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five days to go…

July 6, 2011

The Captain denies the rumors, the latest on our five signings to date, plus other bits and pieces.

Update: the schedule for the 2011-12 season is out!  And things will start out wonderfully for me in this new season, since the first jornada has Madrid facing Athletic Bilbao (¡¡¡you know what that means!!!) at the Bernabéu.  See all the dates here.

And the vuelta of the Supercopa de España will be played at the Camp Nou on Aug. 17 at 23h.  Yes, that means that if there is overtime and penalties, the game will end around 1:30h in the morning.  This is because there are Champions League qualifying games on the same evening, and so UEFA won’t allow any other games to be played at the same time.  The ida is scheduled for Aug. 14 at 22h at the Bernabéu.

Iker Casillas made the last stop on his campus tour yesterday, visiting budding goalkeepers in Beijing.  He spoke with the little ones about his experiences with Madrid and with the Spanish national team, and they asked him questions about the future of football in China and whether prominent Spanish coaches such as Camacho or Aragonés would come to coach there.  During a press conference, he also denied the rumors that José Mourinho is planning a change in the captaincy, saying that he had spoken to the coach and it’s not something that’s being considered, and attributing the talk on “a lack of news these days.”  He added that there’s no need to talk more about it, and you just have to view these things with a sense of humor “y ya está.”  Yay.

Iker also visited BBVA’s office in the city and was interviewed by several local media sources.  He’ll stay in China until the end of the week to do touristy things, before returning to Madrid, as the pre-season kicks off on Monday, July 11.  Iker will of course be back with the rest of the team when Madrid travels there to play a pair of friendlies at the beginning of August.

Álvaro Arbeloa posted a few photos from his campus visit on his Facebook.  His shirt reminds me of Iker’s jersey from the 2009-10 season!

Here he is once again showing how good he looks in aviators.

And now, onto our newest players…

More on Fábio Coentrão’s first day as a Real Madrid player.  As his presence in Madrid was supposed to be a secret, he was staying at the AC La Finca instead of the Mirasierra Suites, and his medical was at the Clínica La Zarzuela, instead of the habitual Sanitas La Moraleja.  He arrived at the hospital at noon, and while he was being prodded and examined by doctors, his agent Jorge Mendes was in the Bernabéu negotiating his transfer.  One and a half hours later, Carlos Díez pronounced Coentrão’s cardiovascular and pulmonary fitness as “excellent” and said the medical had gone very well.  Twenty minutes after that, at 13:50h, Coentrão arrived at the Bernabéu, where he signed his contract at 14:30h.  He then contemplated Madrid’s nine European Cups, posed with FP, spoke to Madrid’s web site and had lunch at the Zen Market restaurant in the stadium.  Fábio left the stadium around 18h, went to his hotel to pick up his suitcase, and took a flight out of Spain for Portugal.

And more on the contract negotiation: Madrid sold 50 percent of the rights to Ezequiel Garay to Benfica for €6 million, and the Portuguese club will have the opportunity to pay another €6 million next year to purchase the other 50 percent.  And apparently negotiations were stalled until Madrid threw the name of Royston Drenthe onto the table, so will he be the next one to go?

Fábio Coentrão has the distinction of being FP’s most expensive defender to date, as his €30 million transfer fee beats the €27 million paid for Sergio Ramos six years ago (has it been that long?  I remember when he was presented like it was yesterday!).  During FP’s presidencies, he has shelled out a total of €153 million on defenders, and a total of €791 million on 35 players.  [List of those 35 players at the end of the post.]

Fábio spoke to Real Madrid after he officially became the newest member of the Real Madrid family.  He revealed that since he was a child, he had imagined himself playing for Madrid, so this is a dream come true for him.  When asked what went through his head when he signed his contract, he said, “nothing, I was just nervous.  Being here, with the president, signing the contract… it’s all a dream.”  He also described José Mourinho as “the best coach in the world, he’s been recognized as such.  It’s an honor to have the opportunity to work with him.”  Fábio also said he expects his national team teammates (Cris, Pepe, Carvalho) to help him a lot with his adaptation.

The signing of Coentrão brings the number of Portuguese players on the team to four, making them the country with the most players after Spain with 11.  Argentina has dropped from second to third, now that Eze Garay is on his way out.  I’m including the below picture just for Cristiano Ronaldo (look carefully and you’ll figure out why).

