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all set for Atlético!

March 19, 2011

UPDATE: the convocatoria is out!  See below.

It’s that time of the year again – Atleti’s worst nightmare, or in other words, a derbi madrileño!

ONE. It’s been 4,299 days, or 11 years, nine months and eight days, since Atleti last beat Madrid at the Calderón.  That last time was June 12, 1999, when Atleti won 3-1 (Morientes scored for Madrid).  From that time on, Madrid has been a nightmare for los rojiblancos at home: eight wins and two ties, with 23 goals in favor versus nine for los colchoneros.  Things aren’t much better for Atleti in the Bernabéu, with their last victory coming on Oct. 30, 1999, the same season that they were relegated to the second division.  In all, Madrid’s record vs. Atleti in these 4,299 days stands at: 14 wins, six ties and two losses.

TWO. Other fun facts:

Father’s Day: only once before has the derbi madrileño been played on Father’s Day.  It was during the 1963-64 season, Atleti was also the home team, and Madrid won it 0-1, thanks to a goal from Amancio.

former teammates: the derby is full of former teammates who will meet up once again – Forlán and Cristiano were teammates at Manchester, Tiago played in Chelsea with Carvalho and Lass (under Mou’s orders) and later on in Lyon with Benzema.  José Antonio Reyes played with us for one season (Casillas, Gago, Higuaín, Marcelo, Sergio) and also with Di María in Benfica.  Assunçao and Pepe were teammates at Oporto.

San Iker: Iker has played 21 of these derbis madrileños, and he’s only lost one, his first, which wasn’t his fault (Oct. 30, 1999, when he came on after Bizzarri was expelled and had already allowed three goals; Iker didn’t allow any).  He’s never lost at the Calderón, with a record of 7-2-0, with six allowed goals.  Iker likes playing there, not only because of the record, but also because he’s usually received well at the stadium: after winning the Eurocopa in 2008, he received an ovation and cheers of “Casillas, Casillas,” due in part to his good relationship with and support for Luis Aragonés.  On Nov. 14, 2009, he played his 100th game with the Spanish national team at the Calderón as well.

THREE. The only good thing about having our canteranos spread throughout Spain is that each time we play a team, there’s someone who can talk about their past experience in Madrid.  This time around, it’s Juanfran.  In an interview with El País, Juanfran was asked how he’s so serene despite the fact that he’s not getting a lot of playing time.  His response was, “I’m transparent.  That’s one of the things I like most about Raúl, my reference since I was a kid, apart from Figo for his position on the field.  People found it strange that I said this when I came to Atlético, but Raúl started here, no?  He’s an example both on and off the field.  I deeply value how he is as a footballer, but I also like him as a person.  For me, Raúl is a 10 in everything.”

FOUR. Yesterday’s training session was closed to the press, and the team did not release the call-up list either (apparently because there are going to be some rotational changes), so all we were left with was José Mourinho’s press conference.  In it, he said not even he knew who would start today, although later on he did confirm that Iker would start (which is still not giving anything away, no?).  He did say that “we’re going to play with the best team possible” and that he allowed for the team to skip the concentración because “they’re almost never at home.”  Mou had praise for Benzema: “he’s playing and working very well.  He’s changed, and it’s due to his own merits, those of his teammates and the people who care about him.  Only a small part is due to me and Zidane.  It’s a pleasure to see him like this.”  And on the subject of Zidane, Mou revealed that they’re studying the possibility of Zizou coming to work with them full time.  Yay!

FIVE. Mou has released the list of players called up for tonight’s game.  All 21 of the healthy (or mostly healthy in Cristiano’s case) first team players have been summoned, leaving out only the injured Kaká, Higuaín and Gago.

Goalkeepers: Iker, Adán, Dudek.

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

Midfielders: Canales, Granero, Xabi Alonso, Özil, Di María, Pedro León, Khedira, Lass.

Forwards: Benzema, Adebayor, Cristiano.

