.

But to end today’s ramblings, a quick quiz. On Tuesday morning, Spanish police detained a group of 165 Real Madrid hooligans - or Ultras as they like to be called - at the airport on their way to Amsterdam for the Champions League game and a spot of tourism, no doubt.

In doing so the police confiscated 19 baseball bats, crash helmets and Nazi imagery from the group. The question is what did they do next...

a) Prevent them from traveling to Amsterdam and raising merry mayhem in the Dutch capital?
b) Wave them through to their charter planes to the Netherlands, but with only after slapping them with a fine for the possession of the bats and Nazi imagery?

LLL suspects you may already know the answer.