La Liga Review's round up of the Spanish football front pages sees plenty of Real Madrid transfer gossip as the club goes 'shopping in Rome', while the Catalans celebrate beating Schalke with Bojan 'Saving Rijkaard's head' - for now. Oh...and Schuster 'knows Real Madrid are the best'...
Marca leads with the headline "Mijatovic in Rome for de Rossi and Aquilani" and informs us that the Real Madrid sporting director was at Roma's Champions League semi final tie with Manchester United to check up on the availability of the two Italian midfielders.
According to MARCA, Ramon Calderon has decided that "if you can't beat them; sign them" and the Madrid president has set his sights on the two players who "were responsible for knocking Real Madrid out of the Champions League."
MARCA claims that Mijatovic has already spoken with Roma about the pair and has formally requested that Roma "name their price."
The paper also claims that Schuster also admires the players - although why that should be of any concern to the Madrid coach is anybody's guess - the important thing is that the president rates them.
MARCA believes that Daniele De Rossi and Alberto Aquilani are "two very different midfielders who complement each other perfectly. Rossi is a classic defensive midfielder, very much in vogue at the moment, but with better distribution than many who occupy that position: like Diarra, Toure or Makelele."
Alberto Aquilani, according to MARCA "Is what they call a fantasist in Italy." Presumably that's something like a fantasy footballer, as opposed to some sort of Walter Mitty character.
MARCA believes that the pair are exactly what Real Madrid need: "De Rossi - a leader, physically imposing but with personality as well. Tactically he is perfect and he is quite capable with the ball at his feet - although he's no Pep Guardiola" concedes MARCA.
"Aquilani can make the ball fly. He gave a recital at the Bernabeu, showing off his entire repertoire. He has a fabulous medium range shot but s one of those players who often fails to nail down a place in Italy - where muscle is preferred over the sublime. However, there is the impression that this latest talent to come out of Rome would warrant a place in any side anywhere in the world."
Life on planet AS carries on as normal and the paper doesn't bother with Barcelona's Champions League quarter final and, instead, does what it always does when Real Madrid aren't getting up to anything in particular: it generates its own Madrid story by interviewing someone from Real Madrid an putting them on the front page.
Today AS is very pleased with itself after landing the jolly German himself; and to celebrate we are treated with a front page picture of the testy Teuton and the headline: "The Important thing is to know that we are the best": just what the AS readers needed to hear the day after having to stick their finger in their ears and blot out Barcelona's Champions league quarter final exploits - the Champions League quarter finals that Real Madrid aren't involved in.
AS convinces Schuster to discuss the transfer targets that the paper has been shouting about every day for he past month and gets the Madrid to admit that the Ajax forward, Klass Jan Huntelaar "is a clone of Van Basten" but that he "doesn't mind if either Drogba or Fabiano end up at Real Madrid."
With regard to the La Liga title race, Schuster concedes that " it is not going to be easy. Who would have thought that we'd lose to Betis or Deportivo the way that we did. We have eight games left to play that are worth more than any we have played before."
Both of Barcelona's football dailies, quite understandably, lead with Barcelona's Champions League quarter final first leg victory over Shalke 04 last night.
While both papers are fiercely 'pro-Barça', SPORT is slightly more critical of the current regime at the club than El Mundo Deportivo. Consequently, as Barcelona has been plunged in to its umpteenth 'crisis' of the season then those minor fault lines are exposed and take on greater significance than when the club is enjoying a period of success.
Today exemplifies those internecine divisions as well as any other and the euphoria of MD contrasts with the more cautious, and more accurate, analysis published in SPORT: something I never thought I would write sober.
MD leads with "A Magnificent Result!" and celebrates Bojan's "Golden Goal" that, the paper claims, has decided the tie and virtually puts Barcelona through to the semi-finals. The paper is delighted with the win over a "weak" opponent but does warn that Barcelona shouldn't let their guard down in the second leg, just in case the Germans, who "will fight to the death" end up "doing a Betis" in reference to last Saturday when Barcelona threw away a 2-0 goal lead in Seville. However, MD has it's sights on the semis and is already worried about Manchester United and Ronaldo, then, after them "Arsenal and Cesc or Liverpool and Torres'.
SPORT, under the headline 'A Giant Step Forward', celebrates Bojan's decisive 12th minute strike and states that the team "faced up to their moment of truth and can take heart from the scoreline". However, the paper goes on to say that "the win cannot hide the fact that this Barcelona side are light years away from the side that lit up European football just a couple of years ago"
"Barcelona won because one player, Bojan, decided to rise to the occasion and score the goal that gave them the win," writes SPORT.
The paper was less than impressed with Barcelona's performance, refusing to give any of the players a match rating higher than 7, and considers that the tie is far from over. SPORT warns that "Schalke's aerial threat is a real cause for concern and the number of high crosses that Valdes was forced to deal with - 24 in total - are an indicator of how the Germans will approach the second leg. Barcelona have been warned."
SPORT also quotes Samuel Eto'o, a vocal critic of Ronaldinho in the past, as saying :"I'd give three quarters of my salary to have Ronnie back. I know him well and if he has what he says he has, then it hurts."