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all set for Ajax!

September 26, 2011

(Post updated with a couple more adorable scenes from the training session.)

Madrid trained at Valdebebas on both Sunday and Monday, as this week has a mid-week Champions League game, against Ajax, which is also Madrid’s Champions League debut at home.  The atmosphere at the stadium for European games is always a bit different than that for Liga games, so I’m excited!  Also excited was Cristiano, who spent part of today’s training session playing with Marcelo’s hair, and Sergio, who doled out hugs.  What do I have to do to get one?  Everyone on this team is adorable!

Love the shadows.  And the shirts.  Everyone looks so good in them!

On Sunday, about half a day after Madrid had beaten Rayo, the team was back at work at Valdebebas.  Twenty footballers from the team were present at the session, with those players who had played all or the majority of the game doing a recovery session under the watchful eye of Rui Faria.  The second group worked out at a higher intensity, while the goalkeepers did their goalkeeping exercises.

On Monday, Aitor Karanka directed the session (he also spoke to the press, since Mou is still suspended – the game Ajax is the last game of his suspensin, so he’ll be back on the bench against Lyon).  Ricardo Carvalho rejoined the team after missing out on several training sessions and the last game due to the head injury he suffered against Racing, while Nacho Fernández was also present.  That was because he was going to get called up for the game, along with his Castilla teammate Tomás Mejías.  Meanwhile, Hamit Altintop made his first ever convocatoria since signing with Madrid and getting operated on shortly after.

Sleepy Karim and Iker.

Goalkeepers: Iker, Adán, Tomás Mejías.

Defenders: Carvalho, Ramos, Arbeloa, Varane, Albiol, Nacho.

Midfielders: Özil, Xabi Alonso, Callejón, Di María, Khedira, Lass, Kaká, Granero, Altintop (if only I could make his name sparkly).

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, Higuaín.

Speaking of Altintop, AS reports that he’s refused to be paid until he starts playing.  If that’s true, my opinion of him has increased a lot.  And who would have thought that this year we would have two players who are twins on our team (the other is of course José Callejón).

And Madrid will wear black armbands during the game in honor of former player Chus Pereda, who passed away on Tuesday at the age of 73 due to cancer.  Pereda played for Madrid in the 1957-58 season, during which the team won the Liga and the European Cup.

More adorableness.  How does Madrid do it?  But please tell me that IS NOT what Ángel is planning to do during the game.

At the press conference, Aitor Karanka expressed his total support of FP’s speech during the general assembly (more on that below), saying that “you have to continue vindicating sporting injustices” and that “everyone in the club is united.  But we’re not united starting only from yesterday, it’s been some time since we all started working in the same direction.  We’ve always said, we’re going to work hard to achieve our objectives and the more united we are, the easier it will be.”  He also denied there is any sort of crisis in the locker room after the bad results.  Aitor also gave some signals that Hamit Altintop won’t be playing tomorrow, even though he was called up: “it’s too early to think about who will be playing, we have to wait until tomorrow.  Altintop has worked hard and he needs to be with the team and enter into the dynamic of the team, it will be good for him.”

Meanwhile, Álvaro Arbeloa echoed Aitor’s words, saying the union is complete: “from the inside, we’ve always known about the union between the players, the coaching staff and the club, and nothing has changed.  We’ve denied disputes and bad atmospheres and I’m doing it again.  The union between us, and with the club, is complete and it’s going to continue like that.”  And when asked if the obsession with winning La Décima is counterproductive, Álvaro responded, “that’s the doing of all of you.  We try not to obsess over it and to not speak about it, but you all always ask us about it.  In terms of the media, it’s a topic that sells, and the fans also desire it.  We do as well, but we know that we have to take things step by step.  Obsessions are not good, if we want to win La Décima, the first step is winning tomorrow.”  I love that answer!

Hot.  Hot.  Hot.

The concentración started last night, with the boys wearing blue jackets that matched their training shirts.  Seriously, no one looks bad in this color!

And Pepe, in an interview with Portuguese paper “Público,” reiterated that “I never had any problem with Ricardo (Carvalho).  He made it clear to me that what happened with him on the national team had nothing to do with me.  I hope he returns to the national team… we, as his teammates, are supporting him.  We all know that the decision he made was wrong.  He himself has admitted that he was worked up when he did this.  In that moment, he didn’t think about the consequences.  But he’s a human being and he has the right to make mistakes.”  Pepe also said that the hug that Cris “orchestrated” wasn’t really anything, since there was no problem to begin with: “Cristiano began to play with us, he hugged us and the press tried to create the rest, saying that that was where we made peace.  We had spoken the day before in the locker room.  We’re friends, we’re teammates and we play in the same club.”  He also denied that José Mourinho had intervened, saying that wasn’t necessary because “he already knew there were no problems between us.  Ricardo had already explained that it had nothing to do with me, but the press used this issue to destabilize Real Madrid.  They wanted to take advantage of this situation to sell papers.”

