all set for Es-sporting!
The team is all set for tonight’s game against Sporting at the Bernabéu (20h) after completing their last training session on Friday morning. Xabi Alonso, who is suspended for the game, got the day off, but the rest of the first team, plus Jesús from Castilla, trained at Valdebebas, where Álvaro Arbeloa and Gonzalo Higuaín apparently came to terms on how to share Raúl Albiol, and Cristiano felt the urge to check out Iker’s new haircut for himself. Who can blame him?
Three of the players were not called up for the game: Hamit Altintop, Ricky Carvalho and Lass, all due to the coach’s decision and not injury. So, the convocatoria looks like this:
Goalkeepers: Iker, Adán, Jesús.
Defenders: Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Coentrão, Albiol, Arbeloa, Varane.
Midfielders: Sahin, Kaká, Özil, Granero, Khedira, Callejón, Di María.
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, Higuaín.
At the training session, Cristiano also had some fun with the snoods…
… from Pepe denying him one initially, and then taking one from the neck of Fábio Coentrão.
It was Aitor Karanka speaking to the press again, and he told them regarding the upcoming game that the team is not going to rotate players for this game in order to plan for the next two, against Bayern Munich and Barcelona, because as José Mourinho said, the best will play in each game. Aitor added that the team’s success comes from taking one game at a time, and this upcoming game is a very important one, so they’re not thinking about any other games until they come. He also said the following.
on whether the team is talking about breaking the record of goals*: the team is talking about how complicated the game tomorrow could be, and the rest of the games in the season. The record will be broken when it’s broken, and when it is, it will be a result of the hard work of the players, of the sacrifices they have made. I believe there is no doubt that they deserve to be champions, I don’t know if they will be in the end but they do deserve to be champions for the way they’ve been working since the beginning of the season, for the effort and sacrifice.
on whether Mou will speak at press conferences before and after Liga games: he’ll speak when he has to, and in the way we’ve done in the one year and eight months we’ve been here. There will be moments when he’ll speak and others when I speak, and like I said on the first day, and which I repeat each time I’m here, my presence here is part of the way we work, I think it’s normal for us, but perhaps not for you all.
on Cristiano: we have no doubt that Cristiano is the best player in the world, and he shows this during each game.
* the Liga record for most goals in one season is 107, which was accomplished by the 1989-90 Madrid team (that was the season Hugo Sánchez scored 38 goals, tied for the record for most goals in one season until last season when Cristiano broke it). The current team has scored 104 goals so far.
Later that night, the players began their concentración, with one little difference. Instead of heading to the hotel from the Bernabéu, they had dinner at a restaurant inside La Esquina del Bernabéu, before heading to the Mirasierra Suites.
Some other things ahead of this game. Cristiano needs to continue his good behavior and not see a yellow card. If he is in fact carded, he will have to serve a one-game suspension, meaning he’ll miss next weekend’s game against Barcelona. Cris has been one card away from suspension for the last two months, since receiving his fourth yellow on Jan. 28 against Zaragoza, and he’s played 12 games since then without being written up in the referee’s report. Fábio Coentrão and Ángel di María are also in the danger zone, while Khedira, Kaká and Higuaín are two cards away from a one-game suspension. So far this season, Xabi and Sergio have served two games of suspension, while Arbeloa, Carvalho, Pepe and Lass have served one game each.
El País interviewed Sporting forward and our former canterano David Barral prior to this game, although Javier Clemente did not end up calling him up for this game. During the interview, David revealed that Zamorano and Ronaldo were his childhood idols, while Puyol, Ramos and Pepe are the defenders that have impressed him the most for their physiques and toughness. I loved his answer to the question about what he can’t stand in football: David said “racism.” And when asked if it’s hard to grow up in the cantera of Madrid, he responded, “No. It’s a pleasure because you get to enjoy el madridismo and because they teach you things that you can’t learn in any other place, such as how to become a better footballer each day, how to be a good person and a responsible one. I will always remember this and López Caro, who taught me how to be intense and aggressive on the field.”
And some other news.
Castilla plays Atlético B on Sunday (12h) at EADS, where they have an opportunity to secure a spot in the playoffs to ascend to the second division with a win.
The Antiviolence Commission has decided on the sentence meted out to the five Osasuna fans who acted violently towards Madrid’s fans at the Reyno de Navarra. Each one of them will be fined €10,000 and banned from going into any sporting installations for two years. Real Madrid was also fined €3,500 for a separate incident, for deficiencies in control during the Madrid-APOEL game, as some spectators managed to bring flares into the stadium and light them up.
And finally, Gonzalo Higuaín was the latest protagonist of the “training with…” series. Do the players choose the songs accompanying the videos by themselves? It appears to be the case, because Pipita chose the same song he chose to start his Real… interview with, Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb.” Very cringe-worthy. If I remember correctly, there was some other video produced by the Real Madrid people about Gonzalo set to this song as well.
Anyway, they made up for it by giving us lots and lots of adorable photos of Gonzalo, as well as Gonzalo and El Pirata…
… plus Gonzalo and Calleti, and the stellar trio of Esteban, Gonzalo and José. No Chori?
Aren’t they adorable?
Anyway, if Gonzalo needs some music recommendations so he doesn’t have to listen to that crap, he needs to look no further than El Pirata, who was at Leiva’s concert the other night (he called it “tremendous” and I bet he loves the collaboration between Leiva and Quique González on the former’s new album) or Esteban’s best friend PF Juan Mata, who has been listening to Miles Kane. I wonder if Esteban and Juanín share music with each other?
P.S. I’m sorry there have only been “all set for… ” and ICYMI posts lately, but I’ve been super busy.