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third day at “oook-la”

July 15, 2011

Any day is better with a little bit of Marcelo…

Real Madrid held their fifth training session on Thursday morning, in their third day of work.  Twenty-three players worked out, with the absences being the injured Nuri Sahin and Jorge Casado, who had some pains in his groin area.  The intensity of the work was ramped up as compared to the previous sessions, and the goalkeepers joined the field players for the first time.  With Casado out, Aitor Karanka joined the team as the leftback, and was given the unenviable task of trying to stop Cristiano Ronaldo.  It was definitely more intense for him as well, since his previous participation consisted of giving instructions to the players or looking at the playbook.  Jorge was back for the afternoon session, having recovered completely from his groin pains.  The team practiced tactical maneuvers during this session.

Sergio was certainly exhausted by the effort needed to search for that pair of yellow jeans (to extend his collection AND to match Iker) in Beverly Hills for the training sessions.  Meanwhile, Mou looks like he’s celebrating a goal a la Cristiano.

The next session will be on Friday morning at 10h local time (19h Madrid time), at the same place – North Athletic Field – and will be completely open to the press and the public.  I foresee many people calling in sick or skipping class tomorrow morning…  And there will even be another press conference after!  I say that because there was also a press conference on Thursday, with Ricardo Carvalho and his protégé Fábio Coentrão appearing before the press.  I think we’ve heard/seen more from the players in these past three days than we had in the last three months of the season!

Fábio spoke (via a translator, since he doesn’t speak Spanish yet) about how he doesn’t feel pressured that Real Madrid paid €30 million for him: “I’ve been hearing for some time that I was expensive, but I’m sure that I have the quality and I want to show why they paid this amount of money for me… I’m sure that in the future, I will respond with certainty to the question of if I’m worth this money.”  Coentrão also said that the entire group has welcomed him (“not only the Portuguese and Brazilians, but also the Spaniards”), that he feels great and that he’s very happy and proud to be part of this team.  He added, “I’m having a great time, all the moments here are fun, the people are very fun.”

Meanwhile, Ricky Carvalho, who has a lot of experience with José Mourinho (this is their third stint at a club together, after Porto and Chelsea), was asked about how Mou’s second year is usually better than the first: “from the first day, Mourinho wanted to make improvements.  Perhaps the second year will be better, because we know each other better and because there is this ambition to improve.  That’s what happened in Porto and Chelsea.  With him, we always learn and try to exceed ourselves.”  As for his role of team elder, he admitted that “I feel a bit like the padrino, although I don’t want to be seen like that on the field, but rather as one more guy out there.”  He said everyone on the team is helping the new players integrate, and with regards to Coentrão, “it could be that Pepe, Cristiano, Coentrão and I spend more time together because we have the same culture, but I believe Fábio has integrated very well on this team.”

Random player stuff: after the morning session, Xabi and Álvaro Arbeloa decided – toilet bags in hand – to go for a browse in UCLA’s campus store, but didn’t end up buying anything as they were besieged by fans and followed around.

Rafa Varane (Sergio called him that and it has stuck) is the tallest field player on the team at 1.91m (the second tallest is Raúl Albiol at one centimeter less, while Tomy Mejías is 1.94m) and the youngest player in Los Angeles – Jesé is two months older.

Iker posted these two photos on his Facebook, with Sergio also tweeting the one he appears in.  While Iker wrote that they were having milk tea (again) after dinner, Sergio tweeted that he was with the “legendary” Iker and the “great” Pirate.  I like how Sergio’s the only one who’s posing.  Iker also posted that he likes Maldita Nerea’s song “Tu mirada me hace grande.”  It is a great song, and in general, I love any song that mentions Madrid in the lyrics!

My dream of Fernando Hierro returning to Real Madrid has definitely been shattered, as Málaga announced yesterday that he is their new general manager for the next four years.  He’ll start his new position in the second half of August.  Is Málaga going to be our new Getafe?  Fernando becomes the fourth person with a Real Madrid past to join Málaga in the past half year, after Manuel Pellegrini (and his coaching staff), Julio Baptista and Ruud van Nistelrooy.  Two other Málaga players, Fernando and Sergio Sánchez, have played for the cantera.

I view Fernando Hierro as I do VDB: if he hadn’t been summarily fired from Real Madrid, perhaps the Spanish national team – of all categories – wouldn’t have been successful as it has been in the last three years.  So actually, by letting these two men go, Real Madrid was making a sacrifice, giving up several years without any trophies so that Spain could benefit five years down the road.  How nice and generous of them.  Of course, you could view it the other way, as that Madrid might have won several more trophies if they had kept both men, and decided to pay Makelele what he was worth.

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21 Comments leave one →
  1. manie permalink
    July 15, 2011 13:23

    Sigh, I wish I could be as optimistic about giving up Hierro etc as you. That was a huge and unfortunate fiasco but I’m glad we’ve FINALLY given a coach some time and flexibility to bring us more trophies!

    Annyways, I am really looking forward to the game saturday! Coentrao seems like he’s got a good head on his shoulders – I liked his answer regarding the price tag question. I know a lot of players do answer it in similar ways, but, for some reason, I wasn’t expecting it out of Coentrao and, so far, I’m happy with him.

  2. Stacy permalink
    July 15, 2011 14:31

    Is it me, or has Marcelo removed his braces?
    It feels so good to see our players back, all of them smilig and their usual silliness 🙂

    • Ally permalink
      July 15, 2011 17:56

      Marcelo still has his braces \o/

    • Roxii permalink
      July 15, 2011 18:40

      no he hasn’t removed his braces. I think they are just white color right now xD..
      With or without them, his smile is beautiful <3.. He always brings a smile to my face 😀 ❤

  3. Vanessa permalink
    July 15, 2011 16:17

    Hey! So I wanna go see them train? Do u need a ticket for that or anything?

