Our daily look at whats making the headlines in Spanish football today. According to the Madrid press, Raul continues to be the best player in the world, whilst in Barcelona there is anarchy in the dressing room as Mourinho, Van Basten and Wenger are lined up as alternatives for Rijkaard...
AS – 'Raul deserves the Ballon d’Or'
The Madrid based sports comic has got itself very excited. Apparently Totti has told Sky Italia that he thinks he has a lot in common with Real Madrid’s Raul. AS agrees and says that ‘Totti is to Roma what Raul is to Madrid, and both players know it. There are few footballers who have worn just one shirt throughout their careers and you can count on the fingers of one hand those who have been successful’. Why on earth that should make the front page is anybody’s guess, but you can be sure that it has something to do with the paper’s ongoing crusade to remind a certain Luis Aragones that Raul’s omission from the national team is the only thing standing between Spain and victory in the European Championship in the summer.
SPORT – ‘Barcelona have faith in Rijkaard...but there are alternatives: Mourinho, Van Basten and Wenger’
The Barcelona based paper has thoughtfully drawn up a shortlist of replacements for Frank Rijkaard and splashed them across its front page. Sport ‘dares’ to name them as Mourinho, Van Basten and Arsene Wenger. According to Sport ‘the most radical alternative would be Jose Mourinho, yet the most probable. FC Barcelona maintains a good relationship with Mourinho’s agent, Jorge Mendes, and it would not be so hard to come to a contractual agreement. Mourinho’s name will sound ever more tempting if Rijkaard fails to lift the team in the final stages of this season. If Mourinho represents a revolution, the Van Basten stands for continuity: a manager from the Dutch school and a philosophy based upon a passing game, wide play and flair. However, Van Basten may have trouble dealing with Barcelona’s stars, as he has with the stars of the Dutch national team. Arsene Wenger, will be a much tougher manager to recruit. The Frenchman would have to break a contract with a club where he is very happy and where he has total control – and be prepared to walk away from all that to join FC Barcelona’. Unfortunately for the club, as is always the way, the best option will prove to be the most difficult to attain.
Mundo Deportivo: ‘The Barcelona dressing room is out of control’
MD claims on its front page that Rijkaard has ‘lost’ the Barcelona dressing room and that the situation has not improved since last season with Rijkaard repeating the same mistakes time and again. Apparently the club have never had a clue as to when Samuel Eto’o is likely to return from the African Cup of Nations following his injury in the final. Consequently the team’s medical staff have no knowledge as to the extent of the injury and are clueless as to whether or not the player will be back for the game against Zaragoza this weekend. MD also claims that the number of players given leave to return home to their respective countries, whenever they are injured, is sending out the message that their ‘personal lives always come before the club’. The paper claims that players are so confident that they will be given permission to go jetting off around the globe, that they now do so without asking permission – Messi’s trip to Qatar cited as proof of this state of anarchy.