a little weekend reading
All the news that interested me over the past several days…
On Friday, Madrid held their third and last training session of the week, since it’s habitual for the players to get the weekend off during international weeks. Once again, the five players left in Madrid during this international break worked out at Valdebebas, accompanied by canteranos. This time, it was the turn of Dani Suárez (the younger brother of Madrid’s basketball player Carlos Suárez; Dani is 1.9m tall and Carlos 2.03m) and Sergio Parla from RMC, and Isaac from Castilla. There were so few players that Aitor Karanka and Silvino participated in the rondos. I don’t need to tell you what the injured players were up to, no? And Esteban – a very Xabi-like pose there!
On Thursday, MFC Álvaro Borja Morata Martín tweeted this picture, saying, “those jokers Pepe and Coentrão… I’ll get revenge.” It looks like Pepe and Fábio covered MFC’s Volkswagen Golf with shaving cream! It also looks like they have no artistic abilities… A day later, Dani Carvajal tweeted this photo of him putting one of Valdebebas’ cornerstones down from a while back. He’s changed a lot (Alfredo di Stéfano looks exactly the same though), and for the better, in my opinion, though ABMM didn’t agree: he chimed in with “Dani was so handsome and now he’s so ugly!”
Speaking of Castilla, they beat Tenerife 3-1 on Sunday at the Alfredo di Stéfano behind two goals from Joselu and one from MFC, and without Alberto Toril, who was serving part of his suspension. Go Castilla! I love their celebrations!
Also on Thursday, José Callejón and Antonio Adán spent the afternoon playing padel in a charity event, against players from other Madrid-based teams: Atleti’s Álvaro Domínguez and Fer López, Rayo’s Michu and Míchel, and Getafe’s Jordi Codina and Juan Rodríguez. The pair from Getafe were the eventual winners. By the way, Antonio’s a more experienced player than José, but he needs to tone it down with the blue clothing.
And here are Iker, Gonzalo and Miguel Torres with racquets from Dropshot, one of the sponsors of the charity tournament. Ignore Iker’s shirt. Gonzalo says he used to play padel as a kid in Argentina.
By the way, this week’s ¡Hola! magazine reports that Iker’s dog is named “Doce” (Spanish for 12). Maybe in celebration of the 12th anniversary of his debut?
In an interview with COPE’s “El Partido de las 12,” Vicente del Bosque only had good things to say about his Real Madrid, despite his forced exit: “Real Madrid has given me everything, I spent 36 years there, I learned things there about life and football, and I’m very grateful, I will never forget it.” On Nov. 3, VDB will be formally named a socio de honor of the club, along with Plácido Domingo (maybe he’ll sing the centennial hymn?) and Rafa Nadal.
Pedro León was also in COPE’s studios on Thursday, telling them that with Getafe, “I’m smiling again.” Regarding his experience in Madrid, Peter Lion said, “wounds hurt and form scars… but the scars stay. There are bad memories, but I face problems head on. If Mourinho appears on the television, I don’t change the channel, but I do feel a certain something, but I won’t say what… I don’t know what I did. I know what happened, but it’s not the moment to speak about it, because there’s the club, and Real Madrid behaved perfectly with me. I don’t have any complaints about Madrid. My teammates were great, as were Florentino, Valdano, Pardeza, José Ángel Sánchez… Madrid was not the problem.”
We all know that Xabi Alonso is very important to the team (after all, he’s head boss #1), but here are some data that show just how important he is. Xabi has played all 900 minutes in the 10 official games Madrid has played this season (Iker is the only other player to play all 900), and he’s played only 68 minutes less than the rest of the defensive midfielders on the team combined, that is Coentrão (488), Khedira (286), Lass (185), Granero (9) and Sahin (0).
Friday’s international results: the Spanish five all started Spain’s 2-0 win against the Czech Republic in Euro 2012 qualifying, with Sergio subbed out at the half after some pain in his leg, and Xabi limping off the field after a brutal tackle in the 70th minute. Xabi also scored one of the goals, and our former canterano PF Juan Mata scored the other one. To add to Mou’s worries, Raúl Albiol had to leave the Spanish training camp on Sunday, after he suffered a small facial fracture during a recovery session on Monday morning. The RFEF’s doctors have already gotten in contact with their Real Madrid counterparts so that they can decide on the treatment for El Chori.
Portugal beat Iceland 5-3 in Euro 2012 qualifying, with Cristiano Ronaldo playing the entire game. Gonzalo Higuaín scored a hat trick as Argentina beat Chile 4-1 in 2014 World Cup qualifying, and assisted on the other goal. That means he’s scored two consecutive hat tricks! Ángel di María also started the game, assisting on two of Pipita’s goals with spectacular passes (the first goal was my favorite). Pipita said after the game that one of the equipment guys had gotten the ball for him, and that his teammates would sign it. Marcelo didn’t participate in Brazil’s 1-0 friendly win over Costa Rica.
Meanwhile, Turkey faced Germany in a qualifier that ended with the Germans winning 3-1. Sami Khedira and Hamit Altintop played the entire game, facing up against each other at times, while Mesut Özil watched the game from the stands, as he had some problems with an Achilles tendon, but should be available for Germany’s next game against Belgium. It’s great that Altintop was able to play all 90 minutes! And Rafa Varane played all 90 minutes as France’s U-21 team beat Kazakhstan 2-0 in qualifying for the 2013 U-21 Euro.
