the twins get pranked, Mou gets delayed, Canales gets fit & other news
The team is back today, with a training session to begin preparing for Monday’s game against Getafe. If you’re in Madrid, tomorrow’s session is actually open to the public, so take your chance! Entry will be free for socios and carnet madridista holders, as well as for children under the age for 12. For everyone else, it will cost €3. And now onto the news.
One. In Spain, Dec. 28 (Día de los Santos Inocentes) is the equivalent of April Fool’s Day, where people play jokes on each other. Television channel Antena 3 has held the gala Inocente Inocente each year since 1995, where they prank famous people and raise money to help at-risk children, especially those with sicknesses or handicaps. Iker was pranked back in 2007, and this year it was the turn of Álvaro Arbeloa and Raúl Albiol.
Iker was the one who had suggested pranking his two defenders.
The practical joke had Raúl Albiol and Álvaro Arbeloa heading to eat at restaurant El Acebo, accompanied by their wives, who were in on the joke. Once there, they are seated at “Iker’s corner,” a section of the restaurant decorated with Iker Casillas memorabilia (the restaurant is in Boadilla del Monte). Arbeloa complains that they already see too much of Iker, and Albiol decides he’s going to sit with his back to the section.
In the section, there is a little kid, Max, whom the restaurant owner introduces as his nephew and a big madridista. He says the kid’s father is an American astronaut currently in space at the International Space Station, and since it’s his birthday, they’re going to talk via a video linkup. Meanwhile, the wives and daughters find an excuse to leave…
So then they bring the computer over to where 2/3 of the A team are sitting (I’m going to call them AA since Arbeloa & Albiol or even Zipi & Zape take too much time to type), so they can say hello. The astronaut waves with a manita and so the owner tells him not to do that, and AA are only too glad to demonstrate the alternative, which unfortunately is a thumbs-up. Max says he drew a picture for his dad for his cumple, and his dad shows him his surprise – a Madrid shirt. Then they all sing happy birthday.
Then the dad says look what I have up here, and holds up a ball that he says has been signed by almost every member of the Spanish national team, except Iniesta and “vosotros dos chicos.” He asks them if they’ll sign it if he sends it to them, and AA agree. So the astronaut says he’ll send it to them right now, because he’s flying over Madrid at the moment and so he’ll just throw it out. The connection is then lost. Meanwhile, AA chat with Max, and ask him questions (how old are you, what position do you play…).
Suddenly, something falls out of the sky. The owner reappears with the ball. At this point, Arbeloa is smiling because he’s gotten that it’s a prank, while poor Chori still looks confused. When the ball is brought in, Arbeloa starts cracking up and – this is the best part – calls Albiol an “imbécil” for taking so long to get it. The expression on Albiol’s face is priceless!
Later on, Arbeloa continues laughing and pointing at Albiol.
In the end, Arbeloa says they had a great time, and Albiol says not to forget that the purpose of this program is to raise funds for needy children. Watch the video here. It’s worth watching to hear Álvaro’s big laugh at the end, and to see Raúl’s stupefied expression.
And Álvaro also tweeted about it – saying that it was a very good joke, but that it was a bit too much, that at one point they could even see the secret cameras filming them, that they were pranked pretty good, and that they have something in store for Iker (as revenge, I suppose).
Two. José Mourinho is back in Spain after getting delayed while vacationing in New York, due to the heavy snow that caused the closure of JFK International (by the way, reader Jen wrote me to say that she had spotted TSO – and his LV luggage – at the airport) and thus the cancellation of his flight. Mou and his family were scheduled to touch down in Madrid on Monday, but did not arrive until eight last night. Today, he’ll preside over the first training session after the Christmas break and in the evening, he’ll coach Team Africa in the Champions for Africa charity game. Fun fact: while in New York, he had asked the organizers of the match to send him the list of players on his team so that he could start strategizing…
Bonus: watch a video here of this year’s best “Mou-ments,” including several that we’ve laughed over here on this blog!
Three. Speaking of that game, it will take place tonight at the Vicente Calderón at 20h. From Madrid, both Sergios, Gago, Diarra and Lass will participate. Sergio Ramos said yesterday that the game is “one of the most important” in his career because it will be “90 minutes of intense play and emotions, with thousands of people uniting to defend the rights of children… because education is fundamental to bring about changes in the lives of millions of children and in their communities.” Proceeds from the game will benefit UNICEF and Frederic Kanouté’s foundation.
Update: Madrid’s site says Iker will participate too! Yay! Is this a last minute addition?
Four. And we may be seeing a lot more of Royston Drenthe soon (and probably sooner than we’d like) because he has refused to show up to train with Hércules, as he says the club has not paid him for about half a year. He told EFE that they were talking with Madrid, and that the club was helping him because he’s a Real Madrid player, and that he hoped everyone could be resolved quickly. He also told Marca that he would not return to Alicante until Hércules takes action, and that he would go to Madrid and train at Valdebebas if the situation is not resolved, and that he’s currently in Rotterdam. Hércules says that it has been in contact with Madrid to update them on the situation, and that they only owe the players for November and December, and should have the funds to pay them by the middle of January.
Five. Luca Zidane was the big star in the quarterfinals of the XV Torneo Internacional Blue BBVA Alevín de Arona Fútbol 7 [such a grand name for a tournament for children, no?] as Real Madrid beat Borussia Dortmund to advance to the semifinals. The game ended at 1-1, so it went into penalties, and Luca stopped Borussia’s last attempt to win the game 1-1 (3-2) for Madrid. Our little ones will take on Sevilla today in the semifinal, with Villarreal and Barcelona disputing the other game. Video here. How cute is their celebration, and Luca’s mini-Iker kit?
UPDATE: Madrid beat Sevilla 3-1 but then lost to Barcelona 0-0 (1-2) in penalties.
In the round robin portion of the tourney, Madrid had lost 0-2 to Valencia, but then beat Athletic 2-0 and Manchester United 3-0 to advance.
Six. Socios and carnet madridista holders will soon receive a special message on their birthdays, because Iker Casillas has recorded a little video to wish them a happy birthday. On the days of their birthdays, they will receive an email with a link to a video of Iker on the verge of starting a press conference. He tells those in the sala de prensa to excuse him if he interrupts them, because he’s waiting for a very important phone call. His mobile then rings, and he says, with a smile, “hola madridista, te felicito en el día de tu cumpleaños” (hello madridista, I wish you a happy birthday).
Seven. Xabi Alonso will be in action tonight with the Euskadi team in their friendly against Venezuela in San Mamés. His last appearance with the team was all the way back in 2002, due in part to his time in the Premier (where there is no Christmas break) and a three-year period in which the team didn’t dispute any games. Also playing in that match: Aitor Karanka. Can you pick out the two of them here?
Eight. Spotted yesterday having dinner together at – where else – Asador Donostiarra: Christoph Metzelder and Miguel Torres!!! Metze has spent part of his vacation in Madrid.
Nine. And also spotted by Marca running on El Sardinero beach in Santander yesterday morning: Sergio Canales. Love his Madrid pants! But when did his hair get so dark? He was a lot blonder before Christmas…