If you want to say it, whisper it but careful because you might not be lucky or fast enough to get away from a good old tongue rollicking. They say that El Derbi has lost its importance well in Madrid it certainly hasn’t and this morning a city woke up with only one thing on its mind: Atlético v Real Madrid.
A bakery in Madrid opened per usual today. As the normal clientele walked in there was one notable difference. The white chocolate cakes which makes this bakery so famous were not on display. What had taken their place was white chocolate and red icing cakes as the ‘Rojiblanco’ baker announced that today would be a day where nothing white would be allowed in his shop. As customers waited to be served they all spoke about one thing, the match. Woman, kids, old folks and even the dogs all have an opinion on whether Madrid have bottled it or if Atleti can finally end the voodoo. One thing for sure is the streets around Madrid come 10 o clock will be empty.
The newspapers are in full swing. Mundo Deportivo which always publishes an Atleti section was in full voice in its support for Atleti as they proclaimed the whole of Catalonia was behind them. Whilst it may sound great I don’t think many Espanyol fans will want an Atleti win. The paper praised Barça for their spirit and proclaimed the team had done its job, now Los Rojiblancos must do theirs with a picture of Messi pointing straight at the camera.
As for the Madrid media there seems to be more emphasis on Atlético. Mourinho continues his vow of silence and it seems the press are not impressed. Atlético are getting more coverage than usual in Marca with the paper quoting every single word Simeone has said and running through all his stats as a player and Coach in Derbies. One wonders that should Atlético do the unbelievable and beat Real Madrid and Mourinho fail to show in the Vicente Calderon press room afterwards whether that may be the tipping point for those in the media that have supported the Portuguese Coach.
Publicly some Journalists have said that they don’t believe Mourinho has to speak but privately and off the record all are unhappy with his actions and some feel he has lowered the clubs image. A win tonight with quell the mutiny, for a while, and Real Madrid will fight on.
Atlético are doing what they always do. They normally wait until the opening minutes of the tie before making things complicated but with 3 players suspended and Falcao and Adrián with the flu, they may have to start with Pizzi up front. Who? Exactly! There have been calls for young Pedro Martin to start and he may play some role in the game. Expect Atlético to start very cautious and open up as the game progresses.
One man who is never out of the headlines is the Ref. Tiago has said that Real Madrid always complain but in the four ties he has played in against the Vikingos, they have had help 3 times. Roberto Carlos also said it is time for Real Madrid to grow up and stop blaming the refs. There will be a lot of pressure of the Basque ref tonight but I am sure he will stand up to the task, even though someone tomorrow will whine about him even if he doesn’t do anything wrong.
As for Viva La Liga. Well perfect time to tuck into one of those Rojiblanco cakes and time to dream the dream of will this finally be our year.