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Iker receives a golden fish hook & the team prepares for Levante

December 21, 2010

That’s the summary of the news from Valdebebas this morning.

Iker received his 10th? 20th? 30th? honor this year, the sports protagonist award, which was given to him by journalist Luis del Olmo.  Iker accepted the award, but said that “this is an award for Spanish football” and in the chat afterward between the two, said “I would like people to remember me as a good person.”

Three people who will precisely do that were present at the ceremony, and this is what they had to say about Iker Casillas.

Florentino Pérez:

For me, for the club and for all madridistas, he’s a symbol, an example and a reference.  He grew up in the cantera, he has a good heart and he’s a good man.  Looking into his eyes is looking at the history of Real Madrid.  To me, he’s the best goalkeeper in the world and the best goalkeeper this club has ever had.  I think football should one day recognize him with the Ballon d’Or.  He deserves everything he’s achieved in his sporting career and everything he’s going to achieve.

Emilio Butragueño:

He’s a representative of the cantera who embodies the best values of sports and of Real Madrid.  He’s above all admired for his way of being and not for his sporting merits, and that for me, as a madridista, is something to be proud of.

Aitor Karanka:

I met him when he was 16, when he was called up to the first team, and for me it’s a privilege to work with him.  He’s a wonderful professional and a better person, and he deserves all the awards he’s been receiving.

I’m so glad we have Iker, no?

Meanwhile, the team trained in damp and cold conditions in their last practice session before tomorrow’s game against Levante, the first leg in their round of 16 clash in the Copa del Rey.  Cristiano left the session early, as he was suffering tonsillitis.  Kaká and Fer Gago once again made an appearance, and Sergio Canales was also out on the field, but working alone (and looking a bit lonely).  The canteranos at the session were Juanfran, Pacheco and MFC Álvaro Morata.  Missing on the field were Arbeloa and Sergio.

The call-up for the game looked like this.  Marcelo and Xabi Alonso returned after serving a one-game suspension against Sevilla, and Cristiano also made it, but whether he plays will depend on how quickly he recovers.  All three of the canteranos at the session were on the list as well.  Not on the list were the injured players (Kaká, Gago, Higuaín, Canales, Dudek, Khedira) as well as Álvaro Arbeloa, who is suspended for this game, and Sergio Ramos, due to the coach’s decision.

Goalkeepers: Iker, Adán, Pacheco.
Defenders: Pepe, Albiol, Marcelo, Carvalho, Garay, Mateos.
Midfielders: Xabi Alonso, Lass, Diarra, Granero, Özil, Di María, Pedro León, Juanfran.
Forwards: Cristiano, Benzema, Morata.

Notes on some of the injured players:  Gonzalo Higuaín left for Argentina on Monday and won’t be back until Jan. 3.  And Ángel Canales, Sergio’s father and representative, has ruled out his son being loaned out for the second part of the season.

Aitor Karanka took the place of José Mourinho at the press conference today, because “the míster spoke the other day and today it’s me… regardless of who talks to the press, the important thing is to be at Cibeles in May.”  He didn’t want to talk about previous games (aka the refereeing), preferring to look ahead to the “important game” tomorrow, saying that the team has a lot of hope pinned on the Copa del Rey.  He also explained why Sergio Ramos was left off the list, saying “tomorrow we don’t want to risk him any further” after the player had decided to push himself hard to get to the Sevilla game.

And will this be Denial Watch II?  Karanka was asked about Mourinho, and replied that he “doesn’t have any problems with Valdano or anyone else from the club.  He has his points of view and in some they agree and in others no.  The same thing happens everywhere.”  Very articulate, our Aitor.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. December 21, 2010 16:14

    PHEW!
    Thanks Una for clearing up on what Sergio’s “coaching decision” is all about. I thought the worst, maybe he slapped someone during practice or something.

    I would rather Cris not play, boy’s been pushing himself too hard. It’s time to give the bench some playing time. I’m sure Pedro Leon & Granero would try the damnedest to make us proud.

    Thanks again for everything 🙂

  2. Emme permalink
    December 21, 2010 16:44

    Una – do you know anything more about the Sergio & Sami injury situations? Sami has not seemed okay since before the Clasico & Sergio seems to be missing matches on & off.

    • December 22, 2010 08:58

      Sami has a strained muscle in his right leg, and Sergio is being rested for this game.

  3. Deb permalink
    December 21, 2010 21:59

    Eek! Cris has tonsilitis? Playing out in that cold, wet weather sure didn’t help any. Hopefully he’s at home taking those antibiotics and resting. Knowing Cris, I expect that he’ll play tomorrow unless he’s running a pretty high tempurature.

    hmm…interesting about Sergio and Khedira. Glad it will give the others a chance to play but maybe it’s because Mou doesn’t think he’ll need them tomorrow and doesn’t want to seem like he’s sending out a watered down version of the RM team. Anyway, I hope it won’t hurt them tomorrow (today?). Well, it’s not on TV here until tomorrow…so maybe it’s not live here?

  4. Ange permalink
    December 22, 2010 01:17

    awwww … Iker… I wish they would give a Ballon D’or …. he does deserve it…. like Xavi Hernandez said… They should hand out a ballon d’or for each postition…. yea one for a forward,

  5. RealLisa permalink
    December 22, 2010 15:05

    I love what FP said about Iker!

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