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a bit of everything…

December 21, 2010

… meaning both good and bad, in this news round-up.

(Mou looks thrilled to be there, no?)

One (part one). Madrid held their annual Christmas luncheon with members of the board of directors and both the football and basketball teams yesterday afternoon.  According to AS, the menu consisted of salad made with Cantabrian lobster salad, crab and crispy bacon; pheasant with grapes and glazed chives; fruit; and a chocolate dessert with raspberry sauce.  It started at 14h with a cocktail and ended at 16:45h, after which the players went to hand out toys at hospitals around Madrid.

The presidential table was composed of FP; Alfredo di Stéfano and his basketball counterpart Emiliano Rodríguez; FP’s VPs Fefe and Eduardo Fernández de Blas; Jorge Valdano; coaches José Mourinho and Ettore Messina; and team captains Iker Casillas and Felipe Reyes.

As far as I know, the other tables were made up like this (I’m missing a few basketball players):

– the Spanish speaking table: Sergio, Albiol, Arbeloa, Xabi, Garay, Higuaín with Sergio Llull, Sergio Rodríguez and Sergi Vidal (yes, apparently all the Sergios have to stick together).

– the leftover Spanish speaking table: Granero, Adán, Di María, Canales, Mateos, Gago with Jorge Garbajosa, Pablo Prigoni and Carlos Suárez.

– the international table (it sounds like the beginning of bad joke, no?  A Brazilian, a Pole and two Germans walk into a bar…):  Kaká, Dudek, Özil, Khedira, Pedro León, Carvalho with Novica Velickovic and Ante Tomic.  What language did they speak?

– the table of African descent: Cristiano, Marcelo, Pepe, Benzema, Lass, Diarra with D’or Fischer and Clay Tucker.

Zidane was with Pardeza at a table filled otherwise with old men.

Should we be worried that Kaká and Cris were separated, for both the lunch and the hospital visit (see below)?

One (part two). The players received as a Christmas gift from the club a 3D television (though obviously not during the lunch.  Each player and Mou received one, but the club didn’t give any to his assistants or other technical staff, which upset Mou because he believes everyone should be treated the same.  Go Mou!).  And taking advantage of their presence, they also filmed their annual Christmas greetings, which we should see over the next several days.  Such a high standard was set last year that I don’t know if anyone will be able to top it this year.

Sergio, Álvaro and Kaká tweeted about the day, although I don’t believe that picture of Sergio is actually from yesterday, since he wasn’t wearing that outfit (it’s his outfit from the day of the captains lunch).  Do you think Albiol was making any cute noises as he filmed with Ricky?

One (part three). The manner in which the players was divided up for the hospital visits was no surprise.  It was mostly by nationality/common language for both basketball and football, with Madrid (once again being very subtle) sending out Iker and Cristiano together, to Sanitas La Moraleja, along with Iker’s fellow captain Felipe Reyes.

In the photo session (the only one, since the club needed to prove that Iker and Cris got along), they even made sure to give Iker and Cris matching gifts.  And Cris once again (he did the same thing last year) jokingly stood up on tiptoe to appear taller next to Felipe.  Iker, meanwhile, didn’t want to be in the middle.  By the way, Sergio Ramos has denied the existence any rifts, so I’ve updated this post.

Meanwhile, it was good to see José Mourinho and Aitor Karanka also joining in the fun, as they accompanied Gago and Di María, as well as Sergio Llull, to Sanitas La Zarzuela.

Two. Iker and Luis Figo will participate in a chat with Marca readers today at 18:30h to talk about Thursday’s charity game.  The latest “signings” are Filipe Luis, Couto and Rui Costa for Team Figo, as well as Luis Aragonés, who will join Vicente del Bosque, Míchel, Zidane, Canna, Guti, Hierro, el Buitre, Sanchís, Karembeu, Busquets, De Gea and Miguel Torres (yay!).  Fernando Llorente was also scheduled to participate but I don’t think he’ll make it due to the hip injury he suffered against Levante.

Three. And the press continues to be obsessed with Madrid.  Pep Guardiola held a press conference yesterday, ahead of tonight’s Copa del Rey game against Athletic, and he was asked about…. Real Madrid.  Meanwhile, Xavi, in an interview with GQ magazine, felt the need to bring up Mourinho (again), say bad things about him (again) and insult Madrid (again).

