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one more day to go!

July 10, 2011

The 2011-12 pre-season begins tomorrow!  It seems like a while since the boys went on vacation, but looking back, that time has gone by pretty quickly, no?  The players are due at Valdebebas at 09h in the morning for medical exams.  Two hours later, the team will head to Barajas to catch their flight to Los Angeles, where they will be spending the first days of the pre-season.  The first training session has been scheduled for Tuesday at 10h local time (19h Madrid time) at UCLA’s campus.

They better bring back the sleeveless training shirts!!

According to reports, six canteranos will travel with the first team: Nacho (the only one to repeat this trip; his brother has just wished him luck), Jorge Casado, Tomás Mejías, Jesús Fernández, Joselu and Jesé.  Meanwhile, several players won’t be making the trip, either due to national team duty or because they don’t figure into the plans of José Mourinho.  In terms of the former, we have the three Argentines currently playing in the Copa Amércia and Sergio Canales, who will be on duty with the U-20 national team (although both reasons are valid for him).  In the latter group, we have Lass (he is in Mou’s plans, but he doesn’t want to be there), Pedro León and Drenthe.  Altintop also won’t be going to the U.S. because he’s still recovering from injury.

And the club has called all of the players via telephone to transmit to them the message that José Mourinho requests that they all sleep in Madrid tonight, to make sure there won’t be any delays in their medicals or the start of the summer tour tomorrow.

Yesterday, Zinedine Zidane was seen arriving at Valdebebas shortly before ten in the morning.  He was there to supervise the work of the new players, who appeared after him: Callejón, Altintop, Varane and Sahin.    Callejón, Varane and Sahin had a two-hour training session, while Altintop continued to do recovery work on his back.  They’ll be back training today.  All four of the players are staying at the Mirasierra Suites for the moment, even though some of them have already found houses.  Meanwhile, Marcelo was also in Valdebebas training yesterday afternoon.  He decided to cut short his vacation because he had more vacation than the rest, having been released early for the Copa América, though in the end he was not called up for it.

Iker’s visit to China wrapped up after he toured the Forbidden City, presided over a charity dinner, browsed around at the fake market, was interviewed by state sports channel CCTV5, climbed the Great Wall and visited his campus.

During the interview with CCTV5, Iker was asked which of these five forwards would he eliminate: Eto’o, Rooney, Cristiano, Villa or Messi.  Iker’s answer was, “I think it’s down to Villa or Messi.  Why?  Because Cristiano is my teammate, and I can’t hurt him.  I’ve faced Rooney very few times and he’s never scored on me.  As for Eto’o, I can eliminate half of it already, because he now plays in Italy, although it’s true that when he played in Spain, he did score on me.  That’s why it’s a decision between Villa or Messi.  Villa has scored against me with Valencia, Zaragoza, Barcelona… with all his teams.  Messi has scored against me with Barcelona.  Between the two of them, I would take out Villa, because each time I’ve coincided with him on the national team and each time he’s scored on me, he’s such a bad person that he reminds me about it” (Iker was joking – everyone knows that they’re great friends).

The charity dinner, meanwhile, raised a lot of money for the New Generation Foundation, which is dedicated to developing sports and improving education for children in the most disadvantaged areas of China.  One person spent €300,000 to purchase a lot comprised of a Madrid shirt, gloves and some balls, all of which were signed.  A signed La Roja shirt was also auctioned off, along with a signed Jabulani and one of Iker’s green national team shirts.

During his campus, he said he was happy to see how children are attracted to football, especially the position of goalkeeper.  He also expressed an interest in how women’s football is developing in China, saying they have a lot of potential.

Iker also had the time to meet one Chinese fan named Amelia, resulting in this quite hilarious video (watch Iker’s expressions throughout).  She said she’s been a fan of Iker since 2003, and she started studying Spanish because of him and perhaps this fall, she’ll go do a masters degree in Spain.  She also reveals that “my idol now is José Mourinho” (Iker was like, oh, I’m no longer your idol, but once he finds out who her current one is, he’s like okay).  The Liga BBVA guy told her to give him a call when she gets to Madrid, so that he can call Iker and tell him to give her a ticket to see a game.  Amelia can’t quite believe it and keeps saying, “really?” to which Iker responds “it’s true” (in English!).  She then holds out a piece of paper to Iker so that she can have written proof.  Iker writes, “I, Iker Casillas, promise to give you two tickets in the fall to watch Real Madrid.  July 9, 2011.”  Amelia then wants him to add, “for always.”  Iker ignores her, signing his name.  Amelia then insists that Iker write “with affection” before his name.  Iker protests, “but it’s a contract!”  However, he does accede to her request for him to write, “captain of the Spanish national team and Real Madrid” under his name.

And though he was surrounded by one of his favorite things – purses – at the fake market, Iker wrote that HE DID NOT PURCHASE ANYTHING.  Relief.

Meanwhile, Álvaro Arbeloa looks great as a soldier, no?  Carlota, take note.  If you ever want to do some role play, this is a fantastic look for your husband.  Álvaro went for a game of Airsoft with his brothers and some friends, and tweeted this photo.