I think Castilla should always play as far away as possible, because we always get great pictures when they have to travel many hours to play.  This weekend, it was to Galicia, and we got these pictures.  Omar is a newly promoted Castilla player, but he’s already gotten on my good side with this picture.  And I guess there really was nothing to do during the long bus ride, because he created a twitter account, which you can follow here.

On Sunday in A Coruña, Castilla tied Montañeros 1-1 behind a goal from Joselu.  Much like the first team, the game started out with a scare, though this one was more serious.  Three minutes into the game, after leaping into the air to catch the ball, Jesús Fernández landed awkwardly on his neck area.  He had to be removed from the field on a stretcher, before being taken to a hospital.  He was released after undergoing some medical tests which showed that he has a bruise to the cervical area, and so he had to wear a collar during the return trip to Madrid.  His injury allowed Isaac to debut with the team, and the result meant that Castilla remains third in their division.

Afterward, Álvaro Morata tweeted this photo, saying that Jesús is doing well, although a bit weak.  Earlier in the day, Joselu, who is gallego, tweeted this photo of the boys with beautiful A Coruña in the background.  I love that city!

Also on Sunday, Madrid held their 2011 General Assembly, where Florentino Pérez made several speeches, several of the 961 socios compromisarios (representative members) in attendance aired their concerns and everyone voted on several issues.  José Mourinho got a lot of support during the assembly, as he was applauded when FP mentioned him (“we believe in this team and in the best coach in the world: José Mourinho.  He knew from the first moment what it means to be in Madrid and defend the interests of our club… his madridismo is unquestionable”) and when several socios spoke out against him, they were booed.  Eugenio Martínez Bravo, who is the head of a platform (the Plataforma Blanca) opposed to the current way Madrid is being managed, had this to say: “no person, no one, is greater or above that which unites us all and which all of us love: Real Madrid C.F.”  That I agree with.  FP defended Mou throughout the five-hour long session, sounding a lot like Mou when he said, “if we didn’t win the Champions, it wasn’t because of us.”  There were also socios who shouted out “we don’t want Neymar!” at one point.

During his speeches, FP talked about the new players (“we’ve added talent and we’ve rejuvenated the team to make a lasting product”), the basketball team, how Madrid is leading football clubs in terms of social media, the work of the Real Madrid Foundation, the cantera (“in total, 115 players from our cantera play for professional teams, 41 in the first division in Spain, 29 in international leagues and 45 in the second division.”  Unfortunately, not enough play for Real Madrid’s first team, though!), the reform of the Bernabéu and other pertinent topics.  He also announced that the board of directors have agreed to give the club’s golden insignia to Vicente del Bosque, Rafa Nadal and Plácido Domingo.  More recognition for VDB would be nice too.

Meanwhile, the socios also voted on and approved the 2010-11 fiscal year budget and other financial statements; the consolidated income, expense budget and activities for 2011-12; and the membership dues for the 2012-13 season (they’ve been frozen for the sixth consecutive year).  These were the ordinary assembly agenda items, while two extraordinary items were also voted on and approved: the ratification of the agreement signed between Real Madrid and the city of Madrid regularizing compromises stemming from agreements signed in 1991 and 1998; and the authorization for the president and the board to basically remodel the Bernabéu and surrounding areas.

21 Comments leave one →
  1. Alyssa permalink
    September 26, 2011 17:39

    I will keep shouting it too, I don’t want Neymar!

  2. Sarah, Madrid permalink
    September 26, 2011 17:39

    I always say it, we real madrid export players to la liga teams :p!…we do like to help :P..

    Again, I just love the blue Kit, LOVE IT!…

  3. kiki permalink
    September 26, 2011 18:07

    As always much thanks for all the info!
    awww Beautiful Kaka and the Sizzling Hot Spartan!
    Of course glad to hear our Jesús is doing well, poor dear 😦

    I am happy to hear of the Golden Insignias, especially for VDB, but I won’t expound further on my feelings of that situation…

    Now on to Ajax! Hala Madrid!

  4. September 26, 2011 18:19

    i had this monologue in my head, about to write it as a comment.. but then that picture of alvaro is just sooo HOT, my mind just went numb. *sigh*

  5. Lisa permalink
    September 26, 2011 18:29

    Really great pictures, maybe cause there isn’t a thumb in sight, hehe!! Ohhh Marcelo, love him he’s so kind and loveable, our little cheerleader! It really pains me to hear people speak ill of these guys. Love the training gear, they look so good, it’s a happy color and it happens to be my favorite! 🙂 I really like when Alvaro does these conferences you can be sure he’s going to speak his mind and of course look handsome while doing it. 😉 most of all I’m so glad Carvalho is ok, and Altintop has made the list… oh please do call him sparkly Una hehe too cute.
    Can’t wait for the match!!

  6. jellyace permalink
    September 26, 2011 19:51

    We don’t want Neymar!

    Joking aside, thank you for all your posts, Una. You are doing a fabulous job!

