all set for Rayo Vallecano!
It’s the second of the Madrid derbies tomorrow, and the first Madrid-Rayo Vallecano game in a long time, since Rayo spent the last eight seasons playing in the second division. But first, what have they done to Rafa Varane? This was the picture posted on the front page of the (English) version of the web site… Remember what I said about good habits starting young? It’s also easy to pick up bad habits at an early age…
Anyway, Madrid trained on Friday morning, their last session before facing Rayo Vallecano tomorrow (20h) at the Bernabéu.
Twenty footballers were present at the session, 19 from the first team, plus Tomás Mejías. The absences were the injured Pepe, Coentrão, Carvalho and Sahin, as they had their own recovery work. Out of these 20 players, 19 made the final list for the game (I think you will know which one was left out; I wonder when he will finally be ready to play a game). The list is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Iker, Adán, Tomás Mejías.
Defenders: Ramos, Arbeloa, Marcelo, Varane, Albiol.
Midfielders: Özil, Xabi Alonso, Callejón, Di María, Khedira, Lass, Kaká, Granero.
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, Higuaín.
In his press conference, José Mourinho talked about a variety of things, including team union and the anti-Madrid press. I love the snappy answers.
on whether part of the team is beginning to doubt his methods: that’s the first time I heard about that. In the locker room, my relationship with my players is the relationship we’ve had from the first day. It’s the first time that I heard this. But in this world, anything can be said to sell a few more papers.
on parts of the public and fans beginning to blame him, according to some surveys: that’s perfect, if it’s like what is said. Perfect. I’ve been told that the surveys are open to everyone, not only Real Madrid fans. There are people interested in perpetuating this hypothetical crisis. There are people who don’t face the reality. The truth is we didn’t play well this last week. We don’t want to perpetuate this situation because we’re not interested in doing that, and because we’re not pessimistic. We don’t want to hide the situation because we have no reason to do so and we aren’t afraid to say that we’re not playing well. For us, this is not a crisis. My feeling is that many of you are happy with this situation, but I have the feeling that tomorrow your happiness is going to end [jajaja!!!!!]. The fans believe that the one responsible for this negative moment is me. I’m happy for it to be like that. I’m happy for them to be whistle at me tomorrow when I get up off the bench, and applauding and supporting the players [that’s more like it!]. I’m happy. The surveys don’t say anything to me.
on his starting line-up: the coach of Rayo also wants to know this. I propose a deal. If a rival coach says how he’s going to play, I will too. In addition, my players still don’t know themselves. Pepe’s not available, Carvalho’s not available… it won’t be that difficult to get it right since there aren’t that many options.
on whether there are more people hoping that things go badly for Madrid than well: all of a sudden, I’ve seen many people who were silent before show up. They had disappeared. Now there are interviews, an opinion, another opinion, another one, suddenly, they’ve all appeared. I thought they were all on vacation. They were just in hiding, waiting for the negative moment. Three bad games in three weeks. Three bad games in one week. It makes me happy to see some of those faces. People that don’t have work in football, people that have talk to earn money, people that you have to see their faces to remember who they are. Go for it. I’m not against it. Tomorrow we’re going to play with joy because we don’t like not winning. The madridistas should know that we’re not content, but I also don’t think that they want us to be trembling or fearful. El madridismo want us to be ambitious and responsible. Please, this situation is not dramatic… those of you who are extremely happy today with the situation, enjoy today, because my feeling is that tomorrow, after the game, you won’t have much left to enjoy. Or perhaps we won’t win and these people will have a few more days of satisfaction. I foresee a difficult game, but I believe we are going to win.
There was also this exchange.
Many people were expecting to see Sergio Ramos play as a centerback in Santander.
Who said this? I didn’t hear anyone say this.
Many people thought it. Will he play against Rayo as a centerback?
That’s another question (the journalists only have the right to ask one question and the same journalist from Telemadrid asked both these questions).
In light of what he said here and what Iker, Álvaro and Xabi said about team union and rumors after the last game, I don’t feel that it would be right for me to address those rumors, though many of you told me that you did want to hear about them. So I’m sorry for having brought it up.
In other news, despite the thumbs-up, this is an adorable picture of Marcelino, no?
Juanjo Cobo, that Vuelta a España winner that Cris wanted to meet, will also take the honorary kick-off at the Bernabéu before the Rayo game. Though Juanjo is from Cantabria and supports Racing, the other equipo de sus amores is Real Madrid, so he must have had a hard time at the last game.
According to his tweets yesterday, it appears that Álvaro Arbeloa is once again playing fantasy football this season, and he’s playing against Xabi, David Mateos, Calleti (Callejón?), Iker, Sergio Canales, Sergio Ramos and Raúl Albiol. I love that the boys have continued with this, despite being on three separate teams now. Alvarito is the solitary leader, followed by the players in the order listed above. He also tweeted that El Chori is quite good at this, “but he had a bad week.”
And Benfica urged Madrid on Wednesday to “reveal the true value of the Garay operation.” During a informative meeting between Florentino Pérez and the club’s shareholder delegation ahead of this weekend’s shareholders meeting, FP was asked about the high cost of Coentrão (€30 million). In response, he said that Fábio hadn’t been that expensive, since you have to subtract the €12.5 million that the club had received for selling Garay to the Portuguese club. And since Madrid didn’t respond to the request, Benfica said they had no choice but to reveal the true values of that operation. They said that they had purchased Garay for €5.5 million, and that the Coentrão and Garay operations were two separate, independent deals. Sources in Madrid say that the €5.5 million correspond to the right to 50 percent of the footballer, so his real value is €11 million. In response to that, Benfica said that in their contract, in the case that the footballer is sold again, Madrid has the right to receive 50 percent of the value in that moment.
Some canterano news: Álex passed his university entrance exams, and he’s going to study physical education! Former canterano Raúl Bravo, who now plays for Rayo, is out for three weeks after injuring his right thigh, so he won’t be facing against us on Saturday. And RMC’s Derik Osede told Defensa Central that Mourinho is very close (as in the opposite of distant) and agreeable.
To end, a picture of the A-team getting on the bus to start the concentración.