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in case you missed it – the sidelines edition

January 7, 2011

In case you missed it – Levante vs. Real Madrid [2011-01-06].

It wasn’t the best gift from los Reyes Magos, and to be honest it was probably a big waste of my time to watch this game, but the important thing is that Madrid is through to the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey for the first time in five years.  The only reason why I’m doing an ICYMI post for this game – since there’s no point really when Madrid loses – is because there actually were a lot of fun things about the game, just not on the field.  Everything interesting happened off of it, on the sidelines, or at least when the ball was not in play.

One. My actions during the game matched Mou’s, whether it was complaining, grimacing or constantly checking the time to see how much longer the game would last.

Two. The banquillo was where the most exciting action was taking place.  Why else do you think La Sexta’s cameras kept panning to there?

Kaká, Pepe and Lass had fun – and who can blame them, since the game was painful to watch at times.  And Benzema was surprisingly cheerful, despite his dismal performance, showing off his favorite pose, which didn’t impress Lass at all.  How cute is Pacheco?

And the second time was the charm for Mou.  The first time he said something to his players, they all kept straight faces.  The second time, they all cracked up, from the easily amused Pepe to the stoic Lass.  Compare and contrast.

Three. There are some excellent heads of curly hair on the team.  Pedro León’s full head of hair just looks so lush.  El Pirata’s hairstyle works perfectly for the look he’s got going on.  And I’m glad Fer finally realized that a mullet doesn’t work on anyone.

Four. David Mateos, a central defender, was used as a fullback.  As was winger Juanfran, who came in to sub for him when the former suffered cramps.  The inopportune timing of Mateos’ cramps meant that MFC, who was all set to sub in, could not, as Madrid had used up all three substitutions by that point.  Even the commentator said, when the camera panned to Álvaro after the frustrated attempt, “Mira Morata, el pobre” (look at Morata, that poor thing).

Here’s what happened, in images.  Álvaro Morata was all set to check into the game.  Proper hydration?  Check.  Last minute instructions from Mou?  Check.  Perfect hair?  Check.  Then, out on the field, David went down with cramps.  And up went Mou’s arm, to block Morata from completing the check-in procedure.  Juanfran was then called off the bench to replace Mateos.

This meant that MFC was sent back to the bench, pobrecito.  But being the nice kid that he is, he chose to spend his time commiserating with Mateos, and biting his nails.  I absolutely love Álvaro Borja Morata Martín.

Five. Front and back.™

Álvaro Arbeloa.  For more on his injury – why he sported a bandage on his chin – see below.

Karim Benzema. He didn’t do much else yesterday besides posing for “front and back”™ (merci Karim).

The legal Sergio Canales.

Pedro León.  Has Adidas been listening to my suggestions skimping on material for the kits, because they were very transparent yesterday?

David Mateos.  He’s really all legs.  I’ll keep the “Bambi” nickname for him in case it doesn’t work out for Ozi.

Antonio Adán (front) and Sami Khedira (back).  Because there were no good shots of the back of Adán and the front of Sami.

Bonus backs.

Six. Near the end of the first half, Álvaro Arbeloa’s chin collided with the head of a Levante player, and both came away injured.  Álvaro’s chin must be very pointy and sharp, along with the head of the rival.  Anyway, he had to get fixed up by the medical staff – Sergio Ramos also checked him out – and since he got blood on his shirt, he had to change it.  Yay!

At first, I was bemoaning La Sexta for just focusing on his head and shoulders, but then they gave us this replay, below left.  That’s what I call a fantastic regalo de Reyes. Below right is Álvaro putting on his new shirt.

Because I know you want to see bigger pictures.  Click to enlarge to see the expression of concern on Sergio’s face, and Alvarito’s impressive upper body.

He also sent this tweet after the game:  “Hi friends, how are you?  I’m good.  Thanks for being concerned about me… I got three stitches on my chin, and without anesthesia, like a good Spartan…”

He’s perfect, isn’t he?  How can he and Xabi Alonso exist in the same universe, much less the same city and the same team?

Seven. Kaká made his second appearance this season.  He got prepped by Aitor Karanka, who had to keep flipping pages to get to the end of the instructions.  Richi also had the generous gesture of giving his sweatshirt to a kid in the crowd, and once on the field, he kept adjusting his shorts.  And as soon as he stepped onto the field, he started making friends.

Eight. Other fun moments – see, I told you all the fun was when the ball was not in play.

Taking advantage of the break to attend to the injured players, several of our players got hydrated.  And then late in the game, several of Levante’s players got to play with the new doll they received from the Kings had the nice gesture of helping out Sergio Canales when he got cramps.

