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all set for Valencia & other news

April 23, 2011

Twenty-three footballers joined Mou and the coaching staff on Friday afternoon at Valdebebas in the last session before today’s game against Valencia (18h).  Lass rejoined his teammates after missing the last several days with an injury, two canteranos, Juanfran and Nacho, were called up to join the first team, and Aitor Karanka also participated in the session.

Xabi being mischievous?  And so that’s what Cris’ natural hair looks like!

Sami Khedira, Fernando Gago and Ángel di María were the absences.  Sami is in Munich to see doctors regarding his torn right adductor, which he further injured during the Copa del Rey final.  He’ll return to Madrid on Sunday.  A German radio program has said that he’ll be out for the rest of the season.  Ángel di María (bruised right knee) and Emmanuel Adebayor (problems with his adductor) were the other “casualties” of this game.  On Friday, Manu trained apart from the rest of the team, doing recovery exercises with Carlos Lalín.

Can you identify those legs?

Twenty footballers were called up for this game.  Lass made his return from injury, Esteban Granero from suspension and Sergio C. and Peter Lion probably due more to necessity than anything else (sadly).  The two Castilla boys also made the cut.  Four players – Gago, Khedira, Di María and Adebayor – are out due to injury, Arbeloa is suspended and Sergio Ramos is getting a rest.

Goalkeepers: Iker, Adán,Dudek.

Defenders: Albiol, Garay, Pepe, Carvalho, Marcelo, Nacho Fernández.

Midfielders: Lass, Özil, Xabi Alonso, Kaká, Pedro León, Canales, Granero, Juanfran.

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, Higuaín.

Once again, a lack of originality from Madrid’s photographers.

In his press conference, Mou warned that the celebrations are over and it’s time to get back to work: “we won a historical trophy, but that happiness is over.”

Mou also spoke about Khedira’s injury, saying, “we’re sad for him and sad for us.  He’s injured.  He won’t play in the Mestalla, and most likely not on Wednesday either.  But to say that he won’t play for the rest of the season is absurd.  We expect him back soon… His substitute could be Lass or Granero, who played 20 very good minutes in the final of the Copa and who always responds positively.”

He also criticized the press that usually covers Madrid, saying, “I’m a bit different than all of you, from the press of Madrid which is fantastic in trying to destroy people and teams, and then later gets drunk on water.  I’m the opposite, I’m all equilibrium, I know the quality that I have in both negative and positive moments.  No one is going to kill me or get me drunk.”  Mou also denied that he will return to Inter next season and that Madrid is interested in signing Drogba, saying, “it’s completely false that next season I’m going to be with Inter.”

Following the training session and the press conference, Madrid traveled back to Valencia four days after their last trip, for Saturday’s Liga game against Valencia, arriving at 21h in the evening at Manises.

The natural choice Raúl Albiol and Karim Benzema signed autographs and posed for pictures with thousand or so fans who came to the team hotel.

Meanwhile, this is the line yesterday to enter Madrid’s museum to see the (replica of the) newest addition, the Copa del Rey!

Other things:

– footage here of Barcelona’s own broken Copa del Rey (plus other instances of “copacidios” – a combination of the word “copa” with “suicidio” (suicide)) from 1998, the work of Luis Enrique and possibly Luis Figo, it appears.

– Rafa Nadal thinks that José Mourinho is producing a “temporadón” with Real Madrid, and said that the final of the Copa del Rey was “spectacular from the point of view of the spectator… as a madridista, I’m happy.”

– Madrid won’t celebrate the winning of their Copa del Rey with the Madrid city hall and the community of Madrid until a later point, because they want to focus on the season, which hasn’t ended yet, concretely the Champions League.  Teams from Madrid are usually honored by the city and the community whenever they win a title.

