ICYMI – the nine-time winners edition
In case you missed it – Real Madrid vs. Lyon [2011-10-18, CL group stage, 4-0].
It was another great night of European football at the Bernabéu, and our boys once again exceeded themselves. Is it too early to start dreaming about La Décima? After all, I’ve been waiting for it for the last nine years!
ONE. The game got off to a good start, with Marcelo Sunshine being adorable in the tunnel. Look at that little face! And behind him, Xabi was chatting with the mascots.
TWO. Out in the field, while the rest of the team wore their “serious” faces (look at Iker, Sergio or Xabi), Marcelo and Pepe chatted. When the CL hymn ended, Cris had to give his mascot a little push to get her to leave the field. I love seeing Cris interact with children!
The Champions League jackets are growing on me, mostly because I like stars.
During this time, Iker also showed off that perfect profile, while Karim Benzema and Yoann Gourcuff engaged in some special high-fiving. Then it came time for the boys to strip, although unfortunately only the jackets came off (90 minutes or so later, it would be a different story).
THREE. Madrid scored three goals on the night, with the fourth coming off of a Lyon own goal. Karim Benzema opened things up, scoring off of a Cristiano pass. It’s so wonderful to have both Gonzalo and Karim playing so well at the same time.
I loved this celebration because Marcelo jumped onto the pile, followed by Álvaro Arbeloa, who as you can see, got horizontal. Well, he must have some vertical ability, as he once wanted to be a professional basketball player.
Sami Khedira scored his first official goal with Real Madrid (he had scored one during the pre-season against Guangzhou), and all his teammates were happy for him. Look at the smile on Mes’ face!
And Sergio capped off the goalfest with a goal of his own, which Arbeloa celebrated by removing Sergio’s headband. Sergio said on twitter today that the celebration was in honor of the great Ronaldo, as Sergio had imitated Ronaldo’s goal celebrations with Madrid by holding up an index finger and waving it around. Later on, Ronaldo tweeted his thanks, and Sergio responded by saying “for me, you’ll always be number one as a footballer and as a person.” Álvaro also made fun of him, and Sergio responded by saying, “you’ve never scored one like that in your life.” By the way, Sergio had an excellent game as a centerback, no?
FOUR. Some back shots – I love how the camera zoomed in to focus on Cristiano’s ass, and how Iker waved his around in the name of defending.
FIVE. Sami’s night ended when he collided with Pepe, opening up a gash on his forehead. He lay on the field for several moments, receiving treatment. Sami was subsequently subbed out and replaced by Fábio Coentrão. While he was lying there, the others were busy rehydrating, and I like how Álvaro whistled and made the motion for substitution, since he could see how bad it was. A few moments later, Sergio tried to spray water on Iker, but he managed to dodge it while having a discussion with Arbeloa.
Pepe was concerned about Sami, as it was his (very pointy) elbow which had opened up the gash on Sami’s head.
SIX. I love this moment where Mes looked back at Iker to make sure he was in an Iker-approved position. Meanwhile, poor Iker had to celebrate Sami’s goal alone, at his end of the field. They should allow
me a fan to hang around Iker’s goal to celebrate with him if he wants.
SEVEN. As the players waited in the tunnel for the second half to start, Mou gave Iker a little squeeze. Meanwhile, Marcelo came down the stairs singing and dancing to his own beat. He’s so adorable!
Several members of the team were being slow, earning them a look from Xabi. I like how Aitor Karanka stood there (nice pose, it must be a Basque thing) and encouraged the players as they walked by.
EIGHT. Xabi Alonso received a yellow card for taking a free kick before the referee blew his whistle, as his justification was that he was setting up a wall, although no one on Real Madrid had asked for one (probably because Hamit Altintop wasn’t there to grab at things). Thus, Karim Benzema’s goal was annulled. I loved how Xabi protested the card, and continued with another member of the refereeing team once the whistle blew for the half. He still couldn’t believe it.
NINE. At the conclusion of the game, Sergio and Álvaro hugged, while Pepe stripped off his shirt and gave it away. Look at the two women in the back! They’re crying, screaming, hyperventilating and trying to grab for the shirt!
And then came the highlight of the game (goals, what goals?). Iker, who had already taken off his shirt, decided to do the same with his shorts. Note to self: stay until the end of the game from now on. Dinner and friends can always wait.