And obviously, the game was very boring, because La Sexta’s cameras also focused on the frogs that can be found all over the stadium.  Levante’s mascot since 1923 is a frog, nicknamed Granotas, since the team in the 1920s played next to the old riverbed of the Turia River, where thousands of frogs lived.

Nine. The (I miss Xabi Alonso) pose(ing) section.™

It’s just not the same without him.

Ten. The I miss Iker yelling section.

It’s just not the same without him.

Eleven. Other game notes:  a minute of silence was held before the game for Mercedes Montero, FP’s mother-in-law, who had passed away.  FP didn’t attend the game although he had traveled to Valencia, because he returned to Madrid to be with his wife.

And both clubs honored Antonio Calpe, who had played for both teams, before the game.  Real Madrid presented him with a replica of the Bernabéu and FP said of Calpe, “Real Madrid is what it is thanks to players like Antonio Calpe, who have served this institution with the values that make it a grand team.  This club is a big family that takes cares of all its former players.”  Calpe also received from his former Madrid teammate Pachín a shirt with his name on it and the golden insignia of the Association of former Real Madrid players.  Calpe also got to do the saque de honor before the game.

Fernando Gago wore the captain’s armband for the first official time in his Real Madrid career.

Twelve. Other notes:  The Copa del Rey hasn’t been very kind to us in the last decade.  In 2002, it was the centenariazo.  We lost again in the final against Zaragoza in 2004.  And in 2007 and 2008, Madrid failed to shine, and was eliminated by Betis and Mallorca, respectively.  The 2009 campaign is probably remembered more for Rubén de la Red collapsing against Real Unión than for the actual games and results, and of course, last year was the Alcorconazo. The last two are both teams in the Segunda B division, by the way.

And Marca reported that in the first leg of the round of 16, several of the Madrid players had been disrespectful towards Levante.  When the scoreboard read 6-0, Di María apparently told one of the rivals, “don’t touch my shirt, because I don’t want you to dirty it.”  Özil said the same thing to Juanlu, but in English (of course).  It this is true, I do not like this behavior at all.  If you wear that escudo on your chest, you should not indulge in this type of behavior.

Thirteen. The Mou corner.

Mou protagonized a little incident with Levante defender Sergio Ballesteros at the half.  Apparently, Sergio B. yelled at Mou to take out Pepe (Pepe had been warming up) saying it was a lack of respect to bring in Pepe.  Silvino Louro stepped in to defuse the situation.  Mou said later, “I told the person who was yelling that I had decided on this change three days ago.  A lack of respect would be to bring in Iker as a forward or Pepe as a goalkeeper.  I would never do that.  I don’t know who Ballesteros is.”

There were also some chants against Mou during the end of the game.  He said later at the press conference, “it’s a matter of education, nothing more.  If I see my son doing that, he would not be allowed to return to the stadium.  If a friend of mine does that, I’ll criticize him to his face.  But I can’t stop people from doing what they want to.”

He also said, “I can’t criticize my players because it was difficult from them to concentrate fully, knowing that we had already qualified.  It wasn’t easy to motivate them.  In spite of that, they had a positive attitude, because a lot of them hadn’t played very much before this.  You have to keep in mind that this was the first game that Mateos, Gago, Adán and Garay started.”

Then why he was writing in his little notebook when the clock had not yet reached the six-minute mark?

According to Mou, Luis García had said from his bench:

They gave me this penalty that I didn’t need, and on Saturday against Barcelona they didn’t give me one that I did need.

And a rare fashion misstep from Mou.  He apparently forgot to pack a scarf, and had to borrow a neck warmer thingie from the team.  It made him look a bit like a priest.

Fourteen. Looking ahead:  Real Madrid will face neighbors Atlético de Madrid in the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey.  The first leg will be disputed on Jan. 13 at 22h the Bernabéu, with the second leg on Jan. 19 or 20 at the Calderón.  If Madrid makes it to the semifinals, they’ll face the winner of the Villarreal-Sevilla match-up.

The team trained this morning to start preparing for Sunday’s game against Villarreal.  It was a closed training session, except for Chad Ochocinco, who’s visiting Madrid and got to hang out with the players.

Fifteen. And as for Gonzalo Higuaín, he’ll travel to the U.S. on Saturday for his operation, as he’s scheduled to undergo some tests before the surgery on Tuesday.  He wanted to travel with his parents, but since they hold Argentine passports, it was a bit harder for them to get visas, so they probably won’t be able to accompany their son.  Gonzalo holds a French passport, since he was born in France, so it was easy for him to get the visa.  Carlos Díez, the head of Sanitas’ medical services, will travel with Pipita to observe the operation.