His exact statement was, “Mourinho won’t go down in the history of football because he hasn’t brought anything new to the game…”  Xavi continues, “he brings other things such as motivation and that’s good but he won a Champions with Inter and what was talked about what how well Barça played.”  Yes, I’m sure in 10 years people will still be talking about how good Barcelona played as the semifinalist, and no one will remember who the winner was.  And then there was this: “I don’t care what Mourinho says.”  Then Xavi, why are you always responding to him?

He also managed to insult Madrid, saying that madridistas are impudent and cocky because they believe everything will go well [I call that optimism, and I have every right to be like that], adding that Barcelona is not like that.

To his credit, Xavi did manage to say something nice about a Madrid player, Iker Casillas, though it was a backhanded compliment:  “he’s lucky, he has a gift…. Iker always puts out his hand, his foot in the right moments… Tiene estrella Iker.”

Four. The backlash against the list of “13 grave errors” is already beginning.

Valencia coach Unai Emery, during a press conference: “It’s actually us who have reason to bring out papers with errors and complain publicly for all the times that we’ve been wronged, but we don’t do it.  That’s what a crybaby does.”

Levante player Xisco:  “It’s a list for Madrid, an encyclopaedia for us.”

Athletic coach Joaquín Caparrós:  “I’m sure Sevilla could come up with a list of 20 errors.”

There were others who attacked Mou directly regarding the list incident, when anyone who watched the press conference could tell how upset and disappointed he was with the lack of support from the club.

And now, no one in the club will admit responsibility for that list.  Since it obviously came from the club, bearing the official letterhead and all (FYI:  it was done on Microsoft Word, according to Mou), someone should step up and assume responsibility.  After all, the club had wanted Mou to read it out loud during the press conference.  But now, with all the backlash, everyone’s a coward.  With no cojones.

I hate this behavior.  Is there anyone at this club with any common sense who partakes in forward thinking?  Things could really be run so much better.

And Mou must be really pissed off, because he’s decided he won’t talk in the press conference today, and instead Aitor Karanka will take the journalists’ questions.

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40 Comments leave one →
  1. December 21, 2010 12:15

    Xavi is a jerk! why can’t he just leave madrid ALONE!!
    and what the hell is he saying?: ”madridistas are impudent and cocky because they believe everything will go well”
    Well Xavi, i have one thing to say to u : ”SCREW YOU”
    Mourinho will bring us to the top!!
    Barcelona are just jealous of what we have obtained so far! Mourinho is a winner and he knows it.. that’s why he’s coming with all these comments about Mourinho and the players…
    cause if he didn’t feel threatened by Mourinho and Co, he wouldn’t care.. he wouldn’t come with all those bullshit comments! why would somebody talk about something they didn’t care about??
    WEIRDO!!

    hahahahaha
    i love the way all the tables are organized, lol. Its really clear who gets left out! 😦 its sad!
    WHY CAN’T WE NOT ALL JUST BE FRIIIEEENNDDSS!!

    wonder how the international table talked to each other??!
    All their languages: Arabic, Turkish, German, Serbian, Portuguese, Spanish and Croatian. (WOOW)

    And the only one i know is English talking from that table is KAKA! hmm..
    wonder how that went!

    Hahahahahahahaha
    Why is Cristiano Ronaldo and Iker Casillas always together now??
    Because of the hole rumor thingy??

    Oh my gosh, i love seeing Zidane with the team.. it just proof that he’s still a part of this team (so are all his sons)
    I hope he’s going to sit next to Jose Mourinho on the front roe at RM matches someday!! it would make my heart melt!

    I love that Mourinho isn’t so selfish! That he want all the employees so get treated the same day(:

    Valencia coach if u see this then i just want to tell u ”SHUT THE BUCK UP”
    Some random trainers keep on criticizing Mourinho!!
    keep your creepy opinions to yourself!!!
    WE DON’T CAAAARRREEE!!
    Mourinho is the best, and that’s why they keep talking about him!! they are simply ”Jealous”!!

