ICYMI – the Cristianator edition
In case you missed it – Barcelona vs. Madrid [2013-02-26, Copa del Rey seminfinals second leg, 1-3).
On to the final of the Copa del Rey we go!
I hope this momentum carries us through our next two games!
ONE. As a La Roja fan, it warmed my heart once again to see that relations between the Spanish players have gone back to normal. In the tunnel, we had Sergio and Xabi going up to Andrés Iniesta, Pedro, Sergio Busquets and Gerard Piqué to hug them, and Víctor Valdés and Thiago going over to hug Sergio, Xabi and Diego López. And if you look behind them, you’ll see the Brazilians – Kaká, Adriano and Dani Alves – joking around.
TWO. Who else was in the tunnel? Iker and his perfect profile and smile lines! Iker had traveled with the team. He watched it from the stands, and was sent to the press room after the game to speak to the press, saying that he would give the team a “10″ and praising Cristiano.
THREE. Cris’ first goal and Madrid’s first goal of the night came off of a penalty committed by Gerard Piqué (it was so clear that even Sandro Rosell admitted as much after the game, if you can believe it, although Puyi and Piqué ran at the linesman right after the penalty was signaled in protest. That, and the constant flopping on little or no contact, have to go).
Pinto was seen whispering at Cris before the penalty shot, and apparently he told him to go to his right. Cris did exactly that, and Pinto still couldn’t stop it.
I love those people who boo and insult him one moment, and then as soon as he gets close, whip out their mobile phones to take pictures.
FOUR. Cris wasn’t done with just one goal, he had to score another to make it eight in his last six visits to the Camp Nou! And apparently, lasers make him stronger!
FIVE. Rafa Varane, the newest hero of el madridismo for his performance in this semifinal series, scored Madrid’s third goal. I loved Cristiano’s celebration!
After the game, Rafa said it was dedicated to his family and to Mourinho, and that he didn’t see the goal well, because he had one eye closed.
I also loved the celebration with Mou, especially how Mou was yelling directions before Rafa ran into him to hug him! Later on, Mou continued shouting directions, telling his players to keep their heads in the game and for Sergio not to commit any fouls. And how about Pepe’s solo celebration?
Over the course of the two-leg semifinal, Rafa Varane played 180 minutes, committed ZERO fouls and scored two goals, including the only one in the first leg and the one in the second leg that officially let the wind out of Barça’s sails and prompted a mass exodus from the Camp Nou. Grande Rafa.
SIX. As the first half drew to a close, Jordi Alba went down. Sergio went over to see how he was, only for Jordi to tell him to fuck off. This was Sergio’s response. I love the look!
SEVEN. And speaking of Sergio, I thought it was amusing how the camera zoomed in to his face during a moment of pain.
EIGHT. There were hugs between both Real Madrid and Barça players after the game, as well as between Madrid players, as expected.
That’s right, we’re going to the final!
NINE. Our boys were so adorable in the postgame interviews!
TEN. Compare that to Barcelona… as expected, Barcelona’s president and players did their best to convince the world that they didn’t care a bit that they were out of the Copa del Rey. Sandro Rosell snipped, “we have more important commitments than the Copa del Rey,” while Cesc called it “a minor trophy.” The word “superior” of course came up in Xavi’s discourse. He said “in the first leg we were superior” before going on to say that “nothing happened, it’s a lost trophy, and the least important one.” Maybe he ran out of things to say, since he couldn’t blame the grass at the Camp Nou, the referee, Madrid’s players, Madrid’s coach, etc. this time. The next day, Andrés Iniesta spoke what was probably closer to the truth when he said the team was “very jodido,” that it was a tough blow and that “it hurts our soul.” Judging by the faces of the Barça players as they left the field and after Madrid’s goals, it was indeed a tough loss for them. And I love that once again, Leo Messi was allegedly “sick” (with a fever) after a dismal performance against Real Madrid, as if that were the explanation rather than the fact that it is possible for him to play poorly or be missing during a game.
ELEVEN. Xabi Alonso once again made our day with this photo (right) of his feet as he hung out at the Camp Nou after the game. Last season, after Madrid’s Liga win at the stadium, he had given us a similar photo (left). That time, he was observed to be “contemplating, reading messages on his mobile phone, sitting in the stands of the Camp Nou.”
TWELVE. The boys also shared several photos from the locker room and the trip back to Madrid.
An entry on Sergio’s Facebook showed that some help is going on over there as well, although I’m not sure that the results were quite what he intended. The Spanish read, “Pasar a la final ganando en este campo sabe diferente,” while the English made it sound like Iker’s best friend Google Translate was involved: “Reach the final having passed the heat at this match tastes different.” Jajaja!!!
