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the team is set (plus other news)!

September 1, 2011

Post updated with a Xabi interview and Peter Lion’s remarks from a press conference today…

It took them almost right up to the deadline, but José Mourinho managed to dispose of the three players he didn’t want, and keep the one player he did want.  Royston Drenthe has left Madrid, as his rights have been transferred to Everton for free, though he is on loan for this season.  If he is transferred once again, Madrid will receive a percentage of that transfer fee.  Roya flew to Liverpool to join his new team yesterday afternoon (today, he was presented).  Meanwhile, Fernando Gago will play in Roma on loan this season, with the Italian club having the right to purchase him for €7 million at the end of the season.  This transaction was completed just minutes before 19h on Wednesday, the time when the transfer market closed in Italy, and Roma subsequently included him on their roster for the upcoming season.  Gago told the Italian press, “I’m very happy to play in Italy.”

So, only two of the players from this picture taken in the 2007-08 season remain: Sergio Ramos and Marcelo (or one and a half, because Marcelo looks completely different, and is twice if not more the player he used to be).  In addition to proving that point, I love this picture for the laughable tough guy expressions and the truly awful fashion in it, especially Robinho’s pants and Gago and Sergio’s windbreaker.

And as stated previously, Pedro León returned to Getafe yesterday, after Madrid ceded him for one year to the neighboring club, which will hold an option to purchase him at the end of the season for €6 million.  He didn’t waste any time, flying directly to Valladolid to play with El Geta in their friendly match (the XXXVIII Trofeo Ciudad de Valladolid) against Valladolid, entering in the 70th minute (aka the most playing time he’s gotten practically the entire year).  Coincidentally, Peter Lion also played for Valladolid for one season, the 2008-09 season.

In a press conference today, Peter Lion said he learned a lot in Madrid, that he doesn’t regret anything, and that “you have to draw positive conclusions from everything.”  He also said that Madrid “treated me very well… I don’t have anything bad to say about Florentino Pérez, José Ángel Sánchez, Jorge Valdano, Miguel Pardeza or my teammates.”  Notice who he left out?  Considering that he was isolated from his teammates for the entire pre-season in not very nice conditions (he has filed a complaint with the AFE), he could have said a lot worse, but he stayed classy.  Pedro León also revealed that, “until the day before yesterday, when the president of Getafe called me, I only wanted to fight in Madrid for them to be just with me.  But the president, my agent and my family convinced me to go to Getafe, where I was always happy.  In fact, I went to watch their games last season.”  Good luck in Getafe, Peter Lion, and we’ll see you next weekend, even if it’s just in the stands!

Previously, Madrid had managed to offload Sergio Canales to Valencia on a two-year loan with an option to buy, David Mateos to Zaragoza on a one-year loan with an option to buy and Eze Garay to Benfica.

Real Madrid returned to training on Wednesday, with the few players that are not on international duty.  Since there are only five of them (Adán, Granero, Lass, Callejón, Kaká), they joined forces with Castilla and held their training session together on Campo 3 of Valdebebas.  Alberto Toril was in charge of the session, though of course José Mourinho was present and observing his players.  He’s like the king, watching over the work of the lords (Toril), who in turn control the serfs (the players).  I almost expect Toril to bow or kiss Mou’s hand or offer him a pack of gum as a tribute…

With Lass having decided to remain at Real Madrid, he was allowed to rejoin the team in their normal training sessions (Cadena Cope has reported that he’ll wear the “24” this season, as Mesut Özil has been given the “10”).  Esteban Granero trained normally, showing that he’s recovered from his injury.  The team will return to training this afternoon.

MFC ABMM tweeted this picture of him and M (probable) SFC after the practice session.  Aren’t the two future members of the A-team adorable?  But what I really want to know is who that shirt on the right belongs to.  It’s horrible!  And did someone really wear that scarf or whatever that colorful thing is with the shirt?  If I ever get a job as a fashion consultant to the players (which will be hard, considering some of them probably believe they dress well), remind me to extend my services to the lower categories…

Speaking of canteranos, here’s Iker as a mini, mini, mini canterano.  He posted these photos on his Facebook yesterday, saying that they’re from the Torneo Social, when he was a nine-year-old and played for the Losada team, which was also his first tryout with Madrid.  I so want to squeeze little Iker’s cheeks!!!!!  He was such a cute, chubby little kid!

