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ICYMI – the A1 team edition

April 24, 2011

In case you missed it – Valencia vs. Real Madrid [2011-04-23, Liga jornada 33, 3-6].

Iker Casillas and Ricardo Carvalho were the only habitual starters who started this game against Valencia, but that didn’t matter one bit, as Madrid scored four goals before the half, and two more after.  It just goes to show how deep our bench is, and how reliable even those players who don’t get any regular playing time are.  And there were no injuries, no cards, no scares… I love this team!

ONE.  Despite the six goals that his team scored, Iker was quite upset with the three goals they conceded.  Here’s a compilation of Iker’s pissed-off faces and gestures from last night.

TWO.  Madrid was honored with a pasillo before the game, to congratulate them on their Copa del Rey win.  I like the poetic symmetry of it all – Madrid won this title at the Mestalla, and they coincidentally got to be honored for it on the same field.  Esteban Granero got a high-five from his best friend, our canterano (por favor) Juanín Mata, while Iker did the same with Spain teammate Pablo Hernández, and Eze with Argentina teammate Éver Banega.

The best headline regarding the pasillo came from Marca: “al final del pasillo… el baño.”  This can mean two things: “after the honor guard, a thrashing,” or taken literally (i.e. in non-sports terms), “at the end of the hallway, the bathroom.”

THREE.  I was very surprised to see Madrid turn up in two-color kits (black shirts, white shorts, black socks) for the first time in a long time.  I had wondered last week if they would ever do that a la Castilla, and they did!  They were the exact opposite of Valencia (white shirts, black shorts, white socks), the reason for this two-color kits, as they couldn’t wear the same color shorts as the other team and were obligated to change by the referee.  That meant that it looked like there were 20 penguins running around on the field.  And Cris’ substitution in was delayed because he was still wearing black shorts and so he had to change to the white (Mesut couldn’t believe his eyes!).

FOUR.  It was a real goal-fest at the Mestalla yesterday afternoon!  Just as good as the goals were the celebrations!  The guys were great in thanking those who assisted them!

Pipita ran to the bench to celebrate with them, while Kaká stuffed the ball under his shirt to honor his daughter who was expected that day or today.  And several hours later, she joined the world to cap off a perfect day for our Ricky!  All the details, via wife Carol’s twitter (the first time I’ve gone there since her coach tweet debacle from last season): Isabella was born on Saturday, April 23 at 21:01h, she weighed 3.170 kg and measured 48 cm, and Carol “enjoyed every pain and every minute” of the delivery.

Even Mou got a little excited, perhaps due to Rui’s influence.  And that celebration by Pipa looks quite painful for Kaká’s neck, no?

The Argentine bromance was in full swing after the fifth goal, and Ricky resembled his country’s famous Christ statue while celebrating the sixth.  Kaká actually received applause from the Mestalla for that one, from those who were still there, as part of the crowd started leaving after the 53rd minute, when Madrid took a 0-5 lead.  The six goals was the most Valencia had ever conceded in their 76 years and 1,200 games in the first division.

FIVE.  The other big event of the night was Nacho Fernández’s debut!  In difference with the six other canteranos who had debuted before him (MSFC, Mateos, Sarabia, Adán, MFC, Nacho’s hermanito) he didn’t just get a few moments at the end of a sentenced game, he got to start and play (almost) the entire thing!  He said after the game that he knew he was going to start this game, because “the míster had been hinting that to me all week.  Only he and I knew.”  That must be the dream of any canterano, no?  Sharing secrets with José Mourinho!  Nacho had problems with his left knee and so he left the game near the very end on a stretcher, which he blamed on “all the tension.”

It was very cute how Ricky Carvalho was watching over Nacho the entire game.  He was very attentive with his lieutenant, encouraging him, giving him advice, clapping when he did something well… Xabi’s not the only father out on the field!  And Mou said after the game that Nacho had “played like a veteran.”  I loved this moment when Mou asked Nacho if he wanted to be subbed out, but as Nacho said, “I didn’t hear him well.  He asked me and I was looking in the other direction.”

After the game, Nacho confessed that he was “súper feliz” and that his teammates had congratulated him.  He revealed that Álex had been very supportive all week, and told him to remain calm.  We also found out that Pipita had asked him if he wanted the game ball (as Pipita scored a hat trick, normally the ball would have gone to him) and Nacho said yes, so he got to have one souvenir from the game, as his shirt was destined for his family.  As you can see, it was the two biggest canterano cheerleaders, Marcelo and Pepe, who got the ball after the game and who made sure to congratulate Nacho.

His Castilla teammates were also very excited for him!  How cute are they???

SIX.  Late in the first half, Karim Benzema went down and was bleeding, but the play didn’t stop and so Karim just lay on the ground checking for blood.  Some seconds later, Ricky Carvalho went down, and then the play finally stopped.  At that point, Kaká pulled over Karim (I love how Kaká was dragging Karim along with him, instead of just running together) to show his injury to the referee.  He was all like, LOOK at him, he’s bleeding!  Isn’t Kaká a great dad?