José Callejón made a public appearance yesterday, to support his twin brother Juanmi (like him, a former canterano) during his presentation with his new team, Hércules, in Alicante yesterday.  It was Juanmi’s day, but José got a lot of attention too, especially from the hundreds of kids that wanted his autograph or to take pictures with him.  However, he couldn’t speak to the press, because “today is the day of my brother” and because “I won’t make any declarations until I get to Madrid, the club is not allowing me to do so.  But I’m happy and excited.”  And I’m excited to see how José will be styling himself –  I think there will be similarities to Sergio Ramos in terms of clothing choices, maybe it’s an Andalucían thing.

Nuri Sahin trained for three hours at Valdebebas yesterday, to continue his recovery from a knee injury.  He was supervised during the three hours by team doctor Juan Carlos Hernández.  Once Nuri finished training and had lunch, he went to the Sanitas La Moraleja for tests on his right knee.

Meanwhile, Hamit Altintop has arrived in Madrid, and like Sahin, is staying at the Mirasierra Suites.  He’s also in a recovery phase, from the back surgery he had last week.  He’s expected to return in about three months time.

Raphël Varane has passed his university entrance exams in France, with a specialty in social sciences and economics.  In the last year, Varane combined his studies at the Gaillette center with playing for Lens.  Congratulations to Raphaël!  I hope he can continue with his studies in Madrid.  Maybe the Springsteen-loving Esteban can give him some tips on how to do so?

And a shot from the “Haiti es Real” charity dinner last night at the Bernabéu.  An opportunity to dine on the césped of the Santiago Bernabéu? That’s worth paying for.

The RFEF has awarded Real Madrid its Pedo Zaballa award for fair play, for its charitable actions towards Lorca (see here or here).  To refresh your memory – if needed – Madrid played a friendly against a team made up of players from Murcia on May 18, with all proceeds going towards helping victims.  The trophy is named after Sabadell player Pedro Zaballa.  In a Liga game against Real Madrid at the Bernabéu, he kicked a ball out of bounds when he had the opportunity to score, because at that moment Madrid’s keeper Junquera was injured outside of the area.

The list of FP’s players, in order of cost to the club in millions of euros, from most expensive to least: Cristiano Ronaldo (96), Zidane (73.5), Kaká (65), Figo (60), Ronaldo (45), Benzema (35), Beckham (35), Coentrão (30), Xabi Alonso (30), Sergio Ramos (27), Di María (25), Robinho (25), Samuel (25), Flavio (25), Baptista (20), Woodgate (20), Özil (15), Albiol (15), Makelele (14), Owen (12), Varane (10), Sahin (10), Peter Lion (10), Khedira (10), Carvalho (8), Cicinho (8), Diogo (6), Cassano (5.5), Callejón (5), Canales (5), Negredo (5), Pablo Garciá (4.5), Arbeloa (4), Granero (4), Gravesen (3.5).

Your favorite signings, bargains and busts?  Mine are Zidane, Makelele and Robinho, respectively.

28 Comments leave one →
  1. July 6, 2011 11:52

    On the Cristiano’s photo… I think I know why, but I’m not gonna say it. I will only say, thank you. LOL

  2. Sarah, Madrid permalink
    July 6, 2011 11:59

    It has to be Ozil! he is a bargain and I would say Angel. Oh boy! 6 years already too jeeez! Makelele :(! Beck cost as much as Benz, wow! I think I forget this, I find it pretty surprising.

    I love how Coentroa is in love with our club, But still Marcelitto :(. I am going to miss Eze/pipa bro-romance!

  3. Buckhum permalink
    July 6, 2011 12:00

    Favorite Signing: both Ronaldos
    Bargain: Ozil
    Bust: Kaka (but I still have faith… as well as his #8 jersey)

  4. Kat permalink
    July 6, 2011 12:05

    If you have to look carefully to notice that…

  5. mickymacky permalink
    July 6, 2011 12:34

    una, is that pic of cris with fabio a subtle statement that cris’ cris junior actually makes it *five* portuguese players for madrid?

    just wondering. coz the size of that thing… @.@

  6. amouria permalink
    July 6, 2011 12:35

    Forgot Pepe? he was signed by 30M as i remember, but he’s worth it.
    favorite signing: Zidane, Ozil, Ronaldo
    worst of all: Albiol, he should be sold…really (although liked his wedding pics)

  7. Rachel permalink
    July 6, 2011 12:57

    Well, that was a no-brainer. There was no reason to ever believe Mou intended to change captains. He’s never changed captains. He’s only ever appointed one, due to a retirement – and that was John Terry, the longest-serving player at the club at the time. Come on, it was Marca. If we’re going to act like that’s legitimate, we should also be worried about the 30 players we’re going to buy this summer, how everyone hates Cris, Ozil thinking he deserves the Ballon D’Or, us swapping Higuain for Cesc, Neymar signing for us because he doesn’t know who Barcelona is, Kaka hating Mou, Mou hating Benzema, and how Raul refused to allow David Villa to come to RM.