  2. Cindy permalink
    December 21, 2010 12:31

    Me thinks Barca is getting real scared by us. I really think Xavi wants to come and play for us thats why he keeps talking about us. He seems to be a little obbessed with real madrid. ENOUGH WITH IKER & CRISTIANO together, we GET IT there’s no rift. Now put Cris back with his future father-in-law, and BFF Kaka.

    • Deb permalink
      December 21, 2010 21:20

      Now put Cris back with his future father-in-law, and BFF Kaka.

      hahahaha

  3. divine permalink
    December 21, 2010 13:40

    “Leftover spanish speakiang table” – lol, that’s hilarious!
    Harsh – But you should know that Granero is only on that table because he makes everyone cooler than they ever will be! Can you just imagine him having an Oprah’s bookclub moment with Lady Gago, decalring his admiration for Murakami and Kurt Vonegut only to be interupted when his Jeff Buckley ringtone goes off? He is just so
    f#@!ing awesome!

    Cris and Iker- Real Madrid should stop trying to hard- They’re making it worse with all these denials.

    and I sorta agree with you Una, regarding Iker chaning, but I’ve always had this impression of Iker as just a very streetsmart alphamale. Im probaably going to get crucified for this but I think Iker and Cris are a lot alike. Trophy gf that everyone has to fawn over, burning ambition to be no 1, leader but not really a leader. Both are very hard working,cunning,have smart management which oversees every interview/image projection. Listen, Im sure as hell no CR7 fan, but despite his onfield narcissism, people (especially PR folk at Barca) will make out all to him is the hairgel and crucifix- I do think he has a sense of humanity. Iker is fantastic as we know, but he has this other side which reminds me of Raul- politacal, Handsome, Nationalistic Spaniard, Cantero who has many connections in media(sara, punto pelota, SLQH, Carmen Colino, tomas guash,Susana Guash. He’s great…but it’s a bit toooo perfect all the time…you know?

    Anyhow Una, I and I am sure many readers would agree, your work with both blogs is marvelous, and even though I am not a madridista,I can appreciate the club and see it form your eyes. Than you. Kepp the good work up, you’re awesome!
    Hope you have a great Christmas. Cheers.

  4. JulieFromParis permalink
    December 21, 2010 14:07

    Refering to Casillas’ skills as depending on su buena estrella is equally outrageous to me. This has nothing to do with luck. Eso no se llama suerte Xavi, se llama talento.

    • Yuki permalink
      December 21, 2010 18:55

      I agree with everything you just said!
      I actually think that this was the most disgusting thing he said among all these uncalled for shit.

  5. Miche permalink
    December 21, 2010 14:10

    All these photos of the lunch and the details about what they ate are making me rather hungry, myself! 🙂 I’m not sure we can outdo last year’s Christmas video, either. Looks like we can expect the same poses as last year?

    As for the hospital visit groups, I’d guess that the players, maybe minus the Iker, Cris, and Reyes group, got to pick who they were going with. 😉

    I think that if teams and players really feel wronged, then they should, by all means, try and get their own lists out there. Problems aren’t solved by being ignored. Now, if they didn’t care, that would be another story…

  6. Laryssa permalink
    December 21, 2010 14:48

    Another funny, fantastic and beautifully written post. Congratulation Una. You are the best!

    I love our team. I love every one of them. I love our tradition and our shield, even with all problems, defects and failures. I love this blog, that makes me feel very proud to be a Madridista.

    Perhaps this is why I simply can’t bear Xavi anymore. What surprises me in his behavior is that he doesn’t need to be a jerk, but he seems to choose to be. I think a player of a winner team, shouldn’t say so much bullshit, but every day is the same. He is so arrogant, disrespectful and cynical. And the way he refers to Iker… Is that a complement?! Really???!!! The funny thing is that everybody seems to think this guy is nice and humble and Cristiano is the most despicable of the human beings. Yeah, right!!!

    I hate the stress between Mourinho and Valdano. I sincerely believe that dirty laundry should be washed at home and I would like the “13 sins list” hadn’t been shaken in the press conference. But in this case, I’m with Mou. It’s easy for Valdano just say the politically correct and leave the dirty work for the coach. He is the spokesman of the RM, he has to assume his share of responsibility.

