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all set for Tottenham!

April 5, 2011

What did Esteban do?

The day has finally arrived – the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals, unfamiliar ground for Real Madrid in the last seven years.  The good news was that Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcelo were back training with the team, along with Kaká, whom I had all but forgotten about, but was very happy to see, especially since I like the scruff on his face!  The entire team trained yesterday afternoon, with the exception of the injured or slightly injured Fernando Gago, Ángel di María, Peter Lion and Karim Benzema (the last one was out on the field running, however).

There were hugs all around at the session, to welcome back the Portuguese-speaking trio.

I hope Cris and Marcelo will only play if they’re 100 percent ready.  They shouldn’t force anything (or be forced), since I would hate for them to aggravate their old injuries or injure anything else!  According to Diego Torres, the team’s doctors believe that Cris isn’t fully recovered from the left thigh injury he suffered on March 2 against Málaga.  They believe that his wound wasn’t fully healed when he played against Lyon on March 16, that he re-injured himself playing against Atleti on March 19, and that if the scar tissue opens for a third time, the recovery time will be prolonged to one month plus.  However, Mou wanted Cris on the list for Sporting, even if it just meant that he would be on the bench.  Cris told his coach that he still had some pain and the doctors had recommended that they wait.  Mou was furious, and even more so after the game, when he reproached the two team doctors in the locker room in full view of the players, saying in a “scornful and threatening” tone, “let’s see when you take Cristiano, Benzema and Marcelo off the injured list!” causing the doctors to back away until they hit a wall.  Yesterday, the doctors gave the green light for Marcelo and Cristiano to play.   I hope they will be okay.

And thus… 19 players were called up for this game; the absences were Gago, Benzema and Peter Lion due to injuries, and Raúl Albiol and Sergio Canales due to the coach’s decision.  The list looks as follows:

Goalkeepers: Iker, Adán, Dudek.

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

Midfielders: Lass, Xabi Alonso, Khedira, Granero, Kaká, Özil, Di María.

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Higuaín, Adebayor.

José Mourinho and Gonzalo Higuaín spoke to the press before the session.  Mou had nice words about former madridista Rafa van der Vaart and his decision to move to Tottenham: “I think Rafa (made) a good choice, I always like the players to be happy… and I feel that he’s a very happy boy now.  (He’s) a very good player who could also be good for us, but we made our choice when we bought Özil, and when you have Özil and Kaká, and also Rafa?  No problem for me to have them all, but for him, I think the choice was a great choice, and I’m very happy he’s doing so well and I’m very happy he’s happy.”

Mou also avoided answering questions about the Liga, because “this is the moment to focus on the Champions.  I think it’s normal that we have nothing else in mind, because this is the most important club competition in the world.  Real Madrid has not played this match in several years, and the Bernabéu has not been able to watch this game.”  To hammer this point across, Mou then looked over at Pipita, sitting next to him, and asked him, “how many times have you played in the Champions League quarterfinals?” with the end of showing the importance of the (quarterfinal) game, which Madrid has not played in seven years.  Pipita’s response was “never,” to which Mou added, “look, you see?  We’re talking about Gonzalo Higuaín, a top player, and this is the first time he’s played in one.  What do you think he’s thinking about?  El Es-porting?  He’s thinking about the game, nothing more.”

When it was his turn to speak: Gonzalo expanded on this: “being with the team at this point in the competition is a big responsibility, my objective is to help my teammates bring this team forward in this competition.  We have to win tomorrow… we have to fight for this competition.”  He also talked about coming back from injury: “I’m happy to return to playing, especially since it was unknown whether I would be able to return this season.”

Pout it, Pipita!

And of course, Rafa van der Vaart was the Tottenham player chosen to speak to the press.  He told the journalists that “I haven’t played here [in Madrid] for a while and sometimes I miss it, but I’m happy in London.  What I miss most [about Madrid] is the weather and the lifestyle because my mother is Spanish.”  And once again showing what class he has, Rafa stressed, “I want to play well but I don’t have any negative feelings towards Real Madrid.  I want to win tomorrow and play a good game, but I don’t have any desire for revenge.”

Looking ahead to the game, if any of the following players receive a yellow card, they will miss the second leg game in London: Sergio Ramos, Ricardo Carvalho, Ángel di María, Pepe and Cristiano Ronaldo.  Raúl Albiol is also on that list, but he’s not at risk since he wasn’t even called up for this game.

