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I’m excited about this season, how about you?

July 12, 2011

For one thing, Madrid has just announced that they have finally renewed the contracts of Sergio Ramos and Pepe, linking them to the club until the 2016-17 season and 2015-16 season, respectively.

For another, Real Madrid arrived in Los Angeles yesterday afternoon (local time, or early morning Madrid time) after a 14-hour flight, which included a stopover in Halifax, Canada.  From the airport, the team went to their headquarters during their stay in Los Angeles, the Beverly Hills Hotel.  This morning at 11h, they’ll hold their first training session of the pre-season, at UCLA.

Zipi and Zape didn’t sit together?  And why is Xabi perched on his seat like that?

So much for my hope that this would be a new season in more ways than one.

According to AS, it took two hours for the entire expedition to pass passport control and customs, before they could head to their hotel, where Kaká was waiting for Cristiano.  As it took so long, the team split up into two.  Cristiano, Pepe, Marcelo, Xabi, Sergio, Arbeloa, Iker, Coentrão, Benzema, Albiol, Adán, Özil, Carvalho, Mejías, Sahin, Varane and Khedira were on the first bus to arrive at the hotel.  The rest of the team – Callejón, plus the other four canteranos – showed up after them; Zidane, Rui Faria and José Morais were also on that bus.

Álvaro’s bag is twice the size of everyone else’s.  The wind loves Sergio.  And why did they all change into the black shirts on the plane only to change back to the white ones upon arrival?   And as we can see below, it was back to black once more after. 

After the training session at the North Athletic Field, José Mourinho, Iker Casillas and Cristiano Ronaldo will speak to the press, along with several LA Galaxy players, including Iker’s lost love, David Beckham.  I can’t wait to see the reunion!

Speaking of Iker, he must be experiencing jet lag, because he was posting things when he should have been sleeping.  One of those things might make David jealous, because Iker spoke about another of his lost loves, Fabio Cannavaro: “you’re great, friend!  Professional like a glass of wine, noble, well-mannered, and on top of all that, handsome!  Jejeje!!  You have everything, crack!  It’s a shame that you’re leaving this sport and thank you for teaching me how to be a better person!”  Awwww!!!

Another of those things was this picture of the canteranos, where Iker welcomed José Callejón and said it’s always good to have more canteranos on the team.  But where’s Álvaro?

Speaking of canteranos, it looks like Esteban Granero’s position is once again safe, due to UEFA’s rule requiring teams to have at least eight national players.  For Madrid, they are Iker, Adán, Sergio, Arbeloa, Albiol, Xabi, Callejón and Granero, assuming that Mou gets his wish and Peter Lion and Sergio C. leave.

In other news, Sergio Ramos has renewed his contract with Nike; hopefully the brand will use him more in their marketing projects.  And he’s also apparently negotiating with Mahou, who wants him to be the face of their brand in Andalucía.  Mahou should totally do something with Iker and Sergio together!

And José Mourinho gave an interview to his club.  Highlights:

on his vacation: they were short, but good.  Those 15 days were very tranquil and happy.

on all the work he did before vacation: it has been a great experience working directly with the president and JAS.  I liked the president’s vision of the club and of the future very much.  I think it’s phenomenal the way he thinks about the evolution of his Real Madrid.  José Ángel is a bit like me: we worked during the day and often ended at 10 or 11 at night, exchanging emails or messages.  He’s a person that thinks about work 24 hours a day, but without neglecting his family life.  I liked that a lot.

Year two in the reign of King Mou I

on Zidane: I like that he’s working with us and that he himself decided to change his life and join this project.  He believes in this and he believes he can contribute.  He has a lot to bring to the table, but he also has a lot to learn.  It’s one thing to be the best player in the world for many years and another to be the director of football for the first team.  His intelligence, tranquility, and the fact that he’s a person completely open to communication make him one more and very welcome in this group that is so excited to work together.

