only one more day to go…
I’ve been busy following La Roja over this international break, but if you don’t follow one of the national teams playing during this break, I imagine it’s quite boring without football. Luckily, the last round of games is upon us, and we can get back to club football very soon!
The new week started with some good news. Pepe and Fábio Coentrão rejoined their teammates in the first session of the week on Monday, bringing the grand total of players available for José Mourinho to boss around to… seven. That’s an increase of 40 percent! Yay, we have defenders again, since the Spanish national team isn’t proving too good for the health of our players at the moment (fingers crossed for Álvaro Arbeloa if he plays against Scotland on Tuesday).
Meanwhile, seven Castilla players joined the first team: Tomás Mejías, Pablo Gil, Merchán, Martínez, Omar, Raúl Ruiz and Óscar Plano. That explained the presence of Alberto Toril alongside Mou. And that left only Karim Benzema, Ricardo Carvalho and Nuri Sahin in the sick bay, although Raúl Albiol should join them soon, as he’s expected to be out for three weeks. By the way, I like the way Aitor Karanka does things.
On Tuesday, these seven players trained once more, joined by four from Castilla: Jesús, Omar, Pablo Gil and Óscar Plano. (Speaking of the cantera, the RFEF has called up Jesé and Omar from Castilla, and Javier García-Noblejas from RMC for several training sessions between Oct. 17-19, to see how they do with the U-19 team). Other than that, there doesn’t seem to be any difference with the rest of the training sessions that have been held over the last week or so.
From Alicante, Iker posted this photo of him and Bodo Illgner, saying, “I’m sure the madridistas are going to like this photo! Yes, it’s Bodo Illgner! A fantastic goalkeeper with whom I shared my first two seasons in Real Madrid!!! He’s the same as he was 11 years ago!!!” Illgner left Madrid in 2001, although he stayed in Spain, to live in Alicante. Yesterday, he went to the Spanish national team’s hotel to see Vicente del Bosque, Toni Grande and Javi Miñano, as he has stayed in touch with them. Illgner met Iker when Iker was just 16, and he said back then that Iker would be the best in the world. Can we ask him to make other predictions? And that shirt looks very familiar…
A tweet from MFC Álvaro Borja Morata Martín revealed to us that the DJ of Castilla is Jesé. Let me fantasize a moment that there is such a thing as Real Madrid DJ school and that Jesé learned the tricks of the trade from Sergio Ramos and Marcelo before he was allowed to touch the sound system in Castilla’s locker room.
And a tweet from Álvaro Arbeloa. Yesterday, he wrote, “I’ve been without my Blackberry for two weeks. In these moments, I’m happy that Kaká threw it in the swimming pool. Bad luck, blackberryanos!!!” Oh, I’m sure there is a story behind this, why doesn’t Alvarito tell us?
Madrid is scheduled to receive their new Audis on Oct. 20, at the Carlos Sainz Center. That means that they’ll also get a chance to race each other in karts, which have safety measures to ensure that no one gets injured while having fun. I can’t wait to see this. I can already imagine Álvaro Arbeloa and Cristiano being all competitive, Marcelo goofing around and Xabi looking extremely cool while driving.
In declarations to the press on Sunday while with the Portuguese national team, Cristiano Ronaldo talked about all that crap he has to put up with in rival stadiums. He said, “I have to hear the shouts as a player when I’m on the field, but I’m sure that it’s not the entire stadium, since whoever likes football likes to watch Ronaldo.” He added, “with whistles or without, I always try to give the best of me.” According to the Portuguese press, Portugal’s rival on Tuesday, Denmark, has asked fans not to chant Leo Messi’s name during the game in order not to motivate Cris. Cris also said, “those who shout out Messi’s name are abnormal.”
On Sunday at the Bernabéu, Zinedine Zidane presided over the final of the Danone Nations Cup, which was won by Brazil.
However, I think the Haiti team deserves a special mention. This is from Marca, who can produce real, touching stories when they try. They write that Haiti’s team is composed of 14 children (Gustave, Jimson, Jonathan, Adamson, Pierre, George, Casimir, Kesner, Joseph, Jeff, Jogelyn, Tober, Jeanlouis and Olki), all of whom live at an orphanage run by the Italian NGO Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos in Kenscoff. Out of the 500 children taking part in this competition, they’re the smallest, with the majority weighing 10 kilos less than their rivals. They are also some of the shyest. Their goalkeeper Jeanlouis didn’t have boots to play with, because he wears a 38 and no one had such big ones. So, the organization gave him six pairs as a present, and several other teams are collecting clothes for them to take back. These other teams also did their best to take care of Haiti’s players during the tournament. I love this spirit and camaraderie.
Here’s an update on Capote, via Marca. He tells the newspaper that he doesn’t remember anything, had to be told what had happened, and that he was very lucky because when he fainted, the coach and the team’s fisio rushed to him and knew what to do, and the ambulance and helicopter also arrived very quickly. Capote spent four days in the ICU before he regained consciousness, and two weeks before he left the hospital with a defibrillator in his chest. During the two weeks in the hospital, he shed many tears after being told that he would no longer be able to play football: “the tears fell. I started crying, it was tough. It will be tough to watch a game and not feel like a footballer, to think that I can no longer be out there, to get up and know that I can’t train. But although I lost football, I gained life.”
Capote’s situation is practically the same as Rubén de la Red’s: “they told me that what happened to me is exactly the same as what happened to De La Red. He also has a defibrillator and he’s not in the all clear. I am thinking of going to Valdebebas to thank my teammates and the directors for all the support they’ve given me, and if I have the opportunity to speak with him, he can explain to me how he’s handling it and give me some advice.” Among those teammates (he doesn’t call them ex-teammates) that came to visit him in Córdoba were Álvaro López, Pablo Sarabia, Andy, Fernando Pacheco, Fran Sol, Lucas, Josep, Jordi, Exspósito, Boto, Poley. They brought along with them shirts signed by Castilla and RMC, and a notebook full of messages. Capote was also very grateful that Iker Casillas remembered him: “it touched me very deeply that the captain that lifted up the World Cup sent me encouragement.” As for the future, Capote has started working as a scout in Málaga and Andalucía for his agents.
In madridista news, AS reports that Rafa Nadal will be playing football for Inter Manacor, a team in the regional third division started by the friends he played football with as a kid. The coach, Matías Ramis says, “when they told him they were going to start a team, he said he would be willing to provide the uniforms on the condition that we give him a spot and save the number 9 for him. Our response was that he would have a roster position and number and that he can play whenever he wants.” Ramis adds that Rafa wants to play with his friends and he’s excited. However, uncle/coach Toni responded, “both of us have it very clear that it won’t be good for him to play football,” though he said it may be possible for Rafa to play for a half, without forcing himself, in a pre-season game. In case you can’t tell from Rafa’s number request, he’ll be a center forward.