Barcelona go bonkers for Bojan while the Madrid papers have Schuster in their sights: La Liga Review's regular look at the Spanish football paper's (over)reactions to the weekend's action...
Marca's front page carries a picture of Ramon Calderon and his sporting director Pedrag Mijatovic, under the headline: 'Either this changes or we're going down.' The Madrid sports paper leads with a story marked 'Confidential' - which usually means something altogether different away from football - revealing the details of an emergency 'crisis' meeting that took place in the board room of the Bernabeu immediately after Real Madrid's 2-3 defeat to Valencia on Sunday evening.
According to Marca, the Madrid President has decided to act after seeing his club lose five of their last eight league fixtures and has told Mijatovic that things much change. It is hard to believe that just a couple of months ago, with his club on the verge of extending their lead over Barcelona to eleven points, that Calderon described his Real Madrid team as a machine. That lead at the top of the table has been reduced to just four points and that 'machine' some strange contraption designed for inserting the presidential foot in to the less than presidential mouth.
Marca claims that Calderon has demanded an immediate positive response from the Real Madrid side that has looked devoid of ideas in recent weeks and the paper claims that there is a growing concern that Schuster has 'lost' the dressing room. The Real Madrid technical secretary, Miguel Angel Portugal, and B TEAM Manager, Michel, are on 'standby' should the situation deteriorate says Marca.
As Marca does its best to stir things up then AS steps in to the breach to calm things down a bit (now there's a phrase you never thought you'd read!). Madrid's second sports comic plasters Arjen Robben across its front page with a quote from the Dutch winger telling us: "There is no crisis at Real Madrid."
AS focuses upon the words of the Madrid player and quotes him as saying after the Valencia match: "Of course, I am disappointed by this defeat. But that is football. The ball would not go in and in the end the other team scored, that is sometimes the way the game goes." Indeed it is, in fact why no one has thought of spreading the word of this game and calling it football we'll never know.
Robben defends the team and, echoing the words of Schuster after every single defeat, claims that Real Madrid are just unlucky: "We cannot be criticized too much because we tried very hard and we created a lot of chances on goal, but we just could not score. In the end they scored twice against us. It was a crazy game. "
Clearly Arjen Robben hasn't quite grasped this Spanish football thing and doesn't really get how it all works just yet. Its really very simple: There are two teams in Spain and when it comes to either f them, there are no grey areas. When one of them is doing well, the other one is in crisis. The word crisis, according to the Spanish sports press is used to define the state of things when the team loses a game or can claim to be the best team in the world at that particular moment.
Consequently, as Frédéric Hermel, writing in AS, points out to Arjen Robben, that when you play for the self proclaimed 'greatest club in the history of the universe' then the word crisis is perfectly apt: "Dear Arjen, this is Real Madrid. Other clubs might be satisfied with being top of the league, but here, nine defeats in sixteen games can be defined as a catastrophe."
In contrast, the Barcelona sports papers have gone overboard in eulogising Bojan Krkic. Both Sport and El Mundo Deportivo have taken a break from battering Frank Rijkaard and speculating about what's eating Ronaldinho, and decided to accentuate the positive. On Friday the end of the world was nigh, but after a single win over Valladolid and a defeat for Real Madrid at the weekend, it's great to be a Cule: according the two comics anyway.
"Bojan Krkic - a crack at 17 years old" writes Sport. Apparently Bojan is just like any other seventeen year old student, aside from playing for one of the biggest football clubs in the world. His education remains a priority and he even wants to get a degree in physical education. However, it's not easy for the youngster who must juggle his studies between training and away games. According to Sport: "The biggest problem is getting to college. Bojan use to get the metro but now he can't because he can't even get to the station without having to stop for hundreds of autographs and photos. But he doesn't mind all of that attention, the problem is it makes him late - so now he gets a lift. He's having a great season and has scored seven goals so far this season, just two less than Raul did in his first season at Real Madrid." You do have to wonder just how sports fans in Barcelona could possibly make it through the day without this kind of insight and analysis.
If we didn't know any better we might suspect that after a week of getting hammered by the press, Barcelona had engaged in some kind of PR deal with the local papers.
Not wishing to miss out, El Mundo Deportivo informs us that "Bojan Krkic, with his two goals against Valladolid on Sunday, scored his first brace for Barcelona. His seven goals this season have come from just 23 appearances and just 939 minutes of action; that’s a record of one goal every 134 minutes! - the same number of goals in the half the time of Thierry Henry."
MD does take a break from all of this Bojanmania to bring us some other news: apparently the Barcelona players have had enough of Johan Cruyff telling them what to do from the safety of his newspaper columns, Lluis Aragones won't be taking Valdes to the European Championships and there was a Tibetan monk in the Presidential box at the Camp Nou on Sunday.