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Madrid’s assistance at Old Trafford sends Barcelona press potty

âÂÂWhat do I think? Madrid fans, they are blind! Blind I tell you!â was the damning verdict from the blogâÂÂs Atlético-supporting café owner early on Wednesday morning. He was not best pleased at the prospect of Real Madrid winning their 10th European title, the dream of dreams of dreams in the Spanish capital.

While the grumpy old codger might have been a little biased in his opinion it was a verdict shared by José Mourinho himself who, to his personal delight, bamboozled all by admitting NaniâÂÂs red was only a yellow, that he was âÂÂexpecting more from his sideâ and that âÂÂthe best team didnâÂÂt go throughâÂÂ.

In the UK such flattery has been interpreted as a blatant kiss-up to Manchester United, a club he fancies managing in the future. But La Liga Loca suspects itâÂÂs just another way to annoy Florentino Pérez and knock gloss off a hugely important result that prevented many a nervous breakdown in the Madridista world.

Yes, SaturdayâÂÂs victory against Barcelona should have been a draw after a late penalty claim was ignored by the referee. Yes, NaniâÂÂs red card certainly changed a match where Madrid were labouring when handed possession by Manchester United. And yes, the Madrid press are quite happy to ignore all these decisions going in the clubâÂÂs favour, something that will be overlooked completely at a later date if thereâÂÂs an unfortunate call that has the papers calling conspiracy.


"So this means Fergie's on his way out, right?"

Over in the Catalan capital, the result has been predictably labelled a jammy Real Madrid progression to the quarter-finals. SportâÂÂs Joan Batlle snooted that âÂÂMadrid ended up suffering against 10, relying on a saving angel, Diego López, to avoid a historic humiliation.â Mundo Deportivo are equally as irked with J.M Artells furious that âÂÂthe referee threw life jackets to a Madrid that was on the way to being shipwrecked.âÂÂ

No such pinkie talk in the Spanish capital, though. MarcaâÂÂs in-house referee may have confessed that the Nani red card was a mistake, but their front page declared that Madrid had âÂÂthe heart of a championâÂÂ. Even Cristiano Ronaldo admitted too many tingly feelings. âÂÂFor the first time in my career the atmosphere got the better of me,â chirped the returning match winner.

AS are a little more cagey and merely declare what a great week itâÂÂs been. âÂÂThe clouds have parted and now the sun shines for Real Madrid, as today they donâÂÂt need to be envious of anyone,â writes Alfredo Relaño.

Tomás Roncero injects a little bit more enthusiasm into the affair, declaring âÂÂeternal glory for the best team in the historyâ and that it was Madrid who lost out to the refereeâÂÂs performance. âÂÂHe allowed the 1-0 despite the offside from Van Persie and forgave the red and penalty for Rafael. To compare all this with the Nani sending-off feels and wrong and unfair to me.âÂÂ

With a huge sigh of relief, LLL now turns its fairly narrow attention to ValenciaâÂÂs attempts to overturn a 2-1 deficit against Paris Saint-Germain in the French capital.

Although Zlatan Ibrahimovic is missing through suspension, the SwedeâÂÂs absence is countered by ValenciaâÂÂs lack of first choice centre-back pairing, Ricardo Costa and Adil Rami.

Roberto Soldado says Los Che will be going into the match with âÂÂnothing to loseâ (apart from the tie, perhaps), while manager Ernesto Valverde is confident he has a plan that could see his side prevail. âÂÂThe same strategy (as the Mestalla first leg), but not conceding goals.â Crazy, but it might just work.