Spain senses the paw of Platini in Anfield agony

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When Martin Hansson – or ‘the Swede’, as many papers are spitting on Wednesday morning, as if his nationality was relevant in some way – signalled for a penalty against Atlético described on Radio 5 as ‘the softest’, La Liga Loca had a funny feeling that the decision would be about as popular in Spain’s sporting press as Lewis Hamilton.

“I imagine that Platini and co will be spending the week in forums for those who love conspiracies,” sighed a weary and deflated Iñaki Díaz-Guerra in AS.

And judging by a quick glance at the kingdom of the crazies, the land of the loonies, the abode of the bewildered and bothered – otherwise known as Marca – it’s clear that the paper felt the Gallic touch of a certain Frenchman during Tuesday’s Anfield outrage.

“Another theft from Platini,” screamed Marca’s front page. “No Torres, no Agüero and no shame!” raged the match report. “Although Atlético were robbed, they leave with their heads held high,” chin-jutted the paper’s editorial – and for once it wasn’t talking about their Scouse hosts' somewhat unfortunate reputation for light-fingeredness.

Look! He's with Calderon! That proves it!

Atlético Madrid are hopping mad. And they are going to stay hopping mad longer than the most rootin’, tootin’ Republican rustler in the West. “First they close the Calderón, then they take away our coach for two games, now they give a penalty that never was,” raged an almost skeletal Francisco Pernia, whose lunch money is surely being nicked by Maniche.

It’s a position even Steven Gerrard had sympathy with. “If it happened the other end, we would be livid,” confessed the Scouse skipper in a delayed display of honesty.

Barcelona also came out of their Champions League encounter with just one measly point to show for their evening’s efforts, this time against against Basel. And yet again, the result has brought out the worst in those Catalan crackpots at Mundo Deportivo and Sport – the latter of which ran a campaign on Tuesday to get fans to the stadium, promising another win.

“This should serve as lesson”, wrote Lluís Mascaro, impossibly smug while back-pedalling. “There is no such thing as a small enemy.” And that’s a message that Pep Guardiola and Joan Laporta have been trying to spread for some time, whilst those empty-headed numbskulls in the local press were busying themselves trying to find a suitably pompous name for their now fallen angels.

Basel faulty: What's the Catalan word for "hubris"?

On the subject of professional idiocy, Ramón Calderón has made his move in the latest round of ping-pong paranoia that the potty pumped-up president has been playing with Laporta.

Having had a bit of a lie-down and bed bath after last Thursday’s rather public breakdown, Calderón went on Spanish radio to continue his increasingly childish but incredibly funny spat with Sir Alex Ferguson – a clash where there can be only one, Scottish, winner.

“He’s a little envious of the nine European Cups we have won,” boasted Calderón, stretching the word ‘we’ to breaking point. “He sees that the trophies did not go to him and that he won’t have time to obtain them”, continued raving Ramón.

On a bit of a roll, Madrid's main man then set his sights on his arch enemy, Florentino Perez – a man who reportedly fancies a return to the expense account-funded fun to be had at Castle Greyskull: “He's the one who abandoned the club and allowed there to be four presidents in six months!” cursed Calderon.

Of course, the present incumbent would never do anything so rash. Aside from sack a title-winning manager of course... and drive David Beckham from the club... and...

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