    Wake up, guys.

  8. cisarovna permalink
    July 6, 2011 13:20

    A lot of balls in that picture Una.

  9. July 6, 2011 14:31

    Why will the Supercopa be played at Camp Nou? I’d rather it be at the Bernabeu.

    • July 6, 2011 16:04

      It’s a two-leg series. The first leg is at the Bernabéu and the second at the Camp Nou.

  10. Cindy permalink
    July 6, 2011 14:45

    Thank you for keeping us inform over the vacaction period Una. I can’t wait for pre-season and for the season to start. This will be Real Madrid year. As for the picture of Cris, all i have to say is Irina you are a lucky girl..:)

  11. July 6, 2011 15:01

    Wish Iker won’t feel annoyed, being asked those questions about the armband. And he’s really tired, after flying here and there, hardly has enjoyed his own holiday at all. Although I’m so eager to see them team up again for the pre-season training!

  12. Maddi permalink
    July 6, 2011 17:34

    OMG Betis vs. Sevilla!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Holy crap I am hyperventilating!!!!!!!!!!! what a start to La Liga!!!

    • Maddi permalink
      July 6, 2011 17:36

      Or shall I say,

  13. Jessie permalink
    July 6, 2011 18:39

    i’m mesmerized by that photo of

  14. July 7, 2011 00:27

    Love it ! The ronaldo picture was delicious 😉

  15. danikoko permalink
    July 7, 2011 01:28

    Mourinho deserves an apology for all the insults he received from madridistas on twitter/facebook/….. he was insulted for a rumor made up by marca. what a shame.

  16. nicole permalink
    July 7, 2011 02:20

    do you know where i can find a video of sergio ramos presentation also of benzema and ozil?

  17. emily permalink
    July 7, 2011 04:40

    Iker certainly must be tired from the relentless globe trotting.
    Interesting list, Una. Of all those names, Zidane rings out, and Alonso was a bit of a coup. Look what happened to Liverpool when he left. Was surprised to see you pick makelele. I figured you would have Serhio and Alvaro high up there. Carvalho has been a great value for the amount of money paid. He is nails on the back line. CR has been a pretty important signing. Now that FP has graduated from the George Steinbrenner school of championship buying, we need all of his spending to pay off…

    • July 7, 2011 15:31

      Why are you surprised? We stopped winning once Makelele left. It wasn’t a coincidence. He had the endorsements of the likes of ZIdane and Hierro. The position he plays has been named after him!

  18. black widow permalink
    July 7, 2011 05:12

    that makes me feel much better (iker posted about it on his facebook today, too). there is only ONE capitan!!!! 🙂

    una, you already know this, but i used to adore michael owen … he’s the reason i first fell in love with both liverpool and real madrid. but that said, he didn’t have such a great time in spain, and though it breaks my heart to say it, he would be one of my biggest disappointments. biggest bargain? arbeloa!

  19. Maria permalink
    July 7, 2011 15:13

    Favorite: Sergio Ramos
    Bargain: Zidane, C.Ronaldo, Ozil, di Maria
    Bust: Kaka

  20. Alyssa permalink
    July 8, 2011 02:13

    Oh wow Iker’s face is priceless!


    Fav signings: Xabi and Sergio Ramos
    Bargains: Arbeloa and Granero (we’ll it see soon)
    Busts: praying with all my heart that Kaká doesn’t turn into one

  21. July 8, 2011 10:13

    Favorite: Zidane
    Bargain : Mesut
    Bust: Robinho and Kaka ( even though he still has a little chance to prove me wrong)

  22. July 10, 2011 05:14

    Carvalho and Ozil have been great.

  23. July 31, 2011 22:53

    ozil es mehoor de el mundoooooooo i benzema tambien

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