on the new signings: it’s not easy to sign with Real Madrid because we have a great team and we achieved important results last year.  We won one title and we didn’t achieve more because we didn’t win more.  We decided to improve and bring equilibrium to the team, while at the same time look towards building a team of the future, for many years.  Coentrão is 23, one less than Callejón.  Sahin is even younger and Varane is an 18-year-old child.  We never want to lose sight of creating a team for many years, one that will have enormous potential.  We’ve signed players that we believe are important to complete a team that was already great.  I’m happy with the team, especially when you consider that we’re missing Higuaín and Di María [ouch for Gago], who are two very important players for us.  In my opinion and that of everyone, we’re still missing one more player, another attacker.  It’s fantastic that our team is 90 percent formed by the middle of July.  It allows us to do different types of work.  Higuaín and Di María already know the team, they’ve worked with us and don’t need three or four months to enter into the dynamic of the team.  We’re happy because we’re also constructing something for a long time.  This is a team that has 10 years ahead of them.

on the pre-season: we’re here to work, to improve and to train against other teams.  I don’t want to win a pre-season game 15-0.  I want a difficult game.  The Galaxy is complicated because they’re a great team and they’ve played 14-16 league games.  Chivas de Guadalajara is the same, as is the Philadelphia Union.  England, Germany and China are different cultures and difficulties, but we always have the intention of training against rivals.  We built a great base last year, so we don’t have to start from zero.  There are things that are already perfectly assimilated and we can start from a point completely different than last year.  We want to arrive in the first game stronger than we were last year.  We should try to start this season like we ended the last one, with attractive and offensive football.

on all three goalkeepers being canteranos, the first time since 1985: now there are four.  It’s a unique circumstance in football.  I don’t see any other team that can have three or four goalkeepers from the cantera and from different generations.  One is the best, another has gone from the third division to the second and the two youngest ones will train with us and we’ll decide who is the third goalkeeper and who will defend Castilla’s goal one week at a time.  They can play in the lower category while training with the first team.  I think that in the next few years, the goal of this team will always be defended by a canterano.

on Castilla: it’s not an easy situation because in this moment we have two objectives.  One is the evolution of the players and the other is for Castilla to ascend to a more superior league, which will allow us to organize the team differently.  That’s why we’re going to continue giving some players minutes in the first division, like we had done with Juan Carlos, Mateos, Juanfran, Sarabia.  They’re players that have the level to play in a higher league and the fact that they play in Segunda B is not good for their evolution.  When people think that we’re letting them escape, they’re mistaken.  When Madrid sells or loans out players with a buyback option, these “players” continue to be from Real Madrid.  If we want them to come back, we can do it with no problems.  We want these players to have a different competition.  At the same time, we also think about a team that can ascend and that’s why we’ve retained players that can play at a higher level such as Casado, Joselu, Nacho, Álex, Morata, Carvajal.  They will be the base of the team and we want to find two or three players that can help Toril to construct a strong team for the second division.

on who he missed most during the summer: Manolín (one of the equipment guys), because it only takes one look at him to make me laugh.

on Iker:  a very stupid history came out saying that either I or Real Madrid wanted to change the captain.  I understand that they have to sell when there’s no football, that if lying is necessary, then one has to lie.  It’s a lie that can cause injury.  If I weren’t so sure of what we wanted and that he is the captain of the team, it could cause injury.  As long as he’s a starter, he’ll be the captain.

on who he talked to during his vacation: I spoke to JAS every day and more than once a day.

on the new shirts: I like the gold very much, having the numbers and names in that color.  I think the Champions League kit will be novel compared to the last few years and will be very successful.

on movie stars: I would like to run into Al Pacino.  But I wouldn’t want to be a movie star, not even for one day.

22 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah, Madrid permalink
    July 12, 2011 17:29

    “Year two in the reign of King Mou I”…THIS CRACKED ME UP UNA!

    a) LOVE every word of this interview, I don’t know but it feels like Jose is talking this time as being part of the club itself, his way of speaking is that he belongs to the club – ( I don’t know how to explain it but I like it).

    b) Glad to hear that we are waiting for Higuian, kind tired of the rumors around him.

    c) I am not a big fan of the black shirts on the players now that I saw it, hmmm! maybe need another look.

    d) I see a very strong brorromance growing between Jose and JAS, no?

  2. amouria permalink
    July 12, 2011 17:48

    Our team arriving at Los Angles airport

  3. July 12, 2011 17:59

    All hail King Mou. May his reign be long and prosperous for us.

    …. sorry I just couldn’t resist that one! 😉

  4. Pam permalink
    July 12, 2011 18:04

    Zipi and Zape didn’t sit together? And why is Xabi perched on his seat like that?