– an interesting read – an interview with Rulo.  Regarding his departure from Madrid, Raúl says, “Playing for Madrid for so long outweighs that. But I did reach a point at which I felt that chapter had closed. If I wanted to carry on enjoying football, I had to leave. I could have stayed there but it wouldn’t have been what I wanted. I wouldn’t be enjoying it. It’s not just about the success…. The years spent at Madrid were wonderful, it’s my club, and I’ll always be a Madridista. Madrid changed my life. But I reached the point where I needed to escape.”  He also says Manuel Neuer might be better than Iker (???).

and an excerpt from the open letter Sandro Rosell sent to Barcelona’s fans yesterday via their web site: “Despite not winning the title, the Barcelona fans have shown, once again, an example of civilised support for their teamFC Barcelona fans have shown how to win and celebrate our trophies, then on Wednesday we showed that, in defeat, we are also champions.”

The key word I want to highlight here is “civilized” which I think several (of course not all) Barcelona fans need to heed.  Anyway, there’s now no need for them to complain about Madrid winning the Copa del Rey and how they didn’t care anyway because the Liga is more important, because Barcelona, according to Rosell, are also the champions despite being defeated!  

and I also wanted to translate parts of this article, a lovely read.

“The triumph and intensity of Real Madrid began after the 5-0 in the Camp Nou and from the advertisement done by the players of Barcelona.”  The person who said these words wasn’t just anyone, it was Luis Suárez, who played for Barcelona for many years.  The results of the now legendary “manita” have been harmful.  It started on the field of the Camp Nou and ended with that employee of Barcelona (Rosell needs to be included here) that gave the green light to the “Assistencia sanitaria” campaign on the city buses of Barcelona in which five Barcelona players posed with their hands out.

Real Madrid has been accused many times of being arrogant, but the facts and the data show that on this occasion, it has been Barcelona who hasn’t handled things correctly.  The image of Piqué and Busquets displaying the “manita” to the Camp Nou and Puyol shouting at them to stop was the first warning sign that something was wrong.  The second example was when Sandro Rosell predicted a 5-0 win for the next clásico [very civilized, right?], which was disputed last Saturday at the Bernabéu.  His own coach said later during a press conference that he would never say this and he didn’t like what the president had said.  Joan Gaspart, ex-president and the man responsible for some of the most ridiculous moments in Barcelona’s history, then made a 14-0 prediction.

The aforementioned ad campaign was the culminating point of a wrongly understood superiority, achieved on the field and abused off of it.  Once more, Guardiola had to reproach the attitude shown by the club, which had given the go-ahead to this campaign.

Despite being defeated in the Copa del Rey, little has changed.  Xavi said, “the only team that wanted to play football (that night) was Barcelona.”  However, Piqué and Guardiola did congratulate the new champions of the Copa.

36 Comments leave one →
  1. maddy permalink
    April 23, 2011 11:33

    i agree completely. pique, valdes, and now xavi have been really disappointing in their behaviour off the field. ever since the el clasico period started last week, i’ve not heard of a single madrid player taking a dab at barcelona, or even discussing them in general. they’ve been too preoccupied in their own game. rossell is just a joke. i dont think even those at team barca take him seriously.

    honestly, from a totally technical point of view, what’s so beautiful about barcelona’s play? i’ve only recently started watching their games, and i dont get it. it puts me to sleep. even as a madridista, i got very frustrated watching them play at started shouting at the screen ‘your striker is ON THAT SIDE, attack dammnit, ATTACK!’

    i kinda agree with raul. neuer is phenomenal and consistent. while i love love love iker, he’s been sort of fading in the goalkeeping department (with the obvious exception of his heroics on wednesday). neuer and stekelenberg are going to rule goalkeeping very soon.

    • April 23, 2011 12:44

      “i’ve not heard of a single madrid player taking a dab at barcelona, or even discussing them in general” – That’s because Mou asked the players not to talk about the Barca match at all.

