Was a secret and Special third party behind Pepe/Ballesteros bust-up?
La Liga Loca is just imagining the immensity of the frightful kerfuffle. A few minutes after the end of SundayÃ¢ÂÂs clash between Levante and Real Madrid - one that was both fiery and soggy - there was an almighty noise in the tunnel outside the dressing rooms at the Ciutat de Valencia stadium. There must have been an identical conversation in both of them. Ã¢ÂÂGoodness gracious, what is the manner of that hullabaloo?Ã¢ÂÂ
Ã¢ÂÂOh, itÃ¢ÂÂs just Pepe and Sergio Ballesteros duking it out. Fancy, trying to break it up?Ã¢ÂÂ
Ã¢ÂÂMy giddy aunt, prevent a scrap between someone with a history of hot-headedness and an eight-foot, 16-stone beast of a man with nothing to lose? I should think not, sir.Ã¢ÂÂ
But itÃ¢ÂÂs the fight after the fight thatÃ¢ÂÂs talk of the Madrid papers on Tuesday, with the rumbling fall-out from a Madrid victory that left Cristiano Ronaldo with just the one barely functioning eye. To be more accurate, the big talking point is identifying who started the fight after the fight. Unsurprisingly, the answer to that riddle all depends on what side of the great la Liga divide you stand.
What we know for sure is that Pepe and Ballesteros had a bit of set-to after the match, with a few others getting involved for good measure. The refereeÃ¢ÂÂs report calmly states that Ã¢ÂÂplayers, coaches and staff from both teams and security were trying to break up two people who were having a discussion in a provocative and threatening manner.Ã¢ÂÂ
The Pepe camp claims the hulking Levante defender went towards the medical room in which Ronaldo was being treated, looking for a bit of post-match afters. Pepe saw this and intervened. Punches were then thrown, apparently. Ã¢ÂÂHeÃ¢ÂÂs always the same,Ã¢ÂÂ announced Sergio Ramos when things had died down a little. Ã¢ÂÂIf (Ballesteros) wants to punch people then he should become a boxer.Ã¢ÂÂ
The Pepe-is-innocent story is also backed up by Real Madrid on an institutional level, in the form of a straight-laced 'official communication'.
Ã¢ÂÂAt the end of the game, the attitude and behaviour of the players, technical team and members of the travel party were correct and irreproachable at all times,Ã¢ÂÂ read the statement, rejecting any accusations that Pepe deserved to be sent to the naughty step.
Unsurprisingly, the Ballesteros-is-innocent camp claim Pepe was all with the taunting and dancing after the match, and took the opportunity to let out some aggression on the Levante man as he innocently popped in to check on RonaldoÃ¢ÂÂs health. Ã¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂve never attacked anyone in my life, let alone Pepe,Ã¢ÂÂ declared Ballesteros. Ã¢ÂÂI went to see how Cristiano was.Ã¢ÂÂ
The centre-back also said that David Navarro didnÃ¢ÂÂt mean to nearly decapitate the Real Madrid man, who was forced to pull out of international action this week. Ã¢ÂÂI spoke to him and at no moment did he see that Ronaldo was there, it could have happened in any game,Ã¢ÂÂ claimed the Levante captain.
However, the always imaginative LluÃÂs MascarÃÂ³, writing in Barcelona based Sport, has managed to find a third potential culprit in the shenanigans. The title of his entry in MondayÃ¢ÂÂs edition may give a clue as to who that could be - Ã¢ÂÂMadrid, the most hated team in the world.Ã¢ÂÂ
Ã¢ÂÂMadrid are received as the enemy in the majority of football grounds. The fault of the situation is, without doubt, Mourinho, with his strategy of stirring things up.Ã¢ÂÂ
LLL is forced to wonder if the Madrid manager has a handy left-hook. Would have been useful on Sunday night...