ICYMI – the Copa del Rey pre-game edition
In case you missed it – Barcelona vs. Real Madrid [2011-04-20, Copa del Rey final, 0-1].
And in case you can’t tell, I am extremely excited with this win, for so many reasons. So, it might take me a while to produce all the post-game posts that you’re used to (the last thing I want to do now is sit in front of my computer, because I’m still in a very celebratory mood, plus I need a lot of sleep), but I promise I’ll try and be as thorough as possible to get every single awww-inducing and glorious moment! With that said, on to the pre-game ICYMI!
ONE. We have to start with the man who made my heart even more madridista, if that was possible, el gran capitán, Iker Casillas. He’s now won every major trophy on both the club and country levels, and he’s done it while looking absolutely fantastic, no?
TWO. The team arrived at the Mestalla a couple of hours before kickoff, and they were welcomed by the Bernabéu’s field delegate, the one and only Agustín Herrerín, just as he does when the players emerge from the tunnel onto the field at their home stadium. Cris and Esteban gave him huge hugs. I suppose that Agustín watched Esteban grow up, no?
THREE. Outside, the fans were preparing for the game, including this little one with his white and purple Madrid flags. The massive “until the end, go Real” sign made the trip with the team, and was displayed on the end where our afición was seated. There’s still a bit of time to go before we get to the end, but I have very optimistic feelings about it.
Perhaps this sign and El Piquetón are the only things visible from space?
FOUR. I’m so happy Zizou’s joining the team for non-Champions League events! We – and Karim – need him around!
FIVE. As the team headed out onto the field to warm up, Ozi rubbed his face/prayed, Álvaro wondered if he needed a manicure, and Cris had basketball on his mind. And here’s the obligatory Sergio Ramos moment to keep his fans happy, although he’s probably much too covered up for your liking, no?
SIX. Oh, Iker…
SEVEN. The teams may have a fierce rivalry, but that doesn’t prevent the players from being friends. Whatever Eric Abidal said, Manu Adebayor found it extremely hilarious and even Lass cracked up. And later on, Sergio C. and his La Rojita teammate Bojan had a little whispering session.
Madrid’s warm-ups look even better next to those of Barça, no?
EIGHT. Love this picture of Mou. It could be used in his watch campaign!
NINE. As the players prepared to come out onto the field, Iker chatted with Gerard Piqué, who later gave Kaká a hug.
Iker also received a hug from his La Roja teammate Pedrito, and Marcelo was very affectionate with his mascot, as he’s basically just a big kid himself.
TEN. The two heroes of the game (although of course we didn’t know it at this point) before the game, with Iker licking his lips and Cris winking.
A photo for the ages.
ELEVEN. With Carles Puyol on the bench, Xavi acted as Barcelona’s captain, and he was very affectionate with his Madrid counterpart, his old friend Iker Casillas (Xavi would say after the game that they’ve been good friends since they were 16). That’s why they saluted each other both before and after the coin toss, in the same way. They really do love rubbing the back of each other’s necks, no?
TWELVE. Iker used the same captain’s armband as he had during last Saturday’s Liga game against Barcelona. In fact, the armband still had grass stains from the Bernabéu on it!
You can barely see it, but all of Madrid’s shirts had a special patch of the Copa del Rey on the left sleeve for this game.
THIRTEEN. Pep greeting Mou before the game. Pep was the last one out last night.
FOURTEEN. (just like Xabi!) The Xabi Alonso pose section.™ As you can see, our Xabi doesn’t just pose during the games, he’s also very boss before the games.