MSFC Juan Carlos tweeted on Thursday, “thank you all for your support, for always being there, because this is something to be thankful for.  A new phase is beginning, and this I will never forget… because all of you, as well as Madrid, have given me everything, and I hope in the future I’ll be back with you.  Regards to everyone, and thank you!”  I hope you’ll be back too!

His now former teammates were also quick to congratulate him.  Denis tweeted, “my sincerest congratulations to my brother Juankar, I wish you the best of luck!  I love you, crack!  See you soon!”  Meanwhile, Álex wrote, “best of luck to my friend Juankar with his new team!  I hope everything goes well for you!  You’re a crack!”  And MFC Álvaro Borja Martín expressed himself by tweeting, “I wish Juankar a lot of luck in his new adventure in Zaragoza.  I’m sure you’ll be an idol at the Romareda!  A hug!!!”

When is Madrid going to make an official announcement?

Speaking of MFC ABMM, he’s currently with the U-19 team, and there he was given Punto Pelota’s test, along with Rafa Alcántara.  These are his (mostly mumbled) answers.  Full name: Álvaro Borja Morata Martín [I love hearing him say that!!!].  Nickname: Morata.  Age: 18.  Idol: Raúl.  Best memory: debuting with Real Madrid.  A coach: José Mourinho.  Which famous person would you go have a beer with?  Pablo Motos (the host of “El Hormiguero”).  A hobby: playing ping pong (this answer elicits a lot of laughs, perhaps because, as Álex has tweeted, he’s not very good at it?).  A movie: the one with Will Smith… Seven PoundsFavorite music: I like El Canto del Loco, and my favorite song… Coldplay’s “Fix You.”  If you weren’t a footballer… I suppose I would have done the same thing as my father, work in marketing.  A dream: to be a Real Madrid player.  Favorite food: eggs with potatoes.  Your motto: there’s no honor without pain.

Real Madrid was visited by Haitian president Michel Martelly on Friday, with FP acting as his tour guide in their visit of the Bernabéu.  But what I wanted to draw your attention to was that Real Madrid’s photographers don’t care if you’re a head of state or a player, there’s one way you have to pose, and this is it.

At the same time, Esteban Granero’s piratas were also visiting the stadium, though their namesake was unfortunately absent.

And in sad news, Fabio Cannavaro announced his retirement yesterday, saying “every athlete in the world has to make this decision one day.  And today is that day for me.”  He said his physical problems drove him to make this decision, since he no longer has cartilage in his knees.  Fabio, who is 38, spent this past season playing for UAE team Al Ahli in Dubai, and he’ll continue there as an adviser.  Fabio of course played three years with Real Madrid, winning two Liga titles and forming an endearing friendship with Iker Casillas in the process.

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23 Comments leave one →
  1. Alyssa permalink
    July 10, 2011 12:04

    This was the best post to wake up to this morning! Thank you! I have to ask though. When Iker said “…he’s such a bad person that he reminds me about it.” about David Villa, is this something that was lost in translation? He’s not actually calling him a bad person right? Is there more a teasing connotation to it?

    Ahhhh that video of Iker and the Chinese fan! Words can’t explain how adorable this man is! I literally melted when he said “it’s true” in English! I replayed it a bunch of times haha. Also, I wish I could have the guts to be that forceful with Iker if I ever met him! I have a feeling I’d be more of a mumbling idiot.

    All I have to say about Álvaro Morata: I want to take him and keep him forever!

    Can someone who’s been to the Bernabeu tell me if there’s just something in the air there that gives you the undeniable desire to pose with a thumbs up? It’s so funny that the President of Haiti did it too!

    I’m sad about Cannavaro, but it makes sense that his time has come. He’ll be fondly remembered forever and ever :).

    • July 12, 2011 16:02

      No, I’ve been to the Bernabéu many times and I’ve never felt the urge to pose like that.

  2. July 10, 2011 12:18

    haha Una did you read Becks saying: “Tengo ganas de ver de nuevo a Casillas…” LOL you guessed it!

    I really cant wait to see Jesé playing with the first team. Absolutely curious!

    Good luck Fabio for his further life! I miss his smile.

    And I also want to wish Juan Carlos and Mateos good luck with Zaragoza!!!!

    they do have sleeveless training shirts this year again.

    Especially love the black training shirts. Ill get me this one. So love it!

  3. July 10, 2011 12:51

    wait medical checks tomporrow? We want PICTURES!!!

  4. Ally permalink
    July 10, 2011 14:16

    ABMM’s favourite song is Coldplay’s Fix you???!! that’s my fav song tooo 😀

    it’s sad that Cannavaro is retiring… 😥

  5. debsen permalink
    July 10, 2011 15:21

    Thanks for the post! Especially the part about Iker. I laughed during your comment on his picture with the purses. I also loved his response about Villa giving him grief when they meet up for the national team. And the video is too cute.

    You must be looking for to July 11th. Real Madrid goes back to training and 1 year anniversary of Spain winning the World Cup!

