ICYMI – the granito de arena edition
In case you missed it – Real Madrid vs. Murcia [2011-05-18, friendly, 2-2].
This was a heartwarming game, from the gestures of support for Lorca prior to the game to the entrance of Chendo at the end! I am so happy and proud that the club I support and love does things like this.
ONE. We have to start with the end. Sergio tweeted these two adorable pictures from the plane ride home. On the left, I can’t pick who is the most adorable one – is it Sergio with his huge smile, laughing Iker with those wonderful smile lines, or Cris making an unexpected appearance in the background? Even Sergio tweeted that “the surprise is that Cristiano is also there.” On the right, it’s Sergio and the “legendary Chendi.” Luckily, Sergio wasn’t able to convince Miguel to pose like him.
TWO. Back to the beginning: the players from both sides entered the field carrying a sign stating “todos somos Lorca” (we are all Lorca) between them. The Murcia team also had this on their shirts.
I liked how the two players behind the captains did the sign of the cross almost in unison, and how Mesut (“he never knows what’s going on”) looked lost and didn’t know whether to continue holding the sign, to walk to the right, where to go… until Manu gave him some directions.
THREE. A moment of silence was held before the game. I like Manu’s pose. And as you can see, there were some unusual faces in the starting line-up, most notably Peter Lion, Sergio Channels, Mandi and Pablo Gil.
FOUR. The goals were the least important thing last night (other than to provide entertainment), but Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo scored for Madrid, and Pepe was so dedicated to the cause that he scored a goal for Murcia.
FIVE. The surprise (though I expected something like this) came with about 10 minutes left, when 49-year-old team delegate Chendo checked into the game, wearing Carvalho’s number 2 jersey (his number during his 16 seasons at Madrid), and, as we found out later, Esteban Granero’s boots. The last time Chendo had put on a Madrid shirt in June 1998, during a friendly against Atlético in La Rosaleda, his last game as a Madrid player.
He started receiving applause and cheers when the crowd noticed him warming up (and check out the smiles on the Madrid players’ faces too!)…
… and then chants of “Chendo, Chendo” when he was about to check into the game, and during the game as well (the crowd also chanted José Antonio Camacho’s name, because they wanted him to suit up as well). Pepe had the nice gesture of running over to give the captain’s armband to Chendo. (And calm down Aitor, it’s just a friendly!)
On the field, Chendo made some hard fouls, but as you can see, the rivals understood. After the game, Chendo said, “I had to stop the rivals any way I could, because my physical state didn’t allow any other ways…”
Chendo revealed that his presence in the game was all José Mourinho’s idea: “he told me that it was a special day, that I was in Murcia and it was to help a good cause. I took Carvalho’s shirt because he wasn’t going to play. The truth is that I’m very grateful because those were 10 very happy minutes for me.” He also received applause from the team (“they congratulated me and there was laughter”) and from the crowd (“it was all very beautiful and emotional, the ovation I received when I went to warm up and then the debut in the Nueva Condomina”).
He also told COPE that he was happy that his son Edu (who plays for Alevín A) could at last see his father play (Edu’s 11).
SIX. Speaking of captains, there were four last night. Iker started the game as captain, and when he was subbed out, he handed the armband to Sergio. Sergio checked out at the half, and Pepe started the second half as captain. And when Chendo came in, Pepe passed the armband on to him. On the current squad, only Iker has played more games with Madrid than Chendo.
SEVEN. There was a lot of excitement on the sidelines as well, which is inevitable when you have Kaká, Benzema, Pepe and Cristiano Ronaldo warming up. Kaká grinned, Cris showed off a mini-stegosaurus hairstyle and Karim winked.
This has got to be the best-stocked bench in the world. Since Madrid brought their entire available squad and intended to use everyone, there wasn’t enough space for everyone on the bench, so some sat on the ground. And as you can see both above and below, Cris was determined to show off those legs.
EIGHT. More Cris, who was in a good mood (lots of smiles) last night.
NINE. On the flip side, Raúl Albiol and Esteban Granero took the game quite seriously and played very intensely, as you can see from their gestures.