Here is the moment where Iker took off his shirts. There is bonus shirtless Pepe, and Sergio doing the opposite, putting on a shirt. That was because he was to be interviewed, and someone out there – a spoil sport (literally) – decided that players should wear shirts while doing that.
TEN. After the game, Xabi was asked about who his ideal partner in the midfield is. Xabi, always diplomatic, responded, “it’s not an issue of finding a partner, but rather complementing each other. I’ve done it with Lass, with Khedira, with Coentrão. El Pirata is also there for when the míster needs him.” I love that Xabi didn’t forget about Esteban, his boss in training!
Meanwhile, Karim Benzema was happy with his great performance, telling the press that “I work every day to be here, I feel good, I feel better, it was a difficult game against a Lyon that I have a lot of affection for. It’s my team from the time I was small and they’re happy that things are going well for me in Madrid.” He also stressed that he and Higuaín can play together.
ELEVEN. The Xabi Alonso pose section.™
I love how much care Xabi took in placing the ball properly for the corner (must be one of his manias), and how he clapped when Karim was subbed out.
I’ve never seen anyone argue a yellow with so much class, and a stellar pose.
Xabi tweeted this morning that he was at Valdebebas “organizing the FIFA 12 tournament for the players for Friday night in Málaga. Who will win? I’ve already placed my bet.”
TWELVE. The Mou corner.
During his press conference, José Mourinho sent a couple of messages to UEFA and to the press. He was in top form in his first post-game press conference since the famous “¿por qué?” one.
First, with regards to the yellow card that Xabi received, he said, “in this moment, there are teams that can take free kicks quickly, and score goals like that, before the rivals are organized, but we’re not allowed to. When we score like that, the goal is not valid and the player gets a yellow card. For me, Xabi’s yellow card is debatable, because there are many teams that always do this, but we don’t always do this. However, an intelligent player like Xabi saw the movement of his teammate and took the kick quickly. Yellow card. I really don’t understand it.” Mou went on to say, “UEFA can relax because we know we won’t be able to force cards in the last games. Other teams can, but we can’t. So if we get to the next round with cards, we get to the next round with cards.”
In response to a question about whether Madrid’s group is easy, Mou responded, “our group has a good French team, a good Dutch team and the champion of Croatia. There are other groups, where the big teams are much more luckier than us. I had to use the Internet in the draw to see where their rivals are from. Our group is not easy, but we are doing a great job. We are doing really well. This group is anything but easy.”
I also loved what he said about Cristiano: “perhaps this year he’ll win something more important things than the Golden Boot or the pichichi.”
And José Mario and his Canillas teammates were at the game, courtesy of José Mourinho.
THIRTEEN. Other notes. Madrid left their hotel and went to Valdebebas in the morning for a stretching session.
The boys were back in training on Wednesday morning, barely 12 hours after the game. The starters had a recovery session, minus Cris, who worked out in the gym. Sami sported a bandage over his left eye, due to the injury sustained during the game. The rest of the players worked out at a higher intensity, and they were joined by eight canteranos – Jesús, Carvajal, Nacho, Mendes, Merchán, Martínez, MFC ABMM and Óscar Plano. The injured players continued with their rehab, with Raúl Albiol working out by himself on the field.
They all had big smiles which is always great to see.
And don’t forget, the new Audis and kart racing will be tomorrow!
FOURTEEN. In an interview with Olé, Gonzalo Higuaín talked how about how he’s feeling, his operation and how Madrid is catching up to Barcelona.
He also mentioned that he’s returned with more mental strength. Gonzalo tells the newspaper, “you know what Pepe told me before I returned? He had torn his ACL and he told me, you’ll see when you come back, you’ll feel like a new footballer. And it will be spectacular. And that’s how it was. That’s what I felt. Now I can enjoy it.” Gonzalo also said that being one of the four captains “is an enormous source of pride. I’m going to start my fifth year in Real Madrid, I’ve been here for quite some time… and I want to make history.” He said that Iker and Sergio are the ones that carry out the captain duties, though “I’ve been here many years and I know what (el) Madrid and Spain are like.” My favorite quote was this one: “Real Madrid is like my home. In reality, I spend more time here than at home.”