In La Liga Review’s regular look at the Spanish football papers' front pages, the focus in Madrid is upon Luis Aragones and Raul’s staged ceasefire, whilst the scribblers in Barcelona get very excited over ‘new signings’ Ronnie and Henry…
In an attempt to diffuse the ongoing polemic over the Spanish coach’s refusal to pick Raul for the national team, the Real Madrid player arranged a press conference at which the two would call for a truce in the Spanish press. This meant that aside from the slightly disconcerting sight of seeing the words ‘Luis Aragones’ and ‘diplomacy’ on the same page, the reader’s of Spain’s sports pages were also confronted by the slightly creepy image of the Spanish team coach smiling.
AS: ‘Raul lets Aragones off the hook’As lead cheerleader in the ‘Raul for Spain’campaign, Madrid based comic AS was never going to put down its pom-poms and stop shouting its support for their golden boy. In spite of the fact that the press conference was all Raul’s idea, AS seems to believe that it is all part of some cunning plan by Aragones who, according to AS, completely failed to enter in to the spirit of the awkward love-in. There will be no hatchet burying as far as this particular Madrid based comic is concerned…
AS writes “Luis and Raul declare peace, but clarify nothing. The pair held last nights press conference in order to end the polemic that has arisen since the Madrid Captain has ben left out of the national squad after Spain’s 3-2 defeat to Northern Ireland in Belfast.
The press conference was nothing but a sham, as neither of them shed any light on the reasons behind the personal disagreement that the tow of them had at the World Cup in Germany. Aragones has never publically explained the reason for the divorce and this has fuelled an endless war between the two and their respective groups of supporters. In fact, Aragones has gone and made matters worse after claiming that the supporters who accosted him at Malaga airport screaming “Raul, Raul, Raul!”, were an ‘organised’ group. Raul said he had no idea who they were and that it had nothing to do with him”.
MARCA: “Luis will call Raul if he improves”
Marca tries to focus on the positive, and clings on to the faint hope that its beloved captain of its beloved Madrid might one day wear the Spanish shirt again. The paper writes ‘The national coach said last night that “Raul is among a list of 40 players who could figure in his squad but that he will need to improve”.
Marca wonders just what Raul has to do and points out that ‘Raul has 15 league and Champions league goals’.
SPORT: “Ronaldinho emerges from the tunnel”The Barcelona based SPORT ignores the Raul and Luis affair and carries on getting very excited about a player and a team that it had completely written off just one week ago. The paper writes “The Brazilian came alive in Glasgow. Ronaldinho chose the best stage and the best possible competition to remember that the football talent that lives in his boots has not evaporated. Celtic Park was the setting for him to show off his magic in the most prestigious tournament in the world. The star made the difference and shone in a way that we thought had been extinguished for ever”
After wiping the tears from its eyes, the paper gushes “If he carries on like this, Ronnie could prove to be like the very best January signing ahead of this decisive stage of the season; and at a time when Barça have got the wind in their sails and have a hope of winning all three competitions”.
Mundo Deportivo: “RH Positive”Barcelona’s other Sports paper continues in a similar vain, and is equally excited about the fact that both Ronaldinho and Henry have decided to turn up for the rest of the season. MD says that “At the end of May, when we are able to take stock of the season, we might look back on Glasgow as the tipping point: the moment when Barcelona turned a failing season in to a successful one. Let’s hope that the image offered by the team at Celtic Park was not an illusion. The RH Factor could be decisive: The ‘R’ of a Ronaldinho who has risen from the ashes, and the ‘H’ of Henry who has strted to look like the Henry of Arsenal”.
La Liga Review would like to remind any of its readers who may be overcome with emotion at reading the above that both Barcelona papers had written of the team a week ago and will do so again after the next defeat. We would also like to point out that saying something about two swallows and the summer makes absolutely no sense in Catalan.