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all set for Olympique Lyonnais!

March 16, 2011

It’s still winter for Sergio but already summer for Marcelo.

Madrid held an afternoon training session yesterday, the last before tonight’s BIG Champions League round of 16 game against Lyon in the Bernabéu (20:45h), where the team and the fans hope the curse of Madrid falling in the round of 16 will at last end.

On the left, I love the way the players are dancing running.  And on the right, Sergio’s hair makes me laugh.

The good news was that both Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuaín were out on the field, training at the same pace as their teammates.  MSFC (why?  Find out here) Juan Carlos was called up from Castilla to join the big boys in the absence of the injured Pedro León (who trained separately), Kaká and Gago (the latter two were the only ones who didn’t make an appearance).

Everyone was happy to see Pipita, from his inseparable Eze Garay to the “we can’t keep our hands off of you” duo of Marcelo and Pepe!  I love how they try to turn the hug into a dance!  Marcelo really can’t keep still for more than five seconds, can he?

It looks like Pepe had even more love left to share, because then he moved on to Karim Benzema…

… as well as Juan Carlos!  Once again, we see why canteranos have time and again described Pepe and Marcelo (and Cris) as the ones who give them the most support.  Jerzy Dudek also made sure Juan Carlos felt at home.  By the way, there’s a 17-year age gap between the two!

José Mourinho called up 21 players for the match, including Cristiano and Ricky Carvalho, who were absent in the last list, against Hércules.

Goalkeepers: Iker, Adán, Dudek.

Defenders: Sergio Ramos, Arbeloa, Garay, Albiol, Pepe, Carvalho, Marcelo.

Midfielders: Lass, Granero, Xabi Alonso, Canales, Di María, Özil, Khedira, Juan Carlos.

Forwards: Adebayor, Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema.

Whatever Mou said, it must have been funny.  Or else they’re all just kissing up to The Boss.

In his press conference, Mou used four languages (Spanish, English, French and Italian) to get his points across, and also referred to himself in the third person, when he said: “Madrid is the champion of champions.  The club has won nine Champions League trophies, but obviously they want to win more.  Mourinho is one of the three managers who has won two Champions Leagues with two different teams and I want to win it for the third time.  La Décima will come naturally, with hard work, not by obsessing over it.  Last year, I knocked out a team that was obsessed with getting to the final in the Bernabéu” (jaja!!).

As for Karim Benzema, Mou had this to say: “it’s true that Benzema has improved.  Why?  I don’t know.  The main person responsible is Karim, and then after that the rest of the players, who have influenced him positively.  And I as well, because I pressure the players to play at their highest levels.”

He also called on the fans to rise up: “I haven’t seen a Bernabéu that I can say, the Bernabéu really played with its team.  Tomorrow is the moment of truth.”

Meanwhile, Manu Adebayor used French and English in his press conference.  Regarding playing time, he said, “if I have to play 90 minutes, I’ll be very happy, if I have to play 15, 20 or 30 minutes, I’ll be very happy.  But what is very important for me and what matters for me is to do everything with the club to go through.  It doesn’t matter how many minutes I’m going to play, it doesn’t matter who starts the game, what matters, what we all want… is to go through.”  On various occasions, he referred to Mourinho as “the boss.”

And echoing what everyone else has been saying ever since the Hércules game ended, Manolito asked for support from the Bernabéu: “we need to play as 12 players tomorrow against 11, and the 12th player has to be the fans, and I think they all know how important it’s going to be… and we really need their help to go through… what I want is all the fans to be there tomorrow to cheer the players’ names, to sing, so that the players can be more motivated.”

The players were cited to gather at 20h at the Bernabéu to begin the concentración. Once they had all changed, they boarded the bus for the Mirasierra Suites.  At the hotel, they had dinner together with FP, who usually keeps his distance (he hardly ever travels with the team).

