Eurosport - Thu, 25 Feb 09:22:00 2010
A mixture of outrage and confidence rules the back pages this morning: outrage that Chelsea were denied a clear penalty in their 2-1 defeat by Internazionale last night - but confidence that the legendary away goal can help Chelsea win the second leg.
"Kalouless!" screams The Sun's back page of the first-half incident that saw Salomon Kalou brought down in the box.
"Fury as blunder ref denies brave Blues this penalty," adds the sub-headline, with a great 'smoking gun' pic showing Inter's Walter Samuel making clear contact.
All the papers share The Sun's frustration on behalf of Blues fans, but the most balanced view of the incident comes from former ref Graham Poll in the Daily Mail.
Poll points out that the referee couldn't have seen the incident clearly unless he'd been watching on telly, and adds that Kalou's theatrical manner of going to the deck actually did for his chances of winning a spot-kick.
That's because it was a match that had already seen so much diving that we would genuinely not have been surprised to see Jose Mourinho bring Tom Daley on as a half-time sub.
Darren Lewis in the Mirror picks up on the "priceless" away goal - the way these guys talk about them, you'd think away goals counted for five or six - that gives them a "real chance" of progressing.
The Daily Star leads with news of the injury to Chelsea keeper Petr Cech, with a nice "Blue Petr" headline. The kids TV reference is nice, but still doesn't make up for the same paper's incomprehensible "Mour is nodding as Carlo plans a shaker" to accompany the match report inside. If you've any idea at all what they're talking about, please let us know in the comments box down below.
Several of the papers today run stories on Wayne Bridge and John Terry, focusing on (a) the fact that Bridge will not shake Terry's outstretched hand when Manchester City and Chelsea meet this weekend, and (b) the fact that Bridge may well turn down his likely England call-up because he refuses to play alongside Terry.
Fair enough not to shake the dude's hand, but why would he sabotage his chances of going to a World Cup? Doesn't seem that likely, somehow.
There's some bad Portsmouth news as the Daily Express claims the Premier League have refused to bail Pompey out by advancing them future TV monies of £5m, while the South Coast club's new free agent signing Dusko Tosic might be on his way since they aren't allowed to register him.
Should the club go into administration, the Daily Telegraph reports that owner Balram Chainrai will be first in line to recoup his £17 million of loans.
There are a few bits of transfer gossip around as well: Arsenal's new target is 18-year-old playmaker Christian Eriksen of Ajax after Dennis Bergkamp delivered a glowing scouting report (Mirror).
And Hull's Guinean defender Kamil Zayatte is keen to quit the Tigers this summer - and claims West Ham and Spurs had January bids turned down (Star).
Jermaine Pennant's Spanish nightmare continues: he has been sent home from training at Real Zaragoza after turning up late for the third time in a fortnight (Mail), making a return to England seem even more likely.
Finally, the debate about whether Wayne Rooney or Cristiano Ronaldo is the best in the world rumbles on, with The Independent having polled a number of international football coaches during a press session in South Africa about what they make of Rooney, and England in general.
"At the moment he is one of the very best in the world," says Germany's Joachim Loew. "My feeling when I see him is that he is unstoppable. He has everything that a striker needs."
Two contrary views caught the eye, however. First was that of Portugal coach (and former Manchester United assistant manager Carlos Queiroz), who rather unsurprisingly claimed that Ronaldo - the shining jewel of Queiroz's national side - is still the best there is.
And then there was France coach Raymond Domenech, who typified both Gallic flair and perennially frosty Anglo-French relations with his response. "England?" he said. "Why would I talk about England?"