    PS: Awww, Iker spent the whole lunch stuck in the adults table and then the whole afternoon stuck with Cris…

    • pammy permalink
      December 21, 2010 22:29

      i agree with you so much. Barca players, especially xavi, keep on talking all this stuff about RM and they call us the awful, arrogant ones. I’ve never heard CR7 say “Barcelona is a bad club.” or even something close.
      P.S yes, cris dives but barca players do it just as much and it’s a foul

  7. Evita permalink
    December 21, 2010 15:41

    Xavi is a douche. This type of b*tch*ssness needs to be kept at home, and with people who love them. Everyone says how Madrid talk a lot of sh*t, but these Barca players are big sh*t talkers. Messi is a whiney little troll (but he’s a good player). Xavi is supposed to be a legend, so why the nastiness….No one from Real is saying anything negative about you or your team. Honestly, I hope this type of horsesh*t adds fuel to the fire and motivates Madrid to beat his b*tch ass. I’d rather be optimistic than thug, but that’s just me. Barca players and coach are not good little, put upon boys…..

    • Canederli permalink
      December 22, 2010 01:25

      Yeah, I have to agree. Xavi may be a great player, but he comes off like a noxious little troll in interviews. That was quite a “compliment” he gave Iker. More like a bitchslap. It’s disrespectful to a fellow National Team member and someone who he is supposedly friendly with. Sheesh.

  8. December 21, 2010 15:54

    Thanks for the detailed news. THe lunch sounds like fun, but all those directors.., well, I’ll write about it later…

    anyway, very nice of the players to visit the hospitals, it must have been nice for the kids visited, I hope they enjoyed that, in all the hard momemnts they have to go through…

    Speaking of Xavi – I admire him as a footballer, he is a genius, but indeed he has a tendency to stir things up while speaking sometimes. I have no idea why people would have any problem with Madrid. There are more teams in la Liga (if anyone remembers that!) than Real and Barcelona, so it is weird for me that both clubs are asked mainly about eachother, which is -I guess -not their dream at all and I guess it is boring for both sides. That is why sometimes the patience ends and someone looses it and starts talking weird things.

    Speaking of Mourinho – I admitted being sceptical about him in the past (now being his fan;-), but the more I learn about him, the more I see why some people have problem with him. He just does things his way and is not a nice puppy who would do anything people expect him or want him to do. And yes, I think he’s often treated unfairly, because the refs or the press see the devil in him, which is a huge exagerration. Of course sometimes he is not nice, but he always is (seems to be) honest, no matter what the consequences are, and that is something I appreciate. Also, if the press did not notice, the players usually have no problems with him. Even to the contrary, he is adored by his players. I recently read an article analysing the history of the clubs that he left, which had the thesis that players feel like orphans while left by Mou 😉 All in all, the most important thing is that the team feels connection with him and vice versa. People apparently cannot stand when someone is not afraid of speaking his mind and doing things his way.

    • December 21, 2010 16:03

      Oh, I forgot to wrote about the directors – if anything annoys me in football, those are the “directors” of different kinds. I mean, I get that the club needs administrative stuff, and being a lawyer I would not complain if I could work for a football club;-) and I also can appreciate that they get a lot of things organised for the players and for the club, I get that.

      but I totally agree that if their role is so significant, they should also step up sometimes and defend the players or the coach, when they are attacked. You know, high position needs high responsibility and some civil courage. Without that it looks a bit like everyone there is a puppet in the money-making machine.

      PS Yes, I already have plans that if any football club hires me as a lawyer I would create a Legal Department for Advising the Players What to Wear to not commit a crime against fashion;-))

      • Canederli permalink
        December 22, 2010 01:27

        Whomever gave Mou the list and insisted he read it should own up. It feels like they left him out to dry and take the brunt of the criticism about it.

        • Deb permalink
          December 22, 2010 10:47

          I agree..but I suspect it’s as it is in most businesses…sh*t rolls downhill. The head honchos have no problem shifting the blame to their “underlings” so that they come out looking squeaky clean. Not right by any means but it happens too often.