SIX. Meanwhile, in reaction to the Champions League draw, Rafa van der Vaart told Tottenham’s web site that “I was happy when the draw was made. I had hoped this would happen because it will be fantastic to go back to Madrid.  I have a lot of friends there and it will be great to see them all. It’s a big game, first leg away which is good for us, so I’m happy.  For me, it’s the biggest club in the world. Of course Barcelona are the best team in the world at this moment but you can feel the history and how big the club is when you arrive at the stadium.  The Bernabéu is fantastic. It’s a great pitch, the stadium holds 90,000 and it’s a fantastic feeling to play there. I played there for two years and had a great time there, so it’s a dream to be going back.”

I personally will be very happy to see Rafa again (and can Sylvie please travel as well?) and I hope the Bernabéu will give him a fantastic reception – I for one will be cheering my heart out for him (only when he’s introduced, of course).

SEVEN. In response to Madrid naming him a socio de honor, another Rafa, Rafa Nadal, said, “it’s a great honor.  I’m very grateful to the board of directors and to the president.  I’m very excited and thankful.”

Meanwhile, Vicente del Bosque was asked about this same recognition during his press conference yesterday, when he revealed the list of players called up for Spain’s next two games, both Euro 2012 qualifiers.  True to his style, the marquis said, “it’s a personal matter, and so it shouldn’t distract us from our priority at the moment, which are the two games we have coming up.”

EIGHT. And Esteban Granero’s movie recommendation for the day: Annie Hall, which he has seen 23 times and presumably watched for the 24th time last night.  He also tweeted about Libya – is Xabi going to have a challenger for the “most perfect” title?

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. Gilly B permalink
    March 19, 2011 11:28

    Thanks for the post Una- always entertaining and enlightening.

    I think Xabi has company in the intello-hottie footballer stakes. Granero impresses more and more when he opens his mouth- certainly not the usual way that works!

  2. IsaBella permalink
    March 19, 2011 12:20

    I’m curious about the rotational changes tonight 🙂 Can’t wait for the game!

  3. March 19, 2011 12:31

    SI article about Mou, I do not know if it was posted anywhere here in the comments cause now I have little time to check, so sorry if that’s repeated;-)

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1182630/1/index.htm#ixzz1H1xZrJSE

    Oh, I can’t wait for the match!

  4. March 19, 2011 15:12

    Xabi should seriously step it up. I’m all about Granero now. And I will watch Anni Hall tomorrow. 😛

  5. Ayah permalink
    March 19, 2011 15:23

    Granero needs to stop saying things like that, I mean just when i thought my heart cannot hold more love for him. Xabi needs to watch his back, all Esteban needs now is to find a woman as perfect as Nagore, but if his taste in movies and books indicate anything, it’s that he also has great taste in woman ;).

    And yay for Rafa Van Der Vart, isn’t he the sweetest thing, not alot of people end up leaving their clubs and still have great things to say about it 🙂

    And Again Una Thank you soo much for all the effort you’re putting 😀

  6. March 19, 2011 16:22

    Esteban = boheme. Lucinda Williams, Annie Hall, army green coats. What’s next – Burning Man?

  7. Vicki permalink
    March 19, 2011 17:14

    Very excited to see van der Vaart back in Madrid. Even if I can’t cheer for Tottenham. However, I don’t think Tottenham are going to be an easy win. I expect them to surprise us.

    Vicente del Bosque is pure class. Perhaps Xabi and (now) Granero have learned their class from him?

    And a small comment on the picture… Jorge Lorenzo (far left) and Marc Marquez (far right) look tiny, no? I suppose it’s beneficial to their sport, but it makes me laugh how small Marquez looks next to Nadal.

  8. La Pirata permalink
    March 19, 2011 18:26

    That is such a long winning streak and I have a hopes it will continue today! Nice to see yet another player off of the injury list. 🙂 As for the draw, although no one can be overconfident at this stage in the CL I also have confidence that Madrid can get past this round at their best.

    After the RealGranero series in English & Spanish he wrested the title from Xabi for me! I can only hope the subject matter was interesting enough to you to feature on the blog and he’s even done an (albeit different) English one to save you from translations if you don’t wish. I thought he came across as humble, intelligent and fascinating. (And jaw-droppingly attractive but that’s another thing entirely….)

  9. March 21, 2011 05:06

    lol I love the pic you posted and well, what can I say about the game?? it was so good, at the end we felt the pressure but thank god we won it 😉 and lol at Cris at the bench, I was suffering there big time.

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