SEVEN.  Cris and Xabi also got to play a few minutes to stretch their legs, I suppose, since the team had played very well without them.  Peter Lion also made his first appearance since Jan. 5 (vs. Levante in the Copa del Rey).

EIGHT.  Fun moments from the bench – Mesut judges Cris and Pipa gets high fives from Sergio C. and Antonio A.

NINE.  The Argentines show off.

TEN.  It was weird to see Cris warming up on the sidelines and coming in as a substitute!  He was also concerned about his hair, and did another “super jump.”

ELEVEN.  El Pirata is so photogenic, isn’t he?

TWELVE. I really want to know what message Antonio – apparently Mou’s favorite message boy – had for Iker.

THIRTEEN.  The Xabi Alonso pose section.™

Xabi’s a pro at making sure that all eyes are on him, whether by sticking his tongue out or executing a perfect runway turn.

He was so boss even on the bench.  And I loved how he and childhood teammate/friend Aritz Aduriz hugged while warming up on the sidelines!

FOURTEEN.  The Mou corner.

Mou was quite relaxed during the postgame press conference, probably due to the fantastic play of his team and the stellar result.  He showed his satisfaction with – in his own words – “Operación Valencia,” or the two games in the city in the space of three days: “we were fantastic today, just like we were against Athletic in San Mamés.  The most important thing was the three points and until the math says that the Liga is impossible, we will continue until the end.  If Barça wins the Liga, it will be because they won more points, not because we handed it to them.”

(Loving this moment between Mou and Gonzalo!)

He also praised Kaká, saying he was “fantastic,” and “there are seven or eight games left and we need Kaká.”  Mou added that “I want to send a hug not only to Nacho but to all his teammates as well.”

I also loved what Unai Emery (Valencia’s coach) said after the game: “we played ridiculously; the pasillo lasted until the 60th minute.”

FIFTEEN.  Looking ahead:

The team began thinking about the Champions League semifinals today, during their training session this morning at 11h.

Meanwhile, Castilla faces Montañeros today at 17h as they seek to extend their 15-game non-losing streak.  It will be a difficult game, as there are some notable absences.  MFC, MSFC and Fran Rico are all suspended, Jesús and Luis are injured, and Nacho can’t play because he played with the first team (Juanfran can, because he didn’t play).  Alberto Toril has thus called up reinforcements from some of the other teams: RMC’s Óscar Plano and Juvenil A’s Jesé.

30 Comments leave one →
  1. Annee permalink
    April 24, 2011 16:03

    ‘ That must be the dream of any canterano, no? Sharing secrets with José Mourinho! ”

    Forget a canterano. I think it’s a dream for anyone. 🙂

    I thought Nacho played great and I loved how the older players took care of him. I wondered with Pepe and Marcelo on the bench how they would celebrate with him, as they are the biggest cheerleaders, and it’s nice to see how they came off the bench at the end to cognratulate Nacho. Very sweet of Pipita to offer him the game ball as this was also a huge victory for Pipita after his surgery.

    How funny is Mesut on the bench? I always want him out on the pitch, but he always has the best facial reactions. I love watching him observe.

  2. Camera25 permalink
    April 24, 2011 16:20

    He gave the game ball to Nacho?
    Yet another reason why I love Pipita…

  3. Maddi permalink
    April 24, 2011 16:22

    At least Valencia’s goals gave us a lot of close ups of Iker 🙂
    Penguins? Haha thanks for the comparison Una!! Now I see it!
    I’m so proud of Nacho! He did great yesterday, and was very composed. What a day it must have been for him!!
    Congrats to Kaka (both the baby and the 2 goals of course 🙂 ) !! Carol “enjoyed every pain and every minute”?? Um okay, whatever you say! (Haha I’ve never given birth so I can’t relate to that experience. maybe if I do I’ll see what she means)
    That was a really high jump from Cris. He could probably jump clear over my head if he wanted to…

    Pipita’s BAAAAAACK!! (And looking good too!!!)

  4. April 24, 2011 16:47

    I love how Iker is still intense and refuses to let a goal through, even if the team is 0-5 up.

    And super jump indeed! I was mesmerized by that gif. He jumps so high! Like a basketball player or something!

    Lots of cute moments in this game! I love how supportive Pepe, Carvalho and Marcelo were of Nacho. And the moment where Kaka was dragging Benzema with him to the ref, just like two little boys complaining to their mum about a bully or something. Adorable.

    Equally adorable is Kaka’s goal celebration. Congratulations to the lovely family. Little Isabella is sure to be as gorgeous as her parents and big brother.

    And what did you mean by Caroline’s coach tweet debacle? What happened there, Una?

    • Maddi permalink
      April 25, 2011 21:41

      I think she retweeted something that (unjustly) criticized Pellegrini (coach last year) for not playing Kaka.

  5. Henrik permalink
    April 24, 2011 16:55

    I really liked that Pipita came and gave a hug to Mesut on the bench!

