more bits and pieces
I want to be on vacation too…
On vacation: Álvaro Arbeloa posted this adorable photo of his family at Disney World… little Alba looks fascinated by Pluto! And I’m so happy that Álvaro’s shorts are not cuffed. You think Carlota’s shirt was a recent purchase, from Boston perhaps? And I have to say it again: Álvaro looks so hot in sunglasses. More pictures of footballers on vacation at the end of the post.
Here’s to a fast recovery: Hamit Altintop will undergo surgery on his back today. He hasn’t played a game since March 19, and he will be in recovery for three to four months. When he was in Madrid earlier this month, the club merely said he was looking for a house, when in fact he was undergoing a revision in the Clínica Sanitas-La Moraleja. According to AS, it will be Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt, Bayern Munich and the German national team’s doctor, who will be in charge of the operation, though Dr. Carlos Díez will be there as well.
¡Bienvenido! Raphaël Varane will be in Madrid today for his medical and his contract signing (it’s a six-year contract) with FP and JAS (Mou is already on vacation) at the Bernabéu. Zidane is also expected at the little signing ceremony. Varane won’t be presented until two months later, during the Trofeo Bernabéu, the same as the other three confirmed signings to date – Sahin, Altintop and Callejón. The 18-year-old will also take advantage of being in the Bernabéu to visit the museum.
In yesterday’s Marca, they reported that Varane is still studying. His mother Annie, an English teacher, says that football isn’t everything for them. Due to his training schedule, Raphael had to drop out of school and start distance classes in the school that Lens set up in their installations. His schedule looked like this: he got up at 06:30h, ate a breakfast of cereal and hot chocolate, then studied two hours of German and two more of math, if there wasn’t a training session in the morning. However, those aren’t his favorite subjects – economy and sociology are. Raphaël would then study more before dinner. And, he speaks English without any problems, thanks to his mother.
On the left, Raphaël is with Jonathan, his cute nine-year-old brother, who plays for one of Lens’ youth teams.
Clearing things up: a lot has been made about Fernando Gago’s comments to ESPN Argentina, which have been reported as “Barcelona is the best team in history… They are well above Real Madrid and the fans do not want to admit it. Last season, the fans thought we could finish above them, but it was impossible.” But if you listen to the interview, he says that Barcelona is one of the best teams in the world, in the history of football. As for the statement on the fans, his response was this: “obviously, the fans want to beat them (Barcelona)… So the fans were hurt because they won the Liga and the Champions as well… they really don’t see the difference (between the two teams). Perhaps a player, or someone who analyzes the game can see it, but the fan doesn’t see it, because for them, their team is the best.”
Speaking of Argentina: all four of our Argentines – Ángel di María, Fernando Gago, Eze Garay and Gonzalo Higuaín are on the final list for the Copa América. Gago is the only one to have participated in one before, the 2007 edition.
Reader contribution: Sasha Twen sent in this video in which Cristiano Ronaldo, Pepe, Marcelo and Sami Khedira appear to promote Saudi Arabian pay TV channel STC Sports. She also tells us that wallpapers are available here, and provided this cute moment of Pepe and Marcelino.
And a bit from a Marca editorial today that I quite liked: “while Real Madrid has spent 20 million between the Turkish Sahin and the French Varane, and perhaps another 45 million on the Brazilian Neymar, the U-21 Spanish national team, in which there are no footballers from Madrid, has become the brilliant champions of Europe. So while Madrid is dropping a lot of money on important players, they’re ignoring the national product – only Callejón has been brought back – and mistreating the cantera. I doubt that Sahin is better than Javi Martínez and I don’t think Mata has any reason to be envious of Neymar. The opposite. While these two young Spanish players are world and U-21 Euro champions, Sahin and Neymar – with great futures in front of them – have a lot to demonstrate. And they’ll also have to adapt to a new country and a new language, which won’t be the case with Milla’s boys. Why is FP not signing any of the cracks of the U-21 team and instead looking for a galáctico outside of Spain? If Spanish football is showing that our country has the best players, why go outside to look for something when you have the best around the corner? When he returned to the presidency, Florentino promised to Spanish-fy the team. Stay true to your word.”
Plus, it also gives me an excuse to post a picture of my beloved Javi (!!!) and our former canterano, Juan Mata.
Speaking of canteranos: four of them have been called up to play for the U-19 team in the preparatory phase (July 4-15) for the U-19 Euro, which will take place July 16-Aug. 1 in Romania. Those four are Dani Carvajal, MFC Álvaro Borja Morata Martín, Álex Fernández and Pablo Sarabia. Twenty-three players form the team at this moment, but only 18 will be playing in the tournament.
More vacation pics: Guti and family in Ibiza, Raúl and family in Menorca (both via Diez Minutos; how cute is Raúl with María, and it’s great to see how much in love he and Mamen are), Kaká and family in Miami (love the matching swimsuits), one more of Sergio in Ibiza… He’s now in Marbella. Looks like he finally stopped wearing the cap, and I’m loving the yellow swim trunks! By the way, Iker’s on vacation in New York, and Sahin is in Turkey! More Raúl, Mamen and the gang here, and more Guti here.