      • maddy permalink
        April 25, 2011 07:29

        smart move from a great coach

    • Kristine permalink
      April 23, 2011 16:05

      Oh, I’m so glad someone else feels the same as me about Barca’s “beautiful football”! I just don’t get it. Granted, I am a Real Madrid fan. All they do is kick that ball around, it’s not beautiful, it’s boring. You know what I think? All that passing back and forth is hypnotizing to the other team, putting them to sleep! I have actually gotten sleepy from watching a Barca game.
      Kudos to Real Madrid for shaking them up, I think Mou’s strategy was genius.

    • natali permalink
      April 23, 2011 17:13

      I agree, I haven’t seen anyone from madrid taking jabs at barca for losing. I personally am offended by xavi’s comment that barca was the only one who played football. I think madrid really played an amazing and entertaining game.

      I don’t understand whats beautiful about barca’s play at all. Personally I HATE holding games, they are so boring. I don’t want to sit around and watch iniesta xavi and puyol do passing drills with each other for 80% of the game. They accuse Madrid of parking the bus, yet they are the ones who play mainly in their own half just holding the ball. At least madrid attacks all the time. Someone said (can’t remember who) that all madrid needs is 3 passes then they are at the goal, and I think thats what makes madrid the better and more exciting team to watch anyway.

      On the casillas point, which is the whole reason I wanted to comment, is I kind of agree with you. I think Neuer is very young but very consistant. Casillas I think does some amazing stuff, and in terms of wonder-saves I don’t think anyone can really compete with him. But then he does some bad stuff too when he’s off his game, which is why I think sometimes Neuer is better just because he is more consistant and better with his placement. I’ll probably always be partial to casillas because I’ve loved him so long, but I can see why people might prefer neuer.

    • Sayu permalink
      April 24, 2011 06:40

      we feel the same way.. i also try to watch barca’s games but it makes me fall asleep especially games here in our country are played past midnight already. its not fun to watch. its just… just… boring passes.. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    • DebS permalink
      April 25, 2011 07:22

      I do have to admit that I admire the accuracy of Barca’s passing, the way the ball seems to just land at their teammate’s feet, etc. Now granted, I haven’t been watching Barca play for long but from what I have seen, I almost feel like they have to play these short passes in an attempt to try to wear their opponent’s out. I just don’t think they would be successful with Madrid’s style of play…the long ball, etc. Each team has to play to their strengths, Madrid has the speed, height and passing accuracy to be successful with the long ball passes. If Barca had the type of players that Madrid does, I would have to think that they would approach their game differently too.

  2. Chloe permalink
    April 23, 2011 11:34

    I have honestly lost all respect for Xavi, he neither knows the meaning of being humble nor gracious in defeat.

    All I can say is,

    • Lalitta permalink
      April 23, 2011 18:15

      hahahahaha, i love the pic!!

    • Sayu permalink
      April 24, 2011 06:43

      i also dont get it why barcelona’s players need to say such things. cant they just shut up and end all the negativity? that’s what i like about real madrid players, very classy and educated when they open their mouths

  3. wandering permalink
    April 23, 2011 12:08

    I am quite disappointed in Pique and Xavi because I’ve always believed that they were class. I couldn’t believe that Xavi came out saying that the Copa was not important. Seriously? With all that dejectedness from your team mates and coach after the game, it’s not important? Pffft! And Pique, obvious immaturity on your part mate.

  4. April 23, 2011 12:49

    I’m a proud Madrista, but as far as I’m concerned, action; not words count the most.

    It’s all very fine to shout from the rooftops saying that we are the humblest, the nicest, and the best team around. But, when your own players and own president make statements like the ones above, the message gets diluted – a lot!

    I’m very ‘eh’ about tonight’s match. I know, I shouldn’t be, but I can’t help it. Everything is about facing Barca again for the CL. All I’m praying for is no injuries. That’s all.

