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the Athletic-Madrid preview post

April 9, 2011

It (normally) only happens twice a year, but today is the day!  Not only is Madrid playing Athletic, but I can also write about Javi Martínez (!!!) and plaster his pictures on this blog as much as I want, because it is relevant!  He has just renewed with Athletic until 2016, and his buyout clause stands at €40 million, so unfortunately I don’t think we will (and I don’t want to) see him in a white shirt.

He looks just as good from the back as from the front!!!

Tonight, San Mamés will become the first stadium to bear witness to 100 official games between two teams.  The first game between Athletic and Madrid there ended with a 4-1 win for the home team in the Copa de España, and since then, 79 Liga games and 19 Copa games have been played there, with a record of 47-18-34 for Athletic, although Real Madrid is the visiting team with the most wins at La Catedral.  San Mamés is also of course where Iker Casillas made his Real Madrid first team debut, on Sept. 12, 1999, and the last time Xabi played there, on Dec. 29, 2010 with the Euskal selekzioa, he got booed, because he plays for Madrid (out of all the players called up who play for Spanish clubs, he was the only one not to play for a team in the Basque country).

In his analysis of the game with bwin, Iker said, “we all know how powerful Athletic is in the air… with Llorente in the area, you have to calculate very well to come out.  The advantage of being able to use your hands may not be sufficient against those centimeters that he has over you.  When we talk about tall forwards, the key is to measure up well against them and stay focused on them.  You can’t take your eyes off for a second and you have to stay concentrated in order to decide when you’re going to leave the goal to go for the ball.”

This might be a first, and not in a good way – a triple thumbs-up!

And some more data, this time from Mr. Chip, showing why Iker is concerned about what will go on in the air:

tall guys: Fernando Llorente (1.95 m) is the tallest forward in the Liga, while Manolito Adebayor is ranked fifth (1.91 m).  Between them are Lekic (1.93 m), Kanouté (1.92 m) and Rafa Jordá (1.91 m).  No midfielder is taller than 1.90 m, although there are three that are that exact height, including Javi Martínez (!!!) (the other two are Iborra and N’Daw).  The four tallest players in the Liga are all goalkeepers: Coltorti (1.97 m), Dani Hernández (1.96 m), Diego López (1.96 m) and Raúl Fernández (1.96 m).

Madrid is the tallest team in the Liga, with an average height of 1.83 m.  The rest of the top five are Racing (1.83 m), Osasuna (1.82 m), Athletic (1.82 m) and Levante (1.82 m).  Barcelona is the shortest team (1.78 m).

using their heads: Llorente has scored the most headers this season in the league, with eight, and Athletic is also the team leader in headed goals, with 16.  Fer still has time to break the single-season record of headed goals, held by Alfonso, who scored 12 goals this way in 1996-97.  Raúl was the last one to get close, with nine headers in 2000-01.

Meanwhile, some 200 persons received Real Madrid in Bilbao yesterday afternoon, when they landed around 20h to a beautiful day.  The boys were looking fantastic in their suits, especially Álvaro Arbeloa, no?  It’s the aviators.  And it’s great to see that the A-team is still as inseparable as ever!

Meanwhile, Iker, Sergio and Cris got off the plane together, with Iker and Cris sharing a laugh (who says they don’t get along?) as Sergio got accosted by an airport worker.  Later on the bus, he was the one accosting people, when he made Crís pose with him for his customary thumbs-up twitter photo.

Does Sergio need some longer socks?

And later on that evening, Marcelo and Pepe signed autographs and posed for pictures with fans at the team’s hotel.

I can’t wait for the game!!!  (Those three exclamation marks ought to give you a clue why.)  Hopefully someone will want to exchange shirts with Javi (!!!) after the game so he will remove it (if I don’t get there first, of course).  Then we can see this tonight!  Well, maybe not all of that.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. mar permalink
    April 9, 2011 11:50

    wow! they look really good as they get out of the plane.
    I hadn’t noticed Sergio’s socks before as my eye was caught by the ring all the time

  2. April 9, 2011 12:30

    I am happy that you will be getting a dose of Javi!!! + the rest of our boys tonight, Una.
    It is nice to see Iker and Cris talking and laughing with each other ( some people still think they don’t get along!)
    I love Marcelo, I heard yesterday that there was a RealMarcelo interview. I know we can’t expect you to translate such long interviews but if the English site doesn’t translate everything, I hope you can translate the missing parts. The thing is Marcelo is one of the players that we don’t know a lot about and he is such a joyful person!

