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in case you missed it – the morale boosting edition

February 20, 2011

In case you missed it – Real Madrid vs. Levante [2011-02-19 Liga jornada 24].

As El Mundo put it, a fine rain fell upon the Bernabéu last night, including a few drops of football and a pair of goals.  And that was all we needed.  Madrid pulled out a victory last night, an important morale booster before we face Lyon this week in the Champions League.

There were some line-up changes, as Álvaro Arbeloa, Xabi Alonso and Mesut Özil were rested before that important game; the latter two didn’t get into the game at all, while Ozi was a late substitute for Kaká in the 76th minute.  And of course, Pepe didn’t even make the convocatoria.

ONE. The goals.

The first goal came right at the beginning of the game, off of a beautiful individual play and pass by Ángel di María.  Karim Benzema scored the goal, doing wonders for his confidence before the big game against his former and hometown team.

As you can see, Karim was very happy with the goal, and it was so sweet how he was waiting for Ángel to arrive before really starting the goal celebration.  And once again, heads were rubbed in the celebration.

Meanwhile, Ricardo Carvalho poked one through with five minutes to go before the end of the first half, off of a Cristiano Ronaldo free kick.  Carvalho’s goal was the eighth goal from a set piece this season; in all of last season, the team only scored nine.  They’re currently third in the Liga in this type of goal, after Athletic with 10 and Málaga with nine.  Ricky celebrated with a kiss, a wave and a touch of his heart.

Like Karim before him, Carvalho wanted to celebrate with the person whose pass/kick led to the goal.  Looking a bit like Marcelo, he rebuffed the celebration attempts of his teammates, simply giving them high fives, while making a beeline to Cristiano Ronaldo, who got a hug.

That wasn’t the only celebration similarity.  As you can see, Ricardo also leaped into the air to celebrate.  He is the only defender in the Liga to score three goals this season.  Unfortunately, Karim, despite being a forward, is also at the three-goal mark.

TWO. Sergio Ramos wore the captain’s armband for the first time in his 242-game Real Madrid career, as Iker was sanctioned.  The three times that Iker was absent earlier this season (against Auxerre, Levante in the Copa and Espanyol), Sergio didn’t play.  It looks pretty good on him, no?

And as captain, Sergio got to lead the team out on to the field, and do the coin toss.

He said on twitter after the game that he was “happy for the victory… and for my debut as captain in an official game.”  Sergio had been the captain in the pre-season game against the Galaxy.

THREE. It rained throughout the entire game, soaking the crowd, and the players.  Their kits are already very transparent to begin with, so imagine how much more they were when they got wet!  Unfortunately, we didn’t get to the point where we could count Cris’ six-pack through his shirt, but close.  And by the end of the game, he was also very dirty.  Meanwhile, the rain also washed Marcelo’s Vicks VapoRub off and plastered Sami’s shirt to his chest and his hair to his head.  No complaints there (for the first part)!

Mou also got all wet, because he decided to stand outside the shelter of the bench for most of the game.  Luckily, he had a raincoat on.

FOUR. Cute little disagreements.  I love how Kaká, then Marcelo, then Khedira went to defend Cristiano.  They’ve got his back.

Meanwhile, Kaká used his hands to argue, both to cover his mouth so that no one could lip read what he was saying, and then to get his point across.  Must be the years he spent in Italy coming through.  And Karim was there probably just to see how much he could understand.

FIVE. Antonio Adán made his official home debut, and as Mister Chip noted, “Iker’s streak of 99 consecutive Liga games ended.”  The last time Iker didn’t play in a Liga game was on May 18, 2008, when Jordi Codina played, as Madrid had already won the Liga by then.

Luckily for Antonio, he didn’t have much work last night.  I wonder if his defenders made an extra effort to protect him.

He said after the game, “I feel very happy that I could enjoy the atmosphere and to defend Real Madrid in the Santiago Bernabéu.  From the time I was small, I’ve dreamed of playing many games on this field, but I know that I have the best goalkeeper in the world ahead of me.”

SIX. No.

SEVEN. The boys preparing for the start of the second half.  Richi is very serious about making sure that no one will be able to tell what he said.

EIGHT. I love how in the postgame declarations, our players took the time to compliment each other.  What a great team we have, no?

Carvalho: I’m happy for Benzema because he deserved to score a goal.

Albiol: Adán had a good game against Espanyol and he’s worked very hard the entire year.  He was very calm and we helped him as much as we could.  It’s not easy for defenders [Carvalho] to score goals and that’s why it was very important for us.

Adán: My teammates have helped me out a lot during this week, giving me confidence, and they congratulated me for today for not allowing in any goals.

NINE. It looked like there was a porcupine on top of Cristiano’s head last night.  Not even the rain could push his hair down.  I wonder if he and Vicente Iborra traded tips?  Because Vicente’s hair was quite up there as well.  One more shot of Cris’ hair here.

TEN. Another person preoccupied with his hair was Ozi. who fiddled with it while waiting to check in.  And here’s someone we haven’t seen for a long time, Fernando Gago.  Thank goodness his hair no longer needs help.