  6. Sarah, Madrid permalink
    July 10, 2011 15:22

    Oh iker, as if he knew that we all were thinking/crossing fingers, please don’t purchase anything lol. I love Iker reaction on Jose Mourinho, oh I love him, can’t wait to see the boys, but I am questioning the timing of the China game, it is really close to the date of Supercopa no?

    Matoes, Juanfran good luck, hope to see you soon too.

    Canavaro good luck, I dont know why I never connected with Fabio in Real Madrid, but good luck! Hope for a reunion with Iker pretty soon.

  7. emily permalink
    July 10, 2011 16:30

    I will definitely miss that wee handsome bald man. He’s a little gem. His younger, somewhat similar looking brother, Paolo, is still in Serie A playing for Napoli, so look him up if you need a little Cannavaro to light up your day.
    ‘eets true…’ 🙂 I like hearing Him speak English. Can’t wait for tomorrow! Hope the news shows the first Becksillas hugs… If not that, some fan girl will post it, for sure.

  8. July 10, 2011 18:35

    Really sad to hear that Fabio has to retire. He was getting along so well with Iker 😦 I can hardly imagine how Iker feels when his old friends get old and leave the pitch. It must be tough. Maybe we should be optimistic that Iker can keep us company for longer time…
    And, Una, do you know that Iker mentioned years ago that his favorite food is something made of eggs and potatoes? Is it just the same with ABMM’s “egg with potatoes” ? Quite curious!

  9. Gillian permalink
    July 10, 2011 21:04

    What a great post to end the weekend with! Can’t believe it’s time for the guys to reconvene again! Thanks, as always, for keeping us updated!

  10. black widow permalink
    July 10, 2011 23:06

    canna! 😦 say it ain’t so. that’s sad … the end of an era.

    una, you kill me. i’m glad to know i wasn’t the only one who thought arbeloa looked delicious in that uniform. i’m telling you, if the football ever went away, that boy could model. *sigh*

    i read on iker’s facebook yesterday that he didn’t buy anything, and i laughed, but i never put two and two together that it was a big temptation for him because they were PURSES he was surrounded by! bwahahahaha! of COURSE he posed with them. i’m glad he didn’t buy one, because they’re all rather ugly (not that that’s ever stopped him before).

    and finally, that fan … that’s hilarious. and adorable, too, but mostly hilarious. i’m learning spanish because of him, too, and i’m planning a trip to madrid for my birthday next year … wonder if he’d give me a ticket, too? a girl can dream. 🙂

    PS: i wonder if every single person associated with real madrid, from the janitors to the president, has an actual contractual obligation to do a thumbs-up pose? surely they must.

    PS 2: OFC is absolutely adorable. but you knew that. 🙂

  11. Siv permalink
    July 11, 2011 00:00

    awww that video of Iker and Amelia was so cute!! Thanks for making my day, Una! hehe…if it was a “real” market (aka everything there is authentic), I’m afraid we would be less fortunate…Now my goal is to be able to speak Spanish as well as that girl in less than a year! (I’ve been learning since last Sept.)

  12. arturobelano permalink
    July 11, 2011 02:48

    this is excellent. i was hoping they’d come to UCLA to train again. i have class on tuesday, as luck would have it, and it doesn’t start until after 12 so i’ll have plenty of time to gawk at the finery that is real madrid C:

    i am embarrassingly excited about this.

  13. Hala_Madrid permalink
    July 11, 2011 04:53

    I can’t wait UNA they will finally be here in my town. I will attend every single trainning session and i will take as many pictures as i can. I love them all no exceptions 😉 Anybody else going?

  14. Hala_Madrid permalink
    July 11, 2011 05:05

    Haha man that girl is smart what the heck she made him sign that’s hillarious!! Una do you know if Cannavaro has a twitter account? I love him too!

  15. July 11, 2011 06:22

    Oh Iker, China’s national women team actually reached the World Cup finals in 1999 against the United States…

    And the more you post about Morata, the more I wish he would stay with us for the rest of his career, and become a captain like Iker one day…

  16. July 11, 2011 07:59

    The president posing comments is funny … Thank you Una … you’re always my first read in the morning 🙂

  17. bryan esqueda permalink
    July 11, 2011 08:31

    do you know how i can attend a training session at ucla?

  18. @ulonghaz permalink
    July 11, 2011 10:42

    oh God Una…
    I laughed a lot while read this post!
    Amelia is such a LUCKY girl!!!!!!!!

  19. July 11, 2011 18:27

    Lucky Amelia! I’d be death right then and there! A contract! Made by Iker! Gosh, how sweet of him! ❤

  20. July 11, 2011 22:27

    Amelia, if you read this…well done! by the way…we want details! :p

    I wonder if Granero gave Iker tips before he went to China?

    How funny it is that Iker took a picture in front of purses?! If any of his family/friends need to get him a gift sometime, I think a purse would be a sure bet!

    And his comment about Villa was funny. I can just see Villa reminding him too…he seems like such a character! 😀 I can’t to see what drama the press cooks up about his comment. pfft

    “If you ever want to do some role play, this is a fantastic look for your husband. ” hahaha

  21. July 12, 2011 05:29

    Have to ask…is there ever a non-fantastic look for Arbeloa? 🙂

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