Earlier in the day, they had celebrated Pepe’s birthday!
THIRTEEN. Back in Madrid, a handful of fans celebrated the win at Cibeles. I have to admit, I was tempted to go too!
The team was given a rousing send off in Barcelona, which Pipa seemed to enjoy, and a rousing welcome back in Madrid.
Fans even gathered at Valdebebas to give the players a sort of honor guard as they headed home! We have the best fans in the world!
FOURTEEN. The Xabi Alonso pose section.™
I absolutely LOVED seeing Xabi go up on tiptoe for the wall, and how he casually arranged his sweatshirt over his shoulders as he headed out onto the field after the game. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought he was a model and this field was a runway…
FIFTEEN. The final will be a derby, as Atleti beat Sevilla to book their place in the final. It will also be Madrid’s 38th Copa del Rey final, the most out of any club. Thankfully, the victory two years ago has erased memories of the “centenariazo” from my mind, and hopefully this year will bring Copa del Rey number 19. And Cristiano, Xabi and Ricardo Carvalho will get to play in the final, as none of them received yellow cards in the game against Barcelona, which would have meant a suspension of one game. Next week, the two teams will meet up to decide on the date and location of the final. The possible dates are May 17 (Friday) or May 19 (Sunday) at the moment, since May 18, the preferred date, coincides with Eurovision.
SIXTEEN. The team had Wednesday off, yet many of the boys were at Valdebebas. Sergio shared a photo with the “two grandpas,” Iker and Ricardo Carvalho.
UPDATE: El País reported yesterday that Karim Benzema was caught by a radar speed gun doing around 200 kilometers an hour on a Pozuelo de Alarcón stretch of the M-40 heading towards La Finca with a limit of 100 kilometers per hour in the early hours of the morning of Feb. 3. Hours earlier, Madrid had returned from Granada, where they had lost, and Benz was heading home from the airport. According to the report, Benz was driving an Audi with a passenger. The radar speed gun also detected a Porsche alongside the Audi that was traveling at an even higher speed, about 260 kilometers per hour. According to police sources, both of these cars were rented out to Real Madrid. It was Madrid that identified Karim as the driver of the Audi, although it preferred not to reveal the identity of the Porsche driver, said to also be a Real Madrid player, and denied any involvement with the Porsche.
Karim was supposed to appear before the judge on Feb. 26 to answer to charges of endangering road safety. He and Madrid’s lawyers managed to get his court appearance delayed, alleging that Madrid had to play Barcelona on that day. The report goes on to say that sources from Madrid confirmed the facts, “emphasizing that it was Benzema himself who went to the judge to ask for the court date to be pushed back.” El País reported today that Karim appeared in court in Pozuelo de Alarcón to ask that they give him a court date.
The most severe punishment that can be handed out for this infraction is a prison sentence of three to six months, although he could also be fined five to 400 euros a day for a period of six to 12 months. If that is the case, the judge will decide on the amount of the fine based on the earning power of the guilty party – Karim makes five million euros a year. Another option is community service, which could go from 31 to 90 days. It also appears that Benzema will be forbidden from driving for a period of up to four years, which could be reduced if he pleads guilty.
This is not Karim’s first brush with the law when it comes to traffic violations. In November 2009, he was involved in a car accident, smashing his Audi against a tree in La Finca. He wasn’t speeding that the time though. One month later, while on vacation in Reunion, he was involved in another car accident. And in June 2011, he was fined by police in Ibiza for taking part in an illegal drag race. Benzema paid 250 euros.
Karim has some serious growing up to do.
New information: that night, there were five cars rented by Real Madrid that passed a routine traffic control at the 43.5 kilometer point of the M-40, near La Finca. Karim Benzema was caught going at 216 kilometers an hour, and Michael Essien at 150. These two, along with Arbeloa, Sergio Ramos and José Callejón, all passed by the radar speed gun at more or less the same time. Five kilometers later, they all passed a breathalyzer test. At that time, Essien paid a fine of 200 euros for going 50 percent faster than the allowed limit. The Porsche that another Madrid player was driving was not fined because the police weren’t able to get a photo. Apparently Benz’ new court date is March 26, but that is during Semana Santa and also the date of a France-Spain World Cup qualifier.
Meanwhile, the director of the Dirección General de Tráfico told RNE that there was no second car (i.e. the Porsche) with Benzema that was also exceeding the speed limit.