ELEVEN. Two shots I love, for the expressions on Ángel and Mesut’s faces.  Mesut is not only Bambi, he’s a deer caught in the headlights.

TWELVE. Some Cristiano Ronaldo moments.  When he stuck his tongue out at the end of the first half (left), he reminded me of a little kid trying to catch the rain on his tongue.  And then when he did it in the second half (right), he reminded me of his Crackòvia alter ego.

Cristiano usually gives you your money’s worth, no?  And it looks like he still hasn’t learned to imitate a blowfish like Iker.

I absolutely adored this moment when Cris was on the ground looking all despondent, and then Asier del Horno doubled back to offer him a hand up.  That’s sportsmanship.  And with the absence of Xabi Alonso, someone had to pick up the posing slack.

THIRTEEN. Postgame moments involving Sergio’s body parts – tongue and arms.  Lucky reporter and lucky Juanlu.

FOURTEEN. The Xabi Alonso pose section.™

This was the only glimpse we got of Xabi during the entire game.

FIFTEEN. The Mou corner.

Mou said after the game that it was normal to rest Özil and Xabi (since “everyone in the world knows they’ll play against Lyon and because they played almost the entire game with their national teams last week”).  But not Cristiano because “he likes to play, and physically, he’s good and not tired.  Why would I take him out?”  As for the other changes, Mou saw it like this: “I chose a team that would be sufficient to win, with creativity and dynamism, but always respecting the rival.”

As for the team, it got Mou’s stamp of approval, along with Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema.  And when asked about Madrid’s next game, his comment was “no one takes away my sleep, not Lyon nor anyone.  My sleep is sacred.”

Mou also refused to reveal his line-up for the Champions League game until the day of the game.

SIXTEEN. Tweets.

Yesterday was the day of Saint Álvaro, so Álvaro Arbeloa took the time to send his best wishes and a big hug to his namesakes.  Meanwhile, Sergio is back with his patented “tweeted thumbs-up and teammate” photos!  This time, it was Manolito’s turn, unifying the men in the silly hats.

SEVENTEEN. Other notes and looking ahead:

– Cristiano is now only one of two field players to have played every minute of the Liga championship.  The other is Athletic defender Andoni Iraola.

– Zinedine Zidane was tasked with helping Mou to prepare for Tuesday’s game against Lyon.  Mou said, “Zidane has been giving me information about Lyon for months because he knows the team very well.”  Zizou will also travel with the team to France tomorrow.

– Granero trained voluntarily at Valdebebas yesterday morning; Tomás Mejias was the descartado for the game.

– I was hoping the cameras would capture Iker at the game, but no.

– Lass will miss the next Liga game against Dépor, as he picked up his fifth yellow card and will thus have to serve a one-game suspension.  Ángel di María is one card away from earning a suspension.

– Madrid trained today behind closed doors to start preparing for Lyon.

P.S. I think this is the first time that everyone who played – and a few that didn’t – made it into the ICYMI post!

22 Comments leave one →
  1. IsaBella permalink
    February 20, 2011 14:48

    Great victory, congratulations boys! 🙂
    Sergi’s tongue mmm, makes me wanna… (not gonna say what as you can probably figure that out) 😉 and Xabi’s flexibility reminds me that I need to work on mine.
    (returned from the Sunday workout)
    ‘My sleep is sacred’ – so is mine Mou 🙂
    Manu wears the typical London hat very popular among blacks there. BTW he is really tall, I thought that Sergio is tall, but Manu is like a beast there 🙂 which simply makes me very short. 😉

  2. amouria permalink
    February 20, 2011 15:02

    simply loved every bit of it. The Levante appeared very shy, unable to think of anything but to protect their honour, while RM played with huge confidence.
    Lass was great yesterday, all Levante players were afraid of sharing a ball with him, simply because they were aware that may end up in the hospital….hahaha
    Una, you provided us with very nice shots and summary. thanks a lot 🙂

  3. February 20, 2011 15:31

    Great post Una, thanks for the effort! It was a decent win and a good way to go into the week. It was very heartwarming to see Serhio as El Capitan. It was very disappointing to hear Tommy Smith’s comment about Mou not liking him, though. but, that’s another story altogether.
    While I certainly appreciate CR’s talent and intense focus, I am starting to get a little perturbed with his artful blind passes that go to the boot of the opposing team and his continued protests and gestures every time something doesn’t go his way. There was so much of all that yesterday. He gets fouled like crazy and he certainly deserves more calls, but he isn’t going to engender support from los arbitros if he doesn’t grow up a little more and keep it to himself. He is SO great at this game and a beauty to watch. He just needs to mature some more. Then he will be the complete package.

  4. Milleca permalink
    February 20, 2011 15:38

    I was wondering the same thing Una, Iker surely watched the game in Bernabeu though right?

