all set for Sevilla!
Twenty-one footballers trained yesterday afternoon at Valdebebas, and the injured Khedira and Gago were absent, along with Di María, who is suspended for tonight’s game against Sevilla (22h).
Everyone is with Mou. I’m not used to seeing Iker wearing shorts and no high socks at training sessions. Pale legs! And though you can’t see it, he also cut the bottom off his training shirt.
Higher! And things are always more interesting when there’s a Sergio around.
Of those 21 players, 18 were called up for tonight’s game, along with canterano Tomy Mejías from Castilla. Gago and Khedira were not called up due to injury, Carvalho and Di María due to suspension, and Pedro León and Adán (has he done something?) due to the coach’s decision.
Goalkeepers: Iker, Dudek, Tomás Mejías.
Defenders: Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Arbeloa, Garay, Albiol.
Midfielders: Xabi Alonso, Lass, Kaká, Canales, Özil, Granero.
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Adebayor, Higuaín, Benzema.
Aitor Karanka spoke with the press following the session. He explained that due to the five- game sanction handed down to José Mourinho by UEFA for “inappropriate declarations,” he would be the one in charge of communicating with the press from now on, because “the idea is that until the charges against the míster are specified or there is a more concrete reason why he was sanctioned, he won’t be speaking, although we don’t know what will happen next week.”
Aitor also confirmed that Mou will defend himself “until the end” and remarked, “a sanction like that is never well-received, and more so when the motives behind it are not explained. The club has already announced that it will appeal, and he on a personal level will also defend himself.”
As for his own personal situation, Karanka said that his desire is to “continue for a long time” with Madrid and Mourinho: “when they called me to tell me that they wanted me to be his assistant, I said it was a privilege and something to be proud of. And after eight months, this has multiplied by 300, because he’s given me responsibilities and confidence. I hope that the míster and I will be here for a long time, and I would be very happy to be here a long time with him.”
He did also speak about the upcoming game, but I’m sure that was the least interesting topic from the point of view of the press.
After that, the team took a one-hour flight to Sevilla (no AVE this time?).
At their hotel, Esteban Granero and Pipa Higuaín signed autographs for the fans (how come the hometown favorite wasn’t chosen?).
Cheesy yet adorable.
And Zinedine Zidane had to go on record denying that he doesn’t get along with José Mourinho, after La Sexta reported that Zizou was upset with Mou for not playing Karim Benzema. Our special adviser told Madrid’s web site that his relationship with Mou is very good: “my relationship with him and his team is very good and fluid. I’m involved in his work and I collaborate with them in everything related to the first team… I have complete respect for the labor of José Mourinho on the bench of Real Madrid. And in addition, any comment or idea I have about the team will only be shared with him.”
More on the farce that is UEFA: the Control and Disciplinary Body opened a dossier yesterday to collect information on Iker and Cris’ gestures and declarations (print and television). They’ll discuss the case during their next meeting, on May 13. And AS has reported that Real Madrid believes that UEFA’s decision to suspend Pepe for only one game is proof that his expulsion was unwarranted, because “violent play” (that’s the justification that Wolfgang Stark noted to explain his expulsion of Pepe) is always punished with a three-game suspension.
Summer tour update from Marca: it looks like the Philadelphia Union (Philadelphia, July 23) will be Madrid’s third opponent during their U.S. tour, after the LA Galaxy (Los Angeles, July 16) and Chivas (San Diego, July 20). After returning to Madrid, there will be a game against Leicester on July 30, in addition to the one already scheduled in Berlin against Hertha on July 27. These games, along with the two in China and the Trofeo Santiago Bernabéu against Schalke, bring the pre-season friendly total to eight. Madrid will also play the two-leg Supercopa before the season begins on Aug. 20-21.
Note: reader Kailynn says that the Union are scheduled to play an MLS game on July 23, so it looks like that date may not be set yet.
Juvenil A will be playing their own clásico tonight at 20h, when they take on Barcelona in the final of the Copa de Campeones. They have a chance to win their second title of the season (they won their division, which qualified them to play in this cup, which is made up of the winners from each of the seven divisions). Juvenil A is the current defending champions of this tournament. Let’s go boys!!!
And in sad news, the greatest Spanish golfer of all time, Seve Ballesteros, passed away today at the age of 54, three years after he was operated on for a cancerous brain tumor. His condition had worsened recently. Just a little more than a year ago, he was given a tribute by Guti and Iker, among others, where he spoke about Sergio Canales, who is from Cantabria just like he is.