  4. mumblo permalink
    July 15, 2011 17:15

    Bless their hearts, how did BBVA get the impression that we say “oook-la”?

    Also, that video of Alvaro and Xabi has me pretty well infuriated on their behalves. Let the men shop in peace! You’re better than that, L.A.

  5. Sarah, Madrid permalink
    July 15, 2011 18:23

    Hierro, as I said Malaga is winning me over. I am happy with Zizou, but Hierro with him would been better.

    Una, do you have any idea if Neymar rumor is true? it is everywhere. I still don’t get it, we need a striker right, someone to be with Higuian and Benz, but Neymar seems close to be a winger than a striker esp with his body type, so he will be here to replace Cris? or Angel!. I don’t get, I hope it is rumors, the salary I heard he is been paid too oh boy!, Angel and Ozil are paid less, although Angel asked for more.

  6. Saltinhos permalink
    July 15, 2011 18:30

    I just spent the last 2 days (Wednesday & Thursday) at UCLA. And all I can say is WOW !!!! What a feeling to see all these great players in one location. Me, my wife and 2 kids (10&11) travelled 3 hours south on Tuesday night,slept in a fleabag motel,barely slept due to excitement,waited for autographs for a total of 15 hours over 2 days,got pushed and shoved by over zealous fans, got stuck on and off the 405 freeway and we would do it all over again to see REAL MADRID. The players are so fun to see.

    We were able to get autographs from; Casillas,Alonzo,Zidane,Pepe,Arbeloa,Sahin,Kaka,Coentrao,Karanka,Mourinho,Benzema, & Cristiano.
    We were also got photos, video and many memories. Everyone of our autographs has a story behind it.This was so worth all the effort and time we put into it. My kids will never forget the summer of 2011 when they saw the greatest team in the world. Thank You Real Madrid for making my kids dreams come true.

    From our view point the general mood of the team is a happy atmosphere. Marcello is a clown, always smiling or picking on someone. Coentrao is being guided by Carvalho (inseperable). Casillas is the true meaning of a team captain (first on the training field, first on the bus, everytime). Ronaldo is not a snobby prick like many people claim, very accomodating to fans. Arbeloa and Sahin are very personable and young looking. Alonzo is a very nice guy. Pepe is super cool, walked away from the team to sign only my sons jersey, then joined the team again. Coentrao made a very big impact on me by signing my daughters Benfica jersey. he saw us in a crowd and signed for her instead of getting in the Audi after training. Totally cool!!!

    I was a Real Madrid Fan before but now I am Madridista!!! Hala Madrid !!!

    • emily permalink
      July 17, 2011 10:34

      That sounds like a great day!
      The 405 sucks on a good day… can’t imagine what it’s like when part of it’s closed!
      Was it the fleas that kept you from sleeping? ;-p

  7. Iram permalink
    July 15, 2011 18:57

    Una, over here “tea with milk” is generally called “chai”. Do u guys drink that in Spain or is the country big on coffee/espresso?

    • July 16, 2011 16:42

      They have chai in Starbucks, but in general people prefer coffee.

    • black widow permalink
      July 20, 2011 03:55

      in north america? no … “tea with milk” is generally called … “tea with milk.” chai is completely different.

  8. July 15, 2011 19:34

    omggg….. this team is too adorable!!!
    I still can’t believe I got a picture with Ozil!

    • Alyssa permalink
      July 16, 2011 22:21

      You did?! That’s amazing! I’m so jealous!

  9. July 15, 2011 20:50

    ahhh!!!! Tu mirada me hace grande’s one of my favourite songs too and I agree with you, Una, any song that mentions “Madrid” in its lyrics has my automatic attention! The sad thing is, if Real Madrid had gone to the bookstore on my campus, no one would’ve cared (except me, probably). Not a lot of football (soccer) fans in Vancouver at all (no fan girls at least).

  10. Ange permalink
    July 15, 2011 20:57

    hey … Una … i come in peace!!! … *lol* …

    I saw the video of the fan running into the golf cart … for second their I thought it was you & then I was like .. no.. no…. Una … is waaaaaaaaaaaay to smart to hit the golf cart … she would wait for perfect moment to jump into Iker’s arms … but do you know who was in that golf cart??? Cause I can’t tell …

    & i have to say something … I’m happy that Iker is posting so many pics … and that they guys are posting pics … cause I can’t stand when reports start saying that they don’t get along … no matter what team it is… It makes me sick ….

    and I’m shocked that Alvaro & Raul didn’t sit together…

    did they have small fight & said … I’m not sitting next to you .. jajaja … maybe Alvaro got made that Raul didn’t have a twitter yet… (this last part is a JOKE!!)

  11. emily permalink
    July 16, 2011 04:32

    ook la – I see what u did there… ;^p

  12. black widow permalink
    July 16, 2011 06:18

    marcelo is just the most adorable ray of sunshine! his smile lights up his whole face. so precious!

    i think i would sell my soul to be in the midst of that little iker-esteban-sergio sandwich. my god, they all look so gorgeous with tans!

  13. Jennie Culhane permalink
    July 19, 2011 06:39

    I am totally smitten with Kaka! Too bad he is married and twenty two years younger than I.Not really! I have a great respect for him, his wife and family. God bless you all. And bless you for all of your work to end world hunger! Its the twenty first century and nobody should still be starving on this planet. I will help too when i can.

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