RaúlÃ¢ÂÂs return brings muted response in Madrid
In any normal, functioning, right-thinking dimension, the return of RaÃÂºl to Spanish shores for the first time since heading off to Schalke would have produced the journalistic equivalent of marching bands and nudey cheerleaders in the Madridista Marca with Ã¢ÂÂel Gran CapitÃÂ¡nÃ¢ÂÂ popping into ValenciaÃ¢ÂÂs Mestalla stadium for TuesdayÃ¢ÂÂs Champions League clash.
However, la Liga is the most unusual place where up is down, down is up and Ricardo Carvalho looks good - and this sees RaÃÂºlÃ¢ÂÂs return pushed to page 15 in TuesdayÃ¢ÂÂs edition. The reason is that the former Madrid number seven was never Florentino PÃÂ©rezÃ¢ÂÂ most bestest buddy because of the pull the forward possessed in the dressing room and his popularity with fans. And what Florentino doesnÃ¢ÂÂt like, doesnÃ¢ÂÂt tend to appear in his favourite paper.
This presidential grudge isnÃ¢ÂÂt a problem for AS, though, who still harbour a soft spot for the grumpy old so-and-so and dedicate the front and inside pages to RaÃÂºloÃ¢ÂÂs Champions League challenge against Valencia. Ã¢ÂÂRaÃÂºl is the enemy, but a friendly enemy,Ã¢ÂÂ notes the paperÃ¢ÂÂs editor, Alfredo RelaÃÂ±o.
RaÃÂºlÃ¢ÂÂs Bundesliga team - which also contains other la Liga outcasts such as JosÃÂ© Jurado, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Christophe Metzelder - have a testing time in store for them on the Spanish east coast, with opponents Valencia in the dinkiest run of form with five wins from six in la Primera. But the former Madrid captain doesnÃ¢ÂÂt think that this will hurt SchalkeÃ¢ÂÂs chances too much.
"What? Page 15? Seriously...!?"
Ã¢ÂÂItÃ¢ÂÂs a ground that has been good to me,Ã¢ÂÂ recalled RaÃÂºl fondly, Ã¢ÂÂI hope to score again.Ã¢ÂÂ Unai Emery was less keen to take a tootle down memory lane observing that Ã¢ÂÂRaÃÂºl makes this game a big one but there are other footballers too.Ã¢ÂÂ
TuesdayÃ¢ÂÂs match heralds the second day of duty of the week for those loving a bit of Spanish sauce in their football. The first was on Monday in la Liga when Mallorca ended AthleticÃ¢ÂÂs run of four wins to pick up a 1-0 victory in the Balearics to leave the dishy DaneÃ¢ÂÂs men in tenth and on 31 points, one place and one point above poor old AtlÃÂ©tico.
On the subject of flippinÃ¢ÂÂ awful teams in dire straits, Osasuna have confirmed their decision to sack JosÃÂ© Antonio Camacho, just two weeks after he lead his team to a 1-0 win over Real Madrid. The problem for the former Madrid manager is that the victory was OsasunaÃ¢ÂÂs only three-point pick up in eleven. The clubÃ¢ÂÂs most recent defeat was a 1-0 reverse to Real Sociedad on Sunday which left the Pamplona side in the relegation zone and still without an away win.
Despite this rather dismal record, Camacho was rather peeved by his sacking, spluttering that Ã¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂm sad as they havenÃ¢ÂÂt let me get on with my job, and I have to say good bye to some good friends.Ã¢ÂÂ
Ã¢ÂÂIt was the right moment to make the change,Ã¢ÂÂ countered Osasuna president, Pachi Izco.
Camacho suffered at a club where not all the fans were behind him due to his Madridista past and which appears to be steadily declining and becoming creakier by the day. The new manager who has to keep the Pamplonans in la Primera is JosÃÂ© Luis Mendilibar, last seen getting sacked by Valladolid. LLL is not entirely sure that he is going to be successful in his task.