  9. Emme permalink
    December 21, 2010 16:26

    If there is a rift I am worried about, it is whether there is one between Kaka & Cristiano!!! Last year they were bromance of the year & now Cristiano is inseparable from Marcelo & Pepe!
    Love the international table….I am assuming they all spoke English 🙂
    And what is Xavi’s problem?? I normally like him & now he is just being kind of a jerk. I hate it when players badmouth other teams.

  10. Gitana permalink
    December 21, 2010 16:32

    If the comments from Xavi came from a Barcelona fan, I would just shrug it off.

    But it came from a football player who is suppose to RESPECT other football players & other football clubs.

    What kind of a message is he trying to send?

    No doubt he cares, and he cares a whole lot. If you can take time to talk about something/someone whether good or bad — IT MEANS YOU CARE!

    I’m so dissapointed, I thought Barca players and Real players would like to see their fans have respect for one another. Sadly that will never happen.. not when own players are acting like jerks..

  11. Bekah permalink
    December 21, 2010 16:45

    Oh wow, Xavi… I hate that he is like that because I love the Spanish national team, and I still think he deserves the Ballon d’Or, but WOW! He is not a player I can respect beyond his actual football-playing skills. I’m tempted to comment on everything he said but I’m going to restrain myself because it’s not worth it, but I’ll say this one thing: it amuses me that every criticism Barcelona players make about Mou can be applied more accurately to Pep, and that none of our players make undue, irrelevant criticisms of Barca/culés/Pep whenever they get the chance. You’d think the team that has dominated the past couple years would be secure enough with themselves not to need to lash out.

    Someone really needs to take responsibility for that list so Mou doesn’t continually take ALL of the heat for everything that goes on in Madrid. That’s really unjust to him… they can’t hire him to perform all these miracles with the team and not support him in daily stuff like this.

  12. December 21, 2010 16:50

    The way Madrid works right now, I think it’s pretty mess up. They are prioritizing the wrong stuffs. Like the case of Iker and Cristiano, it totally looks like they are trying too hard. Now The List case. Though I still can sort of see why they make it public (that was one the most disgraceful officiating these years and most neutrals totally agree but well, it should be handled better privately), they should talk more about the team’s performance than that (But I dunno, maybe if it were other clubs, The List won’t be a smoking issue and the ref might gotten his head cut already). Anyway, it was decided but go hiding behind the curtains is almost as disgraceful as the officiating itself. Mou did have several questionable moments (his moutivation programs, his tactics and players utilization, sometimes about himself etc) but Mou and his players AND his staffs still in need of support especially from the admins. Yet there are so many things that conflicted with each other (Yes. I’m looking at you Mr. Valdano). The good thing is, Mou said what he thinks rather than keeping it all for himself. Let him do all the coaching in peace; don’t let him used up his energy on having to deal with other internal/external affairs but to concentrate on being prepared for the next match.

    Especially now that this team comes with Mou, our haters will never shut their mouth about Real Madrid. Such a shame that the likes of Xavi who has one of the best footballing brains in the world couldn’t use his head as efficient outside the pitch.

    We had it pretty hard at the beginning, and then we was able to taste some happiness , now we are going through the hardest phase of a marriage which always come not so long after we took the vow and went for honeymoon. If we are able to hold firmly and get past this ‘test phase’ and get everything else right, this family will be one the strongest entities on earth.

  13. Gilly B permalink
    December 21, 2010 17:05

    Great post Una- thank you sweetie 🙂

    As for Xavi, oh dear. Such a talent on the field, such a big mouth off it. Let it go, bro- just let it go! And if he plans on starting the ‘Who will remember Mourinho?’ debate, I believe he’ll be remembered for his 100% record of winning the league title (among other things) with all his teams in 3 different leagues so far. I take nothing away from Pep, but he has had the same institution behind him and a foundation already in place to achieve what he has; Mourinho has had to come in and utilise what’s there, and (at Chelsea) deal with an obvious lack of support from the owner. Meanwhile, look how fondly his former players regard him?

    Not talking about that though Xavi, are we?

  14. Lily Montella permalink
    December 21, 2010 17:56

    Wow even though I am a madridist I had alot of respect for Barca but no more Xavi is the cocky player! I was wishing that he wins best player of the year because he deserved it but with that attitude all he deserves is a lump of coal!