In Liga news, el clásico has been scheduled for Saturday, April 16 at 22h.

Other news: in an interview with DPA, Mesut Özil was asked whether José Mourinho really is “The Special One,” and he responded “yes, absolutely.”  In a previous question, he had already lauded Mou as “the best coach in the world.”  He was also of course asked about what Cristiano is like (he must be so tired of answering this question), to which Ozi said, “he works a lot, and he’s always friendly and nice.  On the field, he revs up to 100 percent.  He’s ambitious, he always wants to win, including during the training sessions.  I’m very happy to play with him.”  Mesut also said he has a great understanding with Madrid’s entire front line of Higuaín, Benzema and Adebayor, calling them three “top” forwards (has he been taking English lessons from Mou?).

And congratulations to Cadete B, who won their group (Group I) of the Preferente division, with four games left, after beating Alcobendas 1-6!  Their record currently stands at 23-3-0, and they’ve scored 107 goals and only allowed 21.  They’re the second team from La Fábrica to win their group, after Juvenil A.  Let’s hope there are many more!

Antonio Adán’s little brother Alfonso plays for Cadete B, as does Gonzalo Merchán, brother of Castilla’s Víctor.

24 Comments leave one →
  1. black widow permalink
    April 5, 2011 08:55

    i finally (FINALLY!) found a local TV channel that will actually broadcast this match, which is fantastic … the only trouble is, they won’t broadcast it til 19.30h, which is well after the match will air live.

    i’m torn between my desire to actually watch this on TV (i never, ever get to watch RM on TV as their matches aren’t covered here, so i have to rely on really poor online streams and even then, only if the match takes place when i’m not at work or out) and my desire to know what happens as soon as it happens instead of waiting. it’s going to be very, very difficult to avoid all my usual online footie haunts today so i don’t spoil myself, but on the other hand, watching our boys in the flesh is such a rare treat for me that i just might try …

    hala madrid!

  2. playachica3 permalink
    April 5, 2011 09:32

    omw i can’t believe i’m gonna miss this game. i seriously hope none of our boys get injured cos that seems to haunt us lately. can’t wait to see Kaka back on the field!!!

  3. Didi permalink
    April 5, 2011 10:02

    I really wonder what Esteban said or did (or maybe he had something on his face) that make Gonzalo and Sergio laugh so hard. But it looks really cute though.

    It’s really nice to have Marcelo, Cris and Kaka back. But I think that Mourinho only has to bring Cris in when he is 100% fit. Or else he will get a more serious injury and then he won’t be able to play the other very important games of the month.

    But can’t wait for tonights game. I’m sure they will do great!!

  4. amouria permalink
    April 5, 2011 10:16

    Why we bought Pedro Lion? Why he is out of all lists all the time? Any one knows the real story of his controversy with the Mou? I think the fans have the right to know what ‘s going on in this respect.
    And then, suddenly, we see Kaka in the list, without the minimal preparation (in terms of playing minutes, that is). May be Mou is so desperate, given the injuries of his forward players.

  5. April 5, 2011 10:27

    “Sergio Ramos, Ricardo Carvalho, Ángel di María, Pepe and Cristiano Ronaldo” Jfc. Prayers circle for no yellow cards please.

    Hdu forget Kaka! 😦 But I’m wary about all those people coming off of injury. Are they coming off of injury because Mourinho wants them to and is risking them (e.g. what you said about Cristiano), or are they coming off injury -because- they are fully healed?

  6. Niina permalink
    April 5, 2011 10:35

    That pouting Pipita is the prettiest thing I have seen in a long time =)

  7. Pipita permalink
    April 5, 2011 10:44

    Una, have you seen this photo that Morata tweeted. Maybe his girlfriend?…

  8. Cat permalink
    April 5, 2011 11:41

    What’s DPA?

  9. Pammie permalink
    April 5, 2011 11:52

    I’m worried about Cris too, this whole “I’m going to risk him against the doctor’s advice” talk isn’t making it any better. Yes getting into the semi finale is important, but if he re-injures himself today, then he won’t be able to play in the semi finale and look what playing with injuries did for Kaká. We almost forgot about him, because he played so little this season 😦

    The training pics are too cute, they’re all so cuddly 😀

    And congrats to Cadete B! what an amazing season they have!

    • Jenny permalink
      April 5, 2011 20:25

      If he’s really seriously injured I’ll eat my hat.

      Bale could hardly walk two days ago – now he’s mysteriously match-fit!

