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all set for Barcelona (again) part II!

April 20, 2011

Madrid arrived in Valencia yesterday evening, and were greeted by several hundred fans at Manises.  In the end, only the 19 footballers called up for this game traveled to the city; Raúl Albiol is already there, no doubt spending some time in his hometown, while Sergio Canales, Peter Lion, Lass and Gago will fly in today to join the team, and possibily Juanfran as well (MFC is on national team duty).  Zinedine Zidane also accompanied the team, despite this not being a Champions League game.

From Cristiano’s hose to Iker and Mesut’s mismatched knee socks to Sergio’s leggings… our boys need HELP even with their official team wear (who knew there could be so many variations on the same outfit?)  If we didn’t have Xabi on this team to balance things out, I don’t know what I would do.

From the airport, the group boarded the team bus to their “headquarters” for this match, the Palau de la Mar hotel.  Upon arrival at the team hotel, Cristiano was the only player to stop to speak with fans, and that’s because he saw a fan in a wheelchair.  He posed for pictures and gave out hugs!

Meanwhile, Mou headed to the Mestalla to give a press conference.  The first thing he did when he arrived at the stadium – with Aitor Karanka in tow – was check out the state of the field.  He then headed to the press room, and proceeded to give the press conference with Karanka at his side, the first time we’ve seen that situation (when Mou is talking, I mean).  During the press conference, he was quite calm, and answered all questions.

on Alfredo di Stéfano’s words: Alfredo is one of the most important persons in Madrid’s history.  I’m no one in the history of Real Madrid, so I have to respect what he says and not comment.  But the coach is the one who makes decisions, the one that decides on the teams, and I’m the coach and nothing else.

on the starting XI:  Pep said Pinto and 10 more, no?  Well, I’ll… (long pause, looks at Karanka) To be different from him, I won’t say Casillas and 10 more.  So, Sergio Ramos and 10 more.

on the reports of the incident in the tunnel between Piqué and several of Madrid’s players: obviously I heard about it, but I didn’t see anything because I’m the first one to leave.  If I had seen it, I would say the same thing.  It’s not a problem for me.  I’m Portuguese, from a small country that has many problems and now needs European funding, but a country where everyone is very proud to be Portuguese and we don’t have this problem that you all have here.  I wouldn’t want to deal with this type of problem.

on the press of Madrid: we can win the Copa and the Champions, because everyone is working.  And for many of you, that’s a problem, because, as Messina (the former coach of Madrid’s basketball team) said, we have doubts whether the press of Madrid wants the team to win or lose, but the fans are opening their eyes, they’re not blind towards this situation.

The schedule for today looks like this:

09:30h – breakfast

12:30h – technical chat, Mou reveals starting XI

13:00h – lunch, and then siesta

17:30h – pre-game snack

19:45 – departure for the Mestalla

21:30 – kick off

Other things:

The city of Madrid has made preparations if the club Madrid brings home the Copa del Rey tonight.  If the team is victorious, they should arrive in Madrid between two and three in the morning on a chartered flight from Valencia.  From the airport, they’ll board an open air bus and go directly to Cibeles, via the Plaza de Colón, accompanied by the national police.  There will be a double barrier around the Plaza de Cibeles.

Shortly before Madrid left for Valencia, Xabi lent a hand to his beloved Donosti (he is the Tambor de Oro after all) when he headed to the Ministry of Culture in the the Plaza del Rey in Madrid to support to the candidacy of the city to become the European Capital of Culture.  There, he told the press, “I’m from Gipuzkoa, I want the best for my land and I know this is it.  I lived in Liverpool when it was the European Capital of Culture and I saw that it brought a lot to the city.”  Some journalists pestered him with questions about the Copa del Rey final, but our Xabi diplomatically said he would only speak about San Sebastián.  Xabi was greeted by a round of applause from all those gathered in the plaza when he arrived, and then he had to pose for photos with everyone, including politician María Jesús Aranburu, who said, “this is for my grandchildren” (sure, sure – but we won’t judge, since it’s Xabi Alonso).

Looking ahead, we have another Saturday game at 18h, this one is jornada 34 of the Liga against Zaragoza on April 30 at the Bernabéu.

And Madrid posted this great video of the Madrid-Barcelona Liga game from the 2001-02 season.  Things to watch (and listen) out for: Puyi’s short hair; coaches Vicente del Bosque and Toni Grande; toddler Froilán (the king’s grandson); the magic of Zidane; EL MORO!!!; el capitán getting all fired up; the sighs of disappointment from the crowd each time a shot missed the target; Iker will a full head of hair stopping everything; young Raúl in a Madrid shirt kissing the ball.

32 Comments leave one →
  1. April 20, 2011 11:23

    I’m now shaking with anticipation! Read that Iker the octopus predicted that we’re gonna win this one but IDK, don’t wanna get my hopes up. I mean, I wish for the best but I also prepare for the worst! I’d love to see Real Madrid lift the cup this time! Hala Madrid!

    • Sanchez permalink
      April 20, 2011 15:39

      I heard that about Iker the octo as well but since he only predicted a game correctly once I don’t want to rely on it just yet. I can’t even keep food down at this point it will be a tight score for sure and if we don’t win this one I at least hope we tried our best but I will be turning off my tv cause I don’t want to see Barca lift the cup.

  2. Pipita permalink
    April 20, 2011 12:10

    What a great video, those where the times! What a team we had. Love it when Salgado screams toma! when the final whistle blows.

    I hope that the same will happen tonight. We need a victory, we are Real Madrid!

    Hala Madrid!