And with nothing to report, Catalan TV channel TV3 came out with the news that José Mourinho has agreed to coach PSG next season, using as proof a conversation that Pinto da Costa, the chairman of Porto, allegedly had with other directors during the European Supercup game in Monaco.  Are they really that desperate to get rid of him in Cataluña?  That’s a good sign, because it means we are doing something right.

Xabi Alonso spoke to Onda Cero’s “El Primer Toque” program last night, from the concentración of Spain.  The interview wasn’t that interesting, though Xabi of course comes off as so diplomatic, modest and well-spoken.  I did however like hearing Xabi refer to his father as Periko, and saying that Jon is right-footed.  Here are the few highlights.

on the effect of los clásicos on the national team: I’m feeling good, and the less people speak about it, the faster things can get back to normal.  Logically, when we play with our clubs, we defend our own interests, but later on when you’re on the same team… the atmosphere is comfortable, there aren’t problems with anyone.  There’s much more normality than there appears to be for everything that has been written or said.  I feel comfortable here and it’s a pleasure to be here.

on Mourinho: I have a very good relationship with him.  We always analyze what happens on the field.

on being loved by the Bernabéu: no, I just tried to do well, and people responded to that, and you have to be grateful.  How I behave is the way I am naturally.  Sometimes, when you try to make others like you, they end up not liking you [I love this answer!].

on where he’s been the most comfortable: [Xabi is so diplomatic!] It’s great to play, grow as a player in the club of your city.  The five years in Liverpool were unforgettable, and I have an impressive memory of that time.  Madrid had its grandness, it was a professional challenge for me, to prove that you could play for this club.  I’m comfortable here, knock on wood.

on Sahin: Nuri has good qualities, a good attitude, and he’s already speaking Spanish, so you can see he wants to integrate.  He observes, listens and learns.

on his shirt collection: I’m not sure where the first Periko Alonso Barça shirt is, that’s a good question, you have to ask Periko.  It’s probably at my grandmother’s house.  In my shirt collection, I have some from my father’s era, including those of Zico and Maradona.  And then I have those from people I admire: Mauro Silva, Paul Scholes, Roy Keane, Zidane.

In international news, Ricardo Carvalho abruptly left the concentración of the Portuguese national team midday yesterday without telling anyone (apparently, he used Fábio Coentrão’s Mercedes to leave the team hotel) and subsequently announced his retirement from the team.

In a communique sent to the media in the afternoon, Carvalho stated, “I feel physically and mentally in fine form, as I’ve showed in my performances for my club and the national team.  If I’m made to feel that I’m superfluous and I’m not told that, the only possibility is to leave.”  He didn’t explain any further, only adding that “I have never felt so disrespected and hurt…. I deserve, like the others, consideration and respect.”

Carvalho also said that he regretted leaving in this way, and that he considers that he’s always honored his country.  He apparently had had a conversation with Portugal coach Paulo Bento in which he was told that he wouldn’t be starting Portugal’s upcoming Euro qualifier against Cyprus.  Carvalho played 75 games with Portugal, starting in 2003, and was one of the three captains of the current team (along with Cris and Bruno Alves).  He’s never had a problem with a coach before.  Madrid has not required his presence back in Valdebebas and has allowed him two free days.

Meanwhile, Karim Benzema left France’s training session after receiving a blow to his left ankle.  According to France Football, he tried to finish the session, but couldn’t.  Tests showed the injury was not serious and so he’s still with France.

Over in Dusseldorf, Mesut Özil was busy getting new clothes from Strenesse, as the fashion label is dressing the German national team.  Let’s all hope that a hat comes with the outfit, so Mesut won’t have to dip into his own personal collection again.

Mesut also spoke to German newspaper/tabloid Bild recently (their tabloidness comes out in the last few questions), and reader Cisarovna was kind enough to translate it for us (I’ve left out the parts pertaining to the German national team).

With Real you won the season opener 6-0 against Zaragoza, you provided the assist to the first goal.  Satisfied?