    Why is everyone picking on Madrid? What did they do wrong?

    I hope Higuain comes bcak with full force and we prove them all wrong! That’s the only way ignore all the talk and show them where the game is!

    Let’s go Madrid Hala Madrid – from your fan from Canada 🙂

    • Deb permalink
      December 22, 2010 10:51

      “but with that attitude all he deserves is a lump of coal!”

      lololololol said in the spirit of Christmas, no?

  15. Kat permalink
    December 21, 2010 18:00

    Ok, seriously. The club keeps digging its own grave deeper and deeper and deeper. First with the in your face Iker and Cristiano moments, and then this whole “13 sins” list. With all the money being thrown around for players, can’t they hire a decent publicist? We’ve had one public relations nightmare after the other (before this, there was the CL bookings, then before that the Mourinho-Portugal issue) and it’s not helping anyone. And it’s giving the anti-Madrid press and players and coaches more ammunition to attack us with.

    http://dontaskmetosmile.wordpress.com

  16. emily permalink
    December 21, 2010 18:14

    XAvi Xavi Xavi – just when you think a guy is a class act… I am hoping that his comments are somehow being taken out of context!!! Iker helped him win a bleepin’ World Cup. I am sure he feels that Valdez could have done better, but he still won all the beans with those estrellas in Iker’s manos. And the statement about the cockiness should be made in front of a mirror. The cules are downright venomous compared to the Madridistas. And yes, there are mean fans with every club, just as there are decent ones. Seriously, any real fan of any club is going to be hopeful and demanding of that club and want them to win every game. DUHHHHH…… xavi… I’m so disappointed. :-[

  17. Michelle permalink
    December 21, 2010 19:04

    You know, to be honest, I don’t think Xavi saying Iker is lucky is an insult to Iker at all. Luck is a WONDERFUL thing to have! You can’t buy luck, you can’t select for luck, and yet luck so often determines what goes down in the most crucial split seconds of a match, when you don’t have enough time to consider all your options and consciously select the right thing to do and execute it with thoughtful skill — you just GO. When Iker plays for Spain, I am *glad* que tenga estrella. (It was even the headline of that great Elle interview, wasn’t it? Iker, Un Chico Con Estrella.)

    (It also kind of reminded me of Pepe Reina in El Pais about “Cuál es la suerte que necesita un portero? Que no le chuten.”)

    Going a little deeper into it… there is a school of thought that says that people make their own luck. It may well be true that that is the case for goalkeepers — that the more they practice, the more dangerous situations they face, and the more they hone their instincts and reflexes, the better they become at reacting to every subsequent scenario. If so, that’s certainly the case for Iker. (Madridista, I think you said before that Iker became the great shotstopper he is by playing in front of a porous defense for years that gave him, shall we say, a lot of practice!) I don’t think Casillas needs to apologize for, or be ashamed of, being so lucky. There are many talented footballers, but it’s being lucky at the right times that has made some of them legends. And I don’t think it negates their talent and their hard work to recognize that.

    • Michelle permalink
      December 21, 2010 19:07

      Oh, and this disappeared from my posted comment, where I meant to put it right under the Pepe Reina section — Valdes, in the same El Pais interview:
      “V. Sí, Iker es un monstruo. Tiene un don, pero de eso no se vive. Iker ha trabajado para estar donde está, aunque, claro, en momentos puntuales ha tenido la suerte que todos necesitamos.”

      Per Madridista’s own translation: “Yes, Iker is a monster. He has a gift, but he doesn’t rely just on that. Iker has worked to get to where he is, although clearly, he’s had luck in certain moments, which we all need.”

    • Laryssa permalink
      December 22, 2010 02:08

      I don’t agree with you Michele.

      Iker is one of the best goalkeepers in the world. His success didn’t come from lucky, but from talent, dedication, hard work and successive hours of training. Luck is not a quality and if he depended only on it, I don’t think Iker would be the titular goalkeeper of a team constantly under pressure as Real Madrid. I don’t think also he would be the first goalkeeper and the captain of the NT.

