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the wait is over!

July 11, 2011

The 2011-12 season (actually, pre-season) kicked off this morning at Valdebebas, as the players arrived one by one or in pairs to begin the new season.  José Mourinho was of course the first one to arrive, at 07:40h, or more than an hour before everyone else was asked to arrive.  The first players to arrive were the canteranos Jesús, Jesé, Joselu and Jorge (Casado, but it looks much better like that with only first names, since they all begin with the letter “J,” no?), who entered the training grounds at 08h, perhaps looking to start off on the right foot.  Nuri Sahin was the first first team player to arrive, at 08:15h.  The majority of the players got there by 08:30h, and in the meantime, the likes of Aitor Karanka, FP and Zinedine Zidane also showed up.  Cristiano and Sergio appeared at 08:45h, and José Callejón and Álvaro Arbeloa rounded out the group, arriving together – and late – at 09:10h.  Kaká will join the team in California.

And since the players showed up in their own clothes – with the exception of the canteranos and several of the new players, who were already dressed in the official traveling clothes – I’m going to do a bit of fashion commentary.  Iker showed up with a bunch of boots in hand.  From what I can see, they’re sort of yellow, but not bright yellow like his kit for next season.  Thus, I foresee a bit of mismatching once again in Iker’s future.  On the bright side, he showed up without his favorite purse, opting for a backpack this year.  That is a great start to the season!  It fills me with optimism!  Meanwhile, Álvaro Arbeloa and José Callejón looked like they could have exchanged t-shirts yet still stay true to their own styles – indeed, José’s tee is totally something I can picture Álvaro in.  And it looks like José has somewhat tamed the height of his hair a bit.  Those jeans have to go though.

Fábio Coentrão’s cap is something else that needs to go (it makes him look really old), along with Sami Khedira’s cuffed denim shorts.

Thoughts on the official traveling clothes?  They’re much more casual than last year, and judging by the shirt as modeled by Jesé, much more transparent as well.  Jorge Casado, with all the stripes on his body, looks like he should be piloting an airplane.  All he needs is a hat.  Sergio showed up in a shirt that he may have purchased while in the U.S., and while I don’t like that brand, I do appreciate how snugly the shirt fits around his arms.  He looks great in those sunglasses too.

And Marcelo and Xabi looked like they had gone directly from the beach to Valdebebas.  We can always count on Marcelo to add a little color – love the purple watch! – and Xabi to keep things muted.

FP was there to greet all the players, including the apple of his eye, Karim Benzema, who looked a little worried about his status when FP turned to say hi to José.

And I’m including these pictures just to show how great the guys look, from Álvaro in his sunglasses (though he should have taken them off while speaking to FP, no?), Sergio’s highlights and Esteban’s laid-back cool.  I also like how FP and the photographer caught Esteban in the middle of UNDRESSING (look at the belt) but unfortunately the photographer, who was probably busy shouting, “hold your thumb up!,” DID NOT TAKE ANY MORE PHOTOS.  Idiota.

Iker and Cristiano looked fairly happy to see each other (and we also get a better glimpse of the purse-replacing backpack), while Mesut and Sami had a serious conversation.

The players went through their medical check-ups, including blood tests, an EKG, and a weigh-in.  Mou was quite upset when Benzema and Marcelo showed up overweight at the beginning of last season, but this year, Dr. Carlos Díez pronounced everyone in “phenomenal shape.”  The RM photographers once again failed us, only bringing us ONE photo of a topless player, in this case Tomy Mejías (or else the web site was being selfish).  But at least there are no thumbs-up!

Luckily, other media outlets came to the rescue.

The team then listened to FP talk and then headed for the airport to catch their flight to Los Angeles.  They’ll train at UCLA and stay at the Beverly Hills Hotel, just like last year.  I like how Mesut flanked Nuri, and Ricky did the same to Fábio as they headed out of Valdebebas.

Meanwhile, the Spaniards continued to look hot hot hot, ignoring Sergio’s abundance of LV bags, of course.

At the airport, the Portuguese speakers seemed to be naturally drawn to each other.  I wonder if anyone will end up learning Portuguese by the end of the season?  And this might have been Nuri and Raphael’s reactions when they learned that they might have to carry a purse in order to fit in with the team, following the example of the captains.

José really, really, really reminds me of former canterano and current Pignoise singer Álvaro Benito.  They could be twins.  Well, triplets, because José and Juanmi are identical twins.

Meanwhile, Royston Drenthe, Lass Diarra, Peter Lion and Sergio Canales are staying behind in Madrid, though they will have to train at Valdebebas while the rest of the team is in the U.S.  Sergio Canales will join the U-20 team on July 16.

