ICYMI – the end of the season edition
In case you missed it – Real Madrid vs. Almería [2011-05-21, Liga jornada 38, 8-1].
Remember how at the beginning of the season, everyone was talking about how the defensive stylings of José Mourinho would make Madrid boring? Well, this Madrid scored 102 goals in this Liga season, the most of all teams and seven more than the “offensive” (as in attacking, not racist insults) Barcelona, and Cristiano Ronaldo won the pichichi with 40/41 goals, as well as the Golden Boot. And the eight goals are the perfect way to end the season, no?
ONE. I’m often told I need to include more of Mesut Özil, but he just doesn’t have that many moments during the games. In this one, however, he did smile widely and lift up his shirt to show his tummy. Since we’re at the end of the season, that’s enough to get him featured in this post, and as the first item too! You’re welcome.
TWO. Going back to the moments prior to the game, the boys all had their game faces on, even if they only thing at stake in this game was pride.
As always, I love the camaraderie.
THREE. In the absence of Iker, one Sergio Ramos was the capi, which meant that he led the team out onto the field, and represented the team at the coin toss.
FOUR. The 8-1 goal fest was the perfect way to close out the season, and it speaks of good things to come, so I can’t wait until next season! Also of note, Cris shattered Hugo Sánchez and Telmo Zarra’s single-season goalscoring record by scoring his 39th and 40th goals (or 40th and 41st goals according to Marca, which prompted Cris to say he’d give one as a gift to Pepe). Cris also had two assists on the night, and Mesut accumulated 18 throughout the season, a new record for Real Madrid!
Here are a couple of the goal celebrations. On the left, do you think Marcelo was watching the dancing with a wistful expression on his face? And on the right, this is a piña.
I wonder what this means?
There was more dancing yet to come, and kisses as well.
FIVE. What a debut for Joselu, no? He became the first canterano to score a goal with the first team this season (MFC came close)…
… and in the goal celebration, he even danced with Manu Adebayor! This kid has cojones – I mean, this was his first ever call-up with the first team, he didn’t even train that often with the first team prior to that, and he celebrates by dancing a la Cristiano or Marcelo? I see good things in his future.
SIX. Speaking of the debuts, last night was the turn of Jesús Fernández and Joselu. They became the ninth and tenth canteranos to do so this season, and as stated earlier, Joselu even managed to score the cantera’s first goal of the season, the icing on the cake of the game.
Here they are entering the stadium for the game…
… checking in (of course it would be Pepe giving a high five to the canterano, as he is, as I’ve stated many times in the past, their biggest cheerleader, and he had to be a even bigger one last night, to make up for the absence of Marcelo)…
… getting some playing time…
… and speaking to the press after the game, with copious amounts of gel in their hair. Joselu said, “it was a dream come true and I’m very happy. Cristiano gave me a great pass and I hugged him to thank him. I was so nervous and I didn’t imagine I would score a goal.” Jesús also called his debut “a dream,” and added, “Jerzy played his last game and we all wish him the best. I felt a lot of emotion, but later on I calmed down.”
SEVEN. After the game, as the rest of the team was saluting the crowd from the center circle, Pepe hugged Joselu and then Mandi came over to spray him with water (remember Pepe doing that to Nacho after his debut? Maybe it’s a tradition). Joselu then got another hug from Pepe, one from Mandi, and from Sergio and Xabi as well.
EIGHT. A couple of Cristiano moments. I like the angle of the shot on the right (and I love how in the summer, even when it’s nine at night, it’s still light outside) and how intense Cris was living the game, even with a five-goal lead (I guess he really wanted to score more).
NINE. Xabi-in-training has the routine down pat, from giving instructions to encouraging teammates to posing. He’s going to graduate soon!
TEN. This game’s thigh flash came courtesy of Juanma Ortiz’ pulling of Álvaro Arbeloa’s shorts.
ELEVEN. And some Sergio moments, for those who come here for that. Sergio spent time on the ground, making faces at the referee, giving instructions (mmm, a man in charge) and just being Sergio.
