time to focus on the Liga again…
On Thursday, Madrid returned to training after a day off. They have three days to prepare for Sunday’s game against José Callejón’s old team and our traditional friend, Espanyol. Karim Benzema was off receiving medical treatment on his left abductor so he wasn’t out there, nor were Nuri Sahin, Pepe and Coentrão, who were all also absent, so several canteranos took their place: Juanfran Álex, Nacho, MFC ABMM, Joselu, Lucas, Merchán, Carvajal, Mendes, Tomás Mejías and Isaac. Did they make the players wear different colors according to their team so that they could easily be differentiated? The coaching staff wore gray, Real Madrid white and Castilla black.
What is with Iker’s obsession with tights?
Iker, Sergio, Carvalho, Khedira, Kaká, Xabi, Álvaro Arbeloa, Cris and Mesut Özil, the players who had played the bulk of the Ajax game, had a
gossip recovery session while the rest of the players trained at a higher intensity. Rafa Varane was the only starter who participated in the harder session (probably due to his youth). As the group was made up of a mixture of Real Madrid first teamers and Castilla players, Aitor Karanka and Alberto Toril supervised the session together. And Tomás Mejías and Isaac joined Antonio Adán to do specific goalkeeping exercises. The session concluded with a partidillo between Real Madrid and Castilla (Juanfran was “loaned” out to the Real Madrid side), which ended with a 1-0 victory for the big boys, thanks to a goal from Ángel di María.
How adorable are Sergio and Pipa? I love how Álex’s hair really pops in the photo!
Looking ahead to the game, Ángel di María won’t be playing, as he’s suspended for this one after receiving a red card against Rayo. Pepe, Coentrão and Karim Benzema are all iffy for the game, as they are all recovering from injury. On Wednesday, Fábio was seen going into Santitas La Moraleja for tests, which showed that his recovery process is going as planned, but he may not recover in time for the Espanyol game.
In other news, on Wednesday, Kaká took some time off his day off to promote the FIFA 12 video game. During the presentation, Ricky told the press that his dream is to triumph in Real Madrid and that there are no obstacles that will impede him from doing so. He also revealed that FP was waiting at the door of the locker room and congratulated him and gave him a hug after the Ajax game, and that he feels a debt to el madridismo and Real Madrid. Kaká added that he never wanted to leave Madrid, and that FP and Mou had previously told him that the club would not sell him. And once again, a Real Madrid player had to deny rumors of a rift in the locker room, saying “it’s a lie to say that we’re not united. There are bad moments, such as what happened to us against Levante or Racing, but we knew that things would become good again, such as against Rayo or Ajax.”
In an interview with AS, Rafa Varane said that he’s learning many things while training with such a quality coaching staff and footballers, that he’s progressed as a centerback as a result of getting playing time in three games, and that José Mourinho told him before the games to stay focused from the first whistle until the end, since he’s young and lacks experience. As for his integration, Rafa said, “the truth is that all my teammates have received me very well, everyone is phenomenal with me. The coach and Karim of course, but also Lass, who left France and went to play for Chelsea at an early age, so he’s advised me about this new life that resulted from me signing for Madrid. With regards to being on the field, I have the luck to be surrounded by footballers with a lot of experience, who watch out for me and help me constantly.”
And Iker wrote on his Facebook that he spent part of his free day doing a photo shoot with Philips, because “after the beards that I’ve worn lately, a series of changes have been suggested to me…” Please, no mustache! Anyway, even if he does keep the mustache (shudder), there’s always this side of him to look at.
Meanwhile, all the teams in the cantera had their team photo sessions today, and of course boys will be boys, so they were joking around with each other, such as Dani Carvajal saying that he hoped Álex, Denis and ABMM wouldn’t “break the camera,” or Joselu tweeting that Jorge Casado is “dangerous in front of a camera.” I’m sure they all looked adorable, as they did in these recently tweeted photos. MFC Álvaro Borja Morata Martín tweeted this photo yesterday (why is Álex’s face half the size of MFC and Dani’s? And I love how each of them is looking in a different direction) of him and his two teammates, who just happen to be his fellow U-19 Euro-winning teammates. They were also the ones staring at each other during today’s team lunch at Los Arroces de Segis, and Nacho also tweeted a photo of him, Lucas Vázquez, Jorge and Joselu before the lunch. I guess they all got the memo to wear white (after all, they’re madridistas!!!) and jeans. Hopefully, Lucas’ eyes weren’t also closed during his individual portrait…
And don’t forget, Álvaro Arbeloa’s Real… interview airs tonight! Hopefully, there will be talk about the A-team, Alba and Soledad!