  3. maddy permalink
    April 20, 2011 12:40

    i didn’t see the mismatched knee socks???

  4. amouria permalink
    April 20, 2011 12:51

    fingers crossed, … i wish i am there to be one of the on-spot supporters…
    Una, I have a question raised by some friends re the following link: do you think that the dialogue between Mou and Alonso was strong or …even harsh? They say that few minutes ofter this discussion, Mou took Alonso out and brought somebody else instead.
    I am not sure of this interpretation, but I remember that you once said that Alonso is the only member in the team that dares to discuss Mou’s decisions….
    Over-interpretation??? I hope so…
    Thanks dear…

    • April 20, 2011 15:29

      I think this is completely normal. Mou probably took Xabi out to rest him a bit for today.

  5. jean permalink
    April 20, 2011 13:21

    Hala Madrid Indeed! Hopefully we will this match.
    I live in the Us does anyone know a channel that can show the match and at approximatively which time it can start here?

    • mumblo permalink
      April 20, 2011 15:37

      It airs at 3:30 Eastern/12:30 Pacific on GolTV or ESPN Deportes (not completely sure about that second one). I hope one of those work for you!

    • KathyInCA permalink
      April 20, 2011 15:40

      In the US you can watch the game live at 3:30 PM Eastern Time on GolTV, ESPND, or online at You can always use to find out what time any soccer match is the world is on tv and what channel it is on.

    • April 20, 2011 15:48

      Where are you in the US? If you have Comcast or other major cable networks, it will be showing on ESPNDeportes (en Espanol) and on GolTV (en ingles). You can also watch it in Spanish and English on will work through your newer video game consoles, so you can watch it on a regular TV. ESPN3 will have it in both English and Spanish options.
      Watching it on GolTV will give you the benefit of the broadcasting team of Phil Schoen and Ranting Ray Hudson, perhaps the greatest color commentator in all of sportscasting.

    • Devyn permalink
      April 20, 2011 17:08

      Did you try That’s where I’ll be wtaching.

    • Pam permalink
      April 20, 2011 17:42

      ESPN3 (Web), GolTV, and ESPN Deportes will show the match live in the US at 3:30 PM EST. If you cannot watch the match live, you can watch the replay on ESPN3.

    • suzanne permalink
      April 20, 2011 19:14

      GOLTV at 2:30


  6. sortacrunchymom permalink
    April 20, 2011 13:57

    Xabi is a class act. Love him.

    Do you have a link to the press conference in which Mou spoke about Pique? I have read a couple different versions of what he said, so I assume that means the interview was conducted in Spanish and I am reading translations? I would like to read/listen to the original Spanish if possible. Thanks.

    Looking forward to the game today! ¡HALA MADRID!

  7. mar permalink
    April 20, 2011 13:58

    Nice one mou! (on the starting eleven).
    Till the next ICYM (hopefully troll-free) of the upcoming match: Hala madrid! I’m sure will be great!

  8. April 20, 2011 14:03

    I’ve got my fingers, toes, arms, legs, hell anything that I can cross, crossed for luck for my team tonight!


  9. superfan permalink
    April 20, 2011 14:33

    They all look soooo young in that video!! Iker was such a boss already back then! 🙂 I’m so nervous for the game later. I doubt I’ll be able to get some sleep even if the game’s at 3:30 am in my part of the world! Praying and hoping for a fantastic win for our boys later!!!

  10. Claire permalink
    April 20, 2011 14:47

    Una, may I ask if there is any readable part in the Xabi’s interview?

    • April 20, 2011 15:29

      What do you mean by readable?

      • Claire permalink
        April 20, 2011 19:10

        I mean interesting

        • April 21, 2011 16:26

          It’s very technical and all about tactics. The only interesting part for me is Xabi saying that Marcelo enjoys being corrected because it helps him focus on the game, and that it’s the midfielder’s role to tell the others what to do.

  11. April 20, 2011 15:39

    Una – you always know how to bring us a little happy, even during a stressful time. That video was just what I needed. The Figo/DeBoer hug at the end – nice. Raul’s dummy at 5:40, allowing Figo to score, sublime awareness and unselfishness. And Macca with his thoughful crosses. The Jedi master of the centering pass, without doubt.
    A nice win to set our day on a happy path. Thanks so much!

  12. mumblo permalink
    April 20, 2011 15:40

    OMG, Puyi’s hair looked SO much better back then! Hopefully he sees this vid and decides to make a change. 😉

  13. black widow permalink
    April 20, 2011 16:05

    that video was amaysing! 😀 what a trip down memory lane (and so cute to see iker and puyi, in all their future captain glory, looking like two ninos, haha!).

    hala madrid!

  14. IsaBella permalink
    April 20, 2011 16:52

    I agree Una: only Xabi looks decent among all the boys. But then again…. when doesn’t he? 🙂
    oooooh I can already imagine Madrid celebrating tonight at Cibeles!!

  15. sam permalink
    April 20, 2011 17:19

    Thanks again Una for all the coverage. Here’s hoping the next ICYM is the ICYM: The CAMPEONES version

  16. Surbhi permalink
    April 20, 2011 17:35

    Hi, I’m from India and the match will not be telecast on any channel here. Can anybody suggest a free online link or even the best link for live commmentary? Will totally, totally appreciate that!! Thanks!!

  17. Cat permalink
    April 20, 2011 20:51

    Does anyone know where I ca watch the Classico online?

  18. evita permalink
    April 20, 2011 22:07

    LOL! I was wondering the samething, Una! If there is an English translation it would be greatly appreciated if you could post the link!

    Besos, and you do a phenom job!

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