La Liga Review indulges in its daily look at whatever stuff and nonsense the Spanish Football papers happening to be making up today. The Catalan papers line up Guardiola, Laudrup or Laurent Blanc for the manager's role at Barcelona, while the Madrid press indulge in a bit of transfer gossip and link David Villa with Real Madrid. Manwhile Jose Antonio Reyes casts aspersions on Mrs Aguirre's occupation...
As there is a Champions League quarter final taking place this evening involving a club that isn't Real Madrid, Marca decides to devote its front page to the news that Fernando Alonso earns a lot of money.
The Madrid based paper does make some space on its front page to suggest that David Villa could be on his way to the Bernabeu in the Summer as Real Madrid have promised not to stand in the way of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and any potential move that he might be making in the direction of Valencia.
Marca probably intended their story to imply that Madrid would not stand in the way of Valencia, as the notion of anybody throwing themselves at Valencia just because Real Madrid aren't interested is, quite frankly, ridiculous.
Marca also claims that they will be recalling Javi Garcia and Ruben de la Red back from their loan spells at the end of this season. De la Red, in particular, has impressed since going out on loan to Getafe back in September and has been the subject of transfer speculation including a possible move to the Premiership. Last week it was claimed, by Marca, that Real Madrid were considering a swap deal with Liverpool involving Ruben de la Red and Xabi Alonso.
Madrid have seen Ruben de la Red's market value soar since his loan move to the Madrid suburbs and the midfielder has been instrumental in Getafe's UEFA cup campaign this season, earning him a call up to the Spanish national squad for the match against Italy a fortnight ago. Should De la Red return to Real Madrid, then the rumours of a possible move to Liverpool are bound to resurface because, as the player's agent helpfully points out: "If Madrid take the player back then they can sell him."
The other lead Football story in Marca involves smooth talking Jose Antonio Reyes who, Marca claims, called Javier Aguirre a 'son-of-a-whore' when he found out he had been left out of Atlético Madrid's squad to face Sevilla a fortnight ago. Marca states that "yet again Reyes finds himself in the news for something other than his performance on the pitch."
However, the former Arsenal star has since strenuously denied that he has ever said such a thing and told a hastily arranged press conference that "I have not shown a lack of respect to the coach as I owe Atlético and I would never disrespect the club."
"We have talked like we always talk and when I have not played in the past we have discussed it. I would like the person who wrote this first off to tell me where he came by this information."
When asked about why he felt he had not won a regular place in Aguirre's team this season, Reyes recognised that the coach was free to choose the players he wants."
The player has recently been linked with a move back to the Premiership after failing to consolidate a regular place in the Atlético side, but today Reyes sated that "I want to stay here for the four years of my contract. I have been treated very well and I like it here, but you never know what could happen."
Marca have since announced, on their website, that they stand by their claim and that they have numerous sources inside the Atlético Madrid dressing room ready to back them up.
AS, like Marca, completely ignores Barcelona's Champions League quarter final and dedicates the fronT page to an interview with Iker Casillas. Amongst a number of startling revelations, such as "Real Madrid haven't won the league yet" and that "it was good to beat Sevilla," AS does deliver a couple of interesting quotes.
Casillas beleives that Madrid face a much tougher run of games than their rivals Barcelona and Villarreal and that the the game against Barcelona will not prove decisive. The Madrid keeper reckons: "Real Madrid's key fixtures are those against Mallorca, Murcia and Racing. They all have something to play for."
Wise words from a player who has the experience and the maturity to know that the game against Barcelona will be hyped to preposterous levels without him adding to the hyperbole.
The Spanish keeper also shows his class when he says that he as every sympathy for the Barcelona players and that "It is a real pity, because football can turn around very quickly and hurt you like that. Barcelona have won the league and the European Cup, and all was good. A year and a half later and suddenly people say things like 'Rijkaards a disaster' and 'the players are worthless'. Things are always exaggerated and I just don't get it. We went three years without winnig anything and it hurts."
In contrast, Gonzalo Higuain came out today and said "I'd love to see Barcelona get knocked out of the Champions League."
Naturally, the Barcelona papers are preoccupied with Barcelona's Champions League this evening, which you can read all about here.
Guardiola Linked With Managers Role
However, SPORT, has already decided that, whatever the outcome, it's curtains for Rijkaard. Consequently the paper also indulges in a bit of speculation as to who the favourite is to succeed the Dutch coach in the Camp Nou dugout.
SPORT claims that a trio of former Barcelona players are the favourites for the manager's job: Michael Laudrup, currently at Getafe, Bourdeaux's Laurent Blanc and the Barcelona Golden Boy Pep Guardiola.
Guardiola is said to be favourite and is the embodiment of the club's philosophy. He is currently the manager of Barcelona B and enjoys a special relationship with the Catalan club. His lack of managerial experience could be a stumbling block, but it is inevitable that Pep will one day take over the reins and it is merely a question of when, rather than if.
Laurent Blanc is also fairly inexperienced as a manager but he has done a superb job since taking over at side Bordeaux last June and looks set to guide them to a second placed Ligue 1 finish. The Frenchman's preference for attacking football - Bordeaux have scored 51 goals already this season - is said to be a vote winner amongst the Barcelona board.
Michael Laudrup spent five years at Barcelona and is undoubtedly the most experienced manager out of the three candidates after having managed Brøndby for four seasons. The Dane has also overseen a an impressive UEFA cup campaign as coach of Getafe this season and he has also been linked with the managers role at Rea Madrid.
La Liga Review says: look out for a future story involving Pep Guardiola, and possibly a more experienced manager alongside him, to break and gain momentum over the coming days