"Superman United" trills L'Equipe on its front page in the report on Manchester United's 2-1 Champions League quarter-final second-leg victory over Chelsea. "Over the two matches there wasn't a great difference between the teams," says the French newspaper. "Only the distinction between a side full of confidence, Manchester United, and another dragging a dead weight, Fernando Torres." The newspaper called the Spaniard's selection "a strange choice, clearly not dictated by his form, instead an attempt to finally justify his transfer fee ... you could almost call it an industrial accident". The failure, it wrote, reflected badly on Chelsea's coach, Carlo Ancelotti. "'You'll be sacked in the morning,' sang the home fans to Ancelotti. In the morning? Certainly not. In May, on the other hand ..."
In Italy, La Gazzetta dello Sport mentions the match only briefly on the front page, leading with the headline "Bye bye Ancelotti". "Ancelotti clung to the wrong lifeboat, the same one as usual – Torres – and the pair of them sank together," it writes. "United were dragged into the semi-finals by the oldest player in the competition: Ryan Giggs, who assisted two goals, after the one in London. A joy for the eyes. He and that marvellous offensive beast, Rooney, and then that iron defence, which has leaked just three goals in the competition. No pairing in the world today is better than Ferdinand-Vidic."
Praise indeed from an Italian, whose nation has embraced the defensive shut-out like few others. "The curtain came down in the Theatre of Dreams, prolonging Chelsea's obsession with the big-eared cup. It is unlikely that Ancelotti will be leading the next attempt," it concludes. "Onwards marches the ageless Ferguson, who is dreaming of a rematch with Barcelona at Wembley. He needs only to gain revenge to seal his incredible legend."
In Spain the plight of Torres takes much of the attention. "Substituted and broken," in the words of As. "Torres tried once more," wrote Marca, "but once again he played in tones of grey. It wasn't good enough for a knockout tie of this importance."
"Ferguson's team boasts some things that are hard to beat: a sturdy defence, full of players who never stop running, physical when it's required but intelligent enough to adapt to almost any kind of opponent," wrote As. "Only Barcelona have shown emphatically how to beat this Manchester side: quick passing, good movement and effective use of talent. Chelsea offered almost none of it."
Also in the European press, Roberto Carlos has been given a £2m Bugatti Veyron for his 38th birthday by the oil baron Suleiman Kerimov, owner of the Russian side for whom Carlos now plays, Anzhi. According to Moi Dagestan, Kerimov apparently surprised the Brazilian at his birthday party with a tiny model of the car, only to say that the real thing was waiting outside the hotel. And it was.
What's more, Kerimov has promised that every member of his team can have an identical car so long as they win at least one Russian league title in the next four years. Buoyed by the good news, the party continued at Makhachkala's Hotel Metropole until 5am as you can see from this video.