      As a teammate and a friend, for more than a decade, Xavi should know this better than anyone.

      • Michelle permalink
        December 24, 2010 08:51

        I don’t want to start a flamewar, Laryssa, but there are many other amazing goalkeepers (and other football players) out there who are talented, dedicated, work hard, and train their lives away, and then sometimes bad luck happens to them. It happens to most players, truthfully – the ball hits a divot and takes a bad bounce – but it’s usually most visible with goalkeepers, since unlike outfield players who usually get a chance to recover, their bad luck moments tend to result in goals conceded.

        I’ll point you to a moment earlier in the season, when Madrid beat Racing Santander 6-1. The 1 goal scored against Iker was a complete bad-luck moment — the Racing player shot to Iker’s right, and Iker did EVERYTHING correct, he dived to meet the ball following the original trajectory, but the ball took a freak deflection off another player and went into the other corner of the net instead. Here, watch it. Iker was PISSED!

        As it is, these things happen — but imagine if that goal had happened when his team was not already 6 goals up, or imagine if it had been a game in the knockout stages of the Champions — or the World Cup? It could have meant elimination, through absolutely no fault of Iker’s own. As it is, Iker and La Roja had enough luck on July 11th that, when Arjen Robben came haring through on goal the first time, Iker threw himself at the shot and it deflected off the sole of his foot but then just wide of the post rather than into the net, because it could easily have gone ANYWHERE; that when Robben came haring through the SECOND time, the ref didn’t blow for a free kick / second yellow on Puyol’s tackle; that when Sneijder took a free kick and it deflected off Cesc’s shoulder, it went just a few inches shy of the top corner of the net (because if it had been heading in, Iker would NOT have been able to meet it – the timing of his dive shows that). Etc. They were lucky in some of the moments that mattered most. Not everyone is.

        I’d imagine that if you asked Iker himself, he’d tell you that luck plays a massive role in football, especially if you’re a goalkeeper. Perhaps he’ll talk about it in an interview one day, or perhaps he’ll deny it comprehensively and say that his success is entirely down to his talent and work rate. I doubt he’d ever say that, because I think he’s a pretty humble guy who would know better than to come off sounding that way, but I will keep an eye/ear out.

        • December 24, 2010 12:06

          I think she (and others) is (are) objecting because it sounds like Xavi attributed Iker’s success only to luck. He did say that Iker had a gift, but didn’t say anything else about hard work, dedication, etc.

        • Michelle permalink
          December 24, 2010 17:13

          We may have to agree to disagree – I listened to the whole interview and that’s not the sense I got.

          a) That statement about Iker was cut to start a section so we’ll never know if he had said other (more boring) things about Iker right before;

          b) He didn’t say “Iker tiene estrella” in a derogatory manner to imply that “Iker SOLO tiene estrella y nada mas”, but in an admiring, can’t believe it, this guy is crazy good, I have no idea how he stops some of the shots he does, manner. (I know these judgments are necessarily opinion, so if anyone else wants to judge the tone for themselves, it’s at 14:30);

          c) Just because you don’t explicitly attribute a contributing factor every single time doesn’t mean you’re denying its existence or importance.
          Many people, myself included, know that we would not be where we are today were it not for our parents’ sacrifices and efforts to take us to practices, activities, helping us with our schoolwork, etc — but just because we don’t explicitly thank our parents every single time we get 2 seconds to explain XYZ success in our lives doesn’t mean we don’t value them. We just didn’t get around to mentioning *every single thing*.
          Xavi talked about Messi earlier in the interview for 2 entire minutes (from 3:45 – 5:45), saying amazing glowing raving things, but didn’t get around to mentioning his passing or finishing abilities. Does that mean he doesn’t think Messi can’t do either? More likely, passing and finishing are such key components of Messi’s game that it almost goes without saying.

          It’s a Madrid blog, so I’ll quit flogging a dead horse! It just made me a little sad to see Xavi getting castigated for saying something about a known friend and longtime teammate that IMO wasn’t close to even sounding like any sort of an insult, much less being intended that way.

  18. justme permalink
    December 21, 2010 21:14

    I’m not being facetious but Cristiano is of African descent?