  5. IsaBella permalink
    April 23, 2011 13:18

    Cristiano looks so much better with his natural hair…
    I’m identifying the legs: the bandage one is Sergio and the other is Marcelo (although I had some doubts whether it wasn’t Ozil at the beggining 😉 because of the boots… 🙂
    The Copa exposed at the Bernabeu has no scratch on it so I supposed it must be a replica 😉 it’s impressive to see the line to the Bernabeu Tour, makes me very emotional 🙂
    “Manuel Neuer might be better than Iker (???).” – nooooo no one is better than Iker, verdad Una?

  6. superfan permalink
    April 23, 2011 14:03

    As much as I admire Xavi for the work he’s done with the NT, somehow I cannot respect Barcelona Xavi because of all the things he’s said building up to the recent Clasicos and in the past. Seriously. Does he (or do they) really think that any other football philosophy that is not the same as that of Barca’s is anti-football? Why not just be humble in defeat and congratulate the winner? Instead of proclaiming that the CdR is not important to you, it would be better to just shut your mouth. You’re making yourself look like a whiny little troll.

    Anyway, that interview with Raul is amazing. Especially the parts he talked about Madrid. 🙂 But, he cannot honestly think that Neuer is better than Iker!!! This is Iker we are talking about. San Iker. No way. Haha!

    Thanks for this, Una!

    • Sanchez permalink
      April 24, 2011 19:25

      I feel the same way too about him it’s really a shame and I find I can’t look at him the same way anymore even if he does sweet things like what he did for that girl and how he commented on wanting to find ways to ban racist chants in stadiums. They are just upset because Mou figured them out and if they can’t win a title than no one else can.

      Gotta love how all the Barcelona fans are going around saying Real Madrid had it easy and they won the least important trophy and now you have Pep saying that CDR wasn’t important and doesn’t show skill but winning La Liga shows skill and dedication cause that makes a lot of sense right there guess you’re not a “real” team if you win other titles. If it’s not that important than why the need to keep trash talking and hating? The players and fans are just as fake and “humble” at the coach and club president. I love how we can admit when we do something wrong and praise other teammates unlike the others. It will always be a lose lose situation for Real Madrid and Mou we win a title we are accused of skewing the competition, playing dirty, only wanting to win titles we lose a competition we are accused of having terrible tactics and checking out during games. A player from Barcelona gets a card but it gets revoked a player from Real Madrid gets a card it stays and on top of it they get a fine. It’s not fair and I doubt anything will change either. Even if Mou didn’t ask his teammates to speak about the game they wouldn’t sink to that level anyways. If your game is that amazing then let your talent speak for itself . I just hope this win hasn’t gone to our heads and we can start from scratch again it just sucks getting all excited and celebrating when you know you’re still only half way!

  7. Diana permalink
    April 23, 2011 15:25

    I am also a big Premier League girl and my favourite team there is Arsenal.

    What Xavi said is an exact carbon copy of what he said after Arsenal’s defeat at the Camp Nou during the Champions League Round of 16.

    I think it’s insulting and rather arrogant that he makes these statements. I think Pep should talk to his players about the increasing condescending tone, words and gestures they are demonstrating.

    Anywho, I’m glad Sami won’t be out for the rest of the season. I’d read an article that said he would, and that made me quite sad.

    Whoa there Raul! Neuer is great, but he’s no Iker. 😀

    Also, the press here is having a field day with the whole Sergio-dropping-la-copa thing. Just yesterday morning as I logged into Yahoo!, on the front page is a picture of Sergio looking distressed and the headline is “Celebration goes dramatically wrong”. Even the local news stations are covering it like crazy… Slow news week in the world?

  8. Jenny permalink
    April 23, 2011 15:26

    “He also says Manuel Neuer might be better than Iker (???).” I don’t understand your question marks Una!

    Another person who agrees with Raul on the keeper question is Buffon, a known admirer of Neuer’s unbelievable skill.