    Sergio and Cris are looking good but enough with the thumbs up!

  3. sam permalink
    April 9, 2011 12:45

    Enjoy the game!!! 🙂

  4. IsaBella permalink
    April 9, 2011 13:41

    I though about Sergio’s socks the minute I saw the twitter photo jejejje, maybe it’s just the pants that went a little up 😉 I like his shoes BTW.
    Alvaro looks super classy 😀
    I hope for a good result tonight and Una please don’t faint with Javi 😉

  5. Jennifer permalink
    April 9, 2011 14:14

    Ahem. You forgot the all-important statistic that they are also the two best-LOOKING teams in La Liga.

    (Just sayin’.)

    I am super emocionada about this match, I have to admit. *emits girlish squeal* It’s going to be fabulous!

  6. Maddi permalink
    April 9, 2011 15:56

    Haha, I can’t wait for some Javi(!!!) either! But, I still think I prefer Llorente as my favorite Athletic Bilbao hottie. 🙂 Tallness + awesome eyes + great body + Patrick-Swayze-Incarnation = me gusta 🙂

    Haha Barcelona the shortest team? No way! 😛

    Does Sergio need some longer socks? Haha only Una would notice that! 🙂

    • IsaBella permalink
      April 10, 2011 16:02

      “Patrick-Swayze-Incarnation” – you’re right, LLorente looks a little like Patrick Swayze,no? 🙂

  7. April 9, 2011 16:13

    Haha, I noticed Sergio’s short socks too. Still a long way to go from sartorial perfection (and therefore is perfect with little or no clothing on him).

  8. Ana permalink
    April 9, 2011 16:21

    Hi Una,

    Love your blog! I was just wondering if it’s true about pipita bein engaged and if it’s true there was something on tv about it?

  9. black widow permalink
    April 9, 2011 16:52

    una, you crack me up. 🙂

    i also had to smile at barca being the shortest team in the league (and i say this with total respect and affection for their players) — bless!

  10. Pam permalink
    April 9, 2011 18:22

    So, why don’t you want Javi to play for Madrid, UnaMadridista? Is it because he may not get as much playing time with all the midfielders that Madrid already has (or he may get playing time at the expense of Madrid’s midfielders)?

    • April 10, 2011 15:46

      Because I don’t want all the pressure that comes from playing for Real Madrid to be on his (very sexy) shoulders.

  11. April 9, 2011 18:57

    Oh Javi will never be ours </3
    I heard the commentator say that RM wants Llorente is that true? I know he recently said he won't leave his team but still I hope he does.

  12. Pipita permalink
    April 9, 2011 23:45

    Una, do you live in Madrid?

  13. Gillian permalink
    April 10, 2011 00:56

    Stating the obvious here, but what a smile that Cris has!

  14. Ange permalink
    April 10, 2011 22:10

    UNA!!! .. yea I love this post .. can’t wait to your in case you missed it … I read when i’m done here … which will be when I’m done writing *lol* … I have to admit … The A Team makes Real Madrid … look sooooooooooooooo SEXY!!!! + Iker, Sergio, Pipita & Cris … Marcelo he is not sexy … his cute but not sexy…. *lol* … I enjoyed the eye candy… THANK YOU!!!

    yeeeaaaaaa JAVI!!!!! & I don’t see him or Fernando Llorente leaving Bilbao any time soon…

    & who would have thought … FCB would be the shortest team in La Liga…I really thought they were the tallest team… (it’s a joke) but they are alll taller then me sooo its all good… 😀 … I can’t wait for NEXT WEEK!!!!! more then 1/2 of La Roja is going to be there …. whoooooo!!!! tall vs short …

  15. superfan permalink
    April 11, 2011 02:57

    Arbeloa is damn sexy without even trying so hard!! I agree, it’s the aviators. So hot!! I’ve lost all hope that any photo from Sergio’s twitter will not have any thumbs up in it. Seriously.

  16. Bill permalink
    April 11, 2011 10:28

    Thank you so much for all the statistics – I’m a statistics freak, so this made me ecstatic! 😀

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