Moral outrage, rare but admirable sarcasm and a spot of burying heads in the sand. These have been the main reactions in the Spanish press to the brutal sanctions handed out by a doddering old codger to JosÃÂ© Mourinho and Tito Vilanova as a result of Ã¢ÂÂFinger-gateÃ¢ÂÂ - the moment the Madrid manager jabbed his digit into the eye of the Barcelona assistant during the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup final nearly two months ago.
The sole judge on the Spanish FAÃ¢ÂÂs Competition Committee, the 85-year-old Alfredo FlÃÂ³rez, cogitated for 49 days before handing out a two match suspension to Mourinho and a one game ban for Vilanova. To make sure both parties really felt the hard sting of his dark glove of justice across their botties, it was decided that these bans would only apply to Spanish Super Cup games. Both parties were also hit with Ã¢ÂÂ¬600 fines, with Madrid and Barcelona as institutions also suffering penalties of Ã¢ÂÂ¬180 and Ã¢ÂÂ¬90 respectively.
Ã¢ÂÂThe non-existence of the injury and lack of conclusive proof of the desire to wound on the part of SeÃÂ±or Mourinho,Ã¢ÂÂ was the official reason why something more severe was not the response to an incident that even hoodie-hugging Guardian readers would admit should result in a public flogging for the perpetrator (or perpetrators depending on if you believe FlorentinoÃ¢ÂÂs defence of extreme provocation from the BarÃÂ§a bench).
Not surprisingly, the Catalan press got rather uppity about the verdict, with the front cover of Sport branding the punishment as Ã¢ÂÂa disgraceÃ¢ÂÂ - a condemnation shared by Mundo Deportivo. Writing inside the former, LluÃÂs MascarÃÂ³ apparently agrees with the Spanish FAÃ¢ÂÂs draconian measures and that Ã¢ÂÂTito Vilanova has been justly punished with a one match suspension for having placed his eye onto MouÃ¢ÂÂs finger.Ã¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂA just punishment that serves as an example,Ã¢ÂÂ sarks MascarÃÂ³.
Jose didn't appreciate FlÃÂ³rez's eye-for-an-eye punishment...
Santi Nolla, writing in Mundo Deportivo, wafts a finger - the very thing that got Mourinho into trouble in the first place - in Florentino PÃÂ©rezÃ¢ÂÂs powerful direction and claims that Ã¢ÂÂFlÃÂ³rez is the only judge but he didnÃ¢ÂÂt take the decision alone. He was pressured. No doubt.Ã¢ÂÂ
Even AS suggest that the fairly non-existent punishment handed down for a very existent crime whiffs a bit. Ã¢ÂÂA political penaltyÃ¢ÂÂ notes ThursdayÃ¢ÂÂs headline. Ã¢ÂÂJustice wasnÃ¢ÂÂt done, politics was,Ã¢ÂÂ writes Alfredo RelaÃÂ±o, the paperÃ¢ÂÂs editor.
Marca have generally ignored the affair and have gone into journalistic la-la land during the international break. WednesdayÃ¢ÂÂs edition boats of JosÃÂ© MourinhoÃ¢ÂÂs Ã¢ÂÂfootball lessons at half-timeÃ¢ÂÂ - those present at the recent Racing and Levante c*ck-ups may raise an eyebrow - with the paper quoting one source in the dressing room claiming he felt Mourinho could see the future.
A day later Marca once again poured over the pre-match rituals of the squad, and stunned its readership with revelations regarding music being played on the team coach, some players going onto the pitch before the warm-up and others choosing not to. The showpiece moment that really greased MarcaÃ¢ÂÂs goolies was Cristiano Ronaldo jumping very high into the air when running onto the pitch. Ã¢ÂÂThe most spectacular ceremonyÃ¢ÂÂ sighs the love-struck paper, before accusing Sami Khedira, Xabi Alonso and RaÃÂºl AlbÃÂol of being Ã¢ÂÂstrangeÃ¢ÂÂ for having no superstitions or rituals at all.
Meanwhile, Hugo SÃÂ¡nchez has continued his eternal campaign to become Real Madrid manager one day with a fine spot of butt-crawling by praising FlorentinoÃ¢ÂÂs appointment of The Special One. Ã¢ÂÂMadrid need a coach like Mourinho to get back the values they had been losing,Ã¢ÂÂ purred the wannabe Bernabeu boss.
If SÃÂ¡nchez really does want to take over at Real Madrid, he may want to consider a more direct approach to get Florentino PÃÂ©rezÃ¢ÂÂs attention. Like poking the club president in the eye perhaps. After all, itÃ¢ÂÂs now become perfectly acceptable behaviour in la Liga.
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