Álvaro Arbeloa showed off a bright yellow jacket, a tee from his second favorite brand DSquared, and a pair of jeans covered in patches.  I like the jacket (I bet Cris would too), but not anything else.  And Juan Carlos is going to look almost exactly the same tonight, because his track suit jacket looks just like the Madrid warm-up, no?

As mentioned before, it was very cute how Pepe and Marcelo went out of their way to take care of Juan Carlos at the training session.  And as you can see, it continued all the way to the Bernabéu, when they were still inseparable!

Looking ahead to the match, UEFA has decreed that all European games this week will observe a moment of silence prior to the start of the game to honor the victims of the earthquake/tsunami in Japan.

If Cris plays and sees a yellow card, and Madrid classifies, he’ll miss the first game of the quarterfinal leg.

And Karim Benzema told Marca that his family and friends have come to Madrid to watch the game.  Hopefully, this time his mother won’t receive a last minute phone call!  In the same interview, Karim said that Zidane has helped him a lot, and they talk often.

And as an aside, Juanfran, in an interview with RMTV on Monday, revealed that teammate Álex is the “tío más divertido” (funnest guy) that he’s shared a locker room with.  And it appears we have another canterano coach on our hands, much like Antonio Adán or El Pirata, because Juanfran coaches six- to seven-year-old on Saturdays in Avance, where he got his own start.  He said that he loves it, because the kids are so innocent, and he’s trying to teach them everything he knows.  Juanfran added that he’s having a lot of fun doing this, and wants to coach in the future.

I’ve also updated this post on the superb “skills” of the Real Madrid photographers, so go take a look!

And of course, my best wishes for a successful surgery and quick recovery for Eric Abidal, and for Miki Roqué as well.  Both Madrid and Lyon (Abidal is from Lyon and played for Lyon from 2004 to 2007) had wanted to wear shirts in support of Abidal before the game, but UEFA shot down their suggestion.

24 Comments leave one →
  1. IsaBella permalink
    March 16, 2011 12:04

    This is going to be tough but I believe we can win.
    Alvaro’s jacket drives me crazy, it’s great! 🙂
    Sergio has new boots??? or is it just an older version of the T90s?

  2. IsaBella permalink
    March 16, 2011 13:03

    oh Una, I have only just noticed, thank you for writing Olympique Lyonnais 🙂

  3. March 16, 2011 13:14

    Dios mio, so many amazing blog entries Una, I am so busy that I don;t have time to read them all in detail (damn!) and enjoy them, but they are all so amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I can;t wait to the game tonight, I hope they will win.

    Also,completely off topic and random detail: I think we are witnessing the “history”, Sergio with no gel, again? Loving it;-)

    • IsaBella permalink
      March 16, 2011 14:31

      Unfortunately he still uses it (says an eye-witness) but much less. There is some progress, however 🙂

  4. Pammie permalink
    March 16, 2011 13:47

    Oh I’d love to be the 12th (wo)man in the stadium! Hala Madrid!

    Good to see Pipita back and it gave me a big happy grin to see how he was received by his team mates.

    I liked the UEFA training sweaters until I realized that they aren’t exactly flattering, when you got a little belly (looking at you Mou). But they’d be great for pregnant women, huh?

    Juanfran coaching little kids, oh this must be a cute sight to behold.

    I got nothing to say about Arbeloa’s coat apart from him being save from getting run over on a foggy night. 😛

  5. March 16, 2011 14:45

    Serhio’s hair is lovely. And Mou is looking very boss as usual.
    How stupid that UEFA shot down the Abidal shirt request. My heart goes out to him – wishing for a speedy recovery. I bet if someone scores, we will see Abidal’s name on a base layer.
    I’m really excited to watch the match tonight, but will only get to see about 45 mins before I have to go to work. 😦 Gosh, suddenly I don’t feel so well… hmmm… ;-p

  6. Culé! permalink
    March 16, 2011 15:38

    On the behalf of all Culés around the world, I want to thank you Una for mentionning Abi on your blog and for wishing him a quick recovery. I really don’t care about football now, only about Abi’s health. Today I’m a Madridista (only for today!) and I really hope you get past Lyon.