    And still – in praising Neuer, Raul praises Iker. Because he didn’t compare Neuer, who is the best keeper in the world in my opinion too, with Buffon. He compared him to Casillas. I’m sure Neuer will be thrilled with his teammate’s praise because it is the highest praise you can get. Still, no question, Neuer is a uniquely cold-blooded phenomenon and the possibility of meeting him in the Champions League final is truly a horrifying thing. We would need to score an unstoppable goal – like Ronaldo’s header on Wednesday – to get past him.

    Beautiful post as always. The photographers may not be inventive, but the boys are so beautiful it doesn’t matter.

  9. April 23, 2011 15:40

    All I hope now is that the players keep their eyes focused on the champions league game ( forget about Valencia- go for the win but don’t get injured or too tired + I think Mou will give many players some rest ).

    Now they know that Barcelona are beatable and that if they work hard no one can stop them.As for Barcelona, let them give us more fuel with their antics…. some of them are ungracious and unsportsmanlike in defeat. (unfortunately, they have been ungracious when they have won too…….)

  10. Amy2 permalink
    April 23, 2011 16:18

    Oh, Xavi says that every time Barcelona loses or ties. He says it about the national team too. Seriously, how did Barca get the reputation for being so humble?

    I’m scrolling back up to watch Pipa being all hyper in training.

  11. Bee permalink
    April 23, 2011 16:30

    Well, one can always count on Barca to have something to say. Mostly something unpleasant.

    Xavi, you’re an amazing player. But watch my respect for you flush down the toilet. How they’re behaving is absolutely absurd.

    Barca when they won: “We deserved to win. We played well and we took all the chances given.”

    Barca when they lost: “We deserved to win. We played well and was clearly the only team on that pitch who wants to play football.”\

    Humility = 0 ; Arrogance = 100

  12. Mani Thangadurai permalink
    April 23, 2011 16:44

    I really loved that interview with el Angel di Madrid in the Guardian, he basically summed up the reasons why he decided to leave Madrid; not because he loved the club any less, but because he loved football more! And as I’ve said before, it’s THAT love for the game and the ‘ilusion’, as he says, that makes one a REAL professional. Because he was assertive enough to decide that he wanted to continue playing and enjoying his football, he has ended up achieving so many things in Germany. What is also striking is that when he left the club the general impression of him was that he had done his dash and had nothing more left in the tank. But he’s certainly proved his critics wrong, he’s certainly shown that there is abundant class in him, and that is why I firmly believe that if he wins the German Cup and takes the team to the Champions’ League final, it will mean so much more to him than any and all of his accolades at Real Madrid. He is quite simply one of the game’s all-time greats and has certainly added lamination to his legacy!!

    And Una, Raul’s comment about Manolo (Spanish!) Neuer was that he’s a complete keeper, not so much a better one. However, the German towers above six feet which makes him a behemoth when dealing with crosses and set-pieces. We all know that Casillas is without doubt the best shot-stopper in the world, but on several occasions with crosses he has been found wanting, his relative lack of height being a factor. But all those years of experience I’m sure will have enabled him to cope with it.

  13. Marie permalink
    April 23, 2011 16:47

    All this hate takes away from the beauty of football. I wish everyone would remember that.

    On another note, I love Mou. I love him!!! He knows how to handle the press and that makes him a badass. 😀

    Yay for Sergio Canales!!

  14. seattleMadridista permalink
    April 23, 2011 17:56

    Legs…mmmmm. Higuain and Ozil?

  15. Cosi permalink
    April 23, 2011 22:42

    “I’m a bit different than all of you, from the press of Madrid which is fantastic in trying to destroy people and teams, and then later gets drunk on water.”

    For such an arrogant, non-God-fearing man, Mourinho sure is one you both love to hate and hate to love… lol!

  16. Pammie permalink
    April 23, 2011 23:41

    haha, mischievous Xabi!

    Thanks for translating this article, I pretty much agree with it. It’s never good for a team, when it gets too stuck on their own glory. Pride goes before a fall.