While Peter Lion may be down on his luck, his brother, cyclist Louis Lion (Luis León) is faring better, as he won the ninth stage of the Tour de France yesterday, moving into second place overall.  His younger brother bears a strong resemblance to him, no?  Their body types, however, are quite different, as Louis Lion has the typical very lean cyclist body.  Here’s a picture of the Lion brothers together, from about two years ago.  There’s a third Lion brother, Anthony Lion (Antonio León) who plays indoor football (the oldest Lion brother, Lion (León), passed away in a motorbike accident several years ago).

Meanwhile, Marca posted this video of Nuri Sahin, Mesut Özil and Hamit Altintop getting down during a wedding.  However, I don’t think the trio of Pepe-Marcelo-Cristiano will have to worry about the competition.  These three, especially Mesut, look a bit timid.  Or perhaps Altintop was restrained by his back.  In any case, they need more practice and confidence.  Hopefully the locos will lend them a hand.

Iker Casillas will have made the equivalent of three trips around the world by the end of this summer, clocking up a total of 115,000 kilometers from the end of May until the middle of August.  He will have traveled to four different continents and 16 different cities by the end of the summer.  Right after the season ended, Iker headed to South Africa, to participate in a World Cup one-year anniversary special.  One week later, he was back in Spain, ready to travel with the national team to the U.S. and then Venezuela.  Once the games were over, Iker traveled to Mexico to visit his campus, stopping in Mexico City and Monterrey.  Then it was onto Santiago de Chile, also for a campus visit and to do some charitable work.  Iker and his girlfriend Sara Carbonero then spent a few days in Brazil and New York City.  Then it was back to Spain, to Navalacruz, concretely, before Iker and Sara once again jetted off, this time to Beijing.  With Real Madrid, Iker will return to the U.S. and China, as well as travel to Germany and England.  Iker will also travel to Italy with the national team in August.  That is a lot of time on airplanes, no?

And Pablo Sarabia was presented as a Getafe player today.  Mucha suerte Pablito!  I hope to see you back in white soon, and I don’t mean the shirt you wore to the presentation…

31 Comments leave one →
  1. manie permalink
    July 11, 2011 17:34

    SO GOOD to have these posts again! I love all your posts, but seeing the team together finally is full of awesome.

    Anyway, you are hilarious as usual and my favorite line out of this post was – “On the bright side, he showed up without his favorite purse, opting for a backpack this year. That is a great start to the season! It fills me with optimism!”

    It fills me with optimism too! As do the lack of thumbs up.

  2. mickymacky permalink
    July 11, 2011 17:45


    LOL irl

    I’m so excited to see how this team performs!

    Everyone it seems is so tanned… except for… of course… Iker.

    (SMH at those cuffed shorts…. whoever invented those have a lot to answer for…)

  3. Vanessa permalink
    July 11, 2011 17:54

    Just love. Yayyy for preaseaon )0

  4. July 11, 2011 18:19

    whenever i see a picture of Nuri Sahin i really want to just hug him. like give him a real big hug.

  5. Jenny permalink
    July 11, 2011 18:23

    The video of that Turkish wedding was delightful. It reminds me of many happy times at weddings – in Germany in the immigrant community – and in the middle east!

  6. July 11, 2011 18:37

    Ah, so good to see them back again! Sahin looks so pretty in that picture with Mesut. Can’t wait to see them playing. Oh, thank you for sharing that video of Mesut, Sahin, and Altintop dancing!

  7. July 11, 2011 18:39

    Yeiii! I missed this! I cannot wait for the pics from the US, especially of the Becksillas meeting! (btw I hoped that Beck’s little girl would have a name relating to Iker somehow, but Harper Seven does not seem to fall into my scheme LOL)

    I watched TdF, a very nice win for LuLu – he does remind Pedro a bit, so I spend few minutes worrying about the future of him in RM – still no news I guess, it must be a bit nerve-wracking for him.

    Last but not least – no words about how Xabi looks, boss defined, as always.

    Not sure what to think about Iker’s backpack – but I guess nothing is worse than his collection of purses, so I accept the bagpack immediately 😉

    • July 12, 2011 16:05

      There’s still hope that David can ask Iker to be the godfather today, right?

      • superfan permalink
        July 12, 2011 17:29

        OMG THIS! This would be too epic/perfect. Make it happen, David. 🙂

      • July 12, 2011 18:28

        I hope that happens. I heard the rumours around the time of the royal wedding that kate and William could be the godparents, but maybe it was just another gossip.

        Anyway, if you imagine that one kid could have as godfathers both Iker and William – what a lucky little Posh princess!;-)

  8. July 11, 2011 18:40

    Yeah! They are finally back!
    I would really like to have a chat with Real Madrid’s photographers! Come on step it up on the shirtless pics and eliminate the thumbs up pose!