Sixteen. Ahhhh!!!!!  Just in:  Pepe got injured during the game, has a muscle injury to his left calf and is expected to be out four weeks!!!

Really, at what point during this season will we be able to count on all our defenders?

58 Comments leave one →
  1. amouria permalink
    January 7, 2011 15:23

    I appreciate you MOU section….and hope for more and more…
    Loved Ramos’ expression of concern, very genuine…
    your lovely blog today is very rich, unlike the game itself which was boring to the coach, players and audience…

  2. Andrea permalink
    January 7, 2011 15:42

    Wow, I had no idea what Alvaro was hiding underneath that camiseta…caliente!

    Bad news about Pepe. He’s such an integral part of the defense. Plus, who will cheer on the canteranos? 🙂

  3. January 7, 2011 15:44

    I saw the second half, LOLled at Mou checking the time on his watch;-)

    anyway, thanks for finding all those fun moments, that is really what we can take and appreciate from the game;-)

    All I am able to say is: aaaaaaaaw, The Spartan Alvaro!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. suzanne permalink
    January 7, 2011 15:47

    i was wondering about the frogs. very nice of levante players to help out bb sergio. poor thing, i was feeling for him.
    damn, alvaro!!! just…WOW! and sergio’s so cute and concerned; i couldn’t wait to come in here and see a pic when it happened.
    the match was horrible. just really dull. i was really hoping kaka could come on and score. i can’t wait for his 1st goal back!!

  5. Olivia permalink
    January 7, 2011 15:55

    Oh God I could hardly look at this gif where Levante players helped Canales due to his cramps. That looks too painful!
    Ozil and Di Maria definitely shouldn’t have said something like that. That’s very disrespectful. I hope they apologized.
    Seriously this game bored me but the bench was interesting to look at. Seemed to be fun. 🙂

    • Jenny permalink
      January 7, 2011 16:30

      I seriously doubt they both said the same thing in two different languages. It would be too much of a coincidence.

      • phiemdu permalink
        January 7, 2011 17:07

        Yup, I think so too, and since it’s the news from Marca, well I’d rather take it with a grain of salt. O_O

      • January 7, 2011 17:53

        and I seriously doubt that Ozi knows enough English to say that.

        • IsaBella permalink
          January 8, 2011 07:45

          I agree with you deb. It is enough to read his tweets to see that 😉 it’s like he’s been using Google Translate :p

      • January 8, 2011 01:08

        I agree. There’s no way Mesut said something like that lol, cuz he’s way too polite. And how would Marca know what or if anything was said during the match anyway.

        • January 8, 2011 03:02

          Marca wrote that based on Levante’s players’ reactions after the game.

  6. Bee permalink
    January 7, 2011 17:03

    They had so much fun on the sidelines! Well, that’s about the only positive from this otherwise boring game. Good for our boys tho for enjoying their time and having a good laugh.

    And about Ozil and Di Maria, I don’t think they said something like that. Come on, it’s Marca. Not very trustworthy, eh? Plus, Ozil rarely speaks (on and off the field). Definitely not someone who would throw a tantrum over petty stuff.

  7. January 7, 2011 17:15

    I was wondering. If Ramos was available, how come Fernando Gago was captain? Am I missing something here?

    It doesn’t sound like something Ozil or Di Maria would say. Of course, it’s not like I know them personally, but if something like that was said, I would have expected it to be Ronaldo or Mou to have said, definitely not these two.

    And who knew Arbelo was THAT ripped under that shirt!

    • January 8, 2011 02:54

      Because Sergio didn’t start and was on the bench, and there needs to be a captain on the field, someone who is playing. Sergio can’t very well do the coin toss from the bench.

  8. canederli permalink
    January 7, 2011 17:42

    Probably a stupid question, but why was Gago wearing the captain’s armband if Sergio was there? Is it because Sergio was benched?

  9. January 7, 2011 18:02

    My thoughts exactly. I kept saying, leave the camera pointed at the bench and I’ll be happy.

  10. Lulja permalink
    January 7, 2011 18:10

    Why would it be disrespectful from Mou to involve Pepe? I don’t get that one.

    As for the Özil/Di Maria thing, I really cannot imagine they might have said that. Both of them seem so down to earth and humble. Plus, I thought Marca was pretty loyal towards RM. So why would they publish such news? And if I’m right, why would they make up something like this?

    I liked Mou’s neckwarmer, tho! Adidas should be happy for that extra TSO advertising campaign.

