a catch-up post
There are really not enough hours in the day, which means I’m a bit behind in keeping up with all the things happening in the wonderful and crazy world of Real Madrid, including the celebrations at Cibeles. In the meantime, I have gotten this combined post finished. I say it’s a combined post, because it’s a combination of an “all set for…” post, plus an (mini) ICYMI post, and all the regular player and cantera news that show up in most posts.
Cris and Karim invite you in…
All set for Granada!
On Friday, Madrid trained for the last time before the weekend’s game at Los Cármenes. The first team trained with two canteranos, Tomás Mejías and Fernando Pacheco. I love that El Chori did the heart back at Angelito!
Gonzalo’s jeans are an eyesore, but luckily, he left them unbuttoned so my attention immediately zoomed away from the ugliness to that little fact.
In a break with tradition, the team traveled to Granada on the day of the game, with several canteranos forming part of the delegation – including the aforementioned goalkeepers, Nacho and Andy from RMC – and several notable absences, such as Iker Casillas. The inclusion of Andy was a nice touch, as he is from Granada.
ICYMI – the luck edition.
This mini-ICYMI post doesn’t have too many moments from the actual game, because I figured that most of you watched the game, so there’s no point in recapping what happened there, but many of you might not have seen this non-game moments.
Prior to the game, we had Xabi checking the results of the Chelsea-Liverpool FA Cup final for himself and for… José Mourinho, as both have strong feelings for their former teams. Poor Xabi looked a bit disappointed with the result.
Then we had Pepe, showing the real side of him, from joking around with Fernando Pacheco to willingly and amicably posing with everyone who came over for a photo. I love how members of that family just kept running over one by one.
Cris made faces at Marcelo as the team walked into the stadium… and later gave Karim a hug in the tunnel. He would also stroke the back of Benz’ head.
Prior to the start of the game, Granada did the pasillo for Madrid, as tradition mandates, with Marcelo leading the troops out, due to the absences of Iker and Sergio.
The team set several new records during this game, including the highest number of away goals scored, which hit 51 after this game, beating the 49 set by Barcelona last season. The victory in Granada also made it 16 wins away from the Bernabéu, adding to the record for most away victories by a team in the Liga, which Madrid had set when they hit 15. They also reached 97 points, keeping them on track to achieve a record 100 for the season.
Nevertheless, most of the moments looked like this, with lots of frustration. There was a fun moment though, when Cris jumped out of bounds to retrieve a ball, and a girl rushed over from the stands to try and catch him, but she failed.
I think we all felt a bit like this, no?
The Xabi Alonso/Esteban Granero pose section.™
After the game, José Callejón, who is from Motril in the province of Granada and who received a large round of applause when he checked into the game, said, “I feel proud to be from Granada. I’m a bit sad for what happened to Granada because I’m from here. I hope they can win next weekend against Rayo and be saved.” He called the game a “strange” one and said they all still believe a miracle can happen so that Cristiano can win the pichichi. Meanwhile, Esteban Granero, who also has ties to Granada since his family comes from Baza, lamented that the team wasn’t able to help Cristiano more: “Cristiano has spent the entire year thinking about the team and we tried to help him, but it wasn’t to be today.” Over in Buenos Aires, Federico Higuaín, Gonzalo’s brother, confirmed that Pipita would be staying in Madrid.
Another fun moment from the game. Who was the source of all this attention? None other than FP himself! He looks a bit like a king here, no?
At his press conference on Friday, Aitor Karanka had said that despite Pipita’s special shirt during the celebration and all the rumors that resulted, the coaching staff will be counting on him next season: “he’s an important player for us. If anyone has an offer, they should speak with the club. But we’re counting on him for next year and we don’t want him to leave.” Our assistant coach also expressed his joy over winning the Liga title: “I thank Mourinho, Rui Faria, Silvino and Morais for this confidence, and I thank them for giving me the opportunity to work with them and to get to know them as persons. People take precedence over football and I’m privileged to work with them. Having their friendship is the best thing to come out of this.”
After the game on Saturday, Aitor Karanka admitted that the most just result for the game would have been a tie, and clarified that Madrid had fielded a competitive team, although several of their habitual starters were rested or on the bench: “in this club and with the shirt, there is respect for the competition, and so the team had performed as the game had required.” He also expressed his best wishes for Granada.
Other club-related news.
I adore Xabi’s deck shoes! But did he not get the memo? And since MFC is always just a little kid in my mind, I’m always surprised when he’s the tallest, though that happens a lot.
