Getafe's European success and transfer rumours dominate La Liga Review's round up of Spain's sports papers. After yesterday's claims in SPORT that Dani Alves was going to Barcelona, AS now reckons he's going to Madrid. Elswehere, Real Madrid are keen on Aguero and Henry's 'charisma' appeals to Seattle....
Both of Madrid's sports papers seem to have one thing in common today: after at least three days of consistently running with stories involving the same transfer targets (Huntelaar, Aquilani and de Rossi) they both seem to have got bored with those and have moved on.
AS perfectly mirrors yesterday's edition of SPORT by plastering a big picture of Dani Alves across its front page. SPORT claimed yesterday that the Sevilla player had a made a pact with Barcelona that he would be joining the Catalan club in the summer. Not to be outdone, AS claim today that the player prefers a move to Real Madrid and that Schuster has requested that the club sign the Brazilian full back. As if Mijatovic is going to waste his time chasing players that his coach wants.
AS claims that the player's agent has insisted that there is no agreement with Barcelona and that Madrid is the players personal first choice destination. The major stumbling block would be the huge fee that Sevilla will demand for the player and, as AS reminds us: 'Del Nido turned down a 35 million euros offer from Chelsea last summer, and demanded 42 million from Real Madrid. However, Madrid have a number of players - Baptista, Saviola and De la Red - that appeal to Sevilla and could be used to facilitate a deal for Alves.'
As one of the best players in La Liga, and undoubtedly the best in his position, Dani Alves will feature a lot over the coming months as the sports papers from both sides of the great divide slug it out for his signature for their respective clubs: until he signs for Chelsea.
'Viva Getafe' bellows AS - and for once we agree with the Madrid based football comic -in celebration of Getafe's 1-1 draw with Bayern Munich in the UEFA Cup quarter final first leg. AS states: 'Now Beckenbauer knows who Getafe are!', and that, 'Laudrup beat the Germans with his tactics, on the blackboard, and his players outpassed them out on the pitch.' Maybe. Although from where La Liga Review was sitting, the Madrid side took a bit of battering in the first half and were fortunate to make it to the interval just the one goal down. Nevertheless, the away goal and the draw is a terrific result for 'euro-Geta' and for once, who cares if AS doesn't allow a dose of reality to stand in the way of hyperbole.
Marca also has praise for Getafe, but like AS, leads with a bit of transfer gossip, and like AS comes up with a new one today: Sergio Aguero.
'Why Not Kun?!' screams the headline which is apparently in reference to what one of the Real Madrid directors said when they were coming up with summer transfer targets; rather than what they shouted in the offices of Marca as they were scrabbling around trying to come up with a fresh transfer story for today. And why not?
Aguero has been, after all, arguably the best striker in Spain this season and has really stepped in to the spotlight vacated by the injured Lionel Messi. However, while the story makes for a big headline, there is actually very little substance aside from the fact that an unnamed Real Madrid director thinks that Kun is quite a good player. Were anybody to actually try and sign Aguero, it is unlikely that Atletico Madrid would let him go for a cent less than the 55 million euros buy-out clause written in to his contract.
Up north, in Barcelona, and the sports papers are already bored with this season and are fully focused upon the next. Transfer rumours and managerial changes dominated the papers this week and today is no different. SPORT carries on where it left off yesterday by insisting that Dani Alves is Barcelona bound in the summer and that the story has been confirmed by a Barcelona board member.
The front page lead, however, is the claim that Manuel Pellegrini's work at Villarreal has not gone unnoticed by the Barcelona board and that the Chilean coach features on the list of possible replacements for Frank Rijkaard next season. It marks a bit of a turnaround by the paper that has been claiming that Pep Guardiola was the favourite to take of the managerial role at the Camp Nou next season and the paper is clearly covering all bases in claiming that Pellegrini is a possible candidate.
SPORT writes: ' The Barcelona board have yet to reach a unanimous agreement over who should takeover in the Camp Nou dugout next season, however, one thing is certain: the Villarreal coach has many admirers on the board and his work at Villarreal has not gone unnoticed. Furthermore, of all the other potential candidates (Laurent Blanc, Michael Laudrup, Josep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho...) Pellegrini is the coach who most closely resembles the 'Rijkaard profile' that the club are looking for.'SPORT also has space on its front page to bring us the news that Ronaldinho's brother, and agent, Roberto de Assis was photographed leaving a restaurant in Milan with Adriano Galliani, director general of AC Milan, and Ernesto Bronzetti, the man responsible for the Italian club's transfer business in Spain. SPORT writes: 'The future of Ronaldinho is unknown but these images and actions suggest that, day by day, Ronnie is moving further and further away from Barcelona.' Yawn.
While we are on wild speculation and gossip: SPORT has even started scouring the Blogosphere for copy the internet rumour that Thierry Henry is headed for the MLS has finally made it in to the paper.
After doing the rounds on a number of websites, the paper finally picks up on the story and writes: 'After Henry revealed, in an interview with the New York Times last year that he loves the pace of life in New York and the fact that he can wander he streets without being pestered for autographs, there were numerous reports claiming that he could be about to sign for the New York Red Bulls. In the end he signed a four year deal with Barcelona. However, the player is not going through his finest hour in Barcelona and many feel that he is unlikely to see out that contract. The rumour is that the board of Seattle FC are doing all that they can to sign Henry for 2009 [...] and that talks are at an advanced stage.'
La Liga Review's favourite bit?: ' The marketing experts in US Soccer have seen the potential in signing Henry. In the USA they are aware that securing the player's image rights would be highly beneficial, mainly due to the player's charisma.' Charisma? Henry?
Barcelona's other sports paper, El Mundo Deportivo, offers us very little today. It leads with the story that Lio Messi has returned to the City and that the player 'really wants to play.' That's the headline in fact.
The club are not willing to rush Messi back in to action, however, and are cautious about fixing upon a set date for his return. Messi limped off the pitch clutching his torn thigh muscle on the fourth of March in the Champions League game against Celtic at the Camp Nou. Messi has said that he would like to play in next Wednesday's Champions League fixture against Celtic, but the club's technical and medical staff consider that premature. Privately, the club are hoping that, should Barcelona progress to the semi finals, Messi could be fit to face Manchester United, or Roma, on the 23rd of April.
El Mundo Deportivo also takes a break from cheerleading for Barcelona, and brings us news of Espanyol on the front page. According to MD, Daniel Sanchez Llibre , the Espanyol president has said that "our plans for next season are 95% decided upon."
The paper claims that Carlos Kameni (a target for Tottenham Hotspur) and Zabaleta are both very likely to be leaving the club and that, consequently, the club is actively looking for a new goalkeeper and a left back. MD also claims that Espanyol are looking for the long term replacement for Raul Tamudo, but they handicapped by their limited budget and that there will be no major signings in the summer as the club prepares to move to its new stadium.