  6. Amy permalink
    April 24, 2011 17:11

    FABULOUS post, Una–one of the very best!!!

  7. April 24, 2011 17:29

    All I can say is PIPITAAAAAA is back baby!!! And KARIM!! And KAKA!!!


    I was feeling bad for Valencia till they started scoring, and then started feeling bad for Iker instead.

  8. April 24, 2011 17:43

    Fabulous as usual, Una.
    One feature I am starting to miss is Front/Back. Of course, without Serhio in the game, the opportunities are more scarce.

  9. Kelseypolo permalink
    April 24, 2011 18:09

    Karim, Gonzalo, and Kaka definitely needed that game yesterday! After injuries and time adjusting… I’m so happy for them! And how cute were they celebrating together?!

  10. ChristinaLFP permalink
    April 24, 2011 20:01

    hahaha!!! ricky dreagging Karim lol Karim looks like he is sayin ” no Ricky i don’t want to im ok now”

  11. April 24, 2011 20:30

    Awesome performance by the guys!!! Vamos!!!

  12. April 24, 2011 22:32

    OMG KAKA DRAGGING BENZEMA BY THE ARM. SO CUTEEEE. I didn’t notice that when I first watched the game, all I saw was Ricardo Carvalho down injured and started panicking because I don’t him ever injured ;____;

    AND OH MY GOSH. You noticed Carvalho taking care of Nacho too!! I saw Carvalho clapping once but didn’t realize it was for Nacho until later. SO CUTE. Kaka and Carvalho are seriously my two favourite players. ♥

  13. IsaBella permalink
    April 24, 2011 22:35

    6 goals against Valencia, it doesn’t really matter that they scored 3 against us, no? 🙂 a fantastic result.
    Congratulations to Kaka on the birth of his daughter Isabella 🙂

    • Maddi permalink
      April 25, 2011 21:43

      haha I bet he named her after you!! 😀

  14. Pammie permalink
    April 24, 2011 23:18

    The Easter bunny came early this weekend, I loved it!

    Castilla seems to have taken example of the A1 team today! \:D/

    I see Xabi is “fraternizing with the enemy” again. Can’t say I hate it! xD

    I feel a bit bad for Valencia, but if our A1 team manages to beat Valencia like this, what boost will they have for wednesday?!

  15. jean permalink
    April 25, 2011 01:42

    Great post ! Im happy to see those moments since I couldnt see the game.Im thrilled and very happy for pipita, kaka and Benzema.
    Awww Poor Iker , U can tell he was very frustrated but , we still won:).This performance makes me look forward to the next classico.
    Una besides Cris, pepe, who are other players who have yellow? Im worried that we might see get 2 reds on that day:(.I dont want to be negative, but I just wont be surprised if something like that happen. Anyways I really hope that we play well.
    Hala Madrid!

  16. April 25, 2011 02:50

    hahaha is that Mou saying “puta” when Nacho couldn’t hear him? My “pictures” folder is in such a messed up state after the Copa win and it’s about to get just a bit worse after seeing those el Pirata pictures…=)

  17. April 25, 2011 04:23

    Hi Una, my internet connection suck like you won’t believe so it’s kind of hard for me to view all the gifs you made in one sitting. Do you mind sharing your photobucket page so I can view them one by one? Thanks so much ❤

  18. zuneybunny permalink
    April 25, 2011 04:33

    I think it’s safe to say… that Pipita is back!

  19. black widow permalink
    April 25, 2011 06:14

    mi querido pobrecito iker! 😦 even when we win, he loses. (i was actually surprised he wasn’t rested this match.)

    what a great day (especially for kaká! felicidades, papá!)! i hope we use this momentum to continue to propel ourselves onward and upward for the CL matches!

  20. maddy permalink
    April 25, 2011 07:14

    granero is just beyond boss…

  21. qwerty12345 permalink
    April 25, 2011 10:44

    Hi una, you are doing great job.
    Can you tell me what programms do you use to create this gifs ?

  22. Cat permalink
    April 25, 2011 11:54

    “the first time I’ve gone there since her coach tweet debacle from last season”

    What was the coach tweet debacle?

    • April 25, 2011 18:00

      If I remember correctly, she criticized Pelligrini on twitter and then said something like her words were taken out of context!

  23. Sayu permalink
    April 25, 2011 14:05

    kaka dragging benzema! hahahaha that’s so cute!

  24. SunnyK permalink
    April 25, 2011 19:27

    Aww! What a sweet belated birthday gift for Kaka! Congrats to their whole family. I’m sure she’s as adorable as the rest of the clan =)

  25. Pat permalink
    April 25, 2011 23:45

    Happy for Pipita ‘s goals and the bromance ( Higuaray)!!!!
    Granero was so cute !!!!

  26. April 26, 2011 00:10

    Wow, this game had a lot of great moments (other than the )

    And BOTH games (RM first team & Castilla ) proved that we don’t always need our regular starters to have an amazing game!!
    RM 6-3 and Castilla 6-0!
    Hala Madrid!

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