El Centrocampista

WHAT THE PAPERS SAY: Mourinho camera shy, Gaspart has no mates, and Angels and Demons

One day to go, one more paper review for your all. The Clásico is painfully close, but not enough to silence the Spanish press. They aren’t short of meat to feed on either: when Aitor Karanka turned up for Real Madrid’s pre- Clásico press conference today, Sport and EMD could be heard rubbing their collective mitts together all the way from Scotland. Honestly.

Elsewhere, Marca take some time to poke fun at an old man, and El Punt Avui has a rather useless comparison between Lionel Messi and Jose Mourinho. Just what you wanted, right?

We’ll start off in Catalunya, and both EMD and Sport were running more or less the same top story today (which you would think was slightly pointless considering they’re direct competitors, but apparently not) focusing on Aitor Karanka’s presence instead of Mourinho at the Real Madrid press conference..

Both papers built their stories around Karanka’s revelations on Real Madrid’s tactical intentions. Sport went with “Jugaremos con 4-3-3” (we’ll play with a 4-3-3) and EMD had their own twist with the headline “No firmamos el empate” (we won’t look for the draw).

In short, Karanka says Real Madrid will go out with an attacking intent, as exemplified with their formation. Whilst a 4-3-3 may usually be an attacking formation, Karanka and Mourinho both know they’re trying to pull the wool over our eyes.

The real thing of importance is exactly who plays in the midfield three, and if it’s a deep lying playmaker and two defensive midfielders, then that’s a completely different system to three out and out attacking midfielders.

Of course, pulling the wool over our eyes is something Mourinho specialises in, and both Sport and EMD didn’t forget to remind us.

Sport, as expected, encourage us to read between the lines in regards to Mourinho’s absence, and at the end of their piece (by which point everyone presumably stopped reading), they quote Karanka’s admittedly poor justification that Mourinho has done over 30 press conferences as Real Madrid coach, and that there was nothing Mourinho would say that Karanka couldn’t say for him. It’s not like it’s part of Jose’s job or anything….

EMD, with their subheadline of “Karanka hace de Mourinho en la rueda de premsa” (Karanka does a Mourinho in the press conference) also point out the silver-haired, slightly tanned  Portuguese elephant not in the room. In all fairness, their piece then goes on to give a more or less word by word account of the talking points from the conference, with little controversial commentary by the paper. Strangely, that’s when it gets rather boring, too.

Over to Madrid, and Marca took some time to poke fun at a lonely old man in the form of the former Barcelona president that even most Barcelona fans don’t like, Joan Gaspart. The headline reads “Veré el partido en casa, en el Bernabéu me insultan” (I’ll watch the game at home, in the Bernabéu  they insult me). A sarcastic well done to Marca, who managed to make an old man look like a bit of a coward with their headline, but further into the article, Gaspart actually has some fighting words that might go down well with the Barcelona faithful.

Gaspart explains his disdain for the Madrid stadium, saying “Es un palco muy madridista” (it’s a Madridist box). Depending on how you read it, he’s either talking about the box he would be taking his seat in, or, if you’re a little more cynical (like me), you could suggest he’s attempting to downplay the grandeur of the world renowned mass of beautiful concrete that is the Madrid stadium.

This will no doubt do little to please most of Marca‘s readers. It’s convenient then that Marca didn’t do much to frame the quotes, instead just letting Gaspart do the talking. He later expands that “Ahora el forofismo, la pasión y la mala educación está más en las gradas” (Now, the freaks, the diehards and the idiots are all more numerous in the stands).

It’s almost like Marca know their readers won’t like this. Check out the comments beneath the article for a laugh.

Finally, I’ll take a somewhat unusual diversion towards El Punt Avui. The Catalan broadsheet has a small but often worthwhile sports section, and today one of their pieces was so irrelevant I just had to feature it. The headline reads “àngel i dimoni” (angel and demon), with the former being Lionel Messi (of course) and the latter being Jose Mourinho (of course to the power of ten).

The Catalan paper points out the useless fact that Lionel Messi was born on the same day that Jose Mourinho drew a close to his short (or as they put it somewhat patronisingly, ‘discrete’) career as a football player. I’m not really sure how that will help Barcelona on Saturday, but if you have any ideas, let me now?

Perhaps they’re trying to create some kind of superstition around Messi being a bad luck charm for Mou, but they sort of ruin it themselves when they later expand that Messi failed to score against both Inter and Chelsea when Mourinho was in charge. As if to try and save their mystic thesis, they add that the Argentine has scored 6 goals in 7 games against Mourinho’s Madrid. At the risk of sounding ridiculous, maybe he’s just an excellent player that happened to play, well, excellently?

It’s all getting a bit too magical for me (really), so I’ll leave it there. No doubt there’ll be the worst of the lot tomorrow on the day of the game, so be sure to stick around for more updates pre- Clásico


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