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all set for Almería!

May 21, 2011

Can you believe we’ve come to this already, the LAST training session of the season, ahead of the LAST game of the season?

Mesut needed to work on his abs, but Sergio and Cris did not.

Real Madrid held their first and last training session yesterday in preparation for today’s home game against Almería (20h).  Twenty footballers ran around at Valdebebas, including Sami Khedira, who ran alone, and canteranos Jesús, Joselu and Mandi.  The absences were Gago, Garay, Higuaín, Di María, Marcelo, Lass and the birthday boy Iker, due to a combination of injury and excused absences (it looks like Marcelo has been granted extra vacation).  That means we didn’t get to see Iker receive congratulations and pulls on his ears from his teammates!  Zizou also hung around the field and spoke with José Mourinho, who was missing Aitor Karanka.

The next training session won’t be until July 11, which means Madrid won’t be playing any friendlies after the season, and almost two months of vacation for those without any international commitments, such as the Copa América, or Spain’s Americas tour in June.

Eighteen footballers were called up for this game.  The ones left off the list were Lass, Gago and Khedira (injury), Garay, Higuaín and Di María (excused for Copa América duty), Marcelo (on vacation already), Adán and Iker (coach’s decision).  The three canteranos who trained with the first team this morning were included, and it’s the first call-up for an official came for Joselu and Mandi (Jesús was called up for the Getafe game two weeks ago).  And Iker must be jealous, because the players won’t have to be concentrados tonight – instead, they’re cited to be at the stadium at 12h today, game day.

Goalkeepers: Dudek, Jesús.

Defenders: Carvalho, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Arbeloa, Albiol.

Midfielders: Granero, Alonso, Özil, Kaká, Pedro León, Canales, Mandi.

Forwards: Adebayor, Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, Joselu.

Jerzy Dudek will start against Almería in his last game with Real Madrid.  He spent four seasons with Madrid, winning one Liga, one Copa del Rey and one Supercopa de España, and is, as José Mourinho said, “un hombre top on the team.”  ¡Gracias por todo, Jerzy!  We’ll miss you!

Cris wears short shorts.  And why are Karim and Kaká waving those jerseys around?

Aitor Karanka spoke to the press (no doubt Mou’s smiling somewhere) following the training session.  He didn’t want to give a grade to the team, although he said the season has been good, because “in the first season, the team got to the semifinals of the Champions, won a trophy that they hadn’t won in a long time, and did well in the Liga, where we are the highest scoring team at the moment and where we have a player that will take home the pichichi.”

When asked why Madrid signed Peter Lion, Aitor said, “there are young players who have done well, such as Pedro León.  Coming to Madrid is taking a big step forward, it’s a lot of pressure and not everyone manages to adapt in the first year.”  As for Altintop, Karanka said, “he has the profile we’re seeking… we hope he’s a good signing.”  With regards to Adebayor’s future, “Emmanuel is a fantastic player and he’s brought joy to the team.  We’ll see what happens.”

Aitor also revealed that his objective is to “enjoy” himself and that he’s very content at the moment and not thinking about the future (as in whether he’d like to become a head coach).  As for the cantera, his thoughts were that “the potential of Morata, Sarabia or Álex is there and we’ll keep them in mind.”  He also said he believes that calling up three canteranos won’t harm Castilla: “I spoke with Toril, with whom I have a very good relationship.  He told me that he believed they could be with us.  He always looks out for what we need in the moment.”  Lastly, Iker wasn’t called up because “we had planned for this since some weeks back.  Antonio has worked very hard and Dudek as well, as have the chicos de la cantera.”

Real Madrid got Hugo Sánchez and Cristiano Ronaldo together for a reportaje.  Here’s to Cris breaking Hugo (and Zarra)’s record!  See the rest of the pictures here.

Cris said, “I am delighted to be amongst them. Individual accolades are important, but not as much as collective achievements. I’m satisfied because it isn’t easy to score 38 goals in one season, but I managed to do so with the help of my teammates. I wouldn’t be able to win a Pichichi Trophy or a Golden Boot without them. I am very grateful to them. All I can promise is that I will always do my best when wearing this shirt. Özil, Kaká, Xabi Alonso, Di María, Benzema, Higuaín… it’s hard to choose just one teammate. This award belongs to all and I wish to share it with them.”

And a couple of cute Castilla portraits from yesterday, of Fran Rico and Nacho.  Report here.  Don’t forget, they’ll be playing their first playoff game on the road to the second division on Sunday at 12h at the Bernabéu against Alcoyano!

And Iker posted this cute photo on his Facebook yesterday.  He also dedicated this song “La chica de ayer” by Nacha Pop to an “incredible” person who “likes this song a lot,” saying, “thank you for everything.”  I think we all know who that person is, but if you need proof, go here.

To end, a photo of little Iker from a Cuatro video.  Truth, heart, thank you!!!