  5. Kat permalink
    February 20, 2011 16:03

    Yey! A Saturday match and a Sunday recap! Meaning I don’t have to read this at work. 🙂

    As usual, great work, Una! I particularly liked the little bits of trivia, like Cristiano being one of only 2 players who’ve played all the minutes in La Liga. That is quite a stat! And the fact that he plays the CL, the Copa and for Portugal makes it an even more amazing stat!

    Kaka coming to Cris’s defense is too precious. I love that this bromance is back on track. Their separation during Kaka’s injury was just too long.

    Oh, and what do you mean by Marcelo’s Vicks Vaporub?

  6. DebS permalink
    February 20, 2011 17:32

    the moves from DiMaria to set up the Benzma goal were fantastic! And then of course the stupid commentators on made the comment later in the game how DiMaria “goes down” too easily. Huh? Had they already forgotten his moves that set up the goal?! Kind of ironic because they were both ecstatic about his agility/ability to stay on his feet then. :\

    Then, after Ozi came in, the one commentator asked Tommy Smyth what he thought of Ozi so far this season. Tommy said he was the one of the new signings having the hardest time adjusting to La Liga. He then said, “We all know he’s an okay player….”. “okay”?! I had to go back and relisten to that because I was just sure I had misheard that he was talking about Ozi and not someone else. Has this guy watched ANY of the Madrid games this year or read any of Mou’s comments about him?! (rhetorical question because the answer is…obviously not).

    And of course, they AGAIN had to bring up that Sergio is “out of favor” with Mou. And of course it was the sending off in the Barca game that caused him to be “out of favor”. Tommy said he was surprised that given that Mou doesn’t like Sergio, that Sergio was the captain for the game. The other commentator said that it was because it wasn’t awarded by Mou but rather seniority. Seriously, I used to like Tommy but yeah…not so much anymore.

    I thought Albiol and Khedira had really good games. I was glad because they’ve been getting some flack from the commentators about not playing well.

    Cris, never failing to disappoint. I swear his facial expressions/antics on the field are almost as fun to watch as his play.

    Was a bit sad for Granero because I think he probably would have gotten playing time in this game. Although, it was good that Gago got some time on the pitch too.

    Great pics and recap yet again, Una.

    Oh and what is the song that they play at the Bernabéu just before the kickoff? I’ve heard parts of it the last couple of games and really like it.

    • February 21, 2011 08:30

      The centennial hymn, by Plácido Domingo.

      • nicole permalink
        February 21, 2011 11:54

        is this the song of real madrid-

        • February 21, 2011 12:53

          It’s the centennial hymn. The official hymn is the one sung by José de Aguilar, the one that starts with “de las glorias deportivas…”

  7. Cindy permalink
    February 20, 2011 17:32

    **claps claps claps** Awesome jobe as usual Una. I missed the game, but looking at your recap it felt like I was there watching it.

  8. February 20, 2011 17:52

    Bambi was brilliant in his 15 minute cameo yesterday!

    I can’t wait for Lyon revenge on Tuesday.

  9. nicole permalink
    February 20, 2011 18:49

    And Karim was there probably just to see how much he could understand.

    hahahah..i loved that..i was thinking the same thing when i saw that..

  10. Maisoun permalink
    February 20, 2011 19:58

    YES! Captain did look good on Sexio!!! …I think that captains should JUST wear the armband minus their kits…you know so they’re more easily distinguished…;)

    I loved Carvalho’s little “Hi Mom!” wave at the end of his celebration! So cute ❤

    mentioning sexio again…he looked FINE in his fotito con Manolito! I mentally erase the blue mistake on his head & then go back to drooling!

    • IsaBella permalink
      February 21, 2011 09:51

      ‘I think that captains should JUST wear the armband minus their kits’ – YES! 🙂

  11. jean permalink
    February 20, 2011 21:16

    wonderful post as always.I love that pic of sergio and Ade:)

  12. Pammie permalink
    February 21, 2011 00:08

    thanks for yet another great in case you missed it! I love it! ❤

    Can't wait for the Lyon game, even if I'm a bit nervous.

  13. Diana permalink
    February 21, 2011 05:59

    Thank you so much Una for all of your hard work. I love every single one of your posts.

    I have a question. My hermanita pequeña asked me, “Quienes son los UltraSur?” and I didn’t know how to answer her. Could you please tell me just the basic concept I should tell her? (:

    • February 21, 2011 08:34

      They’re a group of hardcore, radical, right-wing fans that sit in the Fondo Sur, hence their name. Sometimes they do clever things (like the signs they make whenever Atleti comes to visit) but most of the time they do no-so-nice things, such as yelling abuse at opposition players.

  14. February 21, 2011 09:52

    You gotta admit that Serhio looked quite boss all evening. It would have been even better if he had scored. Would that have put him in better graces with the Mister?

    The Lyonnais field managers better have their firefighting equipment ready Tuesday, ‘cuz when the team steps out there on the same field as Yoann Gourcuff, the pitch is going to self-combust… ;-p

    • DebS permalink
      February 21, 2011 14:44

      “when the team steps out there on the same field as Yoann Gourcuff, the pitch is going to self-combust… ;-p”

      lol good point!

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