TEN. Mid-post quiz. Who do these fine culos belong to?
ELEVEN. Cris wanted to do a chilena, but didn’t have enough space, so he settled for a taconazo. Meanwhile, Sergio did his best Zidane impression.
TWELVE. Four canteranos made their “unofficial” debuts with the first team: Dani Carvajal, Óscar Plano, Pablo Gil and Mandi. Dani said after the game that “we dedicate the game to the people of Lorca, the reason why we’re here today,” while Óscar said, “we know they are having a bad time and we’re trying to help them. This game is for them. Seeing so many people here was spectacular.”
Pablo wore number 36, Carvajal 37, Mandi 38 and Óscar Plano 39.
THIRTEEN. It’s quite unusual to see Iker leave the game, so here are those moments. He removed his gloves, passed the captain’s armband on to Sergio, saluted the crowd, greeted Jerzy and then tossed his gloves into the crowd.
FOURTEEN. Pedro León got an ovation when he left the game, not only because he’s from Murcia, but also because he used to play in the Nueva Condomina as a Murcia player. And when he left, Pablo Gil checked in, which was nice, because it meant that there would still be a player from Murcia on the field defending Real Madrid’s shirt.
FIFTEEN. Post-game declarations:
Xabi: during hard times, nice gestures are the things that can help people to overcome the situation and start believing again. We tried to do our bit in the best way we know how, which is by playing football. With this small gesture and and the enthusiasm and vitality of the city, I’m sure they will recover.
Pedro León: Chendo looked great and he told me that he really liked playing in his homeland once again. I always like to play here because I consider myself part of Murcia.
Granero: Madrid tries to help out whenever they can, but today we have to thank everyone who came out to see us in Lorca and to fill the stadium, because their help is also very important.
Canales: it’s important to be here, to try and help the people of Lorca in any way we can, because they deserve it. I hope they recover soon from this tragedy. In life, there are things that are more important than a Barça-Madrid game. These are also the things that make a club great, because they’re there with the people when they need them.
José Antonio Camacho: (he was asked what he thought when he saw Chendo running onto the field) well, I could have played too, although I’m in worse shape than Chendo. It was a very nice gesture, the culmination of everything Madrid has been these days. Bringing their people here to play… things like this are what make this club great and all of us madridistas feel very proud of the club.
SIXTEEN. The two coaching staffs. Many of those on the Murcia team have connections to Madrid: José Manuel Meca and Mista are both former canteranos, José Antonio Camacho had a long and storied career with Real Madrid and Javier Miñano was the fitness coach under Vicente del Bosque (his family is from Cehegín, Murcia, although he wasn’t born in the province).
And nine players from Murcia have played with Madrid (the first team): Camacho (577 games), Chendo (497), Antonio Ruiz (89), Macanás (55), Borja (37), Javi García (29), Meca (14), Peter Lion (14) and José Antonio Rubio (11).
SEVENTEEN. The Xabi Alonso pose section.™
As you can see, Xabi is like The Pied Piper – where he goes, the kids follow.
EIGHTEEN. Bonus Xabi-in-training, since Xabi didn’t appear until the second half.
NINETEEN. The Mou corner. Yes, this is it. Mou stayed on the bench the entire game and other than for the half, didn’t move his ass until the end of the game (this moment).
TWENTY. Everyone wanted a piece of Chendo. We already saw Sergio’s tweets, but Álvaro also tweeted this photo of the A-team plus Esteban, which El Pirata re-tweeted, adding that Chendo wore his boots and is a crack! I can’t believe those guys roped Xabi into posing like them.
And Iker posted this picture on his FB to congratulate Ricky Carvalho for his birthday! He called Ricky “abuelito” and then in English, “grandpather.” If this makes Carvalho the grandfather, then Iker will tomorrow become the junior grandfather.
TWENTY ONE. And this post has been updated as well, if you want to go take a look!
Answer to quiz in item TEN: from left to right – Pepe, Benzema, Xabi Alonso and Dani Carvajal.