Spanish press seethe at FourFourTwo's findings

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Describing Spain’s sports press as a little bit myopic would be like accusing Nelson of having a slight squint. Biased aint the half of it.

Everything, but everything, gets seen through the media’s very own special club-coloured kaleidoscope, evidence twisted and squeezed and hammered into shape to fit the conclusions, to tally with the latest 'we’re great' posturing, 'we’re robbed' whinging or 'everyone else is rubbish' crowing.

Worse still, it then gets greedily gobbled up and regurgitated, like the God’s honest gospel truth (although, as a screaming atheist, La Liga Loca’s not really sure it should be using that phase). Further evidence that Madrid are great and Barça are rubbish, or vice-versa.

And woe betide anyone who contradicts them - cheats and liars, conspirators and dodgy characters, the lot of them. What do you mean the world aint flat and Guti aint great!?! Witch! Burn the heretic! The earth doesn’t go round the sun, it goes round Leo Messi!

None of us are in the top 10?! DIE INFIDELS... 

Even the stuff that’s got nothing to do with Real Madrid and Barcelona is all about Real Madrid and Barcelona. Even the national team.

There used to be rumours that national coaches deliberately picked the same number of players from each club just to avoid trouble. (These days, of course, they pick them from Liverpool instead.)

Spain’s superb start at the 2006 World Cup was, said Sport, down to the fact that they adopted “the Barcelona model” - the 2002 World Cup was, said AS, “Madrid’s tournament.” (And La Liga Loca makes no apology for delving into its archives and pulling out this particular gem.)

“The World Cup has been seduced by White Magic,” rambled Tomás Roncero, just before it all went horribly wrong over in Korea. “Real have taken control of the Fevernova and the land of fantasy cartoons. The World Cup has turned white, thanks to Real Madrid, whose myth extends beyond that apotheostic final in Glasgow. The machine never stops. Raul, el Moro and Hierro have five goals, proving the pride these Three Musketeers have in defending the national honour.”

“It’s obvious France without Zidane just can’t perform,” he continued as the men in white coats dragged him into the back of a padded van. “Figo’s injured and Portugal are going out. Roberto Carlos, meanwhile, scores goals and goes on and on like the Duracell Bunny. Then there’s Geremi, who will [Will he? Will he really, Tomás? LLL] bury Kahn. Oh glory of glories! The world bows down before the White Prince!”

By “world” what Roncero really meant of course was “me.” But while howling mad Tomás might be the most mental of mentalists he’s not alone – as this summer has proven yet again. Especially when it comes to the season’s awards.

Now, we’re not talking about the Alfredo Di Stéfano Spanish Player of the Year trophy (as given to the best Madrid player who’s Spanish and whose first name begins with R, not including Robinho and Ruud or, just to be on the safe side, Royston).

No siree Bob, we’re talking about the big ones: the FIFA World Player award and, most importantly of all, the Balón d’Or – the trophy the Madrid press still angrily insists was robbed from Raúl by Lickle Mikey Owen back in 2002.

Lickle Mikey Owen with the trophy he robbed from Raúl 

Never mind that Cristiano Ronaldo is going to win them both, or that he’s currently on a whistle stop, ever-so-humble tour of the worlds media to make absolutely sure that he does, the men who really deserve to win it are obvious, making a mockery of that momentary insistence that when it comes to the selección we’re all in it together.

The Balón d’Or has to be for our boy. And anyone who says it aint so deserves a slapping and a burning. Or a throwing in a river to see if they float. 

Marca and AS think that Iker Casillas should win it. Don’t just think, insist. After all, he did brilliantly lead Real Madrid to the title and captain Spain to the European Championships. Even though during the tournament, penalty heroics aside, he actually didn’t have a great deal to do.

Sport and El Mundo Deportivo reckoned Xavi Hernández should get it, having been voted the player of the tournament. Even though his league season was little short of disastrous. And then they started going on about Leo Messi getting it. Even though, brilliant though he is, his season actually yielded precious little, what with injuries and that.

Then they got all upset when Andrés Iniesta wasn’t on the short list. Just as in Madrid they didn’t get all upset when Sergio Ramos – the one Spanish disappointment at the Euros - was. 

Funnily enough, no one backed David Villa, even though he was Euro 2008’s top scorer. Or Marcos Senna (the ugly half of La Liga Loca’s particular favourite right now), even though he led Villarreal to a first ever runners-up spot, had the best average rating in the league and was, in ugly La Liga Loca’s humble opinion, the best player at the European Championships.

Or Cesc Fabregas. Even though he was brilliant at Euro 2008 and a real leader at Arsenal. Or Fernando Torres. Even though he scored the winning goal in the final and hit 33 in his debut season in England, making him the most successful foreign striker ever.  

Aren’t they Spanish too? Yes (well, no, in Senna’s case). But there’s Spanish and there’s Barcelona or Madrid. No wonder Torres complained that there was a campaign. Because there was. There is.

So, it was no wonder that Sport – who we’ll let off because they kindly called FourFourTwo “excellent” – picked up on the best 100 players in the world list this morning to highlight the fact that Leo Messi is No. 2. Higher than any Real Madrid player in the whole wide world. 

And that’s just the start … yes, readers, drop FourFourTwo’s list in there and, never mind La Liga Loca’s complaints (Ferdinand at 9 and Pepe only at 61, you’re having a laugh aren’t you?

Ferdinand is No.9?! You cannot be serious... 

Did you really think about including Fernando Gago?! Senna only at 30?! And how can Diarra be higher than Pires?), just watch the fall out as the Spanish media, from Marca to AS, El Mundo Deportivo to El País pick up on the most exhaustive list on earth, and go absolutely bonkers.

What do you mean Aguero’s better than any Madrid outfielders? How can Madrid have 12 – 12! – players and Barcelona only seven? Ruud over Eto’o? More Italians than Spaniards? You are joking! (Actually Joaquín’s not in the list at all.)

Higuaín at 86? Raúl at 56? But Raúl is the King! And how dare you include players from Villarreal, Valencia, Sevilla and Atletico at all? Dear, oh dear, oh dear. Come on, admit it - who’s been bribing you?

Watch out, chaps! Batten down the hatches. The burning stakes and pitchforks are coming over the brow of the hill and baring down on FourFourTwo Towers.

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