    Where was Xavi in the first half of the game? did he sleep or what? Why won’t he shut up? Why can’t they put out a muzzle order for the Barsa players, if the Madrid players got one too.

  17. Mary permalink
    April 24, 2011 03:04

    That last article has it completely right, thank you for posting it. Mou said something to the effect that if he did anything that the Barca management did, he would have hell to pay. Predicting a blow-out, flat-out dismissing the value of the copa, or that awful manita ad campaign…the media would explode about big bad Madrid and how Barca, the players of “beautiful football,” remain above the fray. Barca needs to learn how to lose graciously because Mou will be around for a while and they will be doing a lot more of it.

  18. Cosi permalink
    April 24, 2011 05:35

    OH NO are those SERGIO’S LEGS wrapped up?!?!?!?!!?! hmmm guess that spraying treatment during the game didn’t do the trick….

  19. April 24, 2011 06:04

    I like Xavi, he’s a great player. But I think all of us will agree that he’s really not the humblest and most civilized during interviews. And that’s a downside.

  20. April 24, 2011 06:27

    That was a very, very good article, or at least the parts of it that you translated. It’s true that Madrid have always been accused of being arrogant. And while it’s true that some of our officials (I’m looking at you, Mr. Ramon Calderon) could have behaved better, I think it’s something to be proud of that our players haven’t stooped to the level the Barca players have. If they do act up, it’s usually on the field (that doesn’t make it ok, of course) and rarely off it.

    What I don’t understand is Barca’s need to rub it in. The 5-0 Camp Nou loss was humiliating for Madrid. As winners of that match and the last four Clásicos before that, you’d think Barca doesn’t need any more reminders of their superiority over us. You’d think they’d be content in the knowledge that we haven’t won against them in three seasons and not feel that it’s necessary to remind us of that fact at every available opportunity.

    And you’d also think that, after the Copa loss (and the draw before that), they’d learn to shut up and eat some humble pie. But, no. If only Pep can teach his players (I’m looking at you, Xavi) class and sportsmanship as well as he teaches them strategy and tactics.

    • Sanchez permalink
      April 24, 2011 20:40

      Too bad the coach is as fake and fickle as the team and fans. He goes around press conferences acting humble “Madrid are a tough team, Madrid played very well, we can’t get too cocky now (which is fine I agree with it) but what is he doing to stop his boys from disrespecting other opponents. I bet he sits back and chuckles behind is coffee cup and since that incident with him and Ronaldo at the camp Nou I don’t see much humbleness from his side either he’s just as bad as his team but wears a different face when the situation suits him.

  21. April 24, 2011 11:16

    The image of Piqué and Busquets displaying the “manita” to the Camp Nou and Puyol shouting at them to stop

    This is why I love Puyol. While it saddened me to see he participated in the bus campaign, it’s things like that line that really make me respect him. I remember he was one of the only Barca players trying to calm down the fans and get them to stop throwing things at Figo. He has his bad moments, but they are outweighed by far by the good ones. He is a class act and Barca’s equivalent of Raul.

    • Maddi permalink
      April 24, 2011 16:02

      Agreed 100%. Puyol is probably the only Barcelona player I like, and I utterly respect him. I was also disappointed by the Manita bus campaign.

  22. April 24, 2011 12:44

    Neuer is getting pretty good he COULD end up being better than Iker eventually. But he’s young and he’s got a long way to go. Besides, Raul was probably being diplomatic, as Neuer is his captain now, so he really can’t go around comparing him unfavorably with former teammates.

    The smile on Xabi’s face in the picture is priceless! I’ve never seen an expression on his face like that before. I’m sure Nagore has, though…

    Anyway, happy about the win, especially with Pipita’s hat trick and Kaka’s goal and his involvement in the others. It’s good to see we haven’t let up in La Liga, despite it being virtually wrapped up. Now on to the CL!

  23. April 24, 2011 20:36

    Glad that im not the only perso who finds barcas passing boring lol.!! its never ending!!! ATTACK


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