  19. Pipitaismyhero permalink
    December 21, 2010 21:23

    Xavi’s comments always make me sad :[ He’s a brilliant player but his attitude really sucks. The club administration should really support Mou more! They can’t just leave him out to dry after setting him up for a media backlash like that

  20. Deb permalink
    December 21, 2010 21:39

    ‘(it sounds like the beginning of bad joke, no? A Brazilian, a Pole and two Germans walk into a bar…): ‘ lol

    “- the table of African descent: Cristiano” – really? I didn’t realize that. I just figured it was something to do with all the tanning he did. All the things I learn from reading your blog, Una! 😀

    I saw the picture of Cris & Iker with the basketball player on the RM website. Cris & Iker who are fairly tall themselves looked quite short next to the basketball player. I’d look like a little kid next to this guy! lol

    Xavi, Xavi, Xavi…you’re a brilliant footballer but really, is there a need for all the RM hate? This is why I’d rather Iniesta win the Ballon d’or over Xavi. Iniesta is a decent guy. (well, Messi is too but I think a Spaniard should win it). The theory is that the reason people, in general, hate on others is 1)jealously or 2) to make themselves look better. Either way, I don’t get it. If Barca is the team that everyone says they are, why even comment about RM?

    I would SO loved to have seen what Marcelo and Pepe’s visit to the hospital was like. I can’t imagine how much fun it was for those kids! 🙂

    Anyway, I’m glad Mou is sticking to his plan. Even though the Sevilla match wasn’t their best, I do think he knows what he’s doing and seems to have built a good team unity that from what I understand, hasn’t always been the case. At least there’s not all the drama that I see over in the EPL, Tevez & Rooney for example.

  21. LaBlanca permalink
    December 22, 2010 00:12

    didnt Xavi also say RM doesnt have a Cantera? Or any other barca player that badmouthed RM lately. Thats just wrong! That the canteranos of RM are not flowing into the squad as in Barca doesnt mean we produce excellent footballers. Such as Eto’o who helped them with his goals to titles for many years.

  22. Mafer permalink
    December 22, 2010 04:56

    Although it seems convenient that Ronaldo and Iker visited the same hospital, if you guys look at last year, Ronaldo always seems to go with the two captains. It just so happens that Iker is captain now and there are all these rumors going around. I think that more than confirming that there are issues between them, it shows that there really is no problem. If they were fighting or really disliked each other they would probably refuse to go spend more time together than necessary.

    As for Xavi and the negative comments that seem to come from Barca recently, it just proves that even with their titles and their wins, they are very insecure and feel threatened by Madrid. They are jealous and feel the need to undermine Real and its players, even when no attacks are coming from Madrid. They are jealous, but as Mou wisely said, people are jealous because you have something they don’t and never will

  23. Gillian permalink
    December 22, 2010 05:16

    Sergio looks so cute standing next to that tree!

    • Deb permalink
      December 22, 2010 10:56

      I know, right?

      AND there’s no thumbs up! WTG Sergio 😀

  24. mila_casillas permalink
    December 22, 2010 20:12

    Xavi, why you so obsessed with us? Get a life, dude, get a life.

  25. Bill permalink
    December 23, 2010 11:10

    The seating arrangements for the Christmas luncheon really does sound like a bad joke. XDD And I’m with you, I have no idea which language the “international” table was using. The players didn’t seem to mind, though, from what I could see in the pictures. 😉

    Do you think Albiol was making any cute noises as he filmed with Ricky?
    Judging by that picture? DEFINITELY. XD Though you’re right, it’s hard to surpass last year’s video. That was the epitome of hilarious. XD

    It’s completely beyond me, to be honest, how Barcelona can have such a desperate need to talk about Real Madrid all the time. *facepalm* Not to mention that it’s highly annoying.

    I can sort of understand why those people are feeling a bit miffed about that list. Athletic, for instance, were put at a severe disadvantage against Sevilla this season (the referee was Clos Gómez as well), and there was no fuss at all afterwards, nobody really seemed to care. Only now that Real Madrid was wronged, everyone is complaining. Though really, one could expect Real Madrid to have the balls to take responsibility for the list. It’s not fair to leave Mou hanging like this. Idiots!

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