Absolutely, it was a great win.  And an important one.  It builds confidence, it is a good start to the season.

Last season Barcelona won the league with a 4 point lead.  Can Real put the pressure on this season?

Unfortunately we lost the Supercup.  But in the game we proved we are at eye-level with Barcelona.

Have you deceived us, or have you become stronger, more muscular?

I do strength training.  At most one hour per day.  But not so that I develop defined muscles, it is for stability. If you pump too much iron, you lose flexibility.  I don’t want that.

There are photos of you that are now surely hanging on the walls of some ladies…

I was on vacation on a yacht and did not notice that I was being photographed.  I realized the next day – because of the photos I received a bunch of texts and calls from friends.

In one photo you were smoking.

That was because of a lost bet, and for that reason a one-time thing.  I can assure you:  I don’t smoke!

Could you also perhaps calm your female fans: are you still available?

That is private, I will not comment on that.

25 Comments leave one →
  1. Henry permalink
    September 1, 2011 09:52

    Wow, astonishing isn’t it? That only two players out of the 07/08 season remain. Una, pls I have a question I just remembered that in your previous posts, anytime you mention Robinho, it’s usually has an “idiot” with it do you mind explaining this? Is there something he has done or said about Madrid? Pls I’ll like to know if it’s not too much trouble. Thanks.

    • unamadridista permalink*
      September 2, 2011 15:15

      No, it’s only two players from that picture remain. As for Robinho:

    • September 2, 2011 21:02

      Henry, it’s because of the manner in which Robinho left Real Madrid. If memory serves me right, he called a personal press conference on the day that Real were going to play their first league match of the season to announce that he wanted to leave. To me that amounts to insulting your teammates and not respecting the club. He also made a lot of comments about Real after leaving. Basically the guy has a massive ego and wants to be the centre of attention, and he knew that with CR7 arriving, that would no longer be possible. He disrespected his teammates, the club and the fans and for that reason, he is an idiot.

  2. September 1, 2011 09:56

    I’m feeling really bad for Carvalho. He is integral to our defence and we would be screwed with out him. I really wonder how on earth could he be overlooked so.

  3. OG-LOCC permalink
    September 1, 2011 10:07

    ozil is a man! no denial, straight up truth, one time thing.

  4. Sarah, Madrid permalink
    September 1, 2011 13:04

    Nistelrooy!!! :(, I am the only one who really misses this guy!! :(. I dont want to face him with Malaga

    • Sarah, Madrid permalink
      September 1, 2011 13:06

      Buena suerte Lion!!! Gago ( I know he will do great in Italy, he is build for calcio), Drenthe (party hard!!). I hope they speak good of us after they leave, we are sorry!

  5. manie permalink
    September 1, 2011 13:25

    Xabi is a class act.

    Haha, I might be the only one, but I kind of like Mesut’s baseball hats…they’re kind of cute/make me think of how young he is. But I agree, I’m sure the company dressing the men’s team probably has better hats.

  6. September 1, 2011 14:51

    Good luck to everyone who transferred out!

    The news about Carvalho is really sad. I don’t know if a reconciliation with the NT coach is possible, but I hate the idea that he was disrespected in some way. And Karim, please, please, please don’t be injured terribly! We need you!

  7. Sam permalink
    September 1, 2011 14:57

    Erm…Carvalho HAS had a problem with a coach before. In fact, during his Chelsea days he got mad about being benched by Mou and made it known and he and Mou hashed it out, but they’ve obviously gotten past that now. I don’t think it’s really surprising if the rumored reason for him leaving is true. He probably thinks it’s the beginning of him being slowly phased out of the team for younger players and figured he do them all a favor and just leave himself. Sad, but everyone will eventually move on just fine.

    Oh and the reason he drove off in Fabio’s car is because he, Fabio and Cris carpooled to training camp together in Fabio’s car, so he didn’t have his there to use.

  8. yh47 permalink
    September 1, 2011 15:15

    Is it true that Sahin will be out until November?

