Spain disappointed with Real, delighted with Villarreal

March 12th, 2009 - 4:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Madrid, March 12 (DPA) There was both disappointment and delight in the Spanish spring air, as a result of the contrasting Champions League performances of Real Madrid and Villarreal.
Real were slaughtered 4-0 by Liverpool Tuesday in an embarrassingly one-sided round of 16 clash, and crashed out of the competition on a 5-0 agggregate.

Villarreal, by contrast, defiantly won 2-1 against Greek side Panathinaikos to go through 3-2 from both games.

Real’s Anfield meltdown was front-page news in practically every Spanish newspaper Wednesday.

As expected, Catalan papers Mundo Deportivo and Sport appeared pleased with Liverpool’s triumph, and gave almost as much coverage to Real’s humiliation as to Barcelona’s match with Olympique Lyon scheduled for Wednesday night.

Catalan television channel TV-3 Tuesday night compared Real’s defeat to the 5-0 slaughter the whites suffered against the AC Milan side of Ruud Gullit and Marco Van Basten in 1989.

The Madrid sports dailies AS and Marca were, understandably, disappointed with Real’s lack of resistance in Anfield.

Marca reminded its readers that Real have not got beyond the round of 16 since 2004. The daily said goalkeeper Iker Casillas was the only Madrid player who did not let his club down in Anfield.

Marca’s radio station said that “were it not for Casillas, Real might have conceded seven or eight goals.”

AS editor Alfredo Relano, for his part, said that Real’s problems are due to having had five presidents and seven coaches, plus umpteen sporting directors, in the past five years.

Relano mentioned Liverpool coach Rafa Benitez as a possible future coach for Real. Benitez, born in Madrid and a Real junior player, has never concealed his desire to coach the whites one day.

The two men in the eye of the storm, according to the Madrid media, are interim president Vicente Boluda and sporting director Pedja Mijatovic.

Online polls have shown that most “madridista” fans would like to see the back of both men. Marca said that Boluda, who took over from the disgraced Ramon Calderon in January, could be ousted at a likely stormy March 29 general assembly.

Villarreal, meanwhile, received plenty of praise for their heroics in Greece.

AS named them “the pride of the nation” and said that coach “Manuel Pellegrini continues to make history with his Villarreal”. Marca was impressed with how Villarreal managed to triumph “in the Greek inferno”.

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