On Friday, Zinedine Zidane visited a school in Alcorcón, where he met with 150 children from Danone’s sports schools, as these days, the Danone Nations Cup is being played, and our first team director is the world ambassador. In the official magazine of the tournament, Zizou says, “there comes a moment in your life when you want to give back everything which you’ve been given. Football has given me a lot and I have a lot of desire to share my experience with new generations, not only from a technical point of view, but also in how to see life.” As for the visit, he said, “for me, it’s wonderful to see the children’s eyes light up. There’s nothing better! They come from many countries, but on the field, there is only one.” And as he was leaving, a woman threw a shirt down from the fourth floor of a building next to the school, yelling it’s one of yours from Madrid, and Zidane ended up signing it. While he was signing it, the woman started singing Madrid’s hymn, and then after Zizou signed the shirt, she shouted, thank you!.
And on Saturday, Zizou visited the second to last day of the tournament in Pozuelo, creating hysteria amongst the 560 children participating in this tournament. A photo with all the children had to be canceled because they were too excited to see Zidane. And it wasn’t only the children who were excited, one staff member shouted, “come back to play with Xabi Alonso!” With Zidane were several of his children, and together they watched several games. In one moment, a ball went out of bounds to Zidane, and he controlled it and kicked it back, and was rewarded with applause from the crowd.
The kid on the right is all like, “I got a photo, I got a photo!”
The DNC is an international football tournament, organized by Danone and now in its 12th edition. It’s for children aged 10 to 12 in more than 40 countries, and before this final round, there were 40 national tournaments which involved 2.5 million children, more than 20,000 clubs and 25,000 schools from five continents. This year’s final will be between Thailand and Brazil, and will be played at the Bernabéu in the presence of ZZ.
Speaking of kids’ football, José Mario (Mourinho)’s Canillas Alevín A team played Madrid’s Alevín B team yesterday in Valdebebas. Papá Mourinho was at the game, which ended 3-3. After the game, the Canillas team asked him to come into their locker room, where they gave him a round of applause. Mou spent 20 minutes there, congratulating each one. When it was the turn of his son, Canillas’ president asked José Mario what he thought about his father being there. The luckiest kid in the world replied, “I’ll pass.”
Marca headed over to Lisbon to speak to ex-madridista Eze Garay, who is happy in his new home of Benfica. The most interesting things he said during the interview are as follows:
on the change in city and team: it’s good, I’ve been here almost three months and I’ve adapted phenomenally to the city, the team and the people. I’ve begun to feel important again and my girlfriend is happy, which is always good.
on how it’s better being in Lisbon and not on an island in the middle of nowhere (Eze’s girlfriend Tamara Gorro participated in the reality show “Supervivientes” which took place on an island): (laughs) of course, that’s clear, it’s more comfortable. The city is beautiful, we’re very happy.
on missing El Pipita: of course! He was my best friend there, but here there are many South Americans and Spaniards in the locker room and I’m very comfortable. The other day, he scored a hat trick and played phenomenally. He always responds when he needs to. I’m very happy for him. We spoke after that game, he couldn’t believe it, he was very happy.
on being surrounded by ex-madridistas in Benfica: I’ve coincided with Rodrigo, who trains with us occasionally. And I did play with Javi (García). It’s incredible, he’s adapted very well. Saviola is also here, and we get along very well.
on his favorite memory as a madridista: it was with Pellegrini, the goal I scored against Valencia. We won 2-3 there. That was the best day I remember.
on the toughest time in Madrid: when I didn’t have any possibilities of playing. No one told me anything. Supposedly, there were players ahead of me that were better, that played better. One goes in each day to work hard, to convince that coach that he can play and it wasn’t to be. It was hard. I played the entire pre-season with Mourinho and then I got injured. That’s when those who were behind me passed me and I didn’t play again.
on what he’d like to say to the madridistas: in the two years I was there, I very much felt the affection of the people. They treated me very well both on and off the field, and each time I played, I felt them with me. I’m very grateful to them and to the club.
And Marca also ran an interview with Manolo Sanchís, our former long-time captain/legend and another of those players who have only ever played for Real Madrid (which we need more of). Highlights:
on having football inside of him: I was born during a Real Madrid-Atlético game that Madrid won 1-0 with my father (Manolo Sanchís Martínez) playing. Since my father was a footballer, I started early. Football and I are the same person.
on being the promoter of the “wine club”: it’s that in the life of a footballer, there comes the day when you retire. I wanted to put a net out there to prevent the free fall, so during the two years before I retired, I started to organize things, so that on the day I woke up as a retired footballer, I would know what to do. I remember I thought, “am I going to to have to stop seeing these cabritos all the time?” That’s why I decided to create something that would oblige us to see each other and wine was a fantastic excuse. In this group are people from my first generation, from the middle and from the end. From La Quinta del Buitre until Karanka, including Alfonso. I was there for so much time and I got along with everyone! I spoke with each one and they told me, “yes, yes.” The most convincing I had to do was with Butragueño, since he didn’t drink, he didn’t even have wine at home. Now he does drink it!
on who his wine “Casalobos,” with a label that says “very alive, fresh, friendly, tasty” could describe: Fernando Redondo.
on Emilio Butragueño: he’s a box full of surprises. He’s a man that people don’t know very well, because that’s how he wants it. I’ve spent many vacations with him and when the chip is activated and the kid from Getafe appears… he’s amusing, he’s fun. However, he has the image of being serious, elegant, composed. I can’t tell you any anecdotes, don’t ask me!
on his favorite current player: Özil has tremendous class and Ricardo Carvalho is a spectacular centerback, but if I had to choose one, I would choose Özil.
We also find out that Manolo is a big fan of opera, which he started taking an interest in when courting his now wife, as she really liked it. However, he wasn’t able to instill that same love in his teammates when he took them to see La Traviata: one fell asleep on the shoulder of his wife, and the other asked him at the end of the first half, when people were applauding, “it’s ended already, no?” He says that if Real Madrid were an opera, it would be Turandot (appropriate, given the video set to “Nessun Dorma” shown before each game) and José Mourinho would be Ricardo Muti.