  9. emily permalink
    September 1, 2011 15:34

    I am very happy for Peter Lion. he looks great in blue. I always laugh at the Burger King sponsorship. Every time I see it…
    Very sad to see Carvalho leave the NT. I wonder if the coach left him off for honorable reasons – give the guy a rest, he’s been busy all year type thing, or if he truly felt that abuelo was past his prime and couldn’t take on the task of defending against the likes of perennial powerhouse Cyprus. Can I get an over/under on how many goals CR will score in that match? 😉

  10. September 1, 2011 15:56

    I am so saddened by what happened to Carvalho! What happened there? Seems to me like he was treated quite poorly, and he definitely deserves more than that. Any player, even of less importance than our Ricky, deserves more than that. According to a press release by the FPF, he left without saying anything to the coach and the FPF, and there are reports saying he got furious about not being picked to start… Whatever happened, this is a sad way to end his international career.

    And Karim is worrying me, too. Injured again? I hope it’s nothing serious, especially since he’s been playing so well.

  11. Buckhum permalink
    September 1, 2011 18:25

    “That is private, I will not comment on that.”
    Mesut Ozil, the Internation Man of Mystery

  12. Alyssa permalink
    September 1, 2011 20:49

    Hahahaha that old photo is hilarious! They’re trying so hard to be BA…and failing so badly. The photo does make me wish we got Ruud back though.

    This is what my brain does whenever I see baby Álvaro: BWJENRCQJEWNRCJEWNRCQ! Also, I totally vote for Alex as your SFC because he totally is mine. Well, logically he is. Superficially, I’m kind of in love with Jesús solely because of how hot he is and he’s one of the very very few canteranos who are older than me so I get to say he’s hot without feeling like a pedophile haha. Not that feeling like a pedophile will ever make me back off of baby Álvaro.

    Little Iker is really cute! But he kinda looks like one of those kids who would bite you if you try pinching their cheeks haha.

  13. black widow permalink
    September 2, 2011 02:01

    poor peter lion. it must be so difficult to be so diplomatic under those circumstances (i love his ‘sin’ of omission), but he did well and i wish him the very best. i thought it very unfair how he was treated and isolated and i hope his future is brighter now.

    nino iker is muy, muy adorable! 🙂 i would have been head over heels if i were a 9-year-old girl at the time, heh.

    and xabi … what’s to say that hasn’t been said before? jefe!

  14. jean permalink
    September 2, 2011 02:24

    I still dont understand what was the problem with Pedro Leon at Rm? Or why Mou wasnt particularly fond of him.Anyway I wish him the very best for the future.
    That pic of Marcelo is hilarious:) He seems like hes putting an act to look tough.
    I happy that Lass decided to stay with the team.
    And Una if you need help with translation of an article in french let me know. Im fluent.

  15. gillianrosh permalink
    September 2, 2011 03:39

    Mesut just never stops being adorable.

  16. September 2, 2011 05:43

    Una – what was the occasion of the first picture. All those players did not arrive the same year…I’m just trying to figure out what the occasion was.

    It’s a great picture in terms of history. Javier Balboa….bring him back! haha

    • unamadridista permalink*
      September 2, 2011 15:19

      I don’t remember…

  17. September 2, 2011 07:58

    Una, if you could share this link to the Golden Foot 2011 on your blog so that more fans could vote for either Raul, Casillas or Beckham (the 3 Real Madrid representatives on there), we will wub you forever.

  18. Amareto permalink
    September 2, 2011 12:50

    Which one of the men in the first picture is Marcelo? He must have changed a lot since i cannot recognize him

    • unamadridista permalink*
      September 2, 2011 15:19

      First row, third from the right, in the gray shirt.

  19. September 2, 2011 17:25

    I don’t think its weird, mean or unprofessional that players who are actively being shopped to teams in the same league are asked to train separately. Would you have them train with the first team and then carry the season’s goals, ideas, tactics, formations, and plans to Getafe, Villareal, etc? Or a possible CL opponent? Plus, even after being told on numerous occasions that he wasn’t in Mourinho’s plans, Leon still, to this day (well yesterday,) talks about “fighting” to win a place in the Madrid squad. Allowing him to train with the team would only allow him to continue that delusion. I feel that Mourinho and the club were being upfront and honest with him, and there is nothing more they could do. What Mou’s reasons were for disliking him so intensely, however, is a whole ‘nother subject.

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