    Wonderful blog. Hala Abi!!! 🙂

    • March 17, 2011 12:51

      Even as an RM an I do love Abibaltazar, I loved how happy he was when he scored against Athletic in Copa Del Rey! I hope he recovers quickly and that it is nothing serious!!!

      Football is just one of many aspects of life, the teams do not matter when it comes to health and life, those are real people in there, no matter who they play for and who they support. All in all, we are all (people) in this (life) together.

  7. Ally permalink
    March 16, 2011 15:39

    The first thing that caught my attention were Iker’s yellow gloves O.o He used to have green ones right? Those matched with his green kit 🙂

    Pepe and Marcelo are cute as canterano-cheerleaders! 😀

  8. Maisoun permalink
    March 16, 2011 17:18

    Oh how I wish I could have a little mini Marcelo & Pepe to carry around with me & entertain me when Im bored!!! 😀 ….A full size Sergio would complete that wish 😉

    mmm…those jeans that Alvaro is wearing are the SAME as Sergio’s in this pic!! ….when in doubt go pants-less!

    • IsaBella permalink
      March 17, 2011 16:52

      you just caressed my imagination when it comes to ‘entertainment with a full-size Sergio’ 😀
      I’m gonna pretend I haven’t seen that picture…. ‘facepalm’.

  9. black widow permalink
    March 16, 2011 18:05

    can’t believe UEFA wouldn’t relax just this once on the shirts for abidal. 😦 i hope they wear them any way, to hell with the fines.

  10. LaBlanca permalink
    March 16, 2011 18:41

    Thanx for this, Una! How cute are Marcelo & Pepe with Pipa!!! Awwwww!!! And how nice is Pepe with the youngsters? Hes been to the Castilla game too.

    Haha have you had a closer look at the pic of Pepe & Benz? GRANERO! LMAO! That facial expression is so hilarious!

    Just love the guys.

    Wish all is going well tonight. Damn Im getting nervous.

  11. LaBlanca permalink
    March 16, 2011 19:08

    oh and I forgot, Una, Denis is coaching youngsters as well. He stated in his latest interview with RMTV.

  12. Mel permalink
    March 16, 2011 22:44

    Sergio Ramos should not shave regurlarly! Mmmmmm he’s hot!

  13. wandering permalink
    March 16, 2011 23:17

    Yey we won!

  14. March 17, 2011 00:37

    a win, a win!!!!! Even though I was not able to watch the whole game, only parts of it, I noticed so many great moments!

    Gosh, finally the quarterfinals!

  15. Pammie permalink
    March 17, 2011 02:27

    btw, David Beckham pulled a Sergio at the last match! xD

  16. Charlotte permalink
    March 17, 2011 02:34

    “Kaká and Gago (the latter two were the only ones who didn’t make an appearance).”

    I have a question… I’m only a recent Real Madrid follower (albeit it’s been a few months already) and I don’t understand what happened to Gago. Why has he been out for so long? I probably missed a few games, but I don’t think I’ve seen him play in like forever…

    I’d like to take the opportunity to thank you Una! I absolutely love your blog!! It’s very helpful to new fans of Real Madrid, and old ones alike I’m sure!

  17. Hala_Madrid permalink
    March 17, 2011 08:47

    OMG Una and the rest of friends here in this blog. Can i share with you my happiness?? I’m so excited we finally broke the curse that followed us for 6 years. Uggg …what a relief, couldn’t be happier with our boys they were amazing yesterday. I love them ALL, no exceptions =) I hope they give us many more reasons to celebrate, this season and the ones to come.
    I ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ REAL MADRID ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

  18. Jennifer permalink
    March 17, 2011 12:20

    So I know I’m a bit late to the party, but the first thing I thought when I saw Álvaro’s… wardrobe disaster… was, “Ha! I guess Xabi’s right, because Carlota obviously didn’t dress him today!”


  1. Sergio & Arbeloa: Raiding Each Other’s Closets? « Of Headbands and Heartbreak…

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