  7. Kristen permalink
    September 26, 2011 20:04

    Wow, Una, thanks for the update on the meeting. Great stuff! May I ask where you are from? I tried to find on your blog here but can’t locate it, sorry if it is posted somewhere obvious.

  8. ariadne permalink
    September 26, 2011 20:10

    aww.. the team’s general assembly.. i think very few clubs that are this big manage to keep the family atmosphere. madrid is doing great on that department.

  9. Jennifer permalink
    September 26, 2011 21:11

    I watched the Castilla match yesterday (thank you, Telemadrid!) and Jesús’s fall was SCARY! He literally landed with the back of his neck first! I was really worried when they stretchered him off, and very relieved to have firsthand sources tweeting that he was okay when the match was over. (Canteranos on Twitter are pretty much my favorite things in the world. Or the “worl”, as Iker likes to say.) And Isaac did brilliantly, especially for only being Castilla’s third choice!

    In other super-important life-changing questions, how is Marcelo SO ADORABLE? (Or really, how are all of them so adorable? And how can they train while being so cute? These are the things inquiring minds want to know.)

    Last but not least, Álvaro’s press conferences are great. Love them. He defends madridismo beautifully.

  10. mel permalink
    September 26, 2011 21:22

    Great post once again. Can’t wait for the game tomorrow!!!

  11. Pammie permalink
    September 26, 2011 21:56

    “There were also socios who shouted out “we don’t want Neymar!” at one point.” I wanna buy them a drink!

    I’m glad that Jesus is alright, what a scary accident.
    I love the canteranos on twitter, they post all these funny photos and half naked players in the locker room, like the one of Dani Carvajal your favourite canterano tweeted the other day. xD I wonder if he took work out advice from Arbeloa for toning his arms 😛

    I didn’t think we’d see Altintop training or called up so soon, so I’m happy that his recovery is going well. Now if we see Sahin on the squad list also within the next week, that’d be really awesome!

    I wonder if Mesut gets hair advice from Sergio, because it looks very shiny on the training photo.

    I wouldn’t mind squeezing Arbeloa’s pecs like Kaká does on this extra cute photo 😛

  12. black widow permalink
    September 27, 2011 03:08

    i wonder how many of the socios are female. just wondering, looking at that photo made me think, is all.

    pobrecito jesús! ouch. 😦

    that marcelo-granero hug is ADORABLE. i could use a hug from marcelo just about now!

    and i know i sound like a broken record, but damnit, arbeloa needs to consider a career in modelling when football loses its lustre. he’s beautiful!!

    • September 28, 2011 11:30

      I was wondering about the male:female ration among our scoios too. There really aren’t that many women in the picture. Is this due to tradition or is this how things are for football fans in Spain Una? Because where I come from, I know more women that are into football than men. *shrugs*

      • unamadridista permalink*
        September 28, 2011 15:58

        Only the representative socios were at the meeting, so while they may have represented the socios in one way, they might not have been representative in terms of the male to female ratio.

        Anyway, in Madrid’s hymn, there’s a line about the female supporters: “Los domingos por la tarde, caminando a Chamartín, las mocitas madrileñas, las mocitas madrileñas, van alegres y risueñas, porque hoy juega su Madrid.” Translation: on Sunday afternoons, walking to Chamartín, the young madrileñas are happy and smiling, because their Madrid plays today.

        • September 30, 2011 13:39

          🙂 Thanks for this!

  13. September 27, 2011 11:15

    Una, what you said is absolutely right, they are an endless source of amusement. Love the gifs so much 🙂

  14. Didi permalink
    September 27, 2011 13:56

    It looks like Pipita is a little bit jealous of the hug between Sergio and Mesut.

  15. Moonzi permalink
    September 27, 2011 15:44

    I would love to get some of that Ramos- Hug Action *Sigh*

  16. ThatPerson permalink
    September 27, 2011 20:27

    Oh My God. This post is so cuuute 😀

  17. Linda permalink
    September 27, 2011 20:34

    I’m so looking forward to the champions!
    Madrid having to play Ajax (again) means dutch television finally decides to broadcast a RM match, not having to sit behind my laptop for once makes you truly appreciate having a TV, never thought i’d say that.
    As for the blue shirts, can’t we make that our official training/travelling colour, cause I’m loving it!

  18. Victoria permalink
    September 30, 2011 20:32

    (FP defended Mou throughout the five-hour long session, sounding a lot like Mou when he said, “if we didn’t win the Champions, it wasn’t because of us.” )

    So they are delusional to? They did lose bc of them, there is no one else to blame. That is part of Mou’s problem. The players NEVER make excuses for their play and losses which is admirable and respectable. Mou always makes excuses. It is always someone else’s fault and not his. As ridiculous as saying, The planet rotated 2 degrees so that’s why they lost. lol He never takes responsibility for his actions or the teams. The players are more mature the he is, they always take responsibility he doesn’t. And the organization doesn’t help by backing him, especially when he is wrong. Plus it makes the club look like a joke.

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