TWELVE. After the game, Cris told Canal + that “scoring 102 goals in a season is difficult. I have to congratulate my teammates. The míster wanted us to score many goals to start the new season with ambition. We’re going to win the Liga next season. I’m generous with my teammates because they were with me. Without their help, I wouldn’t have been able to score 40 goals and I’m very grateful to them. This is a team sport. I thank them for the 40 goals, which was the objective of everyone. This pichichi is for them and for the fans.” The best part of the interview was when Manu Adebayor came up behind him and shouted out his own name.
These two things really have a connection, don’t they?
THIRTEEN. The Xabi Alonso pose section.™
This is one of my favorite moments from the game, when the referee gave Xabi a yellow, only Xabi didn’t see it because he had his back to the referee. And when he finally saw it, his reaction was priceless, and he had some choice words for the referee. I love you Xabi.
FOURTEEN. The Mou/Karanka corner.
No Iker means no perfect profile pic, but our technical staff isn’t too bad, no? And I love how this is Mou’s expression right after we scored a goal.
It’s always fun watching him gesture and make funny expressions.
In his postgame press conference (as much as I love Aitor, I miss José, so stupid UEFA!), Aitor Karanka said the team achieved its aim of scoring more than 100 goals, which is “important” for a team that is considered defensive, and so everyone is “content.” He also praised Cristiano, saying, “his numbers this season are impressive. He’s a player with quality, strength and ambition. He broke the record because he is an impressive footballer.”
His embroidered shirt reminds me of Iker’s.
As for the debutantes, Aitor remarked, “I’m very happy when I see players debut. I’ve known some of them since they were 14, when I was working in the RFEF. Everyone who has been called up to the first team are role models for the rest.”
Karanka also said that Manu Adebayor’s hat trick wouldn’t affect the decision about his future, and that “he’s been a very good player for the locker room and he’s created a very good atmosphere. He had a reputation for being controversial and he’s proved the opposite.”
FIFTEEN. Ten minutes after the game had ended, with the Santiago Bernabéu already three quarters empty, some fans in the Fondo Sur continued chanting and singing José Mourinho’s name, and so he returned to the field from the locker room to thank them (shadowed by Óscar Ribot, of course). Mou applauded them back and touched his heart several times to acknowledge their support.
SIXTEEN. The boys won’t be back together as a team until July 11 (but wait, shouldn’t they have that day off, because it should be a national holiday?), but we will see a handful of our players playing with their national teams during the summer: the La Roja players, Özil, Khedira, Di María, Garay, Higuaín, Benzema, Pepe, Cristiano.
(According to AS, Madrid offered to play a friendly with Espanyol on Wednesday, as part of their agreement for the signing of José Callejón, but Espanyol has some problems with their schedule and so the game did not get the go-ahead.)
SEVENTEEN. Castilla lost 0-2 to Alcoyano this morning at the Bernabéu, in the ida game of their two-game playoff series, complicating things in their bid to ascend to the second division. But I have faith that we will see a remontada in the second-leg game, which takes place on next Sunday, May 29, in Alcoy at 19h.
As stated earlier, they had their first ever concentración this season prior to the game, so MFC tweeted this picture of him and Álex on the bus to the hotel.
Courtesy of the boys’ twitters, we found out that they had roommates in their concentración.
EIGHTEEN. Things will be exciting in Madrid next year, with four teams from the capital in the first division for the first time ever: Real Madrid, Atleti, Getafe (which was saved yesterday) and Rayo Vallecano, returning to the first division after an absence of eight years. Iker is probably very happy, because Mou might give them shorter concentraciones.
Speaking of all the movements between divisions yesterday, I thought it was very sweet how some of our boys remembered teams they have connections to. Álvaro Arbeloa was happy for his hometown team Zaragoza, but sad for former team Depor, which was relegated to the second division. Xabi congratulated his Real for staying in the first division, and said it would be strange not to travel to A Coruña next year. Meanwhile, Miguel Torres (here and here), Jordi Codina and Esteban Granero were all very happy for Getafe, with El Pirata also sending his condolences to Depor. Iker did as well, via Facebook.
NINETEEN. And congratulations to Raúl, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Metze and former canterano José Manuel Jurado, who won the German equivalent of the Copa del Rey (Guti had won the Turkish version as well!). Raúl celebrated by – what else – doing bullfighting passes with a cape. Oh, nostalgia.
TWENTY. And of course, this was Jerzy Dudek’s last game with Madrid. See all the emotional and touching moments involving him from this game here.