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all set for Lyon!

October 17, 2011

It seems like we play Lyon every single year, no?  Well, it’s that time again.  Madrid trained at Valdebebas this morning, their last preparatory session before tomorrow’s Champions League game against the French team (20:45h).

The session began with a technical chat in the locker room, so it started 15 minutes late.  During the session, those who played the most minutes against Betis – Sergio, Pepe, Marcelo, Cris, Higuaín, Xabi and Arbeloa – did recovery work with Rui Faria, while the rest of the group was under the supervision of Mou and Aitor Karanka.  Castilla’s Tomás Mejías was also present.  Missing from the session were the injured Albiol, Carvalho, Sahin and Lass.

Mou called up 19 footballers for the game, plus Mejías.  Lass Diarra was absent, as he ended the game against Betis with pain in his right femoral biceps.

Goalkeepers: Iker, Adán, Tomás Mejías.

Defenders: Ramos, Arbeloa, Varane, Marcelo, Pepe.

Midfielders: Özil, Xabi Alonso, Callejón, Di María, Khedira, Kaká, Coentrão, Granero, Altintop.

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, Higuaín.

If Madrid were a high school, Marcelo would be Mr. Popularity (Iker would be “Class President,” Sergio “Biggest Athlete” and Xabi “Most Likely to Succeed.”  I have tons more of these).

The press conference following the training session was José Mourinho’s first Champions League rueda de prensa in six months, since the last time he spoke to the press was after the semifinal game against Barça, in an unforgettable and infamous appearance.  Having served his three-game suspension and paid a fine of €50,000, Mou was back, and showed he hasn’t lost one step.  Love the faces too.

on his criticism of UEFA last season: that’s old news, we’ve started the 2011-12 edition of the Champions League and let’s see if we manage to do better than last year.  Our idea is to be better this year.  The important thing is to win.  Last year, we achieved 10 points in the first four games.  Let’s see if we can do the same, but it’s not easy.  If we have a bad result, it won’t be a drama, because we already have a small cushion.

on whether Kaká is outshining Mes lately: those are your debates.  My objective is to unite and not to divide.  Your objective is different, it consists of saying who is better, A or B, who should start, A or B.  I do things differently.  We always win and lose as a team.

on Higuaín: 15 days ago, Higuaín was bad, Benzema was bad, and you asked why we didn’t sign Agüero, and today everything is different.

on starters and subs: if you read too many newspapers, it creates panic because there are histories, histories, histories; debates, debates, debates; surveys, surveys, surveys.  Here there are neither starters nor substitutes.  Everyone accepts it even though they want to start.  Here, we have six bullets.  Tomorrow, we play with six bullets and four in the back (in reference to Marca’s cover story today).

Meanwhile, Iker had the following to say.

on whether they’ve spoken about how this year they can’t repeat the polemics and protests against the referees: the míster last year was forthright, he made things clear.  What happened last year stays there and we have to think about this Champions, in winning this new edition.  What the míster feels is what everyone feels, but now we have to think about the present.

on whether Mou has changed his attitude (many media outlets are running stories about a softer, nice Mou): I see him the same as always, and even more ambitious than last year.  That’s positive and it has to infect the team.  We want to surpass what we achieved last year.  We won the Copa but we want more in the Liga and the Champions.  He’s the first one that wants to do that and we do as well.

on Higuaín and Benzema: I think Higuaín is doing great.  I’ve known him for four or five years.  He’s very hard working, he’s obsessed with scoring goals and helping the team, and we’re very content with his streak.  But Benzema has also had this streak.  For the team, it’s great to have these streaks and for both of them to be playing well.

on Sergio playing as a centerback: we goalkeepers feel secure with the players that we have in front of us [judging by Iker’s expressions, that’s not always true].  Sergio can play as a fullback and as a centerback, he always accomplishes what the míster asks of him.  Sergio has a gift, which is his physique [oh yes it is!!!!!!].  In the World Cup, as a fullback, he was a 10.  The important thing is that he feels comfortable, he feels happy, and that the coach is happy with him.  I believe the most important thing for him is to play, whether it’s as a fullback or as a centerback.

More from Saturday’s game: remember how we saw Kaká celebrating his goal with Antonio Adán?  It turns out that was because Kaká often practices this move against Antonio.  What a sweet gesture!  By the way, check out the ICYMI post – there’s a new gif of Junior blowing kisses to papá!

Iker corrected his Facebook English yesterday; the new message reads” “Yesterday we finally managed to win the match against Betis. Right at the start of second period we achieved the first goal, which was very important. We finally won 4-1 to a daring Betis who did not became frightened in the Bernabeu. Congratulations to Higuain for his third “hat trick” in two weeks. Now we are thinking about winning the match against Lyon so we will be almost in the next round of the Champions League!”  I much prefer the old one, which is so much more “Iker.”

In the mixed zone on Saturday, Gonzalo Higuaín took his hat trick ball out of a Real Madrid shopping bag to show the press.  He was asked which dedication he liked the best, to which he responded, I don’t know, there are a few.  The reporter persisted, “but there must be one that you like more.”  So Pipita responded that “¡Qué pesado con los hat trick!” (how annoying are you with all those hat tricks!) was his favorite, and revealed that it was Arbeloa who wrote that.

Other things.  This cute picture of Ángel and Gonzalo is from El Mundo.  Ángel has the worst collection of jeans I have ever seen in my entire life.

In an interview with L’Equipe, Rafa Varane revealed that in the day to day, “with Karim, Lass and me, he (Mou) speaks in French.  With Özil and Khedira, in English.  With the Brazilians and Portuguese, in his language, and with the rest, in Spanish.  He can give you a message in the hallway, before or after the training session, or during the game.  They’re short phrases that help you to progress.”