UPDATE: The called-up players met today at noon in the Bernabéu to begin the concentración.  Will this be the last time we see some of these faces?

I also like these pictures.  Cris’ hair is very gelled up, and what happened to Jesús’ face?

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah, Madrid permalink
    May 21, 2011 12:50

    I am very sad, tomorrow is the last game, although this season feels so long and we were disappionted along the way, but I LOVE IT, it is the most exicting season we have since 2 years.

    I will miss my madridista, 2 MONTHS is too much! 😦

  2. Lorelei permalink
    May 21, 2011 13:10

    I can’t believe it’s the last game of the season. I’m going to miss the team over the next two months. Hopefully they will have a great game, Cris will break the goals record, and Jerzy will get a clean sheet in his last game with us. Thanks for everything, Jerzy!

  3. Diana permalink
    May 21, 2011 15:18

    I can’t believe it’s the end of the season already! It’s a bittersweet feeling, but I can’t wait till August. I have a feeling we’re going to be unstoppable.

    July, please come quick. I’m going to miss my boys. :’)

  4. amouria permalink
    May 21, 2011 15:23

    so? we won’t see them until next season? sad for us, good for them. i wish them great holidays (they should come back heavily tanned 🙂

  5. Milleca permalink
    May 21, 2011 15:24

    Ahhh Dudek! I feel sad to see him go! Even if I only know him for one season, he really did a great job with Madrid!

    And the little Iker in the video is so cute!!!!!

    Thanks for the update Una.

    P.S. Iker is so sweet. *sigh* We should clone him or something!

  6. IsaBella permalink
    May 21, 2011 16:18

    ehhhh it’s pretty sad that it’s the last game already… 😦 but I believe that the next season will be even better than this one and that we will have more reasons to celebrate!
    what about the friendly game in Africa? has it been cancelled?
    I’m also sad that it’s Jurek Dudek’s last game, but I wish him all the best and I hope he’ll be happy elsewhere.

  7. May 21, 2011 17:01

    Woot! What a year! This is my first year as a Madridista and I can’t be more proud of them! I choose the right team! They have been fantastic and amazing! Disappointment is bound to happen but there were lots of good moments that it overshadows the bad one. I’m really looking forward to next season and I can’t hardly wait to see the new additions to our team in action and interacts with our boys! Gonna be so sad for everyone that leaves, though 😦

  8. black widow permalink
    May 21, 2011 17:26

    i’m glad dudek is getting to start in his last match. gracias, jerzy! best of luck!

    i can’t believe the season is over, either. that went far too fast!

  9. May 21, 2011 19:56

    Oh, the break. And with no world cup. what are we gonna do?

    I think I will be following Copa America of course, and La Roja friendlies, but still, I will miss the games every week, the news and all that stuff. I hope the p[layers will do something worth reporting durign the break;-)

    What I will miss the most though is UnaMadridista’s IN CASE YOU MISSED IT! I know we have one more game to go, but THANK YOU Una for all your work this season, it’s been a blast, you are amazing!!!!

    Maybe we will make a contest or voting for our favourite gif from the season or something like that, to keep ourselves entertained during the break? (okay, I suppose we all know which gif of Serhio would win, but still….);-))

  10. May 21, 2011 20:30

    Uggggggh. I was hoping against hope that that wasn’t for Sara. Now all my hopes are crushed and I’ll have to drown my sorrows in ice cream and cookies… Iker, why must you be so sweet and adorable?!?!? And to SARA, of all people. I. CAN’T. TAKE. IT.

    Yes, I’m a little (only a little?!?) bitter. But can you guys blame me?

    Now excuse me, I have a one on one appointment with a bag of Chewy Chips Ahoy.

    • black widow permalink
      May 23, 2011 09:15

      don’t blame you in the slightest, i had the exact same reaction. it isn’t that i don’t want him to be happy, i just don’t want him to be happy with *her*. there’s something about her that just rubs me the wrong way. she’s no nagore, put it that way. i was hoping it wasn’t her, too, because he wrote something like “for you, SOL” and i couldn’t figure out what the “OL” stood for, so i was hoping it was for someone else!

      • May 23, 2011 15:14

        “Sol” is a term of endearment, I think Shakira also called Piqué that in a tweet.

        • black widow permalink
          May 24, 2011 04:19

          yes! she did, i remember that, it was the tweet where she ‘introduced’ him. doesn’t it translate to sunshine, or something? (makes sense, sol = solar = sun) i was just thrown because he wrote it in capital letters, and of course her first name starts with an ‘S’, so i thought it was initials and then got hopeful–er, i mean, confused–because those weren’t her initials. thanks for the explanation!

  11. May 21, 2011 21:25

    Sorry if you’ve mentioned this and I’ve missed it, but why are the matches being played on a Saturday not a Sunday?

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