A sideways look at Spanish football
"I just want to spend four months alone, watching DVDs of Barça losing..."
With José Mourinho currently coming over a bit Howard Hughes and keeping himself to himself, instead sending lowly footballers or assistant manager Aitor Karanka to talk to the accursed media, Sunday's whopping victory in Mestalla against Valencia is a handy straw for the Madrid media to grasp.
Apparently, everything is fine and dandy again in Mordor, with all those little issues that have so dominated the headlines and talk shows over the past six months - including bust-ups, quarrels between manager and players and wholly unmotivated performances - suddenly now a thing of the past. Yes, the title chase is back on after one, single match. Easy, really.
A chirpy Marca leads the chorus line on Tuesday, with "all for one!" plastered across its front cover, thanks to the revelation that "the Madrid dressing room has forgotten the internal divisions and has come together to fight for every title." Woot!
AS feel the same way and have forgotten their nanny-state nagging and fretting over Mourinho's dedication to the job. The most recent grumble came when Sunday's edition reported in detail how the Portuguese only attended the first 45 minutes of Saturday's training session, before pootling off home then attending his son's football game, missing the pre-match press conference in the process. The 5-0 tonking the following day therefore suggests that the less time that Mourinho spends with his footballers, the better they play. Which makes a lot of sense in hindsight.
Tuesday's edition posts a remarkable poll from its online readers, which shows that just 62% think that Barça will win the league, after the Primera leaders lost 3-2 to Real Sociedad on Saturday evening. A good 22% gave the title to Real Madrid 15 points behind, with 16% suggesting Atlético Madrid. "Logic in football is incapable of stopping faith," noted the news report on the survey.
Over in the Catalan capital a few gaps have appeared in the city's shroud of smugness, after the not unreasonable suggestion from Víctor Valdés agents that the cantankerous keeper would like a change in scene in a year-and-a-half's time. That and a couple of leads chucked away against Málaga and Real Sociedad along with five goals conceded.
Mundo Deportivo are in bold mood, though, and have a bit of fun at the expense of the euphoria in Madrid. "Reading, seeing and listening to the press close to (Real Madrid), it seems that the victory against Valencia is almost like winning the Champions League," notes Manuel Bruña, who wonders what the party would be like at Cibeles if the lead between the two ever dropped from 15 to 12.
Aside from that, the paper continues to busy itself with naming possible replacements for Valdés, a bit of an obsession in the city at the moment. The Barça tendency to be all a bit Scouse and shout 'calm down!' when a sense of peace is far from their minds is reflected in Tuesday's Sport. "The club and team are strong and are ready to face any adversity," advised Joan Vehils in an organ which is still trying to work out why Valdés wants to go in the first place on the front cover. Probably to escape a country and local media which is probably bugging the big toes over the goalkeeper at the moment.
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