On Tuesday, the charity match between Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic, to be played on the field of the Bernabéu on July 14, was presented. Rafa was of course there, and apparently Nole was to be there too, but Rafa said he was too tired (as he’s playing in the Mutua Madrid Open today; I expect to see a whole bunch of our players as spectators at the tournament!). Also present were FP, Madrid Mayor Ana Botella, and a small group representing the first team: José Mourinho (who had recently called Rafa a friend in an interview), Aitor Karanka, Xabi Alonso and Esteban Granero. MFC was also there, and looking a bit shy next to the first teamers. And the president of the Rafa Nadal Foundation, his mother Ana María Parera, also came out to support the initiative and her son.
After Rafa’s little speech, during which he congratulated his beloved team for winning the Liga, and Ana Botella and FP’s longer ones, the group headed down to the field, where Rafa, Xabi, Esteban and MFC were given racquets. They hit around to each other for a bit, and then tried hitting tennis balls into the goals. Jajaja, I love how Esteban ducked away when Xabi started swinging! So perhaps there is something Xabi is not good at!
¡Qué guapos son!
Xabi said, “it’s going to be a great event. I like tennis a lot and seeing a game between the best in the world in a different place will be special. I hope many people will come and help the cause.” El Pirata’s remarks went like this: “as the madridista that he is, I’m sure Rafa is happy to play in this legendary stadium; there’s no better site.” He added, “I’m quite an awful tennis player, but it’s to accompany Rafa in this presentation.” Meanwhile, MFC said he’s a big fan of tennis and he never misses a Rafa Nadal match, which is why he wanted to lend his support to this initiative. Via twitter, he tweeted that “hitting a few balls around with Rafa Nadal, having him give you a racquet and having lunch with him is INCREDIBLE.” I love it when our boys become the fans! Plus, Rafa’s smile lines rival those of Iker, no?
And Rafa called the Bernabéu “one of the most historical and beautiful stadiums in the world,” and explained why he’s doing this: because he’s privileged and in a position to help others. I adore Rafa! Plus, I really wonder what the topics of conversation were here and here?
Speaking of Xabi, he was recently interviewed by Jot Down magazine (the one that had a very nice profile of his brother Mikel several months ago) and so far, we’ve seen this little clip (the people of Jot Down said Xabi was a champion for managing to resist blinking for so long), and so I expect to see the actual interview soon, no? It promises to be a good one.
Meanwhile, Canelita’s album “Soñaré” is out today, and included on the album is a duet with our very own Sergio Ramos! The song is called “A quién le voy a contar mis penas” (Who can I tell my sorrows to), and Sergio tweeted a video of the recording session, calling it a pleasure to collaborate with his friend.
Sergio’s singing abilities are quite impressive, especially since this style is not easy to sing at all. Watch a video of the full song, with lyrics, should you want to know what they’re singing about, and with tons of photos of Sergio from the recording session, including one of Sergio in one of his typical “muy Sergio” outfits, below.
Cantera news: The Benjamín A team became our latest champions, after beating Barrio del Pilar 12-0 (!) to win their group in the Benjamín Fútbol 7 category with three match-days left. They join Juvenil C, Juvenil B, Castilla and of course the first team on the winner’s podium. Benjamín A won the title by winning 22 out of 22 games (!) and scoring 217 goals (for an average of nearly 10 per game!) and only allowing 13.
On Sunday, Castilla tied Alcalá 1-1, with MFC Álvaro Borja Morata Martín scoring our only goal. Prior to the game, Alcalá honored Castilla with the pasillo.
Speaking of Castilla, MFC Álvaro Borja Morata Martín was recently asked by Madrid’s web site if he and his teammates have made any promises if they manage to achieve ascending to the second division. He responded, “there are a lot of joke promises, and shaving the redhead (Álex) or Carvajal is one of them.” I’d love to see that!
And if we needed more examples of the buen rollo that exists in Castilla, on Monday they went to race karts and have dinner together. Isaac revealed that Pedro Mosquera was the winner, followed by Tomás Mejías and Jesús (as we can see, they’re holding trophies in the picture). And judging from their tweets, Nacho came out ahead of Álex, so Álex called him a dirty driver. Jajaja!!
Here’s another example of how excellent the pro-Barcelona press is: Mundo Deportivo recently published an article where someone wrote, “Leo [Messi] will deprive the madridista [Cristiano] of the pichichi and the Golden Boot, and in addition he will snatch away with stratospheric records the two individual titles that Cristiano won last year. Cristiano has to make do with the league championship.” Please, last year when Cris beat out Messi for the individual titles, MD was all like the Liga is the only thing that matters, and it shows how much of a team player he is, etc. As a result, “MundoDeportivoFacts” became a trending topic, with such gems as “Barça won the possession, and so Chelsea will have to make do with playing in the final of the Champions” or “Forlán was the pichichi of the World Cup, and so the Spaniards will have to make do with the World Cup.” Jajaja!!
And here’s Gustaff Choos’ latest photo, one of José Mourinho.