• Danish media bemoan team's sharpness against Chelsea
• Karim Benzema lauded by Spanish press after draw at Lyon
Denmark's newspapers are stinging in their criticism of FC Copenhagen after the defeat by Chelsea in the Champions League, with Jesper Gronkjaer and Stale Solbakken the targets for particular anger, although the effects of the winter break were also offered as an explanation.
"The winter break was clearly present at Parken," writes the tabloid BT, "not just as a biting cold but also in terms of the players' lack of timing and sharpness. Before Christmas the Danish champions wowed and thrilled a nation with great games in the Champions League. Almost three months without significant matches reduced the proud Champions League lions to an ordinary Danish team."
Soren Olsen in Politiken continues the theme with a piece headlined: "There was frost in the Copenhagen engine." But Olsen also praises "iron man" Branislav Ivanovic and John Terry's defence. "There is no shame in losing to a better team," he writes. "FCK produced an excellent advert for Danish football with a superb Champions League campaign. But on 16 March they will be waving goodbye to European football while Chelsea continue in the quarter-finals."
The tabloid Ekstra Bladet also offered little hope for a comeback: "The result requires nothing less than a miracle at Stamford Bridge in three weeks for FCK to stay in club football's finest tournament."
The sporten.dk website is unequivocal in its post-match player ratings, giving Solbakken a two and Gronkjaer a zero ("Miserable on the left"). Nicolas Anelka, on the other hand, gets a 12 ("Two chances and two goals. Chelsea's most dangerous man") and Florent Malouda a 10, though Michael Essien comes in for some criticism ("Chelsea's weak point in the middle of the park").
Real Madrid's 1-1 draw against Lyon at Stade Gerland had the Spanish press fawning over the Real goalscorer Karim Benzema. "In the league Karim Benzema has scored the same goals as Ricardo Carvalho, " begins Marca. "But in Champions League he has five goals, one more than Cristiano Ronaldo, the top predator of the white jungle. With the small difference that he has played less than half the minutes of the Portuguese.
"In fact, Benzema is the most time-effective scorer in the Champions League, with a goal every 60 minutes, a rate that is better than Nicolas Anelka, Samuel Eto'o and Leo Messi to name only some of the big sharks of the continent."
AS is also suitably OTT, concentrating on the reaction of Real's president, Florentino Pérez. "Lyon's goal cannot distract us from an image that will compete with Gaddafi in the news in the world," the paper begins. "Florentino Pérez, a person who would accept the sting of a wasp with a sigh, is blasted with a goal from Benzema. The president, laughing and standing with arms aloft, allowing us to see parts never seen before: the passion, uncontrolled, the molars and armpits."
"Lyon remain unbeaten, but ..." is L'Equipe's headline. "This equaliser is expensive," writes David Michel. "It could be transformed into gold back at the Bernabéu."