    My theory is that Xabi and Esteban (Sir Classy and his apprentice) were sitting together and Xabi decided to do an uncool thing for a change and dragged Albiol off his seat and perched on it just for the photo 🙂

  5. danikoko permalink
    July 12, 2011 18:20

    i hope u are ready to work overtime this pre-season. i am expecting lots of videos/fotos and stuff from you. 🙂

  6. amouria permalink
    July 12, 2011 18:36

    I am sure that every one noticed the very very BIG tummy of Jose…oh…why? Beer? laziness? come on mister, do some exercises… We urge you to lose this ugly thing…

  7. Gillian permalink
    July 12, 2011 19:08

    Ok, that first picture, made me melt into a puddle.

  8. IsaBella permalink
    July 12, 2011 19:35

    “Year two in the reign of King Mou I” – eso me ha matado Una, I adore you!!!! xD

  9. AnnaJ permalink
    July 12, 2011 19:36

    Can’t wait!

  10. mar permalink
    July 12, 2011 23:17

    yeahhhh! pre-season has started! i cannot wait

  11. Louise permalink
    July 13, 2011 00:00

    Aww, Iker saying sweet things about Canna! They were so adorable together. I miss Fabio so much.

    XABI! So little of him during the off season (nearly a month–I was having withdraw).

  12. MIKE permalink
    July 13, 2011 00:42

    when do they train again in UCLA open doors! for everyone i know they had that today

  13. July 13, 2011 01:22

    Very excited for this season as well. Hope to see that el Pirata gets more minutes and can’t wait to see Callejon in action! I’m sorry for Gago; he played really well yesterday against Costa Rica in the Copa America, I thought. Is he going to be leaving us too?

  14. Hannah permalink
    July 13, 2011 03:21

    im so jealous of los angeles right now 😦
    on the bright side, arbeloa just tweeted that albiol is getting twitter, yay!!
    and i agree, nike should definately use Sergio in their marketing projects more often!

  15. black widow permalink
    July 13, 2011 03:28

    but mou, you already ARE a star!

    i am so, so, SO relieved he officially cleared up the iker captaincy issue. amen.

    speaking of my one true love, i am so! excited! for the becksillas reunion! i wonder if he got to visit little harper seven yet?

    love the photo of the A-team and granero on the plane even if xabi is sitting in a most undignified (for him) position!

    i read iker’s facebook that they had to refuel in halifax … *sigh* so close, and yet so far … july 23 can’t come soon enough!!!

  16. Diego permalink
    July 13, 2011 03:40

    Great post. I have searched everywhere for English Real Madrid blogs. Madrid is my second favourite club. Are you already in a news network? It might boost your readership. Pepe and Ramos were immense last season and deserve every Euro in their contracts. Now it is good that the club value having Spanish and cantera players in the team. All big clubs have that characteristic. It builds another level of passion and connection by and to the fans respectively. In the future, I hope that more of the canteranos will be integrated to the team. Players like Mateos, Sarabia would be worth a punt. You have a nice and articulate blog. Hala Madrid!

  17. Buckhum permalink
    July 13, 2011 04:16

    My friend managed to see Alonso in real life.
    I was so happy for her.

  18. KathyInCA permalink
    July 13, 2011 08:07

    I wish I had time this week to go stalk the team! Does anybody know if there will be an open training session at UCLA? Last year the Galaxy sold tickets as a fundraiser. I would gladly pay if I knew for sure I could get in! I can’t wait for the game on Saturday!

  19. July 13, 2011 10:09

    You bet that Im excited, una!!!

    And Im sure Iker has a jetlag since he was in China just a few years ago. He looked very tired in the presser.

    I must echo myself, I so love the back shirts!!!! 🙂 Hehe I too noticed the shirts changes. somehow strange.

  20. jean permalink
    July 13, 2011 15:03

    Im so happy to see these guys back:).I love that pic of Xabi, we rarely see him like that.I think that Alvaro bag is so big because is wife packed it:). (Why are the gd ones always taken:(.
    I have a question Una.How would you translate that crack, so what does it really mean.I see some spanish programmes and they mentionned the “crack” is it supposed to be funny?
    Awww ! How sweet is Iker:)
    Im so happy for pepe and Sergio:)
    I understand why Mou wouldnt want to be a movie star , maybe because he wouldnt really have a “private life”.

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