    Iker is definitely going to look like a banana this season if those are the boots that he is gonna wear! Last year with the mismatched green from the grass to his shirt and this year its the yellow… ( thank god that profile of his is capable of beating the lack of fashion sense). And that is lots of time on airplanes ! I hate long distance flying, I fly economy as opposed to Iker’s first class but it is still uncomfortable and you will be jet lagged all the same!

    Álvaro always looks wonderful with his sunglasses.
    I hope the players gave the new guys a nice welcome and that they adapt fast.

  9. LosT SpiriT permalink
    July 11, 2011 18:58

    marcelo’s photo at the airport

    he seems like he gained some weight

    he will be punished by mou 🙂

  10. pammie permalink
    July 11, 2011 19:12

    I missed them so much!! They could have smiled a bit more though.

    Sami’s shorts need to be burnt. Maybe his model gf should take him shopping, but seeing what she wore to that German show….. she might not be the best help in that department.

    I love that Arbeloa and Callejon were carpooling!

  11. AnnaJ permalink
    July 11, 2011 19:58

    Makes me happy that the season is just around the corner! Thanks for the rundown on the start!

  12. Sarah, Madrid permalink
    July 11, 2011 20:27

    All I have to say: YAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!, they are back!

  13. jean permalink
    July 11, 2011 21:18

    Im so excited:)

  14. July 11, 2011 21:42

    WOOOOOHOOOOO!! We’re back in business again!!

    Thanks for this Una. Love you and the brilliant job you do here.

  15. Whiskey permalink
    July 11, 2011 22:27

    Yeah – so happy to see the pre season starting, even if the guys are all leaving Spain when I will be going there :). Am very excited about the upcoming season. It does look like many fashion disasters await us for this new season as well. Am I the only one who is a little sad to see Jose’s “Jedward” hairstyle gone – its just looks sort of normal now. And how can Iker be so pasty in the middle of the summer – he must wear 100 SPF.

  16. Sanny permalink
    July 11, 2011 22:35

    Those white traveling shirts are…interesting?. Why did they have to make the back longer than the front? It looks like the tailor tried to cut in a straight line, failed miserably, and then went, “Meh, I’ll just pretend it’s meant to be this way”.

  17. July 11, 2011 22:42

    Whoa…good news..good pic..good guys. dont wanna lost them all…maybe good championship in next season…keep smilling

  18. cisarovna permalink
    July 12, 2011 01:52

    How is it that Ozil’s shirt seems too big but Nuri’s fit so perfectly? It looks like it swallowed him whole!

  19. Gillian permalink
    July 12, 2011 02:15

    My BABIES are back!

  20. July 12, 2011 04:14

    So excited to see them back! Really love Iker with a backpack, which makes him look younger 🙂
    Good luck to Pablo.

  21. cisarovna permalink
    July 12, 2011 04:31

    I do not know many words in Spanish, but I know the one on Iker’s backpack! What a naughty backpack! Bring back the purse! Haha.

  22. Sam permalink
    July 12, 2011 07:37

    Oh I am so glad they are back! Also agree with you…. “idiota” to the photographers! :-p

    Good to see Jese getting called up for pre-season and I hope we do take Sarabia back in the next 2-3 years.

  23. July 12, 2011 09:41

    I’m so EXCITED !!

  24. Marie permalink
    July 12, 2011 16:12

    Why don’t I live in LA??!! I should just hop in my car and make the two day drive! Ha…not. Anyway eeeekkk I’m so excited! I can’t believe the season’s here again! And it starts well with Iker and a backpack hehe 😉

  25. superfan permalink
    July 12, 2011 17:31

    Finally!!! Schoolwork + early morning matches = no sleep. But I wouldn’t have it any other way! I’ve missed this so much! 🙂

  26. July 13, 2011 01:36

    Mucha suerte to Sarabia definitely! So good to see them all back, especially Sergio (please don’t cut your hair again!). Come on, RM photographers, you already caught Granero in the middle of changing, why couldn’t you just indulge us even further!? sadists..

  27. black widow permalink
    July 14, 2011 04:16

    i don’t like that shade of magenta (or his haircut!) on iker on the airplane. that said, why has no one commented on the fact that he’s shirtless in one of those photos!? i don’t care if he has electrodes or whatever attached to his chest! bare-chested iker is a rare (and beautiful) thing.

    and speaking of beautiful things, the thought of iker as harper’s godfather is adorable. how i would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when becks and iker first laid eyes on each other again! heh.

    was there some sort of memo that went out that said they all had to report in wearing a variation of a white t-shirt and jeans?

    the backpack is a huge improvement over the purse. huuuuuuuge improvement.

    i’m so glad they’re all back. that break went FAST! i can’t wait to see them in philadelphia next weekend!

  28. Jessie permalink
    July 14, 2011 17:15

    can’t wait for the new season and new hotness on the pitch in the fall!

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