      As for raging at the doctors – there’s every possibility that story was leaked on purpose.

      Ronaldo is at 50-50 as far as I’m concerned – that is to say, there’s about a 50% chance his injury is as bad as has been reported.

      We live in hope!

  10. suzanne permalink
    April 5, 2011 13:05

    bring it on spurs!!! so excited about this match!
    i really hope cris and marcelo aren’t coming back too soon. we don’t need reinjury if they aren’t fully fit 😦 and damn mou, lay off the doctors!
    pipita’s pursed lips are sooooo sexy! god it is soooooooooooooooo good to see him. i still can’t believe he’s back 😀
    rafa’s looking as good as ever. good luck, but not too much luck!
    congrats cadete b!!!

  11. Cindy permalink
    April 5, 2011 13:22

    I’m with you in wishing all the players play a great game tonight without injuries.

  12. gabriela permalink
    April 5, 2011 14:14

    I’m seriously worried about our injured players who were called up for the match. Kaká was the most shocking surprise! I really think the club is taking desperate measures (I already thought that when Gonzalo was called up for Gijón) and this is not good.
    I hope Marcelinho and Cris won’t reinjure themselves. I would rather not have Cris for this match than not having him for a whole month!

    I’m afraid I have lost some confidence in Mou after this incident of him threatening the doctors and calling up injured players.

  13. IsaBella permalink
    April 5, 2011 14:57

    I do hope that the injured players will be held safe because what you wrote about Mou shouting at the doctors sounded very disturbing to me, Una… 😦
    The weather and the lifestyle is what I also love about Madrid, therefore I coincide with Rafa on these issues 😉 (although eating in the middle of the night is something I still must get used to 😉
    fingers crossed for tonight! (all in HD, delicious 😉

  14. Laryssa permalink
    April 5, 2011 15:20

    Una, what do you think about Diego Torres? He was the journalist who Mou trashed during a press conference a while ago, wasn’t he? I read his article today about the “supposed” dream that Mou had and I found it a very derogatory. I wonder if the sources he had to write the story are truly reliable.

    I also read, every week, the charlas of José Samano and I think he has, in a covertly way, double standards about Madrid and Barça. An example is the way he treated the Barcelona players who forced the yellow cards to arrive clean to Clásico, barely talking about it. Totally different from the moral lesson given to Xabi, Sergio and Mou, when they did the same in Champions League. The sports section of El Pais is really the best and most impartial in Spain?

  15. mar permalink
    April 5, 2011 15:42

    I want a hug too! I hope cris or marcelo do not play until they are fully ready.
    And i maybe be able to watch the el classico on tv rather than on internet conection..:)

  16. superfan permalink
    April 5, 2011 16:26


    I HOPE AND PRAY WE WIN (with a huge margin, please), NO ONE GETS INJURED, NO ONE GETS A YELLOW CARD, and that everyone has a FANTASTIC TIME. 🙂 That’s not too much to ask, no? A win, pleaseee.

    And thanks, Una for this post! 🙂

  17. oli permalink
    April 5, 2011 17:22

    I think esteban is giggling too, because of..his own stupid ball control fail or something? anyway I love the picture lol

  18. Cosi permalink
    April 5, 2011 22:53

    Still celebrating- YESSSSSS!!!!!!! AND no apparent injuries from Cristiano! Amazing match, boys! (and Sergio, you lucky boy for evading yellows 😉 ) Can’t wait for your ICYMI, Una!!

  19. ana permalink
    April 6, 2011 01:06

    Lol, what a fantasist is Torres, considering he has zero access to the locker room and was already caught on this subject earlier. He should write telenovellas. Mourinho will be main villain, Dr. Evil.

  20. April 6, 2011 18:00

    What a huge difference when Xabi Alonso, Cristiano and Marcelo are on the field playing for the team! It’s incredible but right now Real Madrid totally depends on Cristiano and Xabi Alonso, and it has been demonstrated on the difference between one match and the other.
    Last I hope Kaka recovers fast, it would be a dream come true having him at a high level playing for Real Madrid!

  21. April 6, 2011 18:07

    What a huge difference, when Xabi Alonso and Cristiano play, you can’t compare the team with when tey dont.

    This might be the reason for Mourinho to decide and make him play against Tottenham, since its their best chance of winning a tittle this semester which will be really important as well as for honor, since no we now that Real Madrid and F.C. Barcelona will most probably face each other four times at the end of April, starting Saturday sixteenth.

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