Castilla lost 0-1 to Rayo Vallecano B on Sunday afternoon, due to a penalty call against the team in the 55th minute, which resulted in the only goal of the game.  Castilla is now in a three-way tie for fourth place in their group of the second division B.  The only consolation was this adorable photo tweeted by MFC Álvaro Borja Morata Martín, in which he appears with Álex and Dani Carvajal, but not Denis “who doesn’t appear in the photo.  He’s very ugly.”  Is Dani sitting on ABMM’s lap?  Lucky guy.

Attending Tuesday’s Champions League game against Lyon will be the Alevín A team of Canillas, the team of the luckiest kid in the world, José Mario Jr.  Several weeks ago, when Canillas came to Valdebebas to play against Madrid’s Alevín B team, the captains of Canillas insisted that Mou visit them in the locker room after the game, and gave him an ovation.  Mou told them that if they win the next game, he would invite them to watch Madrid in the Bernabéu.  Last Saturday, Canillas beat Pozuelo 4-2.  And Mou kept his word, confirming that he has tickets for all the kids, paying for them out of his own pocket.  He is also providing tickets for the 10 persons who will accompany the children.  Next weekend, Canillas faces Madrid’s Alevín A team, in which Benjamín Garay plays (I guess the family didn’t move with Eze to Portugal).

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16 Comments leave one →
  1. conflictedinspain permalink
    October 17, 2011 15:49

    Love, love, LOVE the blue training shirts. It just does something for them… And although I’m not always a fan of Mourinho, I really liked his responses to the questions about Kaka vs Ozil, Benzema vs. Higuain, and subs vs starters. Sometimes, he really can be classy!

  2. Sarah, Madrid permalink
    October 17, 2011 16:02

    Oh the blue color is so relaxing! This is the best color addidas came with this season, oh una! Pleases do the most likely high school for our boys!
    Anyway, I still didnt get my revenge from Lyon last year. I want win and I want pipa to score in particular, UCL my fav competition I am sure bernabeu will be packed tomorrow!

    Mourinho gesture is the cutest! Like how iker speaks of Mourinho and Ramos too, yes we too think that my iker, Ramos best assets is definitely his physics in every part!

    • Sarah, Madrid permalink
      October 17, 2011 16:07

      Oh right, iker status! I see Arbeloaman all over this one, twitter was having s feast over iker’s old status ( which I like too more), some Madrid fans even created an account named ikerlish lol

  3. October 17, 2011 16:22

    No drama. Ozil isn’t playing in his ideal position, while Kaka is. Both are fabulous players and work well together.

    Arbeloa is such a jokester. He adds so much personality to the team.

  4. Pipita permalink
    October 17, 2011 18:12

    I love Cristianos hair when he doesn’t have hair wax in it, it’s so beautiful. His natural curles comes out in a good way. No to hair products in Cristiano’s hair!!!

    I love it when it isn’t notable (greasy) that guys have hair products in their hair, like Coentrao or Callejón. That looks so much better. That’s probably why I don’t find Özil’s, Ramos and Ronaldo’s hair atractive.

  5. amouria permalink
    October 17, 2011 20:25

    “If Madrid were a high school, Marcelo would be Mr. Popularity (Iker would be “Class President,” Sergio “Biggest Athlete” and Xabi “Most Likely to Succeed.” I have tons more of these).”
    Yes please do. I am trying to find the funniest nick name for each of them, but in vein..
    I love your name for Marcelo “the sunshine”, but we still need more. We call Ozil, the elegant musician…

  6. baSix permalink
    October 17, 2011 23:49

    i realy liked your “If Real Madrid were a Highschool” part, you should do the whole team!

  7. October 18, 2011 00:41

    Una aren’t you gonna translate Kaka’s interview. I’m most excited for it !! Please. !!

  8. Nurul permalink
    October 18, 2011 03:14

    Arbeloa’s message to Pipita. <3____<3
    So full of love for this team!

  9. Futbolfan permalink
    October 18, 2011 04:36

    I love that Cris goes gel-less nowadays in training. He looks so good with his natural hair!

    And Kaka looks gorgeous in that pic with Marcelito.

  10. October 18, 2011 09:48

    “I have tons more of these…” Una, I for one would LOVE to hear them!! 🙂

    • emily permalink
      October 18, 2011 16:09

      Concur!!! don’t hold back, Una!!!

  11. Peggy permalink
    October 18, 2011 10:02

    WE tried to get FB to accept “Iker-ish” as one of there languages.. no luck yet.. but wouldn’t that be great..:D

  12. kiki permalink
    October 18, 2011 12:47

    Mou has the best faces in the business, bar none!
    How nice for José Jr.’s team, imagine the excitement!
    Kaká:
    The picture with Marcelo is the cutest thing ever.
    The celebration with Antonio is lovely.
    It’s understandable that there will be an adjustment phase for Mesult as Kaká comes into his true amazing form, but they are both true Champions, so I think they will work it out.
    I love your high school labels.
    I prefer Iker english to normal english.
    That is all I can say because I have become hypnotized by Iker’s photos!

  13. ama permalink
    October 18, 2011 12:49

    Let’s have more superlatives, Una! I can’t decide whether Sergio or Marcelo would win Best Hair.

    (And I like that Iker truly appreciates Sergio’s gifts.)

  14. mariana permalink
    October 18, 2011 20:00

    I’d love for you to extend your “most likely” list, “yearbook material”… Can’t wait to hear who’s the class clown, the player, most likely to remain single forever… When u have time, please make a Real Madrid High School superlatives with all the team players!! luv, luv, luv!! =)

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