bits and pieces…
UPDATE (not worth a separate post, so I’m updating this one): Madrid has announced that Pedro León will be returning to Getafe, and that Getafe will have the right to purchase the player at the end of the season for about €6 million, according to Ángel Torres. But we won’t see Pedro León next weekend, as he’s not allowed to play against us. Good luck Peter Lion!
Some bits and pieces of news as we head into this international week… I love watching Spain play, but I hate always having La Liga interrupted just as it begins.
A couple more moments from the game against Zaragoza, including the action on the bench, where Álvaro Arbeloa, Raúl Albiol, José Callejón and Antonio Adán were messing and joking around. Gonzalo Higuaín and Kaká, meanwhile, kept their eyes (mostly) on the game. Was Alvarito trying to help Antonio practice his blocking skills? And then we have Iker and Cristiano’s embrace after the game. I love them! Meanwhile, Xabi strutted his way off the field…
José Mourinho will be without 15 of his players when training resumes on Wednesday, due to their international commitments.
Spain has called up five of the players – Iker, Sergio, the A-team – for a friendly against Chile (Sept. 2) and a Euro qualifier against Liechtenstein (Sept. 6), while Pepe, Carvalho, Coentrão and Cris will be defending Portugal in their Euro qualifier against Cyprus (Sept. 2). France has called up Karim Benzema for their qualifiers against Albania (Sept. 2) and Romania (Sept. 6), while Rafa Varane will be playing with the U-21 team against Latvia (Sept. 2). Mesut Özil’s Germany will take on Austria in a qualifier (Sept. 2) before playing Poland in a friendly (Sept. 6). Gonzalo Higuaín and Ángel di María will make the longest trip, as they’re heading to India and Bangladesh for friendlies pitting Argentina against Venezuela (Sept. 2) and Nigeria (Sept. 6). And Marcelo is making his return to Brazil, as he’s been called up to face Ghana in London on Sept. 5. Meanwhile, Alberto Toril will be missing three of his players for Castilla’s match against Albacete, as Nacho, Denis and Pedro Mendes have been called up by the U-21 teams of Spain, Russia and Portugal, respectively, for U-21 Euro qualifiers. Spain will start their defense of the title against Georgia and Portugal takes on Moldova on Sept. 1, Spain once again plays Georgia on Sept. 5, and Poland and Russia will face off on Sept. 6.
Iker was in his parents’ hometown of Navalacruz yesterday, hanging out with the kids from his campus, who have been practicing their football skills for the past week. The kids are all between the ages of eight and 12, and each got to take a picture with Captain España as he presided over the conclusion of the camp. They also got to take home a signed ball and diploma as souvenirs. The day ended with all the participants and teachers, including Iker, sharing a huge paella. Iker also spoke to the press while at his campus, and he used the opportunity to clear a few things up.
on whether he considers himself untouchable: in today’s football, and even more so in Madrid, any person who considers himself untouchable will have a bad time. If a player on this team believes himself to be untouchable, his future will be quite dark.
on his relationship with Mourinho: there have been a lot of news, and I don’t like people to talk about me. I have a great relationship with el míster and I’ve always defended him publicly each time I’ve spoken, and he me. I understand that there wasn’t a Liga, that people needed to generate news… but there’s nothing to it. There’s no problem with him, I disagree with him in some things, either in football or personal things, but no one should take it out of context. They’re happy and fun disagreements. From the first day, I’ve had a good relationship with him. I’ve had run-ins with him like any other player, for various reasons, sometimes jokingly, other times not. But it’s completely false that I have a bad relationship with him. The situation is completely normal.
on the national team: I’m happy you asked me this question because I haven’t organized a dinner with anyone for Tuesday. I would like to take this opportunity to make clear that I’m not the leader of this dinner or of anything. What I had to say to Xavi and Puyol, I already said. And we’ll speak more when we’re together, but I didn’t organize any dinner and sometimes I’m surprised by news like that. I don’t want to always be refuting some news, but I have to make this clear. People don’t know what I spoke to them about, and it’s all speculation and rumors. What was said between Xavi, Puyol and I will stay between us, and no one should care about it, except the three of us who are the three captains of the Spanish national team.
on his “punishment” during the Trofeo Bernabéu game: any player that is a goalkeeper in Madrid is capable of defending the goal. Antonio is a great kid and has a lot of quality as a goalkeeper, and I believe everyone needs playing time. There’s no need to talk more about this. It’s not the first Trofeo Bernabéu in which I didn’t play nor will it be the last one in which I won’t play. I agree with Mourinho that Adán is capable of being Madrid’s goalkeeper and I hope that one day he is.
Iker also responded to the kids’ questions. As always, they ask the best questions. And Iker provided some great responses!
When you were small, did you think you’d become the best goalkeeper in the world? No, the truth is no. When I was small, I played here and I never thought about being the world’s best goalkeeper, I thought about being the best goalkeeper of the village.
What did you think when Mourinho stuck his finger in the eye of… Well, I didn’t see it happen during the game, the next day I saw the images. They’re things that shouldn’t have to happen, especially for us players. I think it should never get to that point because we’d be bad examples for all of you.
How many shots have you stopped? I don’t know, a lot.
I really can’t believe there are people who believe that Iker doesn’t have his own mind and that he’s being controlled by José Mourinho. Those people are seriously delusional.