    Personal highlights of mine: Sergio Channels getting bonus treatment from Levante and – phew… madre mía – Álvaros ABS. I mean, wow. He’s got a lucky, lucky wife.

    • January 8, 2011 02:57

      It’s along the lines of, Madrid already won the first leg 8-0, so why would they sub in one of their starting defenders for this game which probably ends up meaning nothing?

  11. IsaBella permalink
    January 7, 2011 19:22

    Una: thank you again for the lovely recap 🙂 the game was really painful for me but in the end, I simply think they let it go, having already quallified.
    I adore the kit’s material: you can see Sergio Canales’ pants and Pedro Leon’s chest, absolutely amazing 😀 maybe they’re making it on purpose so more women watch the games 😉
    Alvaro behaved like a true Spartan (I guess it must have hurt a lot as chin tends to be very sensitive to pain) and I must admit he really looks nice, I can see the appeal 🙂
    Does Sergio say “oh shit” when he checks on Alvaro? looks like that 😀
    Mou: pure class. And frankly speaking, I can’t believe that Angel and Mesut said those things to Levante players…. probably it is just another made-up story to attract interest.
    wow, Gonzalo has a French passport, I had no idea abt that 😀 Je vais lui dire quelque chose en francais pour voir s’il le parle 😉
    finally, sorry for Pepe’s injury. I hope he’ll get well soon.

    • LaBlanca permalink
      January 8, 2011 09:12

      I thought that was well-known that Gonzalo holds a French passport? That was the reason why he was called up by the French NT twice that he refused. Without it he or Marcelo probably wouldnt have joined RM (at least not by that time). He doesnt speak French though.

      • IsaBella permalink
        January 8, 2011 14:07

        oh, I didn’t know about that….. 😦

  12. bbBenz permalink
    January 7, 2011 19:42

    Pepe noooo!! why our player keep getting injured 😦 *pray more for their health and safety

  13. barb permalink
    January 7, 2011 20:39

    Ouch! – poor Canales; that looked painful.
    It’s great to see opposition players helping someone on the other team, because you mostly hear about the disagreements – slaps, insults etc.
    At times like this you see that players really can act like grown-ups and show sportsmanship. Good on Levante.

  14. Mel permalink
    January 7, 2011 21:07

    Hello Arbeloa!!!! Mmmmmm, what a nice upper body! And he’s been hidding that for quite sometime. His wife is very lucky!!

  15. xoxoV permalink
    January 7, 2011 22:21

    I love Alvaro Borja Morata Martin or in Pepe’s word Moratito lol seriously by far MFC!!!! What a sweetheart worrying for Mateos glad that Juanfran got his time these canteranos have a future 🙂
    oh nooooo Pepe out for 4 weeks no bueno! I seriously loved Sergio’s expression while with Alvaro he is sooo concerned for his dear team mate very nice gesture. Poor Sergio C. I do agree it looks more painful than helpful from the levante team one is helping the other is not.

    • LaBlanca permalink
      January 8, 2011 09:14

      Moratito LOL that sounds like a coctail 😀 One Moratito please!

  16. RealLisa permalink
    January 8, 2011 00:04

    I won’t comment this game, I just.. can’t. But I don’t approve this “I can’t criticize my players because it was difficult from them to concentrate fully, knowing that we had already qualified. It wasn’t easy to motivate them”. We’re Madrid and even if we’re playing with the second team, we must be able to beat a team like Levante. Completely unnecessary lost match. Enough said.

    Now Una, I hope you’ll write something about this: I can’t believe how beautiful Iker looks on those pictures, and my favourite is definitely the one filled only with his face (fully zoomed) *sigh cap’n* – pure perfection!

    • RealLisa permalink
      January 8, 2011 00:09

      p.s. he even has perfect nails (i’ve never noticed that before)

    • Lulja permalink
      January 8, 2011 12:54

      Oh my God. Iker + high resolution = I’m totally flashed.
      Thank you…

      (Btw: These zig-zag shoes are so Iker’s style, no?)

  17. Ange permalink
    January 8, 2011 00:24

    awww pobre de Pipita… i would go to the hospital but I don’t live in Chicago… & pobre Alvaro… i got scared when I saw that… I was AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!I hope his ok… & then he took of his shirt and I was …. HURT THEM MORE!!!!*lol* j/k

  18. Fatima permalink
    January 8, 2011 02:30

    Why was it disrespectful of Mou to bring on Pepe? I just dont get it.

    And once again thaaank you 4 a greaat blog:D much begger than the actual game. I was so bored at some points.

    I felt sooooo bad for Morata! Poor guy:(

  19. January 8, 2011 02:48

    What was the score?

  20. January 8, 2011 02:50

    Just because Madrid has lost, it doesn’t mean that the game is to be disregarded. I see why you wouldn’t want to think about the game, but it’s still they’re game, and they still played. Simply because we’re used to winning, it doesn’t mean that all games in which we don’t win don’t matter.

    • January 8, 2011 03:09

      It’s not that at all. Of course the game matters. However, for this type of post, if Madrid loses, there are not as many happy moments to write about. Do you think anyone wants to see a post full of long faces and our players looking dejected? These ICYMI posts take up a huge amount of time (I can give you a detailed list of how much preparation and work I put into each one), so do you think I should do one even if it’s full of depressing moments? You think anyone wanted to see an ICYMI post of the Barcelona game from earlier this season?

      And in any case, while this was a loss, it didn’t mean anything because we qualified for the next round of the Copa.

      • IsaBella permalink
        January 8, 2011 06:13

        I personally think that your recaps are amazing and that no matter what the score is it is always nice to your pictures and comments. Keep it on.

      • A. (another one, the one that is the member of Serhio's pena) permalink
        January 8, 2011 13:10

        Just to be clear, this A. is not me. I am the A. who commented before, being in awe about Alvaro, and is a member of Sexio’s fan club. This is another A.;-)

        just for the record, as it might get confusing. ;-))

        • A. (another one, the one that is the member of Serhio's pena) permalink
          January 8, 2011 13:15

          okay, nevermind, my fault – in all those months I read the blog, I did not realise that everyone gets their own graphic symbol on the left LOL *Crackovia’s Serhio moment of mine* LOL

        • January 8, 2011 13:50

          I can tell, don’t worry! Un beso!

        • HermosaChica permalink
          January 8, 2011 14:19

          Haha, I was just thinking “whaa? Where’s the other A?!”. Actually, as soon as I see the bright orange avatar I know it’s you. Besides, Sexio fan club members can tell each other apart! 😉

        • AT. permalink
          January 8, 2011 20:53

          Eeek, I didn’t see you’re name there!
          I’ve changed it 🙂

        • January 9, 2011 18:25

          AT: it’s fine, all fine!

      • AT. permalink
        January 8, 2011 20:52

        Oh, yeah, that does make sence.
        Because when I originally read it, it came off a bit sketchy to me :S

  21. January 8, 2011 06:52

    I think the only highlight for me in this match was seeing the frogs, the ones hugging each other were quite cute…

  22. LaBlanca permalink
    January 8, 2011 10:21

    thanx a lot una for doing the ICYMI despite the loss. It was a great joy to read and watch. Especially Alvaros abs and the bench having fun. I wonder what the joke was Mou told them that they cracked up that much? 😀

    when I saw Alvaros tweet. I had to laugh. Haha so typical for him. And very brave. Have you seen that he was quite talky yesterday? He confirmed that Granero, Canales, Ozil, Pedro León and Adan dont have twitter.

    • IsaBella permalink
      January 8, 2011 14:12

      It is not true. Ozil does have Twitter. 😉

      • Jenny permalink
        January 8, 2011 20:27

        The people who run the National Team blog are convinced it’s fake.

        His ex-girlfriend’s was definitely fake.

        • IsaBella permalink
          January 9, 2011 12:52

          I don’t even know who his ex-girlfriend is 😉 maybe you’re right and it is fake, I’ll try to check it if I can.

      • LaBlanca permalink
        January 8, 2011 23:07

        and what makes you sure of that? 😉

        • IsaBella permalink
          January 9, 2011 12:53

          I’m not 100% sure, but I think so. I’ll try to check it. 😉

  23. Blanco forever permalink
    January 8, 2011 13:31

    I love your blog, it’s awsome! Must take some time to do it all so I appreciate it a lot.

    Btw, Gago was captain during a match in the preseason so this was the second time.

    • January 8, 2011 13:51

      I meant an official game (as in one that counts)… so to clear up any confusion I added that part to the post.

  24. Peggy van Huizen (aka Peggles12 on Twitter) permalink
    January 9, 2011 10:58

    ok im brain dead right now.. what does ICYMI stand for..thanks!

  25. Savannah permalink
    January 10, 2011 12:04

    Una, I know you’re already very buisy with La Roja and Real Madrid, but -only if you want to and have time for it- maybyb you could post some highlights from Alvaro Morata, as he has some, I heared he almast scored a hat-trick! ANd Mourinho thinks he’s not ready for the first team right?
    I really love him too!! He’s so sweet, and I think he’s a great player!
    Anyway, thanks for everything Una, I